Elke is a veteran dance musician and concert performer, and has played a wide range of styles including contras and squares, English, Scottish, Vintage, and couple dances, at dance events across North America and indeed around the world. She’s a former U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, Washington Conservatory of Music faculty member, and Artist-in-Residence at Montgomery College, and has performed at numerous venerable venues. Playing for dancers is one of her very favorite things…although dancing runs a close second.
Intermediate/Advanced Dance Band
Sam is a nimble, irrepressible performer on guitar, banjo and mandolin. His original compositions have been profiled on NPR¹s All Things Considered, Salon.com, and The Thistle & Shamrock. His evocative musicianship has been featured in the Ken Burns documentaries, Prohibition and The Dustbowl. Sam is known as one of this country’s most engaging dance musicians, and has been crisscrossing the States playing for dances for 30 years. He is also the author of a best-selling book on pranks and parlor tricks, The Best of Stuntology (Workman Publishing). More information can be found at stuntology.com.
David grew up in Berea during the ’60s and ’70s, still misses Dodge Gym, and was a fixture at the Berea Christmas School for a decade or two, both as a dancer and staff musician. He is also a veteran of such notable mid-Atlantic area dance bands as Evening Star and the Capital Quicksteps Quadrille Orchestra, and has appeared on the staff of the John C. Campbell Folk School Winter Week. He now lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he does other things.
Eric is a graduate of Berea College, a Fine Arts major in Textiles. His festive banners, paper cuts, and decorations grace Seabury Center at CCDS. He has been making temari for over 20 years. This will be his 13th year of teaching Temari at CCDS.
Beginning Temari Craft, Intermediate Temari Craft
Laurie has been winding her way in and out of sword dancing for well over twenty years as a member of Toronto Women’s Sword. She loves to work with beginning dancers and those with experience to go for the most satisfying timing possible. The connection between dancers, dancers and musicians, and with the audience is a prime focus of instruction for her sword and rapper teaching.
Brad has been dancing and teaching English country, contras and squares, and Morris and sword for over forty years. He is well known for sharing the joy found in dance, and has taught throughout the US, Canada and Europe, including at Berea, Pinewoods, Mendocino, John C. Campbell Folk School, and Augusta. He is now Executive and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Country Dance and Song Society, after serving as its Director for 28 years.
Advanced English Country Dance; Pat Shaw Dances;
English Dance Callers Workshop
Earl is a full-time dance musician who has played violin and viola for a variety of English, Scottish, American, and international dancing for many years. He plays at dance camps, workshops, balls and other dance events throughout the United States and abroad, and he has made twenty-some recordings with various musical groups. When not on the road, he lives in great contentment on ten acres of woods in rural Michigan with his wife, Sherry Brodock.
Kent, from Berea, KY, is a regional Appalachian shape note singer/leader and an enthusiastic teacher of the tradition. Originally from Colorado, Kent was introduced to the tradition as a teenager. In addition to participating in sings across Kentucky, he has taught numerous singing workshops and produced a CD of Louisville, Lexington and Berea, KY singers.
Harmony Singing in the Square: Shape Note Singing for One and All
Wayne, a leading performer of early classical winds with over 4000 performances around the world to his credit, is well known in the world of Film (The Lego Movie, The Good Dinosaur) Television (Breaking Bad, Disney’s Princess Adventures) and Video games (Hero’s Charge). But he is better known to the Berea community for playing all those strange instruments he brings to the Dance School every year. He has received over 30 awards and grants from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, The National Endowment of the Arts and organizations abroad and teaches all over the country with major residencies at the Chatauqua institution and Interlochen. His current project involves bringing the Ocarina into the school system with his latest work, The Ocarina Advantage.
Recorder for the Next Level; Trump (Jaw Harp); Recorder for New Students
Mary has taught English country dancing at workshops, dance camps, Elderhostels, and at Christmas Country Dance School for many years. She brings enthusiasm and a sense of fun to beginners, while teaching in a clear, concise style. Beginning English Country Dance
Dean has been playing for contra, Scottish, English, international, and couples dancing since he relocated to North Carolina in the late 1970s. He cofounded the band FootLoose and played piano and clarinet with it for 20 years. He helps organize a family and community dance series in the Triangle area.
Cis has delighted contra and square dancers since 1985 with her clear instruction, welcoming manner, playful enthusiasm, and masterful selection of dances. She is in great demand at music and dance festivals all over the US, England, and Denmark. When not on the road, Cis teaches tai chi classes in her native Atlanta, Georgia. Calling Contras & Squares; Mind-bending Contras and More; Contras Open Mic/Open Band
For more than 30 years, Andrea Hoag has devoted herself to traditional fiddling. Living in Kentucky and North Carolina in the early 1980s, she pursued Appalachian fiddling with visits to elders and archives. A growing passion for Swedish fiddling led her to study at Malungs Folkhögskola in Sweden, where she earned the certificate in Folk Violin Pedagogy in 1984. Andrea’s music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Performance Today and has garnered a Grammy nomination. In 2014 she received a Maryland State Arts Council Artist Award for Solo Performance. Her most recent album is Cold Frosty Morning at West River. Contra Dance Open Band
Atossa has been a long time musician and staff member of Christmas School, playing piano, clarinet, recorder and accordion. Now fully retired from Berea College, she has moved to Black Mountain, NC where she is enjoying the beauty of Western North Carolina as well as becoming involved in the music and folk dance communities in the area.
Abby grew up in the East Coast traditional folk music revival of the 1970s. Abby started touring nationally at 18 with the dance and music company Rhythm In Shoes (RIS). She has collaborated with musician and composer Malcolm Dalglish in The Welcome Table, including original dance, music and choral arrangements of poems by Wendell Berry. In 2014 Abby reunited with RIS artistic director Sharon Leahy and a cast of percussive dance all-stars for Carry It On, a film and performance project celebrating the Wheatland Music Organization’s 40th anniversary festival.
Introduction to Team Clogging; Clogging Intermediate
Lewis & Donna Lamb
Native Kentuckians, this remarkable father-daughter duo have been making, preserving, teaching, and sharing traditional Appalachian music for many years. With Lewis on fiddle and Donna on guitar your feet don’t stand a chance of remaining still! They perform and teach old time square dance music and traditional songs at festivals and workshops throughout the region. Lewis is also known for his folk-art woodcarvings and he and Donna together have crafted numerous musical instruments. Lewis and Donna are 2007 winners of the Kentucky Folk Heritage Award.
Songs from the Past to the Present
David started dancing and attending Christmas school in 1974 and has been dancing and teaching ever since. David is known for his patient and clear teaching style. He communicates the joy of dancing through his teaching and enthusiasm for the dance. David is foreman of Iron Mountain Sword (Portland, Oregon). He has taught English Country Dance, Sword and Morris at numerous dance weeks and weekends around the county. Having grown up in Kentucky, David considers Christmas School as home and is looking forward to coming back this year. Beginning Rapper; Intermediate English
John, from Toronto, Ontario, went to his first dance at two weeks old, carried in a basket. His love of dance, music, performance and craft has led to a career including carpentry, performance, writing, teaching, directing and almost everything else. He is the Fool of the Toronto Morris Men, who seem to have a knack for getting invited to perform at interesting events, from the Carnival parade in Santiago de Cuba to the Siglufjörður Folk Festival in Iceland. John is an accomplished traditional singer, an experienced street theatre and mumming performer and a professor of theatre production in the Department of Theatre, York University, Toronto.
Morris Dance for All; Mummers Play
Jim has been a traditional dance enthusiast since his first Christmas Country Dance School in 1968. He is a collector of traditional community dance in the Southeastern US, New England, England and Ireland, and a pioneer in the study of historic American social dance. Jim plays fiddle and guitar, performing with the Morrison Brothers Band, In Wildness… and the Albemarle Morris Men.
Dances of Late 18th Century America; Kerry Sets
Owen is an accomplished rhythm and lead guitarist, at home in many styles of traditional music. His playing, laced with rhythmic power and skillful finesse, has made him popular among dancers and fiddlers alike. Owen has toured the U.S. and abroad with bands such as Elixir, Airdance, Night Watch and The Morrison Brothers Band. He frequently appears on staff at Pinewoods, Augusta, Ashokan and many other camps, and is thrilled to be returning to CCDS this year. Kerry Sets
Dave is an accomplished dancer and second generation caller who has attended CCDS many times. He is committed to the preservation of Kentucky mountain square dancing. Kentucky Running Set
Janet, a basket maker from Rockcastle County, Kentucky, will proudly be joining the CCDS staff for her 16th year. Janet will be offering classes in both traditional and nontraditional styles of basketry. A variety of materials will be offered with plenty of room for freedom of expression in your individual baskets.
Basketry for All, One, Basketry for All, Two
Frederick, hailing from the high Blue Ridge of NC, is a teacher, collector, storyteller and organizer of traditional dance and “antique recreation”. For more than 40 years Frederick has honed an engaging style with an expansive repertoire including American, Scottish, English, French and Scandinavian traditions. Frederick has been a guest artist at most every major dance festival in the USA and several overseas. The Line is a Couple (Contras); The Clock is Square; The Oldest Dance Tradition
Debora Payne of Berea, KY plays the fiddle for folk dances, and has accompanied a number of bluegrass and folk bands within the region. She has led children’s folk dance and teaches fiddle lessons to local students.
Storyteller, writer, playwright, and actor, Jim Pfitzer would rather paddle a canoe than drive a car and prefers watching birds to watching television. Jim has performed and taught storytelling from coast to coast and is currently performing his one-man play, Aldo Leopold – A Standard of Change. This year marks the sixth year Jim has taught at CCDS.
I Can Tell A Story! What Do I Do With This?
A member of the contra dance band, Serpentine, the Danish/Faroese band, Spælimenninir and the Scandinavian trio, Hoag/Kelly/Pilzer, Charlie has played too many dances to count. When not playing music, he records, mixes and masters CDs at Airshow and is fortunate to work on all kinds of wonderful projects. Charlie lives in Takoma Park, MD.
Beginning Dance Band; Will coordinate After Dance Music
Betsy loves the high lonesome sound of the singing styles from the Balkans and Caucasus Georgia. She sings with the Washington, DC-based Slaveya Women’s Vocal Ensemble and Niavi Georgian Folk Ensemble. Mountain Harmonies from the Balkans and Beyond
Jamie has been running sound for dances and concerts, mostly in the Washington, DC area, for many years. He is a regular at Glen Echo Park and specializes in all types of traditional music. He has also been running sound for a number of dance weekends and other events from Gulfport, FL to Ann Arbor, MI. This will be his 7th adventure at CCDS. Jamie’s approach has been to make each instrument and voice sound as close to natural as possible, work hard to make the musicians happy, and let them carry the show. Sound Manager
Patty is a long-time Christmas Country Dance School participant and enthusiast. A member of the singing Ritchie family, Patty most enjoys encouraging folks, young and old, to sing together and share their many talents.
Will coordinate Morningsong and Stories, and Evening Parlor
Al teaches Appalachian music for string instruments at Berea College and is best known for his mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and banjo playing, teaching any and all of these when asked. He is the leader of the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, an energetic student group. Al plays fiddle in the Berea Cast-Offs dance band and has been an artist-in-residence for the Kentucky Arts Council in storytelling, folk music and dance. He also has been a staff member at Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, Kentucky Summer Dance School, and other dance weeks.
Alice, third generation participant and CCDS staff member, plays bass and sings with her husband, Al. She’s performed across the US and abroad, from the Grand Old Opry to the Kennedy Center, to a school gym north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, to another in Hobart, Tasmania. Locally, she and Al can be heard accompanying the Berea Festival Dancers, playing for contras with the Berea Cast-offs, or doing concerts with her sister, Ruth McLain Smith.
Will coordinate evening staff music
Nathan is a veteran of over 30 years in country dance music. He plays the fiddle, mandolin, tenor banjo, double bass, electric bass guitar, and piano. Currently, Nathan plays with The Morrison Brothers Band, Elise Melrood, Footbridge, Intellectual Property, Websters Edition-Jazz, Paw Paw Pickers, and the Lexington Community Orchestra. His greatest thrill, however, is making music with his daughters Adéla and Anna in their band, Dreamdance. Nathan brings his love for music to others through teaching and mentoring orchestra students in the Kentucky public schools, and as music director at his church in Lexington. He is also, without a doubt, one of the world’s most under-appreciated random storytellers.