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 venerable venues. Playing for dancers is one of her very favorite things…although dancing runs a close second.
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.
Karen has taught traditional folk dance for more than 40 years in many different clubs. The last 15 years she has been teaching for GDV (Glad Dans Viborg/happy dance Viborg). The largest folk dance club in Denmark. Here she teaches folk dance at all levels and ballrom dancing for social use. Next to this she teaches many small courses with special topics. She is known for her patient and enthusiastic and clear teaching styles and for sharing the joy of dancing with her students. With a smile and good humor she easily teaches even the most difficult movements and figures. She has taught elderly and disabled people in folk dance and worked with dance for peoble with dementia. She has visited many schools and taught school children of all ages the joy of dancing and moving at high speed to folk music and has worked with international students who would like to dance folkdance in the local community.
Beginning Danish Dance; Int/Adv Danish Dance
Aidan grew up in Scotland surrounded by both folk and classical music. He began playing violin and piano at the age of seven. After studying music in a Swedish highschool, Aidan moved to London to attend Trinity College of Music. He has played for numerous musicals and orchestras in and around London and Scotland and frequently travelled throughout the UK and abroad playing, teaching and directing. Aidan has been featured on numerous recordings with The Assembly Players, Halsway Millennium Players and Rest Assured. He is also the featured solo violinist on the motion picture soundtracks for ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘Becoming Jane’ as well as the BBC dramas ‘Cranford’ and ‘Tess of the D’urbervilles’. Aidan now lives in Sweden with his wife Annette and their son Levi.
David first became involved in CCDS as a kid in the 1960s, is a veteran of such notable mid-Atlantic area dance bands as Evening Star and the Capital Quicksteps Quadrille Orchestra, and has also appeared on the staff of the John C. Campbell Folk School Winter Week. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches media production at Towson University and is an active player in the Baltimore/Washington theater and music scene as a designer, composer and performer.
Intermediate/Advanced Dance Band
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 16th 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 rejoice and have fun as they find new ways to move together.
Bollywood for All
Barbara has been leading English country dancing for over 30 years and is known for her clear teaching and welcoming presence. A regular dance leader at CDS Boston Centre, she has taught workshops across the US and in Canada, and has served as program director for Pinewoods English Dance Week. She is a longtime member of Still River Sword, a longsword team in the Boston area, and is excited to be on staff at Berea for the first time.
Advanced English Country Dance; English Dance Callers Workshop; Longsword Dance
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 Director Emeritus of the Country Dance and Song Society, having served for 28 years. He is a founder of the Bay Area Country Dance Society as well as co-founder of their Mendocino English and American dance weeks.
Intermediate English Country Dance; English Dance Open Mic; Squares and Odd Formations
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.
Katy grew up in Berea, Kentucky – a community full of song and dance traditions from Appalachia, England, and Denmark. She was a member of the traveling youth performance team The Berea Festival Dancers, with whom she traveled to Denmark, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Katy’s passion is working with youth, inter-generational, and beginning-level dancers. She’s been on staff at many family dance weeks, including Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, Cumberland Dance Week, and Lady of the Lake. During her six years in the Chapel Hill area, she helped coordinate monthly family dances. She now lives in Asheville, NC, singing, dancing, and calling family dances. She remains very involved with Christmas Country Dance School in Berea, as a program adviser, youth program coordinator, and class instructor. Katy is currently the Executive Director of The Country Dance and Song Society.
Beginning English Country Dance
Thomas, of Asheville, NC, started carving at Christmas school in 2002 and has had trouble putting the knife down since. He has made, sold, and generously given his spoons, spreaders, santas, and beautiful pendants.
Adina finds an outlet for her loves of travel, music, dance and silliness by calling and dancing at festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada, creating joy and minor chaos wherever she goes. Combining a voice that makes you want to do what she says, with a commitment to using that power for good and not evil, Adina calls contras and squares both old and new that cause spontaneous eruptions of joy on dance floors throughout North America.
Challenging Contras & Squares; Contra and Square Calling Workshop; Contras for All
Mary grew up on a Kentucky farm where telling stories was considered a moral failing. After years of confessing her storytelling sins, she finally gave into temptation and embraced her career. Since 1983 venues from Florida to Alaska have featured her storytelling performances and workshops – including such events as the Forest Storytelling Festival in Port Angeles, Washington, the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and Winter Tales in Oklahoma City. Fans of The Moth Radio Hour may have heard her tell “Sweet as Pie” a true autobiographical story. Mary expects to take delight in pondering, “What happens when a story is told well?” for the rest of her life. Her storytelling has been recognized with a Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network and a Jesse Stuart Award from the Kentucky School Media Association. Honors for her recordings include a Parent’s Choice Gold and a Storytelling World Winner designation for her “Sisters All. . . and One Troll” CD featuring her unique eleven-in-one multi-cultural retelling of Cinderella. She is the author of Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies, honored with both Storytelling World Winner and Anne Izzard Storytellers’ Choice Awards, published by University Press of Kentucky. This is Mary’s second time to teach at the Christmas Country Dance School, and she is delighted to return. Learn more at www.maryhamilton.info.
Storytelling Essentials; Working the Story
This year Wayne was artist in residence at Colgate University and made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic playing recorder – among other instruments requested. He’ll be back to encourage his recorder classes, twang with his jews harp class and continue with JUBO which is his sweet little whistle instrument for ages 7 and up. Wayne performed in 8 productions with Cirque du Soleil and has worked in films from Good Dinosaur to The Lego Movie A gold member of The Society of Composers and Lyricists, Mr. Hankin 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 residencies at the Chatauqua institution and Interlochen Arts Academy.
Beginning Recorder; Jews Harp; Intermediate Recorder
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.
English Dance Open Band
Becky is an accomplished and highly sought after percussive dancer, Appalachian square dance caller, and choreographer based in College Park, MD. Becky has worked with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Rhythm in Shoes, Good Foot Dance Company and studied with an array of percussive dance luminaries. Together with noted folklorist Gerry Milnes, she produced a documentary film, Reel ‘Em Boys, Reel ‘Em and currently serves as the Events Coordinator for Augusta Heritage Center. She performs regularly with the T-Mart Rounders. In 2017, she directed and danced in her first full-length music and dance work inspired by Appalachian traditions, Shift. In the fall 2018 she was selected as a fellow for OneBeat, a U.S. State Department Cultural Diplomacy Program. Becky is currently attending University of Maryland for a graduate degree in Dance. As an avid organizer and teacher of folk traditions, Becky’s work is deeply rooted in the connections between music and community. www.rebeccahill.org
West Virginia Square Dances; Beginning Clogging/Flatfooting; Intermediate Clogging/Flatfooting
For more than 30 years, Andrea 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.
Beginning Dance Band
Debbie is a multi-instrumentalist and began her musical career in 1977 as a folksinger/songwriter and bluegrass bass player and singer. She was, once-upon-a-time, a studio vocalist and songwriter with the National Songwriter’s Guild. Best known now for her piano work, she enjoys playing for English and Scottish Balls around the US and abroad- many of her English compositions have been choreographed and recorded by other bands. She also enjoys playing for contras and squares, swing dancing, blues and Latin, international, waltzing and vintage. She has performed in Denmark, Germany,India, on Ukrainian National Radio and at various Folk Festivals across the Slovak Republic. She has also participated in two very wonderful dance-music exchanges to Denmark and one equally wonderful exchange trip to Austria. At home, she loves being part of the musician staff team for the Michigan Dance Heritage Spring and Fall Camps. Debbie also loves leading community sings and has a broad repertoire of music. She is a member of the English County Dance band, Childgrove, and along with Anne Ogren (violin, viola) and Martha Stokely (whistles, melodian) has recorded 2 CD’s, “Early Instincts’ and “Wanderlust”. Since her last year on staff CCDS, Debbie has finished her first solo project, “Inner Spaces” which is more of a wandering, interpretive adventure with English and traditional tunes. Her most unique musical adventure to date has been playing the role of pianist Floyd Cramer (with no speaking parts) in the Patsy Cline Story! Debbie lives in Waterford, Michigan and is excited to be returning to CCDS for the second time.
Jonathan is an inspired pianist in a wealth of musical styles from contra to English Country to ragtime and jazz. A composer of brilliant English country dance tunes and waltzes, Jonathan performs at dance events and camps around the country and is a bassist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which has performed many of his orchestral arrangements. In recent years he has become increasingly active as a songwriter and lyricist.
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.
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
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 and New England, and was a pioneer in the study of historic American social dance. Several years ago he was enchanted by Timmy McCarthy and his presentation of the sets of Cork and Kerry, and now loves to teach and play for them whenever possible. Jim plays fiddle and guitar, performing with the Morrison Brothers Band and the Albemarle Morris Men.
English Village Dances
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.
Ben is Pat’s grandson, Dave’s younger son, and Jim’s cousin or nephew, depending upon whom you ask. He is a college senior at Virginia Commonwealth University where he is a computer science major. He has been enjoying dancing and avoiding calling Appalachian figures for many years. You should dance with him, and if you are good enough, maybe he will serenade you on the piano, following the dance.
Kentucky Set Running
Janet, a basket maker from Rockcastle County, Kentucky, will proudly be joining the CCDS staff for her 19th year. Janet will be offering classes in traditional styles of basketry. A variety of materials will be offered with plenty of room for artistic expression in your individual baskets.
Each class limited to the first 20 people to sign up.
Basketry One; Basketry Two
Jon began his singing career at a very early age, appearing with his mother, Appalachian folksinger Jean Ritchie, at concerts and folk festivals throughout the country. He performed with Jean until her retirement in 2009 and has produced and performed on many of her albums. Jon has appeared recently at the Great American Dulcimer Festival at Pine Mountain State Resort in Pineville, KY, and at Kentucky Music Weekend in Louisville, KY. He has also taught banjo, harmony and shape note singing at Kentucky Music Week in Bardstown, KY. Check out his bio at www.jonpickow.com.
Singing in Harmony; Ritchie Family Songs and Traditions; Shape Note Singing
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 9th 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.
Gillian has been teaching and performing folk dance on both sides of the Atlantic since 2004. Hailing from the vigorous folk scene surrounding Boston, MA, she also indulges in sword dance, morris, pub singing, percussive stepdance, and social dancing of many stripes. Her teaching has been described as “engaging, high energy, and accessible”. She currently leads Orion Longsword and dances with Candyrapper VSOP and Muddy River Morris. In her copious free time she enjoys social singing, cooking for dance events, and recreational data analysis. Intro-mediate Rapper; Advanced Performance Rapper
Jim Napier Stites
Jim is Pat’s grandson, Dave’s nephew, and is the elder son of Pamela “Not Pam” Napier. He is a public school band director who has enjoyed dancing and calling Appalachian figures for many years. He has also been known to tell stories, and you oughtn’t believe a word he says.
Kentucky Set Running
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 two energetic student groups, the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble and Mariachi Berea. Al plays fiddle and mandolin in the Berea Cast-Offs dance band and is a member of the McLain Family Band. He has been a staff musician at CCDS, 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 is a retired 1st grade teacher and currently performs with the McLain Family Band. She and Al can also be heard 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.