Submit a memento

  • I love the look of pure joy on Kate's face in this 2008 photo of Yankee Ingenuity at the Scout House. 

  • Early 90s at the Scout House benefit, there was the Quickstop polka contest. Lisa Greenleaf was the judge; people were to dance Norwegian polka.

  • See a video of Kate throwing a mug on the pottery wheel:

  • Thank you beyond measure, Kate, for all the beauty, laughter, and joy you have brought to us all!

  • congratulations, kate, on an honor well deserved! i'm pleased to count myself among the very many friends whose lives you have enriched.

  • I loved hearing about the fullness of your life Kate. Those chapters I didn’t know about—pottery, electronic gizmos—are all inspirational to me, and give encouragement to keep on ‘following the perfume’ of creativity.

  • Traveled to many far flung destinations on contra dance trips where Peter was part of the band.

  • Vince O'Donnell's greeting to Kate Barnes:

  • Kate, I was thrilled to be able to attend your Celebration on 9/26 and I marveled at how eloquent everyone was in describing your contributions, influence, and your delightful self.

  • This was a minor event by most standards, but very memorable and meaningful to me. It was my first time at Pinewoods, AD&M 1983. In fact, it was my first time at any dance camp or weekend. I had heard all the superlatives about Pinewoods, and I was intimidated, and alone, but for a wide variety of reasons, I was there, all the way from Charleston, SC.

  • When Kate and Bare Necessities come to Pittsburgh for their special weekend it is always a delight. Kate's presence is joyful, accepting and heart warming.

  • Peter was teaching a music workshop at Folklore Village in 2004, and to encourage my daughter Hannah Newfield-Plunkett in her playing piano accompaniment to ECD music, simply tore the back instructional pages out of a copy of his book Interview with a Vamper and handed them to her.

  • Peter Barnes was sitting on a log in front of the dining hall at Pinewoods one night. The conversation was about Boston accents. I happened to walk by and said to him, “What ah you, [disparaging word]?” Much to my delight (and relief), he laughed heartily.

  • Congratulations, Kate! In thinking through favorite memories of times with you, several come right to mind:

  • I remember the many trips to the Saturday night dances in Fitzwilliam, NH in the early to mid 1970's. The dances were great, but the ride home in Ernie Spence's station wagon was always a blast because you would play your guitar or banjo and we'd all sing along.

  • I fell in love with Peter's piano playing at the Augusta Dance Week in Elkins, WV, in the early to mid-1980s with Rodney Miller if my recall is correct. I still love listening to Airplang, one of the all-time best contra dance albums IMHO, which I still have on vinyl and CD.

  • Wedding Band, 1984. Cambridge VFW.Thank you Kate. It has been a treasure to know you for so many years.

  • It would be impossible to overestimate the influence that the Barnes Books had on my entire family. Julia (violin) and Rory (piano) performed countless tunes from the first two volumes over the years, which are still staples of our music-making.

  • In 1994 I went to Pinewoods because I'd started to call ECD and needed more of a repertory. Until then I'd only heard Laurie Andres's versions of the tunes, so I commented to Paul as we neared the top of the hall that you were playing a familiar dance with very different chords than I was used to.

  • Our time together was over 30 years ago, many wonderful evenings and fine music. Remember dances in Francestown, NH with Alan Block, the world's oldest and perhaps happiest fiddler?

  • You probably don't remember, but I first met you at Ashokan Northern Week back in the 90's as a camper and was taken by your vaudeville breakneck sensibilities on piano and everything else. Right up my Borscht Belt alley!

  • Long ago I met Kate and the Bares during the dancing highlight of the winter—an annual Valentine's Day dance.

  • For decades, Kate has been my musical idol. My first memories of Kate are from when she played piano for contra dances at the Brimmer & May School in Chestnut Hill, MA, back in the late 1970s. I have to admit that I was struggling as a new dancer, and it surprised me to hear so many musical and creative moments when I finally had enough brain cells to listen to the music.

  • Kate, I remember when I called at a Yankee Ingenuity dance, and during the break, both you and I were the only ones left on stage.

  • I have 2 stories about Kate. As she became better known and her piano playing became more inventive, many wannabes tried to imitate her. Some were more successful than others.

  • Kate, you can look back with great pride! Thank you for your splendid contributions. What do you see looking ahead?

  • Congratulations Kate—contributions indeed! The Barnes Books are must-haves for all ECD musicians.

  • No one has a smile like Kate. To see that smile is our joy—especially after a particularly funny variation on the flute or penny whistle and the interplay among the musicians that was caused.

  • Kate has always been one of the most supportive, funny, and talented people I know. She was one of the first musicians I danced to at the Wednesday Arlington Heights English dances, and we are spoiled rotten by her talent and sheer joy in her playing.

  • Hi Kate,
    Congratulations on your lifetime achievement award! It was quite the event, and I'd like to add my voice to the deserved appreciative comments and stories sent your way.

  • Nancy's greeting to Kate:

  • No one is more deserving of this award than Kate Barnes, who dramatically altered the way piano players played for contra dances in her unassuming way.

  • When it was mentioned during your award ceremony that you remembered someone saying: "I love it when you stop playing!", it made me smile because that was me.

  • After years of knowing who you were, we ended up lucky enough to live 1.9 miles from you, got to know you better, and now see you way more often.

  • I am a person of few words, but so much appreciate all of Kate's contributions, wonderful music, and so much encouragement through the years.

  • Bare Necessities has been coming to Fairfield, Iowa, the first weekend in November every year for 25 years (except 2020), so we have known and loved Kate for a quarter of a century!

  • Ever since I saw Kate perform at Brimmer & May in 1979, her music and influential compiling of our English Country Dance Repertory follows me everywhere.

  • From a caller’s (and dancer’s) perspective, I’ve always been impressed with Kate’s talent and versatility. I feel lucky to be able to work with her so often, and I enjoy her musical humor.

  • We run a very small English dance in New Hampshire (or did, before COVID). We've hired Kate for years to play music for us.

  • Contra Carnivale 2020-As to Kate's many instrumental talents, I offer this photo to show how conflicted multi-instrumentalists can be on stage.Just before COVID came down on us, Max and I were at Contra Carnivale with many fine musicians and incredible dancers. Kate of course was one of those musicians.

  • Wonderful stories. However I did not see anything about Kate's international reputation. Here is one:

  • My poem was made on the spot after watching the wonderful tribute to Kate. It is just tossed off and not to be compared to that glorious poem read near the end of the tribute. Accept it for what it is, a piece of love for a talented and beloved musician.

  • Hi Kate,

    As you know, I enjoy your music on any one of your varied instruments. One of the things I like best is when you are sitting alone on a stage with no one really paying attention and then you start playing some blues on your guitar.

  • Three things come to mind. The first was the yearly music party at the Winchester house shared with Susie and Larry back in the 80’s. It was the one Saturday night that no dance could be scheduled because every musician was at the house party. Each room would have a different session going on.

  • Just before a dance started, I had to tell Peter and Doug Creighton (concertina) that the evening’s pianist had been called to a family emergency. After they both expressed concern, Doug gestured at the piano and winking at Peter said, “Think you can play it?”

  • Congratulations Kate! While I don't have a personal relationship with you outside of the musical/dance events I attend, you have always greeted me (and many others no doubt) as a good friend.

  • Thank you, Kate, for all the smiles you have given me and many others with your joy-filled music.

  • Congratulations, Kate! I feel so lucky to know you! I have loved your music for so many years, and I have been inspired over and over hearing the incredible range that comes through in your playing—from comical and whimsical moments to moments of exquisite beauty that have hit me right in the heart.

  • Kate Barnes has been a constant presence in my music and dancing life since I started attending the CDSS Family Week at Ogontz in 1999 and the CDS-BC July 4 Session at Pinewoods in 2003.

  • For a long time, Kate lived in my consciousness only as a color: The common question that evoked her name was, is it in Blue Barnes or do we have to bring the sheet music?

  • Inspiration, mentor and friend to so many. Thank you for all you've done, Kate!!!

  • Diane & Erik on Pirate Night at Balance the BayKate, I have so many special memories with you, starting with the first Bare Necessities Weekend at Folklore Village. 

  • Kate, you've been one of my favorite musicians since I first wandered into the Scout House some time in 1981 or so.

  • I first met Kate at Pinewoods and I remember thinking to myself "Who is this extraordinary person who seems to be able to play anything and everything, has the most wonderful welcoming smile, and is one of the nicest people I think I've ever met?"

  • Congratulations Kate! and thanks for so many contributions to the dance community—especially in providing music, training and support for English dance musicians everywhere.

  • We have bazillions of music and dance memories of Kate, from waltzes to contras to English Country dance. She’s a Linux and electronics nerd. But the memory that first comes to mind is sitting at a dining table at Pinewoods when a little girl said “We are taking all the chocolate, and you will never get to eat it again.”

  • Kate is a joy to run sound for, and even more of a joy to dance to!

  • Dear Kate!
    I have listened to and watched the evolution of your music and your life, with interest, awe, fascination and especially love, since the 1970’s when I danced in the Boston area and subsequently at dances up here in the NH/VT/MA area.

  • Warm-hearted, quick-witted, brilliantly talented musically, Kate has graced our community with her humble brand of genius in kind and inspiring ways.

  • Thanks, Kate!

  • Many years ago at a Pinewoods English Week silent auction (early 2000s?), Kate (then Peter) and I were bidding for the same dance dress. She wouldn't give up, and the price kept going higher and higher. I really wanted it!

  • Our first encounter with Kate was in the 60s and 70s at the Scout House Dances where our daughter Mara, when she was a few years old, used to fall asleep under Kate's piano.

  • Max Newman, Jeremiah McLane and I were playing the Greenfield dance one summer Friday, to a small crowd. At the end of the break, Kate Barnes walked in dressed all in black, with a motorbike helmet under her arm and a huge grin, saying "Hello Boys!"

See more photos in the slideshow!

     
Back to Top