Lifetime Contribution Awards

  • I first encountered David Kaynor at Ashokan Northern Week in 1984, and during the rest of the ‘80s he was the essence of Northern Week for me. The highlight of each day was his leading a procession of musicians to the dining hall before dinner playing a Swedish walking tune. Memorable as well was his contra dance calling while playing the fiddle, seasoned by his inimitable dry sense of humor.

  • David was calling a dance at the Guiding Star Grange in Mass, in the early 1990's—and one particular dance had an odd progression, which David described as "spitting dancers out at the top, and spitting dancers out at the bottom." Wit that I thought I was, I called out from the floor: "David, what's with all the spitting? It will get the floor wet!"

  • David, the jammer, at Ashokan Northern Week, 1980sFond memories of many Ashokan Northern Weeks with you, David, from 1985 to 2019. Remembering your wonderful tune sessions, your great teaching, your incredible calling, your incredible contra dance swinging, your bad jokes, and your overall humor and silliness. Here are some memories from the 1980s and Ashokan.

  • I am writing in regard to the recognition of David Kaynor. I have enclosed a copy of a dance ["Bells of Montague"] I wrote for him in 1989. My wife Debra Schultz and I stayed at his home after a dance I called at Greenfield. At that time, his home was very close to a church in which the bells rang throughout the night. Thus the inspiration for the dance.

  • Thank you David for inspiring and mentoring me as a caller. Ever since the first dance I attended at Guiding Star Grange, I admired not only your great teaching and selection of dances, but also your fiddling/calling combo, your great harmonies and your use of the English language, especially in humorous ways!

  • Here's David with Bob McQuillen and me at a FiddleRama gig at Northwest Folklife Festival.

  • Here is a video clip from June 2015 at Fiddle Tunes: David and Paul Gitlitz playing "Flying Home to Shelley."

  • I’ve known David since the 1970s, but it was at Ashokan Northern Week in the early 80s that I had one of those Ah-ha moments during the daily Swedish jam he led before processing to the dance pavilion.

  • David directing the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra's Winter 2017 concert in Montpelier, VT:

  • Dear David,

    I met you at SAMW camp many years ago when you were my fiddle teacher. I had played violin through high school and a bit in college, but after that I'd only played infrequently for the following 20 years. You encouraged me, and invited me to the sessions at your house which I attended for several years until I started playing Irish style fiddle.

  • Happy Birthday and Congratulations, David!

    We are looking forward to seeing this celebration scrapbook with entries from so many who love you and have been inspired by your music, teaching, openness and community building.

  • Two among many fond memories:

    1) Madison Hall in Morrisville, NY working with you and the VanNorstrand brothers. You did Petronella. You warned the dancers that clapping might confuse the band. Of course they clapped and you kept the band together through all manner of meter changes. Hugely funny!

  • I was working in Europe in June 1984 and found out that David would be in Sweden at the same time, so I arranged to visit him there. It was Midsommar—the longest night of the year—and many festivities took place.

  • My first time at the John C. Campbell Folk School was Dance Musicians Week in 2017. I was in the Indian Cooking class and my husband Greg Miller was busy Blacksmithing. We danced and listened to music every night.

  • David Kaynor in Arizona

    May Madness was a dance weekend started by Prescott's Folk Happens contra community in the early 90's. It flourished for over twenty years drawing dancers from all over the Southwest, California and beyond for a weekend of great live music and hot contra dancing.

  • My appreciation of David Kaynor is deep and broad. Here are a few memories and some observations.

  • David, Rebecca McCallum, and Dave Bartley play for the Amherst contra dance in October 2021. Photo by Mary DeFelice Bartley.David, Rebecca McCallum and Dave played for three dances in New England as The Intracontinentals in October 2018, just before his diagnosis. As always, it was a joy and a privilege to play with David.

  • David Kaynor at Montague May Day, 5 May 2013I seem to have only these two photos from Montague May Days past with David in them, even though his presence has permeated that event over the years, and so many other times in my life.

  • "Striking The Strings" concert, Jacqueline Schwab & Tim Van Egmond with Donna Hebert & David Kaynor, Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield MA 10/25/15David, this concert was one of the many times I’ve enjoyed and been proud playing together with you. You did the sound too!

  • David was the first teacher I met the first time I went to Ashokan Northern Week in the early 1990s. A classically trained cellist, I had no real idea of what this music was about, much less how to participate. From that day forward, I felt that David would always make a little space for me to join the circle, and smile graciously and impishly at my efforts to play along. I treasure all the music that David brought into my life, and do my best to pass along both his inclusiveness and his making of magic harmonies on to my students.

  • I was staff photographer at Ashokan for several years. Here's what I could find of David. Couldn't upload them all at the website, so I created this page.

  • I was so astonished to discover at the Kaynor Thanksgiving (I think it was 1975) that up there (living at my brother, Chapin's house) in Burlington VT you, cousin David, had begun playing fiddle and were playing the same “contra” repertoire that Van and I had been playing down in the Connecticut River Valley!

  • At 12:55am on November 9, 2019, in the room below the stairs at the Westford Regency Hotel I spotted David and friends playing such wonderful music. With his permission I videoed this. It was a magical 45 minutes in the wee hours of the morning.

  • David's enthusiasm for helping people have fun has inspired dancers, dance organizers and musicians for years. His encouragement of everyone to jump in and give it a try made it easy for people to take part, in so many ways.

  • David and me at the wedding of Nancy Spero and Rob Sullivan.Over the last 30+ years, you have been a special presence in my life, in so many ways and places: playing for dances and concerts here in Ithaca and elsewhere; telling scatalogical jokes at Ashokan; grabbing dinner at the Four Seasons in Saratoga Springs on the Friday of the Flurry; letting me and Phil camp in your back yard on our honeymoon tour of New England; hosting me when I came to town for the CDSS annual meeting; and so much more.

  • Hi David! Nora and I have such great remembrances of all your many visits to Ann Arbor. We are sharing a few photos of your visit in January 2019. What a fabulous time that was.

  • As one of the original faculty, and then as a board member, David's generous spirit and inclusive approach is pretty firmly baked into the DNA of Northeast Heritage Music Camp. Most campers can probably point to David as one of the first people to welcome them, gesturing toward an open spot in the informal porch jams he always seemed to be in the middle of as everyone arrived, and inviting them to join in.

  • I wrote this piece for the Maine Fiddle Camp newsletter back in 2019. The story has also been forwarded to Sue Songer for "the book."

    David

    David Kaynor was a special surprise guest at the second August week at Maine Fiddle Camp in 2019. Most folks know that David has ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), an almost always fatal autoimmune disease, the symptoms of which are never the same.

  • A Celebration of Montague May Days Past:

  • Vermont Fiddle Orchestra Spring 2016 ConcertDavid, you've been such a delight to know, admire, learn from, and play with. Thank you for the many, many ways in which you have demonstrated how love for dance, music, and community can come together and create a more joyful, inclusive world. So much love to you, David.

  • David, we love you and we so enjoyed playing with you whenever you came south. Here's a favorite photo of ours from the JC Campbell Folk School in 2018, where you called and played with Over the Moon.

  • Skattungbyn, DalarnaDavid, I'm sending this photo from Dalarna in memory of meeting you at Ransäter and all that followed...from Greenfield to Polka Pants to jamming with young folks at Swannanoa. Sending you Bästa hälsingar! och Grattis!

  • David used to hand draw all the flyers for his 4th, 5th Friday Guiding Star dances. Here's an example of one I kept. The title of my dance "The Calligrapher" is a recognition of this amazing talent that David had!OK, I've been working on this for a while, but when I write a dance it often takes a long time to tweak (years some times). This dance isn't tweaked yet but is based on a dance I saw David call maybe 20 (25?) years ago. The "hook" is a "squeeze balance" (line of four balances in to the middle of the line and out).

  • WB Reid (banjo), David Kaynor (fiddle), & Laurie Andres (accordion)—Eastside Contra Dance (Kirkland, WA)—December 12, 2015Dear David—What joy you have generated on earth! I've known you since my time in New England during the roaring 80s of contra there. I eventually landed in Seattle and started the Eastside Contra Dance in 2010 with Laura Me' Smith and Mark Parker. Always a treat to have you with us at year end to support our small dance which I tried to present as a New England experience. You were the authentic touch!

  • Over the years, Pam and I often played with David at his Friday dance at the Guiding Star Grange. We'd often meet at a Chinese restaurant in Greenfield (I am sorry, I don't remember the name) for dinner before the dance. As these things often go, we'd be late and David would be waiting for us, already having ordered.

  • Appreciation for David K from David M:

  • Such wonderful memories of crossing musical paths with you over the years, David, at workshops, dances, and jam sessions up and down the west coast. And that first meeting in Portland, Ore. back in the 1990s — discovering that you lived in the same small town in Massachusetts as my brother!

  • It is always a pleasure being in David's company. I have sat in on many jams trying to keep up and he is always so welcoming.

  • David, I'm sharing a couple pictures of you from 2006--they're not the best pics, but to me they capture your playful spirit. I think you had joined an "all-women" band onstage and had dressed accordingly, and this memory of you always makes me smile!

  • David & Tom Morley at John C. Campbell Folk School, March 2018I wanted to share this photo, my memory of the last time David and I got to play together. It was March 2018 and David was teaching a week of classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I drove in from Chattanooga to give a guest presentation and David and I got together several times and played tunes together.

  • David playing his waltz, High Clouds with Just Desserts, at the Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music First Saturday Contradance, September 3, 2017:

  • Coming full circle ... Fiddle Orchestra of Western MA, fall of 2017Growing up in Wilbraham, I was fortunate to have Kaynors in my circle of friends...specifically Cindy and Carol. Although we shared Choralyres, theater, and swim team during our years at Minnechaug, I never knew David directly because he was out of high school before we got there ('68-'73).

    David was a presence felt nonetheless!

  • Greetings from Trudy W., Fiddle Orchestra of Western MA bass player:

  • A Bunch of Old Guys

    Several years ago, David got hired to call and bring a band to play at the Montpelier, VT, contra dance on the first Saturday in February at the Capitol City Grange. He "hired" George Wilson (fiddle [maybe a little 5 string banjo]) from NY state, Dave Guertin (guitar) from VT, myself (bass) from Maine, and of course David himself (on fiddle and viola) from MA.

  • David's Greenfield dance, 2nd, 4th, 5th Fridays often fell on Dance Flurry weekend. David, of course, never wanted to cancel the dance, so for many years he hired Pam Weeks and myself to cover the dance for him while he was in Saratoga Springs. We'd drive through Greenfield on the way to the Flurry, play and call the dance, stay over in Montague, then continue to The Flurry on Saturday AM.

  • The Carolina Cat Wranglers in Floyd, VADavid, the Cat Wranglers would be nothing—probably not even exist—without your guidance and inspiration. Thank you so much!

  • Thank you for being such a wonderful friend, caller and musician, mentor. Love you David. I will always remember our great times hanging out in Ithaca, Ashokan and at other dance events.

  • How amazed I was the day I learned that you were THE David Kaynor who was the composer of the Montague Processional! So much has happened since then. Thank you for helping me to believe in myself, for making music a part of my life, and for the gift of having known you. Because of you, I will always have the joy of music and dance.

  • Dear David,

    I am pleased to number myself among the many hundreds of people who can easily conjure your voice in my head.

  • David and Betsy Branch together for a 2010 house concert in Portland, OR.A long car ride to a gig with David, during which he regaled us with the entertaining tale (among many other entertaining tales) of how he came to Swedish folk music many years ago.

  • NHMC Calling Class - 2013

  • David, I've had the pleasure of your musical company in several contexts, but I think playing for services at First Church Somerville will always be my favorite. So I'm sharing some photos from a few of those services with gratitude for all the musical moments I've experienced as a direct or indirect result of knowing you. Thanks for every one of them.

  • I first knew of the Kaynor brothers in the Greenfield area in the mid 70s. I lived in Shelburne Falls and taught in Bernardston, and danced with Dudley in South Amherst until there started to be spinoff dances up in the hills. I particularly remember one the Kaynors led in the Buckland Town Hall, just down the street from my friends the McCuskers (formerly owners of McCuskers Market on Main Street Shelburne Falls).

  • My favorite among many memories of David comes from English & American Week at Pinewoods, 1989. A scheme was hatched on the final day, and by evening everyone was in on it. Director Jim Morrison asked David, who was on staff and had been donning dance skirts all week, to wear trousers on the final night "for the sake of the old-timers among us."

  • Thank you David for all the music and dances, and especially the instruction and encouragement for playing music. Your gift of music widened my world. Much love!

  • In 1994 I moved to New Haven, Connecticut to attend law school. One weekend a month there was no local dance, so I’d drive up I-91 and dance at the Friday night contra dance David called in Greenfield. The first time I did this I arrived to a smallish crowd of mostly men. I was an experienced dancer but knew no one but David.

  • Will be celebrating you at Fiddle Hell! You've always been a huge musical force in my life—starting with the Northfield and Greenfield dance bands, where I met my husband-to-be 35 years ago! Congrats to you on this recognition and much love and thanks.

  • Dear David, I feel so lucky to be mother-in-lawed into your wonderful family. I cherish so many happy memories of being with you and your siblings—what an amazing bunch you are! I'm putting into the scrapbook a short video from a wonderful afternoon of you fiddling with old buddies on the porch of the cottage in Harpswell on August 25, 2013. One of many such great afternoons—I always love your music!

  • David, you have been and continue to be a great mentor to Deborah, Sonny and myself, and an inspiration for all the music and dancing we have done over the years.

  • Thank so much for being part of my company of Musical Mentors and friends. Special memories of Ashokan, Brasstown, and a very special Memorial Day parade in Montague.

  • As a part time student at Springfield College in 1970, I had nowhere to go at Thanksgiving. The Kaynor Clan took me under their wings and I attended their major family gathering (at the Willows? Restaurant). I think that is where, in the midst of all the singing, I saw where David absorbed his sense of harmony. If you listen carefully to his work, barbershop harmony is never far off!

  • David was among my very first introductions to contradancing, somewhere around 1984, in Maine. Bates College in Lewiston had contradances. Cindy Larock organized them, and David was one of the first musicians I heard and met there. We both used to wear those Amish pants and in later years David inherited a couple of pairs from me.

See more photos in the slideshow!

Kate BarnesKate Barnes; photo by Kayla BurnettWe are delighted to invite you to the Lifetime Contribution Award Celebration for Kate Barnes!

Sunday, September 26, 2021
4:00-6:00 p.m. ET
via Zoom
Click here to register for the Zoom event.

Last year, we announced Kate Barnes as the 2020 recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award. The award ceremony we originally planned for September 2020 was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic, but we are delighted to announce the details of the rescheduled event. Although some in-person events will likely have resumed by this point, we have decided to create an online celebration so that we can include as many people as possible, and to make it easy to attend for Kate’s friends, family, and well-wishers from across the continent.

The event will include the award presentation, several group musical contributions, photos, videos, personal reminiscences, tributes and much more.

We will also be inviting participants to record some pieces of music to share at the event. We will notify all registered participants when submissions are open for this.


LCA Celebration program coverView a flipbook of the event program
Download the program as a PDF

Program Schedule

2020 CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award for Kate Barnes
September 26, 2021 – 4 to 6pm

  1. March Medley

    Produced by Charlie Pilzer

  2. Welcome

    Lisa Greenleaf and Gene Murrow (Maestra and Maestro of Ceremony)

  3. Kate Plays Well with Others

    Tributes by David Millstone, Mary Lea, Anne Hooper (with Barbara McOwen, Robert McOwen, and Jud Webb)
    Band Slide Show by Anne Goodwin
    Tributes by Karen Axelrod, Seamus Connolly, and Lisa Greenleaf

  4. Contra Medley

    Produced by Dave Langford and Bill Tomczak

  5. Kate’s Influence Felt Far and Wide

    Video Montage by Nancy Boyd
    Tributes by Jacqueline Schwab, Carol Ormond, George Marshall, Steve Zakon-Anderson, Susan St. Germain, and Richard Powers

  6. Award Presentation

    CDSS Executive Director Katy German and Kate Barnes

  7. Pinewoods Video

    Rachel Bell and Susan Kevra

  8. Kate as a Renaissance Woman

    Participant Quiz by Lisa Greenleaf
    Photo Montage of Instruments Kate Plays compiled by Anne Goodwin
    Tributes by Gene Murrow and Sharon Green
    Interview with Kate by Pat MacPherson
    Tributes by Earl Gaddis, Sam Bartlett, and Max Newman

  9. English Country Dance Medley

    Produced by Daniel Beerbohm

  10. Scrapbook Submissions

    Susan Creighton

  11. Tributes, Thank Yous, and Credits

    Ruth Reiner and Jeanne Morrill

  12. Closing

    Lisa Greenleaf and Gene Murrow


Kate Barnes Biography

September, 2021

Kate Barnes has been playing piano, flute, whistles and guitar (along with other assorted instruments: banjo, harmonica, bass (acoustic and electric), oboe, English horn, sousaphone, mandolin, fiddle and alto saxophone for traditional dancing since 1971.

She’s been invited to most major contra, square, British Isles and vintage dance events throughout the United States, performing for dances and concerts, leading ensemble workshops, and generally acting in a crazy and often undignified manner. Averaging over 250 engagements per year since 1980, she is arguably one of New England’s busiest and most sought-after musicians.

She has played for festivals and tours in Canada, England, Ireland, France, Denmark, Shetland, Scotland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Africa, Peru, Ecuador, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hawaii, Alaska, Egypt and St. Croix.

She has been a member of the BANDS The Latter-Day Lizards, Bare Necessities, Yankee Ingenuity, Les Z Boys, Kestral, Big Bandemonium, Cilantrio, Dark Carnival, Childsplay, BLT, Panel of Experts, Crazy Quilt, The Dactyls, Tulluchgorum, Airplang, Trio Picante, Culchullan, Third String Trio, Trio Con Brio, Foregone Conclusions, The Fitzwilliam Dance Band, The Cathie Ryan Band, The Old Found Country Stay At Homes (not the New Lost Country City Ramblers), Corporal Rockies Mystery, Richard Power’s Vintage Orchestra and has played with countless musicians in pick up bands. She has performed with many traditional greats including Seamus Connolly, Joe Derrane, Cathie Ryan, Chris Norman, Alasdair Fraser, Rodney Miller, Joe Cormier and yes, Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block.

Her RECORDINGS include Sleeping on a Rock and Rainy Night in Montague with the Latter-Day Lizards; Kitchen Junket and Heatin’ Up the Hall with Yankee Ingenuity; Bare Necessities, Take a Dance, Nightcap and 15 CDs in the CDS Boston Centre Dance Series with Bare Necessities; Airplang and Airplang II with Rodney Miller; BLT (Barnes, Lea & Tomczak); Soir et Matin with Kerry Elkin, Yankee Dreams and Moxie with Frank Ferrell; Shape Shifting and Impulse of the Heart with Jeanne Morrill; Cascata de Lagrimas, Between Two Worlds, and Gypsy Wine with Mary Lea; Twelve-Gated City, The Great Waltz, and Childsplay with Childsplay; At Rainbows End (The Corona Sessions) solely with Kate Barnes; Gary Roodman’s Calculated Figures; several CD’s with various musicians; Sous le Ciel de Paris and Al Fresco with Third String Trio; and 2 CDs with the Scottish band Tullochgorum. She has made guest appearances on recordings with Anisa Angarola, Bob Abrams, Bob Dalsemer, Dave Nieman & Beverly Woods, Donna Hebert, Frank Ferrell, Jan Maier, The Keltic Kids, Kim Wallach, Leo Kretzner, Larry Unger, Mary Lea, Matt Glaser, Ruthie Dornfeld, The Boston Christmas Revels, Timothy Abell, “Waltzing for the Grange,” Nat Hewitt, The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society of Boston and many others.

BOOKS: She has done the dance world a great service by compiling three volumes of English Country Dance Tunes which are widely used by English country dance musicians and many others throughout the US and in Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Belgium, and Germany. She has also compiled a book of couple dance music called A Little Couple Dance Musik and has written a tutorial for playing contra dance music called Interview with a Vamper.

Below is a small sampling of concerts, dance festivals, special events and overseas engagements.

CONCERTS: The Ark (MI), The Bread & Roses Heritage Festival (MA), Caffe Lena (NY), Club Passim (MA), The Colonial Inn Concert Series (MA), The Crosscurrents Fold & Classical Concert (MA), El Tremedal Coffeehouse (MA), The Fiddle and Bow Society (NC), Gaelic Roots (Boston College, MA), The Hallockville Folklife Center (NY), The Iron Horse (Northampton, MA), The Irish-American Heritage Society (GA), The Irish Cultural Center (NY), Johnny D’s Uptown (MA), The New Hampshire Highland Games, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors (NY), The Lowell Folk Festival (MA), Massasoit College Concerts (MA), The New England Conservatory Select Series (MA), Music of the Americas Festival (NY), The Pittsburgh Irish Festival (PA), The Provincetown Muse Series (MA), The Smithsonian Institute (DC), The Stonehill College Irish Festival (MA), The University of Vermont Lane Series (VT), The WGBH Acoustic Music Festival (MA), The Wolftrap Folk Masters Series (MD)

DANCE FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS: Alta Sierra Dance Weekend (CA), Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camp (NY), Augusta Folk Heritage Camp (WV), Black Mountain Folk Festival (NC), Boxwood Wooden Flute Week (Nova Scotia, CANADA),
Bay Area Country Dance Society Events (CA), Brandywine Old Time Music Festival (PA), Berea Dance Camp (KY), Buffalo Gap Dance Camp (WV), California Traditional Music Society Summer Solstice Festival (CA), Chesapeake Spring Dance Weekend (MD), Cream of the Crop Dance Series (NY), Commonwealth Vintage Dancers Events (MA), Dancing Bears Events (AL), Down East Folk Festival (ME), Eisteddfod Festival (MA), First Night (Boston, Worcester, Quincy, MA), The Feet Retreat (NC), Flying Cloud Academy Vintage Dance (OH), Folk Arts Center of Boston (MA), Folklore Village Farm (WI), Fox Hollow Folk Festival (NY), Harvest Moon Dance Festival (CA), Gaelic Roots Festival (Boston College, Boston, MA), Hands-Four Spring and Fall Weekend (NH), Hudson Guild Dance Camp (NJ), John C. Campbell Folk School (NC), Lady of the Lake Dance Events (ID), Lavender Country & Folk Dancers (MA), Long Island Traditional Music Association (LITMA) Events (NY), Lost Pines Dance Weekend (TX), Louisville, KY Dance Weekend (KY), The Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contests (Staff, MA), Mariposa Folk Festival (Toronto, Canada), Mendocino Dance Camp (CA), Hay Days (CA), Mohonk Mountain House Dance Weekend (NY), Muskeg Festival (NH), New England Folk Festival (NEFFA, MA), Old Songs Folk Festival & Old Songs Winter Dance Festival (NY), Pigtown Fling (OH), Pinewoods Dance Camp (1976 – 2021, MA), Playford Balls (Boston MA, Providence RI, Pittsburgh PA, Philadelphia PA, New York (NY), Cleveland OH, Nashville TN, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Alaska, Vermont), Port Townsend Fiddle Tunes Festival (WA), Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (MA), Slugs at Sunrise (WA), Spring Dance Romance (NC), Spring Dance Weekend at Circle Lodge (NY), Summer Soiree (NC), Seattle Lake (OR), Tapestry Folk Dance Center (MN), Toronto Dance Weekend (CN), Vernal’s All-Night Equinox (FL) Victoria’s Revenge Dancefest (Cape May, NJ), Vintage Dance Society Events (CN), Wild Weekend (NY), Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp (CO), Ogontz CDSS Family Weeks (NH), Across the Lake Weekend (VT).

OVERSEAS ENGAGEMENTS: Shetland Folk Festival (Shetland Isles -1985,1987), Festival du Maurienne, St. Jean du Maurienne, France (1980), The Tonder Folk & Jazz Festival, Denmark (1986), Tour of Scotland with Tulluchgorum, 1992 & 94, Tour of England with Bare Necessities (6x), on George Marshall trips to Hawaii with Bare Necessities (9x) and St. Croix with Bare Necessities (12x), on tour with Cathie Ryan to Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy & Switzerland, and on Ken McFarland trips to Hawaii, Ecuador, Peru, Egypt, Scotland, England, Greece, Africa, France, Australia and Ireland.

Her MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS include Fair Jenny’s Jig, A Solstice Snow, The Invitation, Mendocino Morning, Middle of Night, Intrigas, Cappricio, Findeborgin, Sleeping on a Rock, March for Warren (for Warren Argo), The Dogs of North Dunans, and countless commissions and other tunes.

  • David, I've had the pleasure of your musical company in several contexts, but I think playing for services at First Church Somerville will always be my favorite. So I'm sharing some photos from a few of those services with gratitude for all the musical moments I've experienced as a direct or indirect result of knowing you. Thanks for every one of them.

  • A Celebration of Montague May Days Past:

  • WB Reid (banjo), David Kaynor (fiddle), & Laurie Andres (accordion)—Eastside Contra Dance (Kirkland, WA)—December 12, 2015Dear David—What joy you have generated on earth! I've known you since my time in New England during the roaring 80s of contra there. I eventually landed in Seattle and started the Eastside Contra Dance in 2010 with Laura Me' Smith and Mark Parker. Always a treat to have you with us at year end to support our small dance which I tried to present as a New England experience. You were the authentic touch!

  • Here is a video clip from June 2015 at Fiddle Tunes: David and Paul Gitlitz playing "Flying Home to Shelley."

  • David playing his waltz, High Clouds with Just Desserts, at the Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music First Saturday Contradance, September 3, 2017:

  • I first encountered David Kaynor at Ashokan Northern Week in 1984, and during the rest of the ‘80s he was the essence of Northern Week for me. The highlight of each day was his leading a procession of musicians to the dining hall before dinner playing a Swedish walking tune. Memorable as well was his contra dance calling while playing the fiddle, seasoned by his inimitable dry sense of humor.

  • The Carolina Cat Wranglers in Floyd, VADavid, the Cat Wranglers would be nothing—probably not even exist—without your guidance and inspiration. Thank you so much!

  • I wrote this piece for the Maine Fiddle Camp newsletter back in 2019. The story has also been forwarded to Sue Songer for "the book."

    David

    David Kaynor was a special surprise guest at the second August week at Maine Fiddle Camp in 2019. Most folks know that David has ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), an almost always fatal autoimmune disease, the symptoms of which are never the same.

  • How amazed I was the day I learned that you were THE David Kaynor who was the composer of the Montague Processional! So much has happened since then. Thank you for helping me to believe in myself, for making music a part of my life, and for the gift of having known you. Because of you, I will always have the joy of music and dance.

  • Dear David, I feel so lucky to be mother-in-lawed into your wonderful family. I cherish so many happy memories of being with you and your siblings—what an amazing bunch you are! I'm putting into the scrapbook a short video from a wonderful afternoon of you fiddling with old buddies on the porch of the cottage in Harpswell on August 25, 2013. One of many such great afternoons—I always love your music!

  • Skattungbyn, DalarnaDavid, I'm sending this photo from Dalarna in memory of meeting you at Ransäter and all that followed...from Greenfield to Polka Pants to jamming with young folks at Swannanoa. Sending you Bästa hälsingar! och Grattis!

  • Thank you David for inspiring and mentoring me as a caller. Ever since the first dance I attended at Guiding Star Grange, I admired not only your great teaching and selection of dances, but also your fiddling/calling combo, your great harmonies and your use of the English language, especially in humorous ways!

  • David and me at the wedding of Nancy Spero and Rob Sullivan.Over the last 30+ years, you have been a special presence in my life, in so many ways and places: playing for dances and concerts here in Ithaca and elsewhere; telling scatalogical jokes at Ashokan; grabbing dinner at the Four Seasons in Saratoga Springs on the Friday of the Flurry; letting me and Phil camp in your back yard on our honeymoon tour of New England; hosting me when I came to town for the CDSS annual meeting; and so much more.

  • Hi David! Nora and I have such great remembrances of all your many visits to Ann Arbor. We are sharing a few photos of your visit in January 2019. What a fabulous time that was.

  • Thank you for being such a wonderful friend, caller and musician, mentor. Love you David. I will always remember our great times hanging out in Ithaca, Ashokan and at other dance events.

  • David & Tom Morley at John C. Campbell Folk School, March 2018I wanted to share this photo, my memory of the last time David and I got to play together. It was March 2018 and David was teaching a week of classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I drove in from Chattanooga to give a guest presentation and David and I got together several times and played tunes together.

  • Vermont Fiddle Orchestra Spring 2016 ConcertDavid, you've been such a delight to know, admire, learn from, and play with. Thank you for the many, many ways in which you have demonstrated how love for dance, music, and community can come together and create a more joyful, inclusive world. So much love to you, David.

  • I was staff photographer at Ashokan for several years. Here's what I could find of David. Couldn't upload them all at the website, so I created this page.

  • I was so astonished to discover at the Kaynor Thanksgiving (I think it was 1975) that up there (living at my brother, Chapin's house) in Burlington VT you, cousin David, had begun playing fiddle and were playing the same “contra” repertoire that Van and I had been playing down in the Connecticut River Valley!

  • As one of the original faculty, and then as a board member, David's generous spirit and inclusive approach is pretty firmly baked into the DNA of Northeast Heritage Music Camp. Most campers can probably point to David as one of the first people to welcome them, gesturing toward an open spot in the informal porch jams he always seemed to be in the middle of as everyone arrived, and inviting them to join in.

  • Appreciation for David K from David M:

  • Thank so much for being part of my company of Musical Mentors and friends. Special memories of Ashokan, Brasstown, and a very special Memorial Day parade in Montague.

  • David and Betsy Branch together for a 2010 house concert in Portland, OR.A long car ride to a gig with David, during which he regaled us with the entertaining tale (among many other entertaining tales) of how he came to Swedish folk music many years ago.

  • Dear David,

    I met you at SAMW camp many years ago when you were my fiddle teacher. I had played violin through high school and a bit in college, but after that I'd only played infrequently for the following 20 years. You encouraged me, and invited me to the sessions at your house which I attended for several years until I started playing Irish style fiddle.

  • As a part time student at Springfield College in 1970, I had nowhere to go at Thanksgiving. The Kaynor Clan took me under their wings and I attended their major family gathering (at the Willows? Restaurant). I think that is where, in the midst of all the singing, I saw where David absorbed his sense of harmony. If you listen carefully to his work, barbershop harmony is never far off!

  • Coming full circle ... Fiddle Orchestra of Western MA, fall of 2017Growing up in Wilbraham, I was fortunate to have Kaynors in my circle of friends...specifically Cindy and Carol. Although we shared Choralyres, theater, and swim team during our years at Minnechaug, I never knew David directly because he was out of high school before we got there ('68-'73).

    David was a presence felt nonetheless!

  • Dear David,

    I am pleased to number myself among the many hundreds of people who can easily conjure your voice in my head.

  • Thank you David for all the music and dances, and especially the instruction and encouragement for playing music. Your gift of music widened my world. Much love!

  • Two among many fond memories:

    1) Madison Hall in Morrisville, NY working with you and the VanNorstrand brothers. You did Petronella. You warned the dancers that clapping might confuse the band. Of course they clapped and you kept the band together through all manner of meter changes. Hugely funny!

  • In 1994 I moved to New Haven, Connecticut to attend law school. One weekend a month there was no local dance, so I’d drive up I-91 and dance at the Friday night contra dance David called in Greenfield. The first time I did this I arrived to a smallish crowd of mostly men. I was an experienced dancer but knew no one but David.

  • David Kaynor at Montague May Day, 5 May 2013I seem to have only these two photos from Montague May Days past with David in them, even though his presence has permeated that event over the years, and so many other times in my life.

  • David was calling a dance at the Guiding Star Grange in Mass, in the early 1990's—and one particular dance had an odd progression, which David described as "spitting dancers out at the top, and spitting dancers out at the bottom." Wit that I thought I was, I called out from the floor: "David, what's with all the spitting? It will get the floor wet!"

  • I was working in Europe in June 1984 and found out that David would be in Sweden at the same time, so I arranged to visit him there. It was Midsommar—the longest night of the year—and many festivities took place.

  • David Kaynor in Arizona

    May Madness was a dance weekend started by Prescott's Folk Happens contra community in the early 90's. It flourished for over twenty years drawing dancers from all over the Southwest, California and beyond for a weekend of great live music and hot contra dancing.

  • Happy Birthday and Congratulations, David!

    We are looking forward to seeing this celebration scrapbook with entries from so many who love you and have been inspired by your music, teaching, openness and community building.

  • David was among my very first introductions to contradancing, somewhere around 1984, in Maine. Bates College in Lewiston had contradances. Cindy Larock organized them, and David was one of the first musicians I heard and met there. We both used to wear those Amish pants and in later years David inherited a couple of pairs from me.

  • At 12:55am on November 9, 2019, in the room below the stairs at the Westford Regency Hotel I spotted David and friends playing such wonderful music. With his permission I videoed this. It was a magical 45 minutes in the wee hours of the morning.

  • Over the years, Pam and I often played with David at his Friday dance at the Guiding Star Grange. We'd often meet at a Chinese restaurant in Greenfield (I am sorry, I don't remember the name) for dinner before the dance. As these things often go, we'd be late and David would be waiting for us, already having ordered.

  • My favorite among many memories of David comes from English & American Week at Pinewoods, 1989. A scheme was hatched on the final day, and by evening everyone was in on it. Director Jim Morrison asked David, who was on staff and had been donning dance skirts all week, to wear trousers on the final night "for the sake of the old-timers among us."

  • Such wonderful memories of crossing musical paths with you over the years, David, at workshops, dances, and jam sessions up and down the west coast. And that first meeting in Portland, Ore. back in the 1990s — discovering that you lived in the same small town in Massachusetts as my brother!

  • David's Greenfield dance, 2nd, 4th, 5th Fridays often fell on Dance Flurry weekend. David, of course, never wanted to cancel the dance, so for many years he hired Pam Weeks and myself to cover the dance for him while he was in Saratoga Springs. We'd drive through Greenfield on the way to the Flurry, play and call the dance, stay over in Montague, then continue to The Flurry on Saturday AM.

  • David was the first teacher I met the first time I went to Ashokan Northern Week in the early 1990s. A classically trained cellist, I had no real idea of what this music was about, much less how to participate. From that day forward, I felt that David would always make a little space for me to join the circle, and smile graciously and impishly at my efforts to play along. I treasure all the music that David brought into my life, and do my best to pass along both his inclusiveness and his making of magic harmonies on to my students.

  • I first knew of the Kaynor brothers in the Greenfield area in the mid 70s. I lived in Shelburne Falls and taught in Bernardston, and danced with Dudley in South Amherst until there started to be spinoff dances up in the hills. I particularly remember one the Kaynors led in the Buckland Town Hall, just down the street from my friends the McCuskers (formerly owners of McCuskers Market on Main Street Shelburne Falls).

  • Will be celebrating you at Fiddle Hell! You've always been a huge musical force in my life—starting with the Northfield and Greenfield dance bands, where I met my husband-to-be 35 years ago! Congrats to you on this recognition and much love and thanks.

  • David used to hand draw all the flyers for his 4th, 5th Friday Guiding Star dances. Here's an example of one I kept. The title of my dance "The Calligrapher" is a recognition of this amazing talent that David had!OK, I've been working on this for a while, but when I write a dance it often takes a long time to tweak (years some times). This dance isn't tweaked yet but is based on a dance I saw David call maybe 20 (25?) years ago. The "hook" is a "squeeze balance" (line of four balances in to the middle of the line and out).

  • NHMC Calling Class - 2013

  • I’ve known David since the 1970s, but it was at Ashokan Northern Week in the early 80s that I had one of those Ah-ha moments during the daily Swedish jam he led before processing to the dance pavilion.

  • David, Rebecca McCallum, and Dave Bartley play for the Amherst contra dance in October 2021. Photo by Mary DeFelice Bartley.David, Rebecca McCallum and Dave played for three dances in New England as The Intracontinentals in October 2018, just before his diagnosis. As always, it was a joy and a privilege to play with David.

  • My first time at the John C. Campbell Folk School was Dance Musicians Week in 2017. I was in the Indian Cooking class and my husband Greg Miller was busy Blacksmithing. We danced and listened to music every night.

  • Here's David with Bob McQuillen and me at a FiddleRama gig at Northwest Folklife Festival.

  • David directing the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra's Winter 2017 concert in Montpelier, VT:

  • A Bunch of Old Guys

    Several years ago, David got hired to call and bring a band to play at the Montpelier, VT, contra dance on the first Saturday in February at the Capitol City Grange. He "hired" George Wilson (fiddle [maybe a little 5 string banjo]) from NY state, Dave Guertin (guitar) from VT, myself (bass) from Maine, and of course David himself (on fiddle and viola) from MA.

  • "Striking The Strings" concert, Jacqueline Schwab & Tim Van Egmond with Donna Hebert & David Kaynor, Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield MA 10/25/15David, this concert was one of the many times I’ve enjoyed and been proud playing together with you. You did the sound too!

  • Greetings from Trudy W., Fiddle Orchestra of Western MA bass player:

  • David, the jammer, at Ashokan Northern Week, 1980sFond memories of many Ashokan Northern Weeks with you, David, from 1985 to 2019. Remembering your wonderful tune sessions, your great teaching, your incredible calling, your incredible contra dance swinging, your bad jokes, and your overall humor and silliness. Here are some memories from the 1980s and Ashokan.

  • David, I'm sharing a couple pictures of you from 2006--they're not the best pics, but to me they capture your playful spirit. I think you had joined an "all-women" band onstage and had dressed accordingly, and this memory of you always makes me smile!

  • David, you have been and continue to be a great mentor to Deborah, Sonny and myself, and an inspiration for all the music and dancing we have done over the years.

  • My appreciation of David Kaynor is deep and broad. Here are a few memories and some observations.

  • It is always a pleasure being in David's company. I have sat in on many jams trying to keep up and he is always so welcoming.

  • David, we love you and we so enjoyed playing with you whenever you came south. Here's a favorite photo of ours from the JC Campbell Folk School in 2018, where you called and played with Over the Moon.

  • I am writing in regard to the recognition of David Kaynor. I have enclosed a copy of a dance ["Bells of Montague"] I wrote for him in 1989. My wife Debra Schultz and I stayed at his home after a dance I called at Greenfield. At that time, his home was very close to a church in which the bells rang throughout the night. Thus the inspiration for the dance.

  • David's enthusiasm for helping people have fun has inspired dancers, dance organizers and musicians for years. His encouragement of everyone to jump in and give it a try made it easy for people to take part, in so many ways.

Submit your own memento

Read even more memories and messages from the April 17 celebration.

A Celebration of David KaynorDavid Kaynor of Montague, MA is the 2021 CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award recipient, in recognition of his enormous contributions as a dance community organizer, musician, caller, and mentor to generations. We held a Celebration online on David's birthday, Saturday, April 17, 2021. 

David Allen Kaynor passed away on June 1, 2021. We're so grateful for everything he brought to our world, and for the opportunity we had to honor him with this award.

View the video of the Celebration: 

Click here to read the chat log from the Celebration. 


David Kaynor at Northwest FolklifeDavid Kaynor at Northwest Folklife. Photo by Doug Plummer.

David's Acceptance Remarks

I'm delighted and humbled to receive the Lifetime Contribution Award.

I think about the colossal contributions of past recipients, and I ask myself, Why me? Although I enjoyed and believed in what I was doing as a dance caller, fiddle teacher, session host, musician, and graphic artist, I considered myself irrelevant to the lofty circles and activities of the Country Dance and Song Society.

A low point in my musical life came in the spring of 1981, when the president of NEFFA told me that, in their opinion, what we ... my cousins, uncle, other Fourgone Conclusions band mates, and I ... were doing had nothing to do with New England contra dancing.

My response to numerous real or perceived organizational snubs was to submerge myself in the pleasures of the moment in my core interests and pursuits: Long distance running, cross country skiing, dancing, calling dances, teaching basic Swedish dances, teaching basic fiddling, and playing music. I also became something of a calligrapher and graphic artist.

Eventually, I found a niche as a teacher and caller. This led to countless gigs in which I enjoyed a happy integration of my artistic, spiritual, and political ideals and having to earn enough money to get by.

All these facets of my life came together when I became Music Director of the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra and the Fiddle Orchestra of Western Massachusetts. These groups welcomed all musicians of all skill and experience levels. My tasks included including all. Our practices blended learning and arranging tunes with in-the-moment adventure and fun. I wrote out many harmonies while on AMTRAK'S Vermonter, where the conductors knew me by name and the scenery was sweetly familiar.

I'm grateful to Jay Ungar and Molly Mason at Ashokan, Bob Dalsemer and Annie Fain Liden Barallon at the John C. Campbell Folk School, the Reiner family of Fiddle Hell, Paul Rosenberg and Peter Davis at the Dance Flurry, my colleagues at Northeast Heritage Music Camp, Mike Reddig in Flagstaff, Arizona, Fred Karsch in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sue Songer and Betsy Branch in Portland and Mark Lewis and Carla Arnold in La Grand, Oregon, Sherry Nevins and Tom and Amy Wimmer in Seattle, Lindon Toney in Olympia, Washington, and numerous other organizers and bandmates in the Pacific Northwest. These folks gave me opportunities to share my developing skills and deep love of music and dancing, not just once, but over and over.

Thanks to all these people, I was able to cultivate relationships with and within their communities. This, in turn, enabled me to not just share tons of fun, but also share experiences of growth and development in many ways. Our skills and repertoire evolved and so did our senses of self, possibility, and purpose.

We didn't just perform music and dance. We SHARED it. This became a fundamental personal philosophy: There are times and places for performing, but sharing can happen so much more often, and it's good for us all. Maybe it's even good for the world.

I've struggled to matter for as long as I can remember. This showed itself in a number of ways, including sports and music and dance. I was always dogged by the weight of self doubt. This finally dissipated in the final years of my career, thanks to all of the above who provided opportunities for us to explore mattering together.


Program Schedule

Part I—Introductions (~15 minutes)

  1. Montague Processional (3 mins) Video
  2. Introductory words from co-hosts Lissa Schneckenburger and Andy Davis Live
  3. Welcome from CDSS Board President Gaye Fifer Live
  4. Words from David, Read by Becky Hollingsworth Live

Part II—Lifetime Contributions (45-60 minutes)

  1. Sustainers Video
  2. Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Live
  3. Fiddle Hell Video
  4. Stuart Kenney Video
  5. Peter Siegel Live
  6. Footage from Guiding Star Grange
  7. George Wilson Live
  8. Northwest Interviews (by Doug Plummer) Video
  9. Sue Songer Live
  10. Bob Dalsemer with Katie and Corie Pressley (a.k.a. The Pressley Girls) Video
  11. Fred Karsch and Katie Pressley Live
  12. Vermont Fiddle Orchestra Video
  13. Fiddle Orchestra of Western Massachusetts—Becky Shannon (FOWM) Live
  14. Van Kaynor and Cammy Kaynor
  15. Chris Wise (Montague Common Hall) Live

Part III—Finale (10-15 minutes)

  1. Award Presentation—Gaye Fifer Live
  2. Closing and thanks—Lissa Schneckenburger and Andy Davis Live
  3. High Clouds Video

Extra Conversation / Breakout Rooms

  • Participants who wish to stay and chat will have the chance to go into breakout rooms.

Community Submissions

You can view the digital scrapbook here, or submit your own mementos to be included!

Please email KaynorLCA@cdss.org if you have any questions.

Kate BarnesKate Barnes; photo by Kayla BurnettThe Country Dance and Song Society is pleased to announce that Kate Barnes of Greenfield, MA, is the 2020 recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award. Kate was selected in recognition of many years of performance and teaching at CDSS programs, the international importance of her publications, her generosity of spirit when running music workshops, and her contributions to current and future communities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kate's award celebration was postponed. We will celebrate online on Sunday, September 26, 2021, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET via Zoom. Click here to register, or read the full details.

Tell us what Kate means to you!

Has Kate influenced you or your dance community in some way that you’d be like to share with us? Can you describe it in a selfie video of 15-20 seconds? We are putting together a montage of videos to share at the award celebration and would love to hear from you.

To participate, please record a short video on your phone and email the file to Nancy Boyd. Or fill out this form to add photos or stories to Kate's online scrapbook.


“As a contra dance piano player, Kate pioneered an improvisatory style that brings joy to dancers, and influences musicians directly and through countless workshops. Her decades-long work with Bare Necessities created fresh interpretations of English country dance music to lift our feet, and the three volumes of the Barnes books are the standard reference collections of tunes used by musicians throughout the dance community.”

—David Millstone, Lebanon, NH (caller, former CDSS president)

“Kate has contributed consistently to the scene for more decades than I know. She’s inspired dancers with her music —exquisitely played, full of forward motion and joyful variety, sensitive to the period, tune type and occasion, and in tight teamwork with other musicians. She’s a reason many people like English dancing.”

—Bruce Hamilton, Menlo Park, CA (caller, former CDSS president)

“I’ve had the great fortune to travel the US, Canada and even as far as Denmark with The Latter Day Lizards. Everywhere we go Kate is universally known and respected and admired for her musicianship, warmth and quick-witted humor. I can’t think of a better recipient for next year’s CDSS Lifetime Contribution award!”

—Dave Langford, Arlington, MA (musician, bandmate)

“Since I first heard and started playing with her in the 1970’s, her passionate, creative, traditionally spirited-but-not-stifled playing and composing have been a bottomless wellspring. Kate’s ink-stained (and later electronic) publishing labors of love have saved many musicians from hauling libraries around in order to play for a dances and have encouraged many to learn the underappreciated craft of playing for dancing. I’m grateful for Kate’s strong, courageous commitment to self-expression, and her deep commitment to the much-needed-in-today’s-world, affirming values of our dance community.”

—Jaqueline Schwab, Cambridge, MA (musician, bandmate)

sue songer directing portland megabandWhen Sue Songer started learning contra dance tunes in 1989, she had no idea of the forces she would set in motion in Portland – and beyond. She only knew that she found it personally useful to transcribe tunes that she had learned in order to keep them in her head. Before long, others started asking her for her transcriptions. As word spread of her growing collection of tunes, she was approached frequently by strangers asking for copies of her collection. From this, the Portland Collection music products were born, with Clyde Curley as her collaborator.  The three books and four CDs have become staple resources for contra dance musicians around the world. Sue never would have imagined in 1989 that her transcriptions would travel as far as Australia!

In 1996, Sue – inspired by the large contra dance band Rum and Onions – decided to try leading a large contra dance band in Portland. She thought that maybe it would last a year or two.  25 people signed up the first year, and they liked it so much they asked to do it again.  The Portland Megaband now has about 75 members, a wide variety of levels and instrumentation, and plays for an annual dance for 500 dancers. The dance raises money for a scholarship fund for community members to continue their music and dance education. Sue's positive leadership has made the Megaband a community favorite. Furthermore, the Megaband dance in March gave rise to a 5-day long event known as the Cascade Promenade, capped by an all-day contra dance featuring regional bands and callers on the Sunday after the Megaband dance. People come from far and wide for this annual celebration of music and dance---all sparked by Sue's idea in 1996.

Sue is also active as a dance musician and teacher. She currently plays with two contra dance bands, Joyride and The Stage Crew, plus she collaborates with many other musicians for contra and English dances. She has led large contra dance bands in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Coos Bay, Oregon, and was a teacher and musician in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for CDSS's Centennial Tour. She has tutored piano numerous times at the American Festival of Fiddle Tunes, and she teaches every July for Contra Dance Musicians Week at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.  

Sue and clyde curley

Furthermore, Sue has been active on boards and committees of many organizations, including Northwest Folklife Festival, Portland Country Dance Community, CDSS, and Northwest Passage Dance Weekend.  

Sue approaches all of her work with dedication, passion and – most of all – kindness. She is always supportive of musicians, no matter what their playing ability is. She has inspired so many, more than she could ever imagine. She graciously thanks the members of the Megaband every year for their hard work and dedication, and tells them how proud she is of them. In return, everyone who has worked with Sue is proud of her achievements and appreciative of her invaluable contributions to music and dance.

bill alkire 1The Country Dance and Song Society is pleased to announce that Bill Alkire of Wooster, Ohio is the 2018 recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award. Bill has positively impacted the world of American traditional dance for over 70 years as a dance leader, organizer, choreographer, and mentor.

On Sunday, February 25, 2018 there will be a celebration in honor of Bill’s award. This open-to-the-public occasion will be held in Wooster at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne County. The award presentation will begin at 2:00 pm followed by a dance until 5 pm with invited callers leading contras, squares, mixers, and English country dancing for all. 

 

The following letter was written by Susan English who is organizing Bill’s award celebration. You can learn more about this event at www.woosterdance.com/lifetime-award and RSVP by contacting Susan at senglish@umich.edu.​ Read on to learn more about Bill’s remarkable contributions to traditional dance throughout his life. 

At age 15, Bill was leading play party dances for his Methodist Youth Fellowship in central Ohio. When they danced in the barn of Lynn Rorbaugh, Bill learned more about dance leadership. He called his first public square dances while still in high school and worked his way through Ohio State University by teaching dance throughout the Columbus area. He served on the committee of the Ohio Folk Festival for several years, serving as General Chairman in 1950, when over 3,000 people participated.

bill alkire calling bwAttending Berea Christmas Dance School for the first time in 1948, Bill discovered new dance forms, including contra dance, English country dance, and Appalachian clogging, which he subsequently introduced to dance communities across Northeast Ohio and beyond. Bill returned to Berea Christmas Dance School multiple years on staff, teaching traditional squares, Appalachian clogging, beginning English, and dance leadership.

After a 1979 visit to Black Mountain, North Carolina, he founded the Cedar Valley Cloggers of Wooster, Ohio, a black-shoe traditional performance group that continues today. As artistic director, Bill adapted a broad range of traditional figure dances to clogging performances.

Bill has served on staff at Pinewoods, Mendocino, Dancing Bears of Alaska, Michigan Dance Heritage, Kentucky Summer Dance School, Cumberland Lakes, and, in 1994, the Silkeborg Festival in Denmark. From Kentucky Summer Dance School he received an appreciation award for his service from 1982-1986. Bill was the American dance leader for many years at Oglebay and Maine Folk Dance Camps, Folklore Village, and at various Recreation Leaders’ Labs--Great Lakes, Chatco, Black Hills, Northland, Laurel Highlands, and Buckeye. For his lifetime service to Buckeye Leadership Workshop, he received an Emeritus Award in 1998.

bill alkire 2At home in Wooster, Ohio, Bill prepared a generation of youth for square dance and square dance calling competitions at the Ohio State Fair. He called contra dances starting in the 1950s, and his monthly old-time square dance ran continuously for 50 years. After 2000, Bill co-founded the intergenerational program at Terpsichore’s Holiday and performed “Minuet to Macarena,” a revue of couple dance 1800 to present, from the Wheatland Music Festival to the Atlanta Waltz Society.

As a former mental health professional, Bill sees cooperative group dance as a key to healthy relationships and vibrant communities. Over the years, aspiring dance leaders have turned to him not only for his expertise but also for his philosophy of dance. Though currently not in good health at near 90 years old, he was still passing it on to the next generation well into his 80s.

Postscript: Sadly, Bill passed away on September 12th. He was a true treasure and will be missed by all whose lives he touched.

Note: Photos on this page courtesy of Susan English.

sandy bradley 2009 photo by carol nedler croppedPhoto by Carol Nedler

Sandy Bradley of Raymond, WA, was the 2017 recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award.

Sandy exemplifies the power of inclusion and collaboration in developing and nurturing dance communities and high-quality musical talent. She, along with stellar old time musicians, brought about Seattle's trad square dance revival, and she developed a welcoming, supportive and appreciative dance culture that still characterizes the Northwest scene today. A superb caller of squares and a superb old time musician, she greatly influenced many callers across the U.S. through her tours, teaching at camps, and her weekly live radio program. 

She was honored at the Award celebration on Saturday, September 16, 2017 in Seattle, WA.

Read more about Sandy in the Summer issue of the CDSS News. And check out http://stickerville.org/potluck/, the web home for the recording, graphics, MP3s, liner, notes and all the calls for Sandy's calling recording: Potluck and Dance Tonite. Also of interest is an interview with Sandy conducted by Bob Dalsemer at the 2009 Dare to Be Square event in Seattle. 
 

jeffwarner 72dpi(PHOTO BY RALPH MORANG)The Country Dance and Song Society presented the 2016 CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award to Jeff Warner of Portsmouth, NH. Jeff is one of the nation's foremost performers and interpreters of traditional music and an advocate for bringing folk music to people of all ages, through his deep knowledge and love of American and English folk songs. His warmth and encouragement of singers, both experienced and new, young and old, has enriched many lives.

Jeff grew up in New York City, listening to the songs and stories of his father, Frank Warner, and the traditional singers his parents met during folksong collecting trips through rural America. When traveling with his parents, he listened while they recorded the locals who remembered the old songs of their region and community. (These recordings are preserved in the Library of Congress.)

In the 1960s, after receiving a BA in English at Duke University, and after a two-year stint in the Navy, Jeff was editor-in-training at Doubleday Bookclubs, heading, it seemed, toward a literary career until a friend asked if he would help run a nonprofit music school, the Guitar Workshop, in Roslyn, Long Island. He stayed with the school for nine years, working as administrator, guitar teacher, grant writer, and community program coordinator, and learning music theory and arrangement by teaching. His position also helped put him in touch with the significant people involved in the post-WW II folk revival movement that was embraced by both the commercial and academic worlds. In the '70s, he left to carve out a career for himself in historical music. Because of the US Bicentennial there was an increased demand for American songs in schools and Jeff filled that need with outreach programs into the schools.

He says that he is not a traditional singer in the academic sense-someone who has acquired the traditions either through ethnicity or family ties-but refers to himself as a singer of traditional songs taking an historical approach to the music.

"I teach American history and culture through traditional song and" (borrowing a phrase from historian David McCullough) "making history as interesting as it really was." For Jeff, old songs are like archaeological objects which teach about history — "they're living historical artifacts that serve as evidence about the people who used them and the times they lived in."

In 1997, he moved to Portsmouth and began performing in New Hampshire schools as a Roster Artist through the State Arts Council. He has recorded for Flying Fish/Rounder, WildGoose (UK), and other labels. His first solo compact disc, recorded in 2005, is Jolly Tinker on Gumstump Records. His 1995 recording (with Jeff Davis), Two Little Boys, received a Parents' Choice Award. He is the editor of his mother's book, Traditional American Folksongs from the Frank and Anne Warner Collection (Syracuse University Press, 1984), and producer of the CD set Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still: The Warner Collection (Appleseed Recordings, 2000), which is comprised of his parents' field recordings. He appears on the NH State Arts Council's 2003 compact disc Songs of the Seasons, for which he also co-wrote the liner notes.

From 1979 to 1993, Jeff toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution. He continues to travel extensively in the US, Canada, and the UK, performing at museums and historical societies, folk clubs and folk festivals. In addition to singing and storytelling, he plays concertina, banjo, guitar, and several "pocket" instruments, including bones, spoons, and the jig doll/limberjack.

He is past president of the Country Dance and Song Society, and a past officer and founding member of the North American Folk Alliance (now Folk Alliance International). He has been an artist for Virginia and Ohio Arts Councils, is a speaker for New Hampshire Humanities, and is a producer of the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival. In 2007, he was named a NH State Arts Council Fellow.

Listen to him sing Baldheaded End of the Broom from Jolly Tinker.

The award was presented in Ashland, OR, on Saturday, October 22, 2016. You'll find details here.

We're thrilled to honor the many accomplishments of Jeff Warner. 

     
Back to Top