”Hail! Hail! The First of May-o!
For it is the first summer’s day-o!
Cast your cares and fears away,
Drink to the old ’oss on the First of May!”
Join us for a family-friendly hour of singing, dancing, and merriment!
Celebrate May with CDSS! Join us as we welcome the season with singing, dancing and activities for the whole family at a gathering hosted by Chloe and Rick Mohr with Sarah Gowan, Bill Quern, and Bob Walser.
The celebration will be participatory and active!
- Gather your household, clear some space where you can move around near a screen, and join in.
- Plan a festive outfit for everyone in your household (including your pets) and show it off during our costume parade.
- Attention morris dancers: we invite you to join in a continent-wide online rendition of Nutting Girl Fieldtown. For a refresher or to learn the dance see this tutorial video from the Morris Federation in England
Check out these videos for a sneak peek at some of the activities:
Learn a morris dance with Bob Walser!
Sing a May Day song with the Mohr Family!
Get ready for a May Day party by making a festive paper hat! Sarah Gowan and Bill Quern will show you how.
The Mohr Family
Rick, Chloe, & Evan Mohr have immersed themselves in dance, music, and song for most of their lives. They coordinate the Mt. Airy Barn Dance, which just wrapped up a successful online season of songs, dances, crafts, and games. Rick is known as a contra caller/choreographer, musician/singer, and Morris/rapper leader; Chloe as a dance pianist, barn dance caller, singer, and clogger; and Evan as a percussionist, domino artist, and budding caller/choreographer. Together they play concerts and dances as the Mohr Family Band, on fiddle, melodeon, cajón, piano, guitar and voices. They are enthused to host this May Day event, bringing together a continent-wide group (who don’t even need to wake up before dawn!)
Musician, scholar and educator Bob Walser’s musical career spans decades and continents. In the early 1980s he made his living as a shantyman (!) at Mystic Seaport, one of the largest maritime museums in the US. Since then he has presented Folklore In Action folk music and dance programs as an artist-in-residence in schools across the USA, and performed as a singer, dance leader and dance musician from Maine to California and overseas. As a scholar, Bob earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies. His research in Folk Music and Music Education has been published in the Folk Song Journal and Folk Life (UK) and publications by World Music Press. In addition, he has three CDs for The Old and New Tradition label to his credit as well as guest appearances on recordings in the US, France and England.
Sarah Gowan started her career as a professional scenic artist and loves applying her background in the theater arts to her passion for traditional music, dance, arts, and crafts. She is on staff at Ashokan Family Week teaching crafts, folk toys, crankies, music and dance. In addition to performing with her husband Bill Quern as Box and String, she plays guitar and English concertina with Coracree, Live Wire, the Big Phat American K-Lee Band, Boxwood, and the French dance music group Cabriole. She has performed with FiddleKicks Cloggers since 2003 and can be seen on MindTV’s “World of Dance” featuring Fiddlekicks. She has also performed with the Philadelphia based Vintage dance group, Mixed Pickles.
Sarah and Bill are tune composers and recently released a tune book of their original tunes called “Dancing Between the Notes”. They were happy to provide genre assistance to the recent publication “Rise Again” by Peter Blood and Annie Patterson. Sarah also compiled and edited “Tuneadelphia” a tunebook for the Philadelphia community band SPUDS, as well as developing and maintaining the SPUDS online tune repository, which is used by dance musicians all over the world.
Bill Quern is a multi-instrumentalists and has been playing for Contra and Square dances, English Country Dances , Balfolk dances and concerts with several bands for 25 years. He is a co-coordinator of Philadelphia’s open contra dance band SPUDS. He and his wife, Sarah Gowan [a.k.a Box and String] have been on staff at the Ashokan Family Music and Dance camp for 3 years. He is the foreman of Kingsessing Morris Dancers [15 times winner of the Philadelphia Mummers Parade], as well as a teacher of Morris, Balfolk and Scandinavian dance. He has a BFA from Mass College of Art.
Ask him to show you some knot-tying from his Coast Guard days.