Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I look forward to a time when students' experience of the fiddling community can start here, at the community center, and extend as far out geographically as there are fiddlers and dances.
We were lucky enough to have some experienced photographers doing their thing yesterday, so in a few days we'll be able to share what they captured.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Rachel has been accepted into the 2010 Nonprofit Emerging Leaders Mentor Program at the Rhode Island Foundation...
I'll be working closely with a mentor in the Rhode Island nonprofit sector as well as meeting regularly with a peer group of mentees and attending workshops. I'm really excited about this opportunity, both personally, and for the ways Fiddle & Dance Project and Community MusicWorks may both benefit from what I learn.
Friday, December 11, 2009
The fiddling & dance celebration begins with student performances of Cluck Old Hen, Bile dem Cabbage Down, Cripple Creek & more...then it'll be time for audience participation.
Around 3:45, the event will evolve into a Community Dance and around 4:30, conclude with a potluck! Hope you can join us.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
His violin making, repairing, selling & renting shop is McCarten Violins, on the first floor of Hope Artiste Village, just down the road from where our fiddle lessons take place in Pawtucket! His shop is right by where the Wintertime Farmer's Market takes place. Dennis has donated fiddles that have come his way as well as the labor needed to fix them up and make the violins playable for our students.
This is Emily:
She is the Rental Workshop Manager at Johnson String Instrument (which has shops in Newton & Waltham, MA). Johnson String is where my own full-sized violin came from back in 1996. I was lucky enough to meet Emily through Community MusicWorks -- which has been a recipient of Johnson String donations for a number of years.
Thank you to Dennis & McCarten Violins and thank you to Emily & Johnson String Instrument for helping to make the start of the Fiddle & Dance Project possible.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Institute for Musicianship and Public Service this weekend!
We're sharing ideas, successes, & challenges in doing the work that we do. Institute participants include leaders at:
Boston Public Quartet
We'll be talking together about many aspects of our work, but also doing playing & performing together as well as what's most important: eating together!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
It was a warm, welcoming environment for first-timers. We had 5 squares going at one point (that's 40 dancers), plus lots of smiling people looking on from the side. Less than 10 of the people there had ever attended a contra dance before. Families had heard about the dance through the Fiddle & Dance Project, the Carriage House and Friday Night Live, Community MusicWorks, and the Rehoboth Jammers.
Andy Davis - who has literally written the books on leading dances like this (along with the Amidons & Mary Cay Brass as a part of New England Dancing Masters) - led us through an afternoon which got us moving in circles, spirals, squares, sicillian circles, and scattered about the room during "Sasha":
Can't wait 'till we can do it again!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This week, Ashley brought this colorful, completely filled in practice chart to her lesson -- congrats on a job well done!!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Yes, tonight we had our first Dance event of the Fiddle & Dance Project!
Thank you to Ronzio's & Olly's of Pawtucket for the pizzas.
Kati & Chris were on the tunes and Rachel & Carole led the dances.
Here we are with a broom (how appropriate for Halloween) dancing the "Paddle dance" taught by Carole.
Everyone was tired out but smiling afterwards -- looking forward to the big dance on November 8th!
Monday, October 26, 2009
"If things never descend into chaos while you're teaching kids to dance, then you're not taking enough risks!"
Follow that with the magic of Common Fence in Tiverton, RI. Common Fence is organizing free drumming workshops for youth in Newport County. Kinobe (pronounced Chee-noh-bay) was a special presenter and performed an amazing concert Saturday night with his band, Soul Beat Africa, traveling from Uganda.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I'm up early driving from Pawtucket, RI to Waltham, MA (but not early enough to avoid all traffic) to meet Emily at Johnson Strings. I'm picking up two 3/4 violin donations and lots of bows -- enough to outfit all of the violins coming our way from local maker, Dennis McCarten.
Then it's off to the Community MusicWorks office (the incubator - it's always warm in there), where Jesse shows me the tool I'll use to put the chin rests onto the two 3/4 instruments. I make copies of tickets for the upcoming dance, cut them up with the paper cutter, and I'm in the car again...
To Baldwin Elementary just a mile from where I teach in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Pawtucket, which is where I meet Sarah, their music teacher. She's agreed to share Fiddle & Dance sign-up information with her students and is excited about the tickets to the dance.
Speaking of the dance, my next stop is the Carriage House, our hosts! I share more of the tickets with Dorothy, and Aaron helps orient me to the sound system.
Lunch time! Not so coincidentally, I'm close enough to stop in at the Sandwich Hut and have a delicious blondie for dessert.
After lunch, there's enough time to rosin up those bows, put them in their cases, and get ready for today's fiddle lessons later in the afternoon!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
You're invited to the Fiddle & Dance Project's first community dance:
Sunday, November 8th, 3-5 PM
at the Carriage House, 9 Duncan Ave., off N. Main St in Providence across from Action Auto Parts.
Andy Davis will be calling, traveling all the way from Burlington, VT to be here! This dance is especially suited to folks at any age who have never tried contra dancing before.
Musicians include Michelle Kaminsky, Sakiko Mori, myself, and more! Hope to see you there.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Last night I went to Rehoboth, MA to check out what was an incredible gathering of new dancers. The Youth Mandolin Orchestra of the North Rhine had flown in from Germany the night before and was visiting the Providence Mandolin Orchestra -- both those groups visited the Rehoboth Jammers: a group of musicians, callers and dancers who get together to play music every week and dance to it every month. This was their largest gathering that I know of. The best part was how willing all of these new dancers were to try something as silly as the Ox dance. Bob leads in a fun and straight-forward way -- there's no reason not to follow him!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Families enrolled live in Pawtucket, Central Falls & North Providence and our students range in age from 7 to 16. Everyone has a different reason for being there, but all have one thing in common: can't wait to hold the real fiddles!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
It was a whirlwind of movement to tunes new and old (the "techno contra" began at 1 am), and a good time to sit and talk with people about who is dancing to and playing this music...and why?
Contra dancing seems to be moving healthily toward a strong, inter-generational future (with weekends like this, who could deny that?). In other ways, contra dance, while already a mish-mosh of many traditions, has had trouble sharing the dance and music with people diverse in race and class -- not just in age.
Yes, I believe that these traditions are precious in and of themselves (as beautiful, historic music & movements), but More Importantly, I believe that these traditions are precious because of what they do for us as people, as groups, as communities. Contra dance visibly brings people together: to move together, make eye contact, smile at each other, trust one another.
This stuff is worth making accessible. It's worth sharing.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Today there were two sign-up events for the Fiddle & Dance Project: one in Central Falls at the Back-to-school celebration and one in the Pawtucket community garden space on Barton & Nickerson Streets. Here we are dancing the Foula Reel to the live tunes of Kati and Chris on fiddle and guitar. Thanks all for a great afternoon!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Here’s What the Fiddle & Dance Project is about:
-empowering kids, parents, grandparents as learners, teachers & performers
-cultivating leadership among youth and adults in a diverse, under-served community
-strengthening ties within and across peer groups in the community
-exploring, trying, learning, practicing & sharing fiddle tunes as individuals and as a group
-dancing to this music (eventually, to each other making this music) across generational lines
Here’s Why fiddling & dance:
-these tunes are Old, yet each player has the potential to breathe new life into them—to reinvent them and own them.
-this music is participatory, group-oriented and often purposeful (to get people on their feet, dancing!)
-community dance is about looking other people in the eye, smiling, & then moving together
-the process takes time, just as the goals do—just as building relationships do. Learning fiddling takes focus, commitment & overcoming frustrations—but the results are invaluable