Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fiddle AND Dance!

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!"

So says Peter Amidon, who, along with Mary Alice Amidon, led one of their incredible workshops for at least 150 teachers on Saturday in Lexington, MA. Peter's point was that dancing is supposed to be fun and if things are too rigid while you're teaching, neither you nor the dancers will likely be having much fun. At the same time, they both of have a magical way of teaching that's both fun and easy to follow. And they know that the best way to learn how to teach a dance is by first doing the dance!

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

a day in the life...

Here's what I did last Wednesday (true story!):

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

Come dance with us!

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

violins going home & a giant ox dance!

Fiddles started making their way to new homes last week (including one lucky student with a purple violin!)

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

Holding "violin" boxes

Our first fiddle lessons over the past week have been packed: holding violin cereal boxes, practicing bow holds on over-sized pencils, learning to allemande & do-si-do, and reading basic rhythms.

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!