Star Hampshire Traditional Music & Dance
Weekend  Star Island: Archives, 2007

Online Host: New Hampshire Old-Time Country Dance Web Site
Peter Yarensky, Publisher, Designer  & Nearly Everything Else

16th Star Hampshire Traditional Music & Dance Weekend ~ September 14-16, 2007

Dance Master: Nils Fredland - Contras, squares, English, couples dances, and more.

Music By: Moving Violations - Becky Ashenden, Ron Grosslein, Van Kaynor & Chuck Corman

More Music By: Sarah Blair, Marko Packard & Stuart Kenney

Group Singing: There will be singing in another conference with Tony Barrand, Andy Davis, Peter & Mary Alice Amidon; we may be able to join with them.

Some Useful Links

Star Hampshire 2007 Flyer, Letter - This is the flyer in 8 1/2 x 11 size that most people can print onto; PDF format.

Star Hampshire 2007 Flyer, Legal - This is the flyer in 8 1/2 x14 size. If you have the right size paper, it’s more complete; also PDF.

Star Hampshire Final Program, 2006 - This should give you an idea of what goes on at the weekend.

Star Island Corporation Home Page. The Star Island Corporation owns and runs Star Island and coordinates all the conferences that occur there, of which Star Hampshire is one. From their web site you can learn a lot more about the island and you can get an aerial tour of the island in a slide show.

Star Hampshire Photo Pages - I’ve assembled two pages, one for 2003-2005 and one for 2006. You can’t go wrong with photos of Star Island!

Description: Star Island is part of the Isles of Shoals, several miles off the coast of New Hampshire. As our coastline is only 13 miles long you shouldn’t get too lost. But there is a boat that takes us over and back; currently it leaves from Rye Harbor. It’s surrounded by the ocean, and home of a turn of the (last) century resort hotel with a large porch on three sides looking out over the ocean and with many comfortable rocking chairs. Thus, if you’re not dancing or engaged in other activities, you can hang out in a rocking chair and socialize and watch and listen to the ocean.

What Happens: It’s a weekend of music and dancing, but the schedule is relaxed. We do a goodly amount of dancing during the weekend; I’ve never heard anyone complain about there not being enough. But there’s also time to walk around, explore, socialize, and take advantage of the other possibilities associated with the island.

Music & Calling: There’s generally one caller and two bands; the staff is chosen with care so that they are able to put on an excellent program. In addition to contradancing there’s generally some additional programming, depending on the skills of the staff (e.g. singing, English country dance, Balkan dancing, etc.). For the morning people in the group there’s a waltz session before breakfast. There are also various workshops and jam sessions which vary depending on the staff and interests of the campers.

There are generally between 50 and 80 dancers each year. The dancing is fun, tending to be on the traditional side but with some modern dancing, and some unusual dances thrown in since it’s possible to get away with that with people who have been dancing all weekend! The final dance on Sunday is on the hotel porch; what a nice place for a final dance party!

Other Details: Since it’s on an island interesting things can happen. Major storms have blown up causing people to have to be very careful, go indoors, etc. Hurricanes have forced cancellation of some or all of the weekend or at least worry about whether it would occur on more than one occasion. On the other hand, it’s hard to beat seeing the Northern Lights from Star Island, and watching the waves, especially during a storm. It’s a great place to hang out, which is why there’s more free time built in to the schedule than in most other music and dance weekends and why no one complains about it.

Report on the 2006 Weekend*. The 2006 weekend was on the weekend of Sept. 15-17. It was a glorious weekend, sunny and warm; a great time to be on an island in the middle of the ocean! Chris Ricciotti was the caller. Music was provided by Celticladda (Randy Miller, Dedo Norris &Tom Hodgson) and members of Moving Violations (Becky Ashenden, Ron Grosslein & Chuck Corman). Needless to say, with Randy and Ron as the fiddlers, and considering who filled out the bands to provide accompaniment, the music was quite outstanding. Randy’s band provided more traditional New England dance music, while Ron, Becky and Chuck provided somewhat wilder but always very danceable, well-phrased, fun, melodic music - indeed on Sunday at one point I was too tired to dance anymore so I just watched them playing for a while. The music was quite amazing, and they were obviously having a great time - Ron and Becky both with big grins on their faces as they were playing, and Chuck a bit more reserved but obviously also thoroughly enjoying himself.

Chris was an excellent caller for the event. He called a nice mixture of modern dances, chestnuts and singing squares. We danced Money Musk, Chorus Jig, Rory O’More, Petronella and Hull’s Victory, maybe others. We danced Dip and Dive as the singing call to Redwing, Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight, a version of Girl I Left Behind Me that I’d never encountered before, and several other great singing squares. And of course we danced a variety of modern contras, most of which I don’t know by name. All were taught and called very well. It turns out that Chris danced squares in high school and developed a real love for singing squares. He rarely is in a situation where he gets to call them, so he was happy that we encouraged him to do so on Star Island. He also developed a love for the chestnuts through the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, and doesn’t get to call them all that frequently so he was happy to find out that we like to dance them at Star Hampshire.

There are always multiple conferences happening at the same time on Star Island; usually when we’re there they include a wonen’s conference and a yoga conference; this year there was a singing group. This year Patrick organized a jam session followed by a pick-up band for an all-Island dance to which everyone was invited. It was a good time, and some people who had never danced before showed up and were introduced to contradancing. We had a fun combination of Ron, Randy, some of the other staff musicians and some of the musicians among the campers. It was one of the most fun parts of the weekend for me - getting to play with Ron and Randy and all the rest was quite marvelous! I told Dave Bateman, who called the dance, that I hoped he and the dancers were having as much fun as we were having in the band; he said he thought they were having more fun!

As always, there’s the time spent visiting with friends, the time spent on the rocking chairs on the porch, and everyone takes some time to do something they’re interested in doing since the schedule allows some free time. Teresa went swimming, I played music a bit more, Ron explored the island; everyone has a unique experience. It’s a great weekend, and when they told us it was time to head down to catch the boat, I think it’s safe to say almost none of us were ready to go home!


Above: Dancing at Star Island, September, 2004.

Below: The Pavilion at Sunset - Star Island is
a place of much and varied beauty!

The 2007 Archival Page

As of now this is the only archival page; if I can obtain the necessary materials more may follow. As best I can I’ve recreated the original page from 2007 for your enjoyment and for historical interest.