Star Hampshire Traditional Music & Dance ~ About the Staff

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About the Music & Dance Staff ~ 2015 Weekend ~ September 18 – 20

Staff Information. Here is some information about the staff courtesy of David Millstone.

Tony Parkes. Outstanding caller of great New England contras and squares (and an excellent piano player too).

Tony Parkes has been calling American folk dances since 1964. He specializes in old and new contra dances, traditional and contemporary New England squares, and squares from the 1950s (arguably the Golden Age of recreational square dancing). He has led workshops in these dance forms at dance camps and folk festivals in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In addition, Tony has led workshops on the many and varied aspects of teaching and calling squares and contras. He is the author of Contra Dance Calling: A Basic Text and has made many dance recordings as caller and pianist. He was the co-founder of the Yankee Ingenuity dance band and the caller for two decades at that band's weekly series. He last called at Star Hampshire in 2009.

For bands this year, we have two duos, each with fiddle and piano/accordion and each bringing a different style.

George Wilson, fiddle, & Selma Kaplan, piano and accordion.

A talented, multi-instrumentalist and singer, George Wilson's repertoire samples a wide variety of traditional and folk styles. As a fiddler, he has over 500 tunes for dancing and listening — tunes from New England, Quebec, Cape Breton, Scotland, Ireland and Shetland. His dynamic fiddling, strongly influenced by Cape Breton and French Canadian styles, has been popular with contra dancers and concert-goers since the late 1970s. Hailing from upstate New York, George has performed and recorded with the popular “Fennig's All-Star String Band," featuring Bill Spence on hammered dulcimer, and with the “Whippersnappers” (Wilson, Peter Davis and Frank Orsini). In concert settings, he also presents programs on Uncle Dave Macon and Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), and with caller Paul Rosenberg he has performed for hundreds of dance and music programs in elementary, middle school and high schools.

Selma Kaplan is an accomplished pianist, composer and arranger, and plays sensitive and inventive piano accompaniment with rock solid rhythm and swing. She is one of the East Coast's foremost requested dance musicians, and has recorded and performed with versatile fiddler George Wilson, Rude Girls, Jane Rothfield and others. She is also a great harmony singer and teacher.

Click on this link for an amusing video of George at the Ralph Page Weekend in 2009 demonstrating what is meant by a crooked tune.

Rebecca McCallum, fiddle, and Jane Knoeck, piano and accordion.

Best known for their work in The Groovemongers, Rebecca and Jane have been longtime musical buddies in various other combinations.

Rebecca McCallum grew up playing classical violin in youth orchestras and string quartets, but in college, she fell in love with contra dancing, and soon abandoned classical music for the fiddle.  Nothing gives Rebecca greater musical joy than creating lift, energy and drive for a roomful of dancers. As a member of the Groovemongers since 1997, Rebecca plays for contra dancers across the United States and overseas. While the Groovemongers' strive for that ideal balance between boundary-crossing new grooves and old-fashioned danceability, Rebecca still loves the traditionalist approach. Since moving to Connecticut in 2008, she has expanded her playing for Scottish and English country dancing, and is even experimenting with Bluegrass, early country, and string band fiddling and singing
Jane Knoeck's musical beginnings were in classical piano and vocal studies.  Upon discovering the world of instrumental folk music in the 1980's, the classics were left behind as she commenced to master hammered dulcimer techniques. The delights of social dance and ensemble music soon led to her pursuit of contra and English dance piano skills.  Jane has since played countless dances and festivals across the United States, Canada and England.  Most of these have been with the Groovemongers, a band whose approach to dance music involves a rhythmic infusion of many different musical styles and traditions. Jane also plays with Montage, whose decidedly European sound comes from its fiddle free instrumentation. In addition to Contras and English dancing, she also plays for Scottish country dance. She enjoys leading piano and band ensemble workshops.     Her latest passion is for the traditional music and dance of France.  With Montage, she has played for Fest Noz and Bal Folk events in Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto and New York as well as at NEFFA and the Dance Flurry.