CDSS ENews Header
June 2014
We Have Room for You to Dance and Sing Your Brains Out!
More Camp Info
Scholarships Available
May Day on Facebook
Annual Report
Bylaws Amended
Lilfetime Contribution Award 2014 to Jim Morrison
Thank You, MCC!
Ghostly Visitor At Board Meeting
CDSS Centennial/Community100/Tour
Leadership Conferences
Do Your Airline Miles Need a New Home?
Outreach Grants Deadline
Director's Report
Group Corner: Sound Engineers
Board Nominations Deadline
Article Headline
Upcoming in the CDSS News
Recent CDSS Blogs
Shop at the CDSS Store
Stay in Touch Online
CDSS Dance and Music Camps
We Have Room For You to Dance
and Sing Your Brains Out!

Photo by  
Doug Plummer

Come have a blast at one of our summer residential dance and music programs - 9 weeks total, 3 locations. Refresh yourself with contras, squares, English country dance, morris and sword dance, early music, traditional music and songs. There are weeks for adults (18 years old and up) and weeks for families. Register online, or contact us at 413-203-5467 x 2 or Send our flyer to a friend. More info below. Links to the individual weeks are at the end of this eblast. 


More Camp Info (staff, classes, scholarships)

Photo by
Stewart Dean
"Yes, indeedy," you're thinking. "I need a break. I'm going!" We have great staff, terrific classes and beautiful locations. The fees include room, board and tuition. Register here. Really, you won't believe how much fun a weeklong camp can be - you're not going to want to leave.

Scholarships Available
Need financial help in order to come to one of our weeks? Various scholarships are available for this summer until they run out. Special matching scholarships also are possible if your local group is a CDSS Affiliate. Questions? Call Linda Henry, 413-203-5467 x 105.

May Day on Facebook
We had a lot of fun posting photos of
Oak Apple Morris -
Photo by
Carol Ormand
morris and sword teams as they came in on May 1-2-see our Facebook page for that time.
Annual Report
Our Annual Report for 2013 is now online.

Bylaws Amended
Changes to the CDSS Bylaws were approved earlier this year; we needed 306 valid votes (10% of the membership) to make it official; we received 1064 in favor and 10 against. Thank you to everyone who voted. The amended bylaws are available online here

Lifetime Contribution Award 2014
Photo courtesy
Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison of Charlottesville, Virginia, is this year's recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award. We are delighted to honor him.

Jim brought youthful enthusiasm and strong connections to emerging contra, morris and sword dance movements when he started work for CDSS in late 1970. Serving as National Director from 1975 to 1977, he then continued as part time Artistic Director after moving to Virginia. If you have danced Jack's Health, Young Widow, late night Kerry sets, or played Puncheon Floor or Buck Mountain, his influence was there. Jim wrote 24 Early American Country Dances (CDSS, 1976), founded the Greenwich and Albemarle Morris Men, and has recorded five albums of traditional dance music. An early family week advocate, creator of American Week at Pinewoods, and multi-genre dance fiddler, Jim has continued throughout his half century career to teach and play for contra, square, English, morris, sword, flatfoot and Irish set dancing all over North America.

The Award presentation will be held November 22 in Charlottesville; more info later.

  Thank You, MCC!

CDSS is funded in part this year by the Massachusetts Cultural Council; we are grateful for their support.

Ghostly Visitor at Board Meeting
Photo by Jeff Martell
After working hard for three days, some members of the CDSS Board and Staff relaxed with an old friend - Cecil J. Sharp (he's the pale guy wearing a hat in the back row of the photo), a gentleman quite instrumental in our founding. More about C# and his own Tour in future issues.

CDSS Centennial/Community100/Tour 2015
VIDEOS - Pat MacPherson and Mary Wesley have made two videos so far about the upcoming CDSS Centennial (a third one will be out soon). Watch and enjoy!

STORY PROJECT - Add your voice to our first story prompt! We are now accepting submissions to "CDSS: What We Believe." Tell us why you believe in the power of dance, music and song.  Your story will be shared on our website and you can share it locally by setting up a local listening event!  Read more at

Tucson sunset - Photo by Warren Deming
TOUR 2015
- First Up: Tucson
For another Centennial project, we're going on the road! Each Centennial Tour stop will be a community residency. We're very excited about these partnerships, and are looking forward to kicking off the Tour in Arizona on April 25-May 1, 2015, with Tucson Friends of Traditional Music. TFTM will focus on skill building, energizing their volunteers, organizers, dancers and musicians, and on reaching new audiences within an urban environment which includes the University of Arizona. In addition, the Tour Staff will travel to northern Arizona to meet and work with people in the more isolated towns of Flagstaff, Prescott and Cottonwood who are looking for instruction for their musicians and dancers, and in adding new activities to their skill sets, including singing.

Tour Staff for the Tucson will be musicians Jaige Trudel, Adam Broome, Matt Olwell and caller Carol Ormand. All are incredibly skilled artists with a diverse range of talents and offerings, who are passionate teachers not afraid to bring their hearts fully into their work. We can't wait to see what happens when this staff meets the Tucson community. Magic, no doubt!

Leadership Conferences
CDSS is cosponsoring two leadership development conferences, one this year, one next year.

Southwest Regional Organizers Conference (SWROC), September 19-21, 2014, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Come meet with other dance organizers, share ideas and learn new strategies for creating successful dances. This exciting weekend will be filled with resources to support any American/English dance series throughout the Southwest (contra, square, English country, family/community dances, etc.). We'll strengthen networks for sustaining these dance traditions across the region.

Interested? Please let us know as soon as possible: Know anyone else who might be interested? Encourage them to check out the website for ongoing updates. Many thanks for helping us spread the word!

Puttin' On the Dance 2: Hands Across the Border (POTD2), March 20-22, 2015, Ottawa, Ontario.
Similar to the Southwest conference, this weekend will also provide resources for dance organizers (see above description) and the program will be designed to support communities throughout eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. For more info, contact

Attending these conferences is an investment in your dance's future! See our website for many ways you and your group can help pay your way (including travel costs). For glimpses of previous conferences cosponsored by CDSS, click here.

Do Your Airline Miles Need a New Home?
Collaborating and fundraising for our Centennial festivities in 2015 will have us traveling to communities across the US and Canada by air, in cars and on trains. Do you have airline miles you could donate to help us with travel? For 2014, we're looking for six individuals to donate miles. With budgets stretched to the limit, it would be a tremendous help. If you have accrued enough miles for a full ticket and are willing to purchase a ticket for CDSS staff travel, please contact Christine Dadmun, 413-203-5467 x 104. Thanks so much!

Outreach Grants Deadline
Upcoming deadlines to apply for a grant are October 1 and February 1. For a listing of Outreach grants offered for our February 2014 cycle, visit Questions? Click here, or contact Linda Henry, Outreach Manager, or call 413-203-5467 x 105.

Director's Report: The Bells Are Ringing!
Rima Dael
by Rima Dael, CDSS Executive Director

I know it is spring because the bells are ringing, literally throughout the office.

My office space is next door to the mailroom where Sales Manager Jeff Martell has been counting bells. Bells are ringing as Jeff hums to himself while packing them. Or they're ringing while he is counting the correct number for an order. (He's shipped out about 2,400 so far this year. We all know not to interrupt when he is counting bells!)  

Morris bells are a sign that spring is really here and for the CDSS Office that means we're busy preparing for camp, negotiating the renewal for liability insurance for groups, and welcoming seven new board members at our annual meeting. Spring is a time for renewal and new endeavors-check out what's new with CDSS elsewhere in this issue.

Speaking of bells, I offer below this stanza from "May Day" by American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933). Thank you to the morris teams around the world who made sure the sun came up and drove away the rain on May Day!

For how can I be sure/I shall see again/The world on the first of May/Shining after the rain?

Here's to a great season; may bells be ringing around you!

Group Corner - Sound Engineers
by Jeff Martell, CDSS Sales and Services Manager

I have heard from a few different groups as of late that they have been having problems finding someone to run sound for their dances. A good sound engineer can make the difference between a wonderful evening of music and an ear rattling cacophony. The reality of doing sound is that most people don't notice it at all unless something has gone awry. If your dance has an experienced sound engineer, do whatever you can to keep them happy! They are worth their weight in gold. They show up early, set up all the equipment, make sure the band sounds great, work all night (yes, even if they are dancing they are still listening), then they put it all away after everyone has left. Keeping them happy may include paying them if you can at all afford it, feeding them, or giving them free admission to other events.

If your group does not have a sound engineer on hand, you still have some options. For a bigger event it is often best to hire a sound company. They are professionals and have the right tools for bigger shows, but that can get expensive. Before hiring anyone, get some references. Another idea is to get the band to supply the sound for the night. The upside of this option is it is their stuff, and they are used to it. The downside is that if they don't have a sound engineer either and are mixing from the stage, they are the ONLY ones in the room that cannot hear what is going on in the room.

Possibly the best idea is to train one person, or a few people, in basic sound reinforcement. Most of our groups are not running huge sound systems, nor are they using complicated pieces of equipment, so most anyone with a basic to good ear can be trained in how to use it. There are a few options for this. You could send your sound people to a sound training held at an event or festival near you. It might be hard to find one or expensive to do however. One of the better options is to hire a sound engineer to come out and do a training, or several, with your system at your site. The benefits are that people get hands-on time with your particular system and hall, and it is probably less expensive than sending a group to a larger event. The CDSS store has copies of All Mixed Up: A Guide to Sound Production for Folk and Dance Music (revised) by Bob Mills, which is a great basic sound engineering primer for a pretty reasonable price. There are also CDSS funded grants that a group could apply for to help fund such a training in their area. Information on these can be found at  

In closing, if you have a sound person, thank them! If you are looking for one, it might just work best to grow your own!

Board Nominations Deadline
The CDSS Board will have a few positions to be filled next year and would appreciate your nomination suggestions. Think about yourself and the people you know in your community and beyond. We're always looking for people who have the appropriate mix of skills, experience, time, energy, teamwork style and passion for traditional dance music and song.
For terms starting next spring, we're particularly interested in people that have fundraising skills, accounting expertise or business acumen (potentially someone who has been treasurer in their community), or other board experience. If you know someone who fits these criteria, please send your suggestions by June 30 to the CDSS Nominating Committee via email to Bev Bernbaum or by mail to 301-140 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M5V 3N8. See our website for more info about nominating someone.

Lifetime Award Recommendations Deadline
Nominations for the 2015 LCA must be received by December 5, 2014. Send to or to LCA Committee chair Mary Devlin or via snail mail to Mary at 2230 SW Sunset Drive, Portland, OR 97239. See our website for recommendation guidelines.

Please include the name, address, phone and email of the person you are recommending as well as your own name and contact information. Recommendations must be for living persons. Be sure to include one page highlighting why the person you are recommending deserves the award. We also need to know if you would be willing to organize the award event for the person you recommend if s/he should receive the LCA for 2015.  If you are not able to do that please include the name(s) and contact info for people who would agree to do it.  The event is organized in conjunction with CDSS.

The Awards Committee will review recommendations in early December and submit our recommendation to the CDSS Governing Board for its decision.


Upcoming in the CDSS News, Summer 2014

The paper edition of the CDSS News (Summer 2014 issue) will be arriving in members' mailboxes shortly; the online PDF version will be posted later this month. Individual articles include "News from Canada - Ooh La La, a Contra Dance Weekend" by Jaige Trudel and Adam Broome, "A Golden Anniversary-Fifty Years of the Pinewoods Morris Men" by Natty Smith, "Yoga for Dancers-For Breath's Sake" by Anna Rain, "Shenandoah Harmony-Singing Old Songs from a New Book" by Rachel Wells Hall (includes the song "Consolation New"), plus there are Letters and Announcements, the dance Highland Farewell by Pat Petersen (includes the tune Highlander's Farewell), and Hannah Naiman talks about the song "Hangman, Hangman, Slacken Up Your Line" in the CDSS Sings column.


Next deadline for articles, letters, etc. is August 1; send to the Editor. To place an ad in the paper version, see the guidelines on our website.


Cover photo:  Pinewood Morris Men (Stew Stryker)


Recent CDSS Blogs
Photo courtesy Abigail Hobart
Good reads include: Techno, Gender-free, and Bluesy Contras: Evolving Tradition?, by Abigail Hobart; Notes from the May Day Train, by Jane Winans; Advice for beginning young callers, by a beginning young caller, by ZoŽ Madonna; The Everyday Things - Remembering Mac, by Carol Compton; Speaking Up for the (Participatory) Arts, by Rima Dael; and more.

Shop At the CDSS Store

It's summertime and we have books, recordings, morris bells, DVDs, t-shirts, bags, water bottles and more. Drop by during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9-5) or shop online.


Stay in Touch Online
Upcoming Events - lots of special events throughout the country.

Facebook - news about the organization, other organizations, whatever comes into our heads.

E-news - This one, and previous issues, are online.

Email or Members Directory - Joining our email list (for all) or online Members Directory (members only) is simple. You can log in here - or look for "Log in" just under the top photo on our homepage.



Whether you are a traditional contra, techno contra, square or English dancer; practice morris, rapper, longsword or garland traditions; perform traditional or early music and song-you belong in the CDSS network! Your membership ensures that CDSS can continue to support, advocate, educate, connect and sustain the dance and music traditions that we cherish for ourselves and for our families for the next hundred years. Read more about membership or sign up today


CDSS Dance and Music Camps
Photo by
Nicholas Smith
Ogontz, Lyman, NH, August 2014

Family Week 

American Dance Musicians Course 

Teachers Training Course: Folk Arts for the Classroom 


Pinewoods, Plymouth, MA, June-August 2014

Early Music Week 

English Dance Musicians Course 

Viol Intensive 

Family Week 

Harmony of Song & Dance 

English Dance Week 

American Dance & Music Week  

Campers' Week 

English & American Dance Week 

Dance Organizers Course 


Timber Ridge, High View, WV, August 2014

Adult & Family Week 

Contributors to this issue include: Caroline Batson, Bev Bernbaum, Christine Dadmun, Rima Dael, Mary Devlin, Nils Fredland, Robin Hayden, Linda Henry, Pat MacPherson, Jeff Martell and Mary Wesley.  


Onward to the Centennial - we look forward to celebrating together.