Hooray! FSGW Mini Fest - Schottis and shape note singing, doo wop and duets, English dance and Irish laments, banjos and bodhrans and ballads, Morris and more - at the Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road, -- Saturday, February 4, from noon until 10:30 pm. Regardless of Punxsutawney Phil's prediction, it'll be warm at Mini-Fest, with two all-day dance tracks, and seven workshop and performance sites, plus unscheduled hallway shenanigans - it'll cure your winter blues!!
Last Minute scheduling changes. Lisa Null will be replaing Steve Winick from 2:45 to 3:15 in Room 108. Telmen Naadam, the Mongolian horsehead fiddler, may not be able to perform. Check Room 118 at about 3:40 for an update.And it looks like we may have handbells after all! Look for the Bell Tower sign in the hallway near the Green Room some time after 3 pm and give change ringing a try. Thanks to Rick DuPuy and Mary Clark.
Here's this year's less-tentative-than-it-was-yesterday schedule,. The date and time it was most recently updated are in the lower left-hand corner. It will be updated frequently -- usually up to the night before the event. If you have looked at an earlier version of the schedule, your device may have cached it. Be sure to hit "F5" in order to see the most recent version. A not-to-scale (SUCH an understatement) schematic of the school is here.
Ticket prices are unchanged from last year. We open the "gate" at 11:30 am, since first performances and workshops begin at noon. We will be able to take credit card payment at the door.
MaxDay plus evening (noon to 10:30 pm)FSGW Member$15$8$45Non-Member$20$10$55Day (noon to 6 ONLY) OR Evening (6 to 10:30 ONLY)FSGW Member$10$5$25Non-Member$15$7$40Children under 6 get in free.
You can join FSGW at the door, and get the discount for members.
What does Family Maximum mean in the ticket price section? This rate allows parents and their children to attend for one affordably capped admission price. The Family rate for a family of four is slightly less than four individual tickets, and there is no additional fee for any additional child.
Food: When co-chairs April Blum and Charlie Baum re-started the FSGW Mid-Winter Festival in 2005, after a two-year hiatus, the only local food vendor who was willing to take a chance was the Takoma Park Subway franchisee, and Subway will be here again this year, roughly from noon to 7:15. A local international school will also be selling French pastries, coffee, and perhaps even quiche! If you would prefer, you are welcome to bring a bag lunch and eat in the Cafetorium. And, of course, there are also many fine local eateries a short distance away.
All of the wonderful photos are courtesy of Steve Tuttle (thanks, Steve!), of Tuttle and Tuttle Photography.
Hallways and Lobby.
Perhaps we should warn you.... ahem. Perhaps we should mention that Morris Dancers and Rappersword groups infest.... ahem...appear unexpectedly. They dance in the hallways2008 Photo here. 2009. 2010 was Snowmageddon! 2011. And here. And here. And here. 2012. 2013. 2014. And here. 2015. 2016. They often wear bells, so sometimes you can hear them coming. You can run, but you cannot hide.
FSGW encourages those who play instruments to bring them along. One of the real delights every year is hearing music being made in stairwells and at the end of corridors. In fact, we encourage these ad hoc jams by putting extra chairs in appropriate spots. 2008 Photo here.2009.2011. 2012. 2013. 2014. 2015.
Retail therapy will be available. Musical instruments and performers' CDs (through House of Musical Traditions) 2009 will be available for sale in the Cafetorium, and there will be wonderful crafts available in the hallways near the main lobby. 2009. And here. And here.
We haven't been able to find anyone to lead a handbell hallway participatory workshop. We will leave the photos here, and hope that someone will help us out next year.2011. 2015. And here.
New this year -- we hope to set up tables in a long hallway to use as a CD Exchange. Have you been downsizing? Have you ripped all of your CDs and no longer want all those jewel cases? We'd like to start small, so think about bringing no more than a dozen CDs to Mini-Fest, and perhaps taking that many (or more) home with you! Your feedback will help us decide whether to do this again next year.
Daytime Cafetorium Performances
Noon to 6 pm -- six hours of music, thanks to Mini Fest Co-Chair, Charlie Baum. (thanks, Charlie B!). We begin at noon with Shenandoah Run, a collegiate folk-style big band, followed at 1 by Trio Sefardi, who perform old-style Sephardic music. At 1:45, it's the all-female quartet Sweet Yonder, featuring bluegrass-inspired Americana. Next it's the irrepressible trio Callithump.
At 3:15 the Mitchelstown Trio plays lilting Irish music. Then it's all hands on deck for the DC Revels Maritime Voices. 2012. 2013. At 5, and closing out the daytime Cafetorium track is the New-Orleans-jazz/hot blues/early country/gospel/jug band, The Capitol Hillbillies.2012.
Main Gym:, programmed by Chair April Blum. features many different dance styles. First is a Schottis/Scandinavian Dance Workshop, led by Dan Kahn and Lynn Walker, with music by Catherine Chapman. Then it's English Country Dancing 2015, taught by Tom Spilsbury, with music by Liz Donaldson, Catherine Chapman and Robin Wilson. At 2 pm, there's a Tango Workshop which will showcase the impressive Tango Mercurio Community Orchestra. At 3 pm, a rollicking Barn Dance 2009. And here., with calling by Ann Fallon and music by The Barnyard Buzzards-- bring the kids!! At 4 pm, an hour of easy line and circle International Dances taught by Jamie Platt (Our usual Flamenco instructor has had to cancel, due to illness in the family.) And to end it all, something new this year, an energetic and rowdy Molly Dance with teaching by Brad Graham. Molly dancing, according to Wikkipedia, is "a form of English Morris dance, traditionally done by out-of-work plowboys in midwinter in the 19th century." At least we'll have the "midwinter" part right. If there's time after mollying around (across?), an Introduction to Morris Dancing, taught by Andrew Marcus. Sticks and hankies provided.
The Auxiliary Gym will begin with an hour of Waltz, with beautiful music by Firefly. Then two hours of Contra Dance 2009 featuring local favorites The MetroGnomes: the first hour called by Ann Fallon, and the second called by Susan Taylor. At 3, The MetroGnomes will play for an hour of Couples Dancing. At 5, it's a knees-up English Ceilidh (that's pronounced "KAY-lee" despite the way it's spelled), with the boisterous trio Callithump, and Janine Smith leading the figures. The last hour will be a workshop on flatfooting/clogging, with instructor Sarah Gowan of Coracree!
Jams Room, programmed by Charlie Baum and April Blum, begins at noon with a new event, an English Tunes Jam, led by members of Callithump, Coracree, and the Foggy Bottom Morris Men, followed by Shape Note Singing at 1 (2011, 2013, and here, 2014). From 2 to 3 pm, Gospel Sing (2009, 2012, and here.) From 3 to 4:30, a mellow Blues Jam featuring musicians from Archie's Barbershop (2015,and here,2016, and here,), and we end with an Irish Seisiún from 4:30 to 6.
Daytime Concerts and Workshops
Brand new this year, and programmed by Ingrid Gorman (FSGW Publicity Chair), is The Family Room (114), an all-day track dedicated to family-oriented music and storytelling. It begins at noon with G-rated blues and other fun stuff by The Massive Donut, featuring Mark "Skip" Casale and Pearl Bailes. Next is The All New Genetically Altered Jug Band plaing goofy ditties perfect for a singalong. At 2 it's Frank Cassel, the Banjo Man. Then two 30-minute sessions of upbeat and danceable tunes by Ara Casey. From 4 to 5, storytellers Jane Dorfman, Margaret Chatham, Eve Burton and Michael Fleming will weave their word magic with stories to chase away those winter blues. At 5, there's an open mic for kids ages 0-13. There will be 10 slots available, with a maximum of 5 minutes for each performer. A sign-up sheet will be posted outside Room 114. This open mic will be emceed by Ruby Santana and Adelaide Harris, Blair High School students who deejay on WOWD-LP 94.3 Takoma Park!
The "Workshops" Room (104) features a stellar variety of one-hour workshops. At noon, Martha Burns will teach Shape Note 101. If you've always wanted to learn more about Shape Note Singing, this one's for you. And if you want to try out your newly-learned skills, the Shape Note Sing is at 1 pm in the Jams Room! From 1 to 3 pm, there will be three workshops hosted by musicians from Coracree. The first 40 minutes is a Clawhammer Banjo Workshop featuring Bill Quern. Next is a Fiddle Workshop with Jane Rothfield. That's followed by Percussion for Dancing taught by Joe DePaolo. Joe says that ALL instruments are welcome, so bring your fiddle, your kazoo, even your washtub bass! At 3 pm, there will be a Doo Wop Sing, led by Al Kehs and Ron Davies. Then it's Scottish Traditional Songs led by gifted vocalist Allan Carr of Coracree. The day ends with a Mountain Dulcimer Workshop led by Carl Gotzmer, owner of June Apple Dulcimers, with Kathleen Gotzmer and Kit Putnam. Carl's sales booth, by the way, will be in its usual location!
Lisa Null's "Traditional Song" Room (108) begins with Don Stallone and Carly Gerwirz, followed at 12:30 by Connie McKenna and Betsy O'Malley. At 1,Esther Haynes offers blues and jazz vocals, and then Melissa Weaver Dunning will sing songs from Scotland, Ireland and elsewhere. At 2:15 The Two Sisters, Guen and Liz Spilsbury offer soaring harmonies, followed at 2:45 by the powerful voice of Steve Winick. Then Martha Burns and Bill Mansfield team up for some old-fashioned southern songs. At 3:45 button accordion wizard Peter Brice presents a grand set of Irish and American songs, including a possible appearance by dancer Catherine Marafino. Bea Lehman will melt the heart with traditional folksong, and then Ann Mayo Muir will show her cabaret-singer skills. This track ends with Peter Kraemer -- blues, cowboy songs and old-time music, on guitar and more.
FSGW is pleased to welcome back Mike Livingston, FSGW Programs Chair, and Heather Livingston, FSGW Publications Chair, who have programmed the "Living Traditions" Room (118). This track begins with a blues vocals workshop by Kim Capps. Next the teen folk fiddle trio Maelstrom showcases Celtic tunes and playful fusions. Starting at 1:30, blues aficionados will enjoy Tal Naccarato, originally from the Italian Alps. More fiddles follow -- the Sibling Rivalry Fiddle Band, despite their youth, are veterans of the Virginia Renaissance Faire. Next up are singer/songwriter Matt Holsen teaming up with traditional singer Severn Savage for some interesting duets. At 3:45 it's Telmen Naadam, who plays the Mongolian horsehead fiddle, also known as a Morin Khuur. (There's a nice Wikkipedia article.) Thie track ends with the soulful and witty songwriting duo of Ara Casey and Chase Willett, followed by songwriter and guitarist Miles Spicer playing music in Piedmont-blues style.
The Storytelling Program will be back 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015,, organized by Tim Livengood. This track features Bill Mayhew at noon, followed by Jane Dorfman and Nick Newlin. At 1:30, it's the the (young and talented) Twinbrook Tellers. 2011, 2015, 2016,.Next are Chris Potts and Walter Jones. Then Cricket Parmalee. Jennifer Hine andBob Rowinsky, followed by and Tim Livengood. Last is a Storyswap, so polish up that 5 minute story of yours and bring it along.
From 7:30 to 10:30, two simultaneous evening programs - in the Main Gym, an evening of Contras with the fabulousCoracree and local callers. In the Cafetorium, a varied Concert programmed by Charlie Baum, which will include performances by M.S.G. (acoustic blues); Karen Ashbrook and Paul Oorts (KA/PO); The Karpouzi Trio (music from Greece and Asia Minor); and a tribute to Claude Martin by his sisters, Emily and Lydia Martin.