Mid-Winter Festival (Mini-Fest ) 

FSGW's Mid-Winter Festival is a great way to cure your mid-winter blues. 

Usually the first Saturday in February, the Mid-Winter Festival transforms the Takoma Park Middle School into a festival site, with two dance floors, a storytelling room, a jams room, four rooms for intimate concerts and workshops, and the "big stage" in the school cafeteria.  There are crafts for sale and unscheduled hallway shenanigans, frequently involving local Morris teams.

Daytime programs run from noon to 6 pm; there's a brief break (6-7:30) for dinner on your own  (the Subway food providers will close at 6:30), then at 7:30 there's both a concert AND a dance and you may participate in both.

Check out schedules from previous years to get an idea of what it is all about: Previous Mid-Winter Festival Schedules

The local (Takoma Park) Subway franchisee will have subs, chips, soft drinks, coffee, and cookies for sale from shortly before noon until 6:30.  And there will also be delicious French pastries for sale.

Our wonderful volunteers arrive early and help with set-up, sell tickets, staff the secure instrument check room and make the event go smoothly. We are still looking for volunteers to help with load-in or to work 2-hour shifts during the day, and we can always use extra hands at the end of the evening to load out.  

Questions (or to volunteer) contact minifest@fsgw.org          

       Job Descriptions for FSGW Midwinter Festival volunteers (pdf)

What's happening for 2020

     Printable schedule (last updated 01/27/2020)

    Schematic (map) of Takoma Park Middle School 

When: February 1, 2020 from noon to 10:30pm

Where: Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road, Takoma Park MD, 20912

We do not sell advance tickets. You will be able to pay at the door in cash, by check, or by credit card.   If you join FSGW at the door, you will immediately receive the member's discount.   Children under 6 get in free. 


   Day PLUS evening: noon - 10:30 pm
 FSGW Member  Adult: $18   Child (6-12)  $9    Family maximum $50
 Non-Member  Adult: $23   Child (6-12) $11   Family maximum $65 
   Day ONLY: noon - 6 pm
 FSGW Member  Adult: $12   Child (6-12) $6   Family maximum $35
 Non-Member  Adult: $18   Child (6-12) $8   Family maximum $50 
    Evening ONLY: 6 pm - 10:30 pm
 FSGW Member  Adult: $10   Child (6-12) $7   Family maximum $30
 Non-Member  Adult: $13   Child (6-12) $8   Family maximum $40

What does "Family Maximum" mean? 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. 

Hallways and Lobby

Perhaps we should warn you.... ahem. Perhaps we should mention that Morris Dancers and Rapper sword groups infest.... ahem...appear unexpectedly. They dance in the hallways. Occasionally they even dance outside, weather permitting. They usually wear bells, so you can hear them coming. You can run, but you cannot hide.  Watch for them shortly after 1 pm and again shortly after 3 pm in the Main Lobby. 

Again this year we hope to set up a table near the Cafeteria to use as a CD Exchange.  Have you been downsizing?  Have you ripped all of your CDs and no longer want to store all those jewel cases?  Bring no more than a dozen CDs to Mini-Fest and take that many home with you (please!). 

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. 

Retail therapy will be available. CDs and musical instruments (through House of Musical Traditions) will be available for sale in the Cafeteria, and craftspeople will have tables in the corridors near the main lobby. 

We expect to have participatory change-ringing with handbells in a relatively quiet hallway most of the day. Although handbells are often used to play tunes, for change ringing they are played one note at a time in a hypnotic pattern of notes that cycles through a geometric scheme. Look for the "Bell Tower" sign and check the schematic for location.  No experience or ability to read music necessary. 

Main Gym - Dance

Programmed by Mid-Winter Festival Co-Chair April Blum.  All sessions are participatory, no need to have a partner. Six different types of dance to try.

noon - 1:00   Scottish Country Dancing - Ellen Terne with Liz Donaldson, Becky Ross and Barbara Saliunas
1:00 - 2:00 Flamenco - instruction in the basics of this dance form by Estela Velez de Paredez.
2:00 - 3:00 Argentine Tango - Learn the basics of this dance form, and then practice to music by DC Tango Orchestra.
3:00 - 4:00 English Country Dancing  (think Jane Austen) - Emily Aubrey calls to wonderful music by Jeff Steinberg, Robin Wilson and Diane Sorenson.
4:00 - 5:00 Scandinavian Dance - couples turning dances from the far North, instruction by Dan Kahn and Lynn Walker, and music by Sonia White.
5:00 - 6:00 French Balfolk - easy line and couple dances from Brittany and Central France, with leader Lynn Baumeister and music by Leslie Barr.

Auxiliary Gym - Dance

Features waltz, contra, and more. Five different types of dance.

noon - 1:00   Open Waltz - enchanting music in 3/4 time by Firefly 
1:00 - 2:00 Contras - Visiting caller Andy Cane, with music by The MetroGnomes
2:00 - 3:00 Couples Dancing - Music by The MetroGnomes -- two-step, foxtrot, waltz, and more
3:00 - 4:00 Barn Dance - calling by local favorite Ann Fallon, with old-time music by Back Step Cindy. Easy circle and line dances, guaranteed to make you smile. 
4:00 - 5:00 Introduction to Rapper Sword - Instruction on the basics of this fascinating dance form, led by Sligo Creek Sword
5:00 - 5:45 Contra, Open Band, Open Mic  - Have you always wanted to call a dance? Here's your chance.  Andy Kane will assist as necessary.

Cafeteria/Stage - Concerts

Programmed by the Mid-Winter Festival Co-Chair, Charlie Baum.

noon - 12:45 Slaveya - The name means nightingale.   Slaveya is a women’s vocal ensemble that performs both East European a cappella folk music and sacred vocal music from the orthodox traditions of the Balkans and Georgia.
12:45 - 1:30 Ha Sega! - Bulgarian and Balkan instrumental music with Valeri Georgiev (kaval [flute] and gaia [bagpipes]), Boril Peychinov (accordion and vocals) and friends.  You may know them as part of Lyuti Chushki. 
1:30 - 2:30 Karen Collins and the Backroads Band - Honky-tonk country music. Need we say more?  There's room for dancing in the Cafeteria, if you're so moved! 
2:30 - 3:30 Washington Revels Maritime Voices - A celebration of the sea and inland waterways of America -- the men who worked the great sailing ships, the women who sustained the shore-side communities, and all those who lived and worked on the canals, lakes, and rivers. Don't be surprised if you're invited to sing along!
3:30 - 4:30 The Bog Band with dancers - Local teenagers get to learn and gain expertise in playing Irish music, led by Mitch Fanning, and young dancers from local Irish dancing schools get a chance to show off to live music.  
4:30 - 5:15 Djangolaya - This group carries the tradition of "Jazz manouche" developed by the Belgian/French/Romani guitarist Django Rhinehardt and the musicians he congregated with as the "Quintette du Hot Club de France" back in the 1930s and 1940s.
5:15 - 6:00 The Capitol Hillbillies - Based on Capitol Hill, this group brings the feel of New Orleans to our area. They play everything from blues to early jazz, jugband to barrelhouse. They often appear with Rollo, the rolling piano, but not today (transporting Rollo to Takoma on the Red Line would be an interesting challenge, though). 

Room 104 - The Family Room

Programmed by Ingrid Gorman.

noon - 1:00 Ukulele Jubilee - All ukes all the time! Favorite songs and sing-alongs featuring the Acousti-Cats from Riderwood (led by Becky Hedin) and the Carpe Diem UkeBeats (led by Rachael Sandri). Lots of surprises, including the grand finale, Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."  BYOUke and strum along!
1:00 - 2:00 Family dance -  Caller Kappy Laning leads easy circle and line dances for everyone.

2:00 - 2:30

Pirate Adventures with Compass Rose

2:30 - 3:00  Open Mic   For kids 12 and under. Sign up and sing, or play, or tell a story.  
3:00 - 4:00 Bill Jenkins - Play in a band with Bill.
4:00 - 5:00 All New Genetically Altered Jug Band -  Fun and funny music for all ages.
 5:00 - 6:00 King Bullfrog - High energy folk music.

Room 108 - The Traditional Song Room 

Programmed by Lisa Null.

noon - 12:45 Don Stallone with Skip Casale -  Don's strong voice sometimes meets up with Skip's meticulous picking (mandolin mostly) in lively choruses and songs old and new.
12:45 - 1:15 Melissa Weaver Dunning - Scots and other Celtic songs sung as you wish they could always be sung. A national reputation.
1:15 - 1:45 Kevin Elam - A vibrant young singer from Manassas recently won the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann national singing championship in Ireland itself!
1:45 - 2:15 Special Ed- Ed Light sings witty, topical material that is sometimes a little bit rude, but always entertaining.
2:15 - 3:00 Dan Kaufman - A favorite of the Irish crowd, Dan delights us here with at least a few songs accompanied by piano.
3:00 - 3:30 Martha Burns- Martha brings her winsome voice to heartfelt renderings of old-time and cowboy songs
3:30 - 4:00 Steve Winick - Many know Steve as a mainstay of Ocean Orchestra, but today he'll bring his Library of Congress know-how plus humor and vitality to songs of his own choosing. 
 4:00 - 4:30 Bea Lehman - Bea grew up singing in our midst and carries the songs she loves to a new generation.
 4:30 - 5:00 Pete Kraemer - Pete has been singing and jamming blues and old-time songs all his life and sings 'em like he understands 'em. A fine picker.
 5:00 - 5:30 Connie McKenna - Connie has been singing with some of the area's finest Celtic musicians for years, and reaches the hearts of her audience with her pure, shimmering voice.
 5:30 - 6:00 Two Sisters  - They not only tell good ballads, they harmonize them and fill them with excitement and a renewed freshness. They are becoming area favorites.

Room 114 - The Spare Room (Workshops & Mini-concerts) 

Programmed April Blum.

noon - 1:00 Brian ÓhAirt - An "informance" on the Irish Gaelic song tradition.
1:00 - 2:00 Overuse Syndrome -- Self-care for dancers and musicians.  Local therapist Dr. Jenny Foster addresses solutions to chronic overuse problems -- not just stretching, not just resting.  With the right knowledge, you'll find the right tactics.  Fast-paced talk/workshop. 
2:00 - 3:00 Yaya Patterson and Sara Ghebremichael -  Sara G and Yaya explore Black women's voices in folk music. 
3:00 - 4:00 Small pipes (show and tell) - Dan Gillespie and friends will discuss and demonstrate small pipes from the British Isles and beyond.
4:00 - 5:00 Shanty sing - Participatory maritime rowdiness, led by Bradley Graham. 
5:00 - 6:00 Appalachian dulcimer workshop and mini-concert  Carl and Kathleen Gotzmer (owners of June Apple Dulcimers) will show off this beautiful and plangent instrument.

Room 118 - Appalachian Roots

Programmed by Kim Forry and Jan Scopel.  

noon - 1:00 The Zsebenyi Family will play tunes, dance, and sing, exploring the link between and among Irish, Scottish, and Old Time tunes, and paying tribute to Claude Martin, a great inspiration.
1:00 - 2:00 Tony and Marge Sume - Old-time song workshop (with a handout of lyrics and chords) featuring songs from the early 1900s.  
2:00 - 3:00 Fiddlin' Willie Band -  thoughtful and vibrant music ranging the earliest days of recorded music to the golden era of bluegrass and early country. Sparkling harmonies, yodels, and other vocal high jinks, fronted by award-winning pre-teen instrumentalist Fiddlin' Willie, plus DC bluegrass scion and banjo ace Doc Perryman and Willie's dad, Pearse, on guitar. Mom plays bass when she can and sister Lorena clogs on dance numbers.
3:00 - 4:00 Jay & Maura are a family duo from Baltimore and they will share some of their favorites – some new, some obscure, some chestnuts, all Old Time fiddle and banjo
4:00 - 5:00 Karen Collins and Friends  - Karen, Ann Porcella and Maya Lerman perform songs from the Appalachian Mountains.  
5:00 - 6:00 Old-time jam and sing-along - participatory fun, led by Sandy Hofferth of Backstep Cindy.

Room 122 - Storytelling

Programmed by Tim Livengood.  This year the storytellers are remembering Bob Rovinsky. 

noon - 12:30 Tim Livengood   Flying Things
12:30 - 1:00  Bill Mayhew 
1:00 - 1:30 Barbara Effron  Fly High with Imagination with Stories of Courage and Wisdom
1:30 - 2:00 Jane Dorfman  
2:00 - 2:30 Laura J. Bobrow  Jewish Wonder Stories
2:30 - 3:00 Miriam Nadel  Sholem Aleichem
3:00 - 3:30 Twinbrook Tellers  The Next Generation 
3:30 - 4:00 Marc Young
4:00 - 4:30 Noa Baum  
4:30 - 5:00 Margaret Chatham  The Foolish Man
5:00 - 5:30 Jennifer Hine  Gratitude           
5:30 - 6:00 Participatory Audience Storyswap!!

Room 184 - Jams & Participatory Singing

Programmed by Charlie Baum and April Blum.

noon - 1:00 Percussion Workshop - Ron Goad leads "How to Accompany, using a Variety of Rhythms and Tempos."  Loaner washboards and hand drums will be available.
1:00 - 2:00 Gospel Sing - led by Kathie Mack
2:00 - 3:00 Suffrage Movement Songs -- From the mid-1800's through 1920, many woman's suffrage lyrics were composed to fit commonly known tunes. Steve Woodbury will lead this celebration of songs which were sung at meetings, at parades....and in jail.... to support women's right to vote.  
3:00 - 4:30 Archie's Barbershop - extra fine blues, led by local masters of this iconic musical style
4:30 - 6:00 Doo Wop Sing - bring your sha-na-nas and ramma lamma ding-dongs.  Hosted/led by Ron Davies and Roger Fields

In the evening

 7:30 - 10:30 An English Country Dance in the Main Gym, with music by Diane Sorenson, Emily Aubrey, Jeff Steinberg, Tina Chancey and Robin Wilson, and  local ECD callers:  Anna Rain, Ann Fallon, April Blum and Kappy Laning. 

Likely dances will be:  Old Wife Behind the Fire; Barbarini's Tambourine, Flying Sorceress, Turning by Threes, Bellamira, Sapphire Sea, Softly Good Tummas, Turn of the Tide, Mile of Smiles, Mrs. Hill's Dance, Elizabeth, and Leslie's Valentine. 

 7:30 - 10:30 A concert in the Cafeteria with old-time music by Bill Mansfield and Chris Romaine; Czech protest songs from The Yehla Collective; and charming Irish music from Brian ÓhAirt and friends. 

Upcoming events

  • 01 Feb 2020 12:00 PM Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Rd, Takoma Park, MD 20912

Copyright 2018 The Folklore Society of Greater Washington

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software