morgantownmapOctober 21-25, 2015

A Wealth of Musicians

To celebrate CDSS’s Centennial next year, we’re going on the road! Each Tour stop will be a community residency, an opportunity for each participating group to use its existing strengths to focus on their long term resilience and growth, create a “pipeline” of new talent, or reach out to new audiences. We are thrilled and excited to be going to Morgantown, WV.


Morgantown Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance (FOOTMAD) is honored and excited to be part of the CDSS Tour. Based in Morgantown, West Virginia, we are a group of enthusiastic volunteers who has been promoting traditional music and dance in north-central West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania since the 1970s. Morgantown is a rapidly growing university city nestled in the hills of Appalachia, where the music and dance tradition is rich and strong. Morgantown FOOTMAD hosts dances, mostly square and contra dances, on the second Saturday of every month during the school term. Its dances are family oriented, with dancers of variable experience ranging in age from 8 to 80 years! Each year West Virginia University students play a large role in bringing a new enthusiasm to their dances and music sessions. They expose young people to the joy of square and contra dancing, and give international students a true Appalachian cultural experience. Although they know university students may leave the community after they graduate, FOOTMAD hopes they will spread the joy of music and dance in the next place they live.

morgantown 2Morgantown has a wealth of musicians playing traditional music and old time; Celtic and bluegrass jam sessions take place around town two to three times per week. FOOTMAD's goals for the Centennial Tour stop include growing their local traditional music and dance community and teaching people to start music and dance gatherings in their own communities beyond Morgantown. They feel they can achieve these goals by giving Tour workshop participants instruction on calling and playing for square and contra dances, as well as helping them with general organizing, promotion and execution of a regular dance in their own community.

morgantown 1In addition to its regularly scheduled dances, Morgantown FOOTMAD plans to host more dances, music workshops and house concerts in the future. Each year its local music and dance community sees new faces and, by offering more opportunities for involvement such as these Centennial Tour workshops, they expect to reach and retain more participants. During the process of planning for the Tour, FOOTMAD has unearthed and inspired ideas and plans from other like-minded groups in the community. This Tour Stop is a springboard to more participatory traditional music and dance events continuing beyond the workshops in October.

Staff for Morgantown:

Will Mentor — Divides time between Northern VT and Boston, MA. Will is a skilled caller of contras and squares, technically excellent; teaches Art at St. Michael’s College in Northern VT. He is adept and engaging as a teacher; uses his skill as a caller and teacher to serve the larger purpose of building community and connecting people that weren’t connected before; GREAT with new dancers. Plenty of web presence, but no personal website.

Leela Grace — Lives in Portland, OR; professional teacher of banjo, singing, and percussive dance, with a large studio of private students and group lessons; exceptional at communicating passion for the material, combined with teaching practical skills necessary to access the material.  Leela will be leading a workshop about the music/movement relationship specifically for musicians that don’t currently dance.  Leela’s website:

Max Newman — Lives in Boston, MA; professional dance musician (guitar/mandolin w/ Nor’easter and the Stringrays, and many others); thoughtful, engaging and fun as a workshop leader and teacher. Max is particularly fascinated by community dynamics, and dance community stagnation and growth, and is always willing to dig into issues big and small to help groups understand how to be at their best; he is an inspiring balance of intellect and heart. Max’s website

Karina Wilson — Lives in Santa Fe, NM. Karina is fantastic young fiddler of many styles; song leader, teacher of dance; equally comfortable on stage as a performer, and as a workshop leader and teacher; much more! Plenty of web presence, but no personal website.

Schedule information: