Local Hero: Mike Head

MikeHead copyEven though Mike Head has passed on to greater dance venues, his love of music and dance still pervades the Houston dance and music communities. He was one of the original musicians for the fledgling dances begun in 1980 when a couple of New Englanders (me) missed home too much. He continued the dances single-handedly for a few years (while I was busy with small children). He was among the 5 signers of the Articles of Incorporation when the Houston Area Traditional Dance Society was founded. He played with many contra bands over time, and started Contra Dan's Pick Up Band, the jam band that spawned many other groups.

He was one of our first callers. He also played with the Irish session occasionally, and he loved to sing. And he was a member of the original Houston Morris side, Men of Houston, and later the Houston mixed-side Shambles, accompanying us both as a dancer and as a musician to a few ales and countless pub crawls. He got very interested in English Country Dance, and began a group in Houston, facilitated by Joseph Pimentel for the years he and Fred lived here. He even served on the CDSS Board, and hosted a Traveling Exec meeting in his personal dance hall.

On the side, he parented three kids, 5 step-kids, and a passel of grands with his second wife Alice who remains a key cog in the HATDS organization, especially where great food is required. His death in 2012 left a big hole in the community, and we remember him with smiles every time we gather. He is one of the cornerstones of the Houston dance and music community. Like all of us, Mike was only one person – but he sure had a multi-faceted musical personality that brought people together to enjoy participatory arts.

- Submitted by Dorcas Hand