Linda and Ron NiemanLocal Heroes: Linda and Ron Nieman

Where do I start? Our Phoenix dance community would not exist without these two - and their many friends. These two established this community over 30 years ago and have been the heart and soul of the community as well as the brains behind the operations. Their influence has reached to all parts of Arizona and beyond, indefatigably fighting to keep old time dance and music alive and well in this state.

Linda and Ron NiemanYou will not find two more generous people. Their talents are honestly too many to list here, but I will mention a few. They have opened their house to thousands (very likely, well, at least hundreds) of musicians and dancers. Once upon a time their home was known as the House for Waywierd Musicians. Ron played the hammer dulcimer for years before becoming an expert and invaluable sound technician/artist. Linda continues to delight audiences with her keyboard playing. When she isn't playing in the band, she lights up the dance floor with her smile and twirls.

Potlucks, board meetings, house concerts, band practices, and music jams are regular events at their home. They never seem to tire and I have never known them to turn anyone away. "We only have two rules," Ron was fond of telling newcomers. "There's to be no talk of your work or occupation, and leave your sensibilities at the door." These rules created an exceptionally warm and inviting environment. You never had to worry if you were unemployed because no one cared. You were welcome for who you were and for whatever way you wished to be a part, and thus contribute to the vitality, of our music and dance community/family.

I mentioned their "many friends" because perhaps their greatest talent, as a couple, is attracting people who resonate with and reflect their generosity and kindness of spirit. Every life they have touched has been positively transformed for having known them.

    - Submitted by Judy Zeidel