Lydee Scudder hit the dance floor at age 5 in Duke Millers Fitzwilliam, NH square dance and hasnt stopped since. Wherever she goes, she makes dances bloom. In her Pasadena high school, she persuaded the powers that be to let her teach folk dance as an alternative to PE, and planted the dance seed in young Brad Foster, now Director of CDSS. Lydee and Brad were ready for English country dance when Mary Judson transplanted it to L.A. in 1967 and were soon performing at Ren fairs. In 1970, Lydee moved to Berkeley, where she met Chuck Ward and pestered him to start the San Francisco English dance, which later migrated to Berkeley and grew into BACDS. She worked on the Playford Ball committee in its early years, chairing it twice before moving to Occidental. Finding Sonoma County barren of ECD, Lydee founded the Sebastopol English dance with Chuck Ward and Mark Carroll in 1996. She cultivated the new group as programmer and manager for three years before becoming the groups primary teacher as well. When not fomenting dances, Lydee works as a practitioner and self-help instructor of Jin Shin Jyutsu, an ancient Japanese art of balancing and harmonizing the dance of energy within the body. The Mad Robin Ball organizers are thrilled to feature our favorite teacher, loved by dancers and musicians alike for her no-nonsense, "let's get dancing" style, as programmer and caller for our first North Bay ball.
David Newitt arrived at Swarthmore College in the fall of 1976 and was shocked to discover that this pillar of higher education had a two year physical education requirement. Faced with the alternatives of being smashed to pieces on the football field and going to "folk and square dancing," the choice was clear, and he has been dancing ever since. Starting with international folk dancing, he was soon dragged into the local Scottish Country Dance group, the college morris and rapper sword team, and, when it started in 1978, the Kingsessing Morris team of Philadelphia. He came to Berkeley in 1982 to work on a Ph.D.in physics and to do country and display dancing. Since the dissolution of the One Shot Morris Team due to MIBS (Morris Induced Baby Syndrome) he has concentrated on country dancing in the Bay Area, teaching and playing music for regular Scottish and English dances, and calling contras and the occasional square dance. When not dancing, David takes pictures of people's insides, doing research in Magnetic Resonance Imaging at UCSF, specializing in body parts that start with "B." David is one of the most accomplished country dance teachers in the Bay Area, known particularly for his mastery of dance geography and his ability to make complicated dances seem simple. David's priorities can be guessed from the final acknowledgment in his dissertation, in which he thanks, "All my friends in various dance and music groups without whose continuing support I would undoubtedly have finished this dissertation several years earlier.
Jon Berger (fiddle) has played music for morris, English country, and contra dances since 1976. A former musician for Berkeley Morris, he now plays for Apple Tree Morris in Sebastopol, and in Flashpoint, a Santa Rosa-based contra dance band. He is well-known for his powerful music, and, while playing for morris, his ability to maintain a connection between the music, the dancers and the dance (not to mention his sense of humor, and grand singing voice). He is a regular musician at BayArea and North Bay English country dances. Jon is also a former member of Tempest, a Celtic rock band that plays for an entirely different style of dancing. In his spare time between gigs, Jon is a lawyer for a small software company. He lives in Sebastopol, California with his wife, famed morris dancer Kalia Kliban, and a sufficient number of cats.
Mark is one of the organizers of the Sebastopol English country dance and a regular band member. He has a background in classical piano (especially Chopin and Schubert) hopelessly muddled with a love of early music (wherein instruments with funny names and shapes make funny noises) and opera (wherein we hope singers with funny names and shapes don't). Blame the fortuitous appearance of an accordion at a garage sale on his playing of that venerable and much maligned instrument.
"The piano. Eighty-eight little mistakes waiting to happen." -- Peter Barnes
Daniel Reynolds is an extraordinary double bass player from Sonoma County. Since 1976, he has played locally with Martine Fiero, Norton Buffalo, Prince Lawsha, and various bands in the genres of Blues, Rock, Country and Western and Jazz, including stints with Ego Slaves, The Other Band, Blues Cruise, Jay Blue, Jeff McCracken, Anything Goes, and Quantum Pulse. Then he discovered English country dance music and went nuts. Since 1997 he has been playing regularly for English country, contra, and English Ceilidh dances
Chuck Ward has been on the country dance scene for more than forty years. He was keyboardist for the Berea College Country Dance Troupe in Kentucky and toured widely with this semiprofessional dance team. He has been on the staff of the Berea College Christmas School, John C. Campbell Folk School (North Carolina), Pinewoods Camp (Massachusetts), Mendocino International Folklore Camp (California), BACDS English Week (California), and numerous weekend camps throughout the United States including Alaska. He is co-founder of the Bay Area Country Dance Society and is heard on several recordings released through The Country Dance and Song Society.
Versatile dance pianist Rebecca King can be heard playing Irish music with Roxanne Marie and Scott Renfort, driving contra music with the Ladies' Chain Smokers (none of whom smoke), Scottish music at camp, and now English at the Sebastopol English dance. She may occasionally be found playing at pubs as well. By day, she teaches music at the Sonoma Valley schools. Rebecca was on the staff at BACDS Family Camp in 19969.
Duncan Mackintosh has been playing fiddle for Scottish Country Dancing since his youth in Scotland, where he toured with the Caledonian Casuals and the Kyle Laidlay Band. Duncan currently performs with the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers and with Wild Rose, a Scottish Country Dance Band. He is a recent convert to playing for contra dances and English country dancing.
In 1988, Avril founded and still directs The Festival Singers, an a cappella chamber group which performs Medieval and Renaissance music, especially English madrigals. She has also sung with the Sonoma County Bach Choir, the Love Choir, and the New Sufi Choir. In addition, Avril teaches adult and youth singing classes and gives private voice lessons. She believes that singing nourishes the individual body and soul, creating harmony in the community and peace in the world. When not singing, dancing, acting or teaching, Avril recruits executives for high-tech companies and serves job-seekers as a career coach.
Last modified 3/26/02 by MRB webmaster