Brad Foster has been teaching and playing for country dancing for 35 years, starting with performances and gatherings in high school. He travels extensively, giving workshops and teaching throughout the U.S., Canada and overseas. Brad is a frequent staff member at CDSS programs at Pinewoods Camp, Ogontz and Buffalo Gap, plus the Berea Christmas Country Dance School and at the John C. Campbell Folk School. He has taught at Mendocino, Augusta, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Lady of the Lake, NEFFA, the Dance Flurry, St. Croix and many other venues in the U.S., as well as leading workshops in the Czech Republic, Belguim, Denmark and Canada. Brad is the Executive and Artistic Director of CDSS, a post he has held for 20 years. He has produced or been involved in the production of a number of CDSS recordings with Chuck Ward, Marshall Barron, Grace Feldman and others. He co-founded the Mendocino Country Dance English and American dance weeks and was a founding director of the Bay Area Country Dance Society. Brad plays piano, accordion and concertina for country dances.
Brad contributed these memories of his early dance experiences in California: "I discovered folkdancing in 1968 as a junior high student in Pasadena, California. Lydee Scudder and others got me involved in folkdancing, and later, English and American country dance; I've been dancing and calling ever since. I met Chuck Ward when he came to southern California to play for Mary Judson's English country dance group. Mary taught me one key point: dancing is fun! I've been trying to share the joy of dance ever since. While in Santa Cruz in the early 1970's I traveled as often as possible to Chuck's dances in San Francisco and later Berkeley, and to every weekend I could get to. In 1975 I moved to Berkeley and took over the teaching of the group there. At that time we were the English Folk Dance Society of San Francisco; later we changed into the Bay Area Country Dance Society. This year's ball will be a wonderful reunion for me, meeting old friends Lydee and Chuck, plus many new friends, and coming back to the Bay Area with my wife Barbara Russell and new baby Violeta."
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. Lydee and Brad were ready for English country dance when Mary Judson transplanted it to L.A. in the late sixties and were soon performing at Rennaissance 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 again for our second North Bay ball.
Besides being the programmer for the BACDS Wednesday Night English Country Dance series, Charlie Hancock has done it all. Often seen with the Contrabandits, he has appeared at numerous camps and festivals playing piano and accordion. His infusion of high energy and equal facility in accompanying English Country, contras, and ritual dancing, make him a special addition to any event. He also suffers from being an incredible friendly and nice guy.
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 Bay Area 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.
After many years as a studio musician in North Hollywood, where he played in various rock, punk, and blues bands, Robert Hill moved north in space and back in musical time to play with the Merrie Pryanksters at the Rennaisance Faire. For the last decade, this versatile musician has supplied the musical energy for nearly every Morris team to be found in the Bay Area, not to mention Irish, Scottish and English dances. With Bedlam Derby, Robert is featured on mandolin and bazouki.
Paul Kostka has played with the Nonesuch ECD Band for English Country Dances
in Palo Alto for the last 10 years. Before that, he danced with the
Merrie Pryanksters at the Northern Ren Faire. He also plays with the
Divertimento Dance Orchestra for English and Vintage dances, and heads up
the band: "Cooking With Turf", for Irish Set and Ceili. His checkered
musical past includes stints with Fool's Choice Morris, Plaid Attitude
(RSCDS), and Nordahl Grieg Spelemannslag. He may often be found teaching
Beginning Button Accordion or Pennywhistle at the San Francisco Free Folk
Festival each June (www.sffolkfest.org). Paul joins Bedlam Derby with accordian and woodwinds .
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.
Duncan Mackintosh has been playing fiddle for Scottish country dance 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.
Last modified 4/24/03 by MRB webmaster