GCD is sponsoring a *lot* of great musical happenings between April & June!
Workshops with Rick Mohr, with Guest musician Chris Rua. A Slow Jam and a Musical Chairs night. And our annual Fish & Chips rehearsed open band. GCD Musician events are open to all musicians, all instruments, all levels of experience, except the Winds Workshop. Details below. We encourage all musicians to take part!
Workshop: Learn and Play by Ear
Led by Rick Mohr
Sunday, April 8th, 2:00 – 5:00pm
The world looks different without a music stand! Smiling dancers, bandmates, the sunset out the window. Join us to learn and play ECD tunes by ear, having fun and using skills you absolutely have but might not have developed.
Working with familiar and unfamiliar tunes we'll learn phrase-byphrase until we're playing together well, and then experiment with arrangements and (hopefully) playing for dancers. Playing from memory opens new avenues for "playing the dance" and for musical interactions with your bandmates. Even if you've never played without music you can totally do it, and enjoy the resulting altered state of playing.
Rick Mohr has played fiddle for 30 years in many styles. Rick also plays guitar, mandolin, concertina, button accordion, and tin whistle, and loves to sing. He has played for hundreds of English and contra dances, and is adept at helping people learn the joys of playing together by ear. Rick's website.
Three Opportunities to learn from
Chris Rua, Guest musician!
#1 Rhythm & Syncopation – That’s the True Foundation
Saturday, May 12th, 12:30 – 3:30pm
Callers are invited for first hour, which will explore your own connections to rhythm and pulse, and ways to communicate with musicians about the tempo and the "feel" of a dance.
#2 Winds Workshop
**for intermediate and advanced players**
Saturday, May 12th, 4:00 – 5:30pm
#3 Private Lessons with Chris Rua
Weekend of May 11-12
Contact Kathy soon if you would like to sign up for a time slot, as only a few are available.
Location for all 3 workshops:
Merion Friends Activities Building
Price: $20. $10 for GCD members, $15 for non-members who play on Wednesdays.
To sign up, and for more information:
ECD Slow Jam
Sunday, April 29th, 2:30 - 5:00pm
At the home of Liz Snowdon and Claude Epstein.
8508 Elliston Drive
Wyndmoor PA 19038 (use Glenside for GoogleMaps)
Musical Chairs Night is back!!
Wednesday, May 9th (sign up before April 25)
Not sure what musical chairs night is? It's a kind of open band, except that you get to play in smaller ensembles. Music for each of the 11 or 12 dances that night will be played by a different combination of musicians.
- Sign up by April 25th.
- Three or four melody instruments and one rhythm player (piano, guitar, bass, etc) will be randomly chosen for each tune.
- The list of who is playing each tune will be sent out before the Slow Jam so you can practice with your ensemble if you are all there (not required).
- Please arrive by 7:30 on May 9th in order to meet the musicians you're playing with, to set up and tune, etc.
- You're welcome to dance when you're not playing.
- Stay for the entire evening! The final waltz is really fun--the musicians spread out around the perimeter and the dancers hear different musicians as they waltz by.
Sign up by April 25th to participate in Musical Chairs
You can sign up for one or both categories
Fish & Chips, our rehearsed open band
Led by Bob Pasquarello
For all musicians who want to build their English Country Dance playing skills, and who enjoy playing in a larger ensemble. Open to all musicians, the ensemble meets several times to prepare for its annual GCD dance.
Fish & Chips Dates
First Rehearsal: Saturday, May 19th, 3:30-6:30pm
Location: Summit Church in Mt. Airy
Second Rehearsal: Sunday, June 3rd, 2:00 – 5:00pm
Location: Merion Friends Activities Building
Fish & Chips Tea Dance
Sunday, June 10th 2:00 – 5:00pm
Bob Pasquarello conducting, Joanna Reiner Wilkinson calling
Location: Summit Church in Mt. Airy Please bring a snack to share for Tea.
To sign up for Fish & Chips, and for more information, contact
Playing for Dancers: Our Vision
Germantown Country Dancers (GCD) is committed to fostering a vibrant community of English Country Dancing in the Delaware Valley. This works best when dancers, musicians and callers are fully committed to working together.
GCD offers a variety of workshops for dancers and musicians to achieve this goal, and also looks for other ways to nurture the development of local musicians.
We hope that our musicians will love playing for our English Country dancers and will join us as a dedicated and appreciated part of our dance community.
Each year GCD provides workshops for musicians. Our purpose is to give musicians an opportunity to learn more about the variety and uniqueness of English Country Dance music. Workshops also explore techniques to help musicians approach the English Country Dance repertoire and to provide great music for dancers. We invite well-known English Country Dance musicians to give workshops on playing for dancing. Past workshop leaders have included Jacqueline Schwab, Mary Lea, Barbara Greenberg, Bob Pasquarello and Kate Barnes.
Playing Music for our Wednesday dances
The Wednesday Music Committee engages musicians to play for Wednesday evening dances. If you are a skilled musician who is familiar with English Country Dance music, is able to maintain steady rhythms, and can play at dance tempo, you may apply with a band to play for a Wednesday dance. Musicians should also be comfortable playing the tunes on the GCD Repertoire List.
Open Band Opportunities
Three times a year for our Wednesday dances we invite both skilled musicians and those who are learning the English Country Dance music genre to play for an “Open Band.” The tune list is available ahead of time, and a rehearsal is often planned before the evening of the dance.
Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips provides another opportunity for musicians to work together on the skills needed to play English Country dance music. This rehearsed band, led by Bob Pasquarello, is open to all local musicians. The ensemble meets several times to prepare for an annual GCD dance.
If you have questions or suggestions about playing for Wednesdays, feel free to contact a member of the Wednesday Music Committee: (, Kirsten Erwin, and ). Questions about workshops? Contact who is responsible for GCD's Music Development.