Guitar / Banjo / Mandolin / Clarinet / Saxophone / Pennywhistle
Of the scores of musicians billed as “versatile,” Peter Davis may be most deserving of the accolade. Proficient on an astonishing variety of instruments, including clarinet, alto sax, 5-string, tenor , and (African style) gourd banjo, piano, guitar, mandolin, whistle, and Chinese hulu-si. Peter boasts an intuitive approach to all manner of traditional folk, blues, vintage pop and jazz forms.
He holds a Masters Degree in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University and taught in Malawi, Africa for 3 years with the U.S. Peace Corps. Peter performs as part of Jay Ungar and Molly Mason’s band at concerts and festivals, teaches at various Ashokan Music and Dance camps and and is the director of Ashokan Acoustic Guitar Camp. He appears on Jay and Molly’s Cds including “the Lover’s Waltz” and “Relax Your Mind.” and played with them in the house band of A Prairie Home Companion in the 1990s. Peter also plays with Annie and the Hedonists at concerts, festivals and swing dances. His other projects include, The Clayfoot Strutters, a “rocked out” contradance band from Vermont, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers – the “house band” at Saratoga Racecourse and the Whippersnappers.
Organizer of Traditional Dance and Music Events / Dance Caller & Recorder Player
Paul Rosenberg has been leading dances throughout the northeastern United States since 1986. In recent years, he has been one of the busiest callers in North America, working over 150 dance engagements a year. He is known for his gentle but energetic, encouraging style, concise teaching, and offbeat sense of humor.
The programs Paul presents consist of community dances from the Hudson Valley, United Kingdom, Appalachia, and New England, as well as international folk dances from more than 50 countries and African-American singing and playparty games. Paul loves teaching traditional dances to children (as a visiting arts educator) in elementary schools and leading novices in community dances at festivals, community celebrations, weddings, family reunions, birthday parties, family dances, Girl Scout dances, and other gatherings. Paul plays recorder and fiddle.
Paul gets his greatest satisfaction from enabling people who have never danced—especially the dance phobic—to not only get up and dance, but also to have a great time doing it and come back for more! Someone once said of his teaching skill, “Paul can even teach a three-legged stool to dance.” His enthusiasm for dance and empathy with novices comes from his avoidance-at-all-costs and terror of dancing—until he discovered contra dancing at age 30.
The other hat he wears is as an organizer. He founded and organized the Dance Flurry Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY for eighteen years; Fiddlers’ Tour, a weekly fiddle tune jam session in the Albany area; has been organizing a monthly family dance in Albany since 1994 and a community “barn” dance since 2012. He founded and served on the Board of Directors of DanceFlurry Organization, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the preservation, study, teaching, enjoyment, and continuing evolution of traditional dance.
Paul has recorded two CDs, Peel the Banana and Dance the World Around — with his band “Peter, Paul & George” — and written companion instruction books which present a sequence of dances from school residencies, family dances, and community celebrations.
Fiddler / Banjoist / Singer / Humorist
A talented, multi-instrumentalist and singer, George Wilson’s repertoire samples a wide variety of traditional and folk styles. As a fiddler, he has hundreds of tunes for dancing and listening — tunes from New England, Quebec, Cape Breton, Scotland, Ireland and Shetland. His dynamic fiddling, strongly influenced by Cape Breton and French Canadian styles, has been popular with contra dancers and concert-goers since the late 1970s.
Along with fiddling, George explores some of the roots of contemporary folk music by “visiting” some personalities of the past. Accompanying himself on the 5-string banjo, he sings songs of Uncle Dave Macon (of early Grand Ole Opry fame). He brings this colorful character to life through songs, stories and close representation of Uncle Dave’s energetic banjo styles and antics.
Another character George visits in concert is Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), the source of some of America’s best-loved folk songs. Leadbelly’s gutsy, bluesy songs are accompanied by accurate re-creations of the guitar style of this African-American songster and “King of the 12-string guitar.”
A concert may also include a song or two from popular World War I Scottish singer, Harry Lauder, an Adirondack song, an Irish harp tune on banjo, a few contemporary songs, and lots of fun, off-the-cuff commentary.
George has performed and recorded with the popular “Fennig’s All-Star String Band”, featuring Bill Spence on hammered dulcimer, since 1975. He has performed and recorded with the “Whippersnappers” (Wilson, Peter Davis and Frank Orsini) since 1976. He plays at contradances, festivals and dance camps on both coasts.