5:00 pm - 6:30 pm - Learn To Call Square Dances workshop with Sue Hulsether (free admission)
7:30 pm - Flatfooting workshop led by Thomas Maupin assisted by Korey Posey and Ruth Alpert
8:00 pm - Square dancing begins, with three great fiddle-and-banjo bands: the Modock Rounders (West Virginia), the Earl White Stringband (Virginia) and the Squirrelly Stringband (Oakland) and two great callers, guest caller Sue Hulsether (Wisconsin) and our own Robin Fischer (Berkeley)
8:00 pm - In the back studio: song circle led by North Carolina ballad singer Donna Ray Norton, followed by jamming hosted by Echo Mountain
This event is part of the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention - for a complete listing of BOTMC activities, please visit www.BerkeleyOldTimeMusic.org
Thomas Maupin & Daniel Rothwell Band
Thomas Maupin, the most renowned Tennessee buck dancer of his generation, grew up on a farm in Eagleville, Tennessee, with nine brothers and sisters. All of them were self-taught buck dancers. His own dancing was most influenced by his older brother, Ollie, and his grandmother. Winner of state championships in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, and Indiana, and six-time winner of the National Old-Time Buck Dancing Championship, in 2017 Thomas Maupin received our nation’s highest honor for traditional music, the National Heritage Fellowship. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Thomas became a mainstay at music gatherings in the South. His precise musical timing and collaborative spirit made him favored among old-time string bands, who worked with him more in a symbiotic relationship than an accompanying one.
In the 2000s, Maupin began a musical partnership with his grandson Daniel Rothwell, an award-winning traditional banjo player who specializes in the style and spirit of Uncle Dave Macon. Playing fiddle will be Casy Meikle, who moved to Tennessee from his native California after finishing school and quickly immersed himself in the region’s rich string band tradition. He was a founding member of Hogslop String Band, with whom he performed from 2008-2016. Performances with Thomas and Daniel include Thomas’ 2017 acceptance of the NEA Heritage Fellowship Award at the Library of Congress. With them at the BOTMC will be guitarist Danny Rothwell (Thomas’ son-in-law and Daniel’s father), bassist Sharlene Hazelwood, and Kory Posey, winner of the 2012 National Old-Time Buck Dancing Championship.
Thomas Maupin & Daniel Rothwell Band appear at the Freight on Thurs Sept. 19. Thomas Maupin and Ruth Alpert will lead a flatfooting workshop led by from 7:30 to 8:00 at Ashkenaz on Sat Sept. 21. Daniel Rothwell will give a banjo workshop and Casy Meikle will give a fiddle workshop, both on Fri. Sept. 20.
The Modock Rounders are a traditional stringband from West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley.
Kim Johnson was born in Clendenin, WV, and has been playing clawhammer banjo since the 1970s when she was first captivated by the fiddling of Wilson Douglas, who then took her under his wing and taught her everything he knew. She has since had the honor of playing with and knowing some of the most highly influential West Virginia fiddlers of the last 40 years. Kim is a true American treasure and the Modock Rounder’s connection to a past generation of musicians that live on through her storytelling and lively banjo playing.
Jesse Pearson is an award-winning fiddler from Point Pleasant, WV, who learned to play from visits with local masters Bobby Taylor, Franklin George, John Morris, and Terry Vaughn, while also pouring over classic 78 rpm recordings and albums by The New Lost City Ramblers.
Cody Jordan, also an award-winning fiddler from Point Pleasant, WV, has been picking the guitar since before he and Jesse met in middle school and although neither of them grew up with old-time music, Cody now belts out traditional ballads and songs as if he’s known them his entire life. Being influenced by folks like Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz, Roscoe Holcomb, and Ralph Stanley.
The Modock Rounders will appear at the Freight on Fri Sept. 20, and will play for the square dance at Ashkenaz on Sat Sept. 21. On Sun. Sept. 22, Cody will give a singing workshop, Kim will give a banjo workshop, and Jesse will give a fiddle workshop. In addition, the Modock Rounders will take part in the panel discussion and jam session on Thurs. Sept. 19.
Earl White Band
Earl White was among the first black Americans to delve into the old-time music that was once an important part of rural black communities in the South. He started playing fiddle in 1975, as a founding member of the Green Grass Cloggers, college students from North Carolina who revolutionized clogging by combining older flatfooting styles with more modern “precision” clogging routines. A syncopated dance step that Earl invented during that time came to be known as "the Earl" and is still taught at clogging workshops. During his time in North Carolina, Earl spent long periods collecting fiddle tunes in the mountains, mostly from white fiddlers who at times credited black sources for some tunes and stylistic elements. Earl moved to Santa Cruz in the early twenty-first century to work as a pulmonary therapist. In 2016, Earl and his partner Adrienne (who plays guitar in the Earl White Band) moved to Floyd, Virginia where they have a bakery on a farm.
The Earl White Band will play at the Saturday night square dance at Ashkenaz. Earl will teach a fiddle workshop on Sun. Sept. 22, and he will participate in the panel discussion on Thurs. Sept. 19.
The Squirrelly Stringband’s first performance was at the BOTMC Stringband Contest in 2003; they won first place that year and the next. Since then they’ve performed at festivals, square dances, concerts, parties, corn shuckin’s and barn raisin’s. They are the house band for North Oakland’s First Friday square dance. The band is led by fiddler David Murray. Debbie Berne plays old-time clawhammer banjo and is known for her inimitable rhythmic style. Allegra Yellin is the guitarist of choice for any fiddler in the area that needs back-up for a square dance. Rachel Kraai plays a washtub bass of her own design with a “take no prisoners” attitude and a fistful of duct tape.
The Squirrelly Stringband will play at the Saturday night square dance at Ashkenaz.
This year's guest dance caller, Sue Hulsether, is equally at home calling dances in a dance hall, school, barn, or camp. Her dance repertoire, gathered from callers across the country, includes squares, contras, circles, longways sets, contras, play parties, and singing games. Following a career in music education, she has been working as a full-time caller since 2003 and is nationally known for her clear teaching, welcoming manner on the mic, and engaging humor. She shares her beautiful farm in the hills of southwestern Wisconsin with her husband Steve and a crew of friendly barn cats, traveling far and wide to call and dance, while still finding time for the local community square dance, hosting house parties and raising enough food to eat, give away and preserve for winter.
Sue Hulsether will call the Saturday night dance and the Sunday afternoon family dance, both at Ashkenaz. She will also lead a free callers workshop at Ashkenaz on Saturday at 5pm, and call a free square dance in the downtown Berkeley BART plaza on Friday 5pm-7pm.
Robin Fischer is a square dance caller, fiddler and music teacher who has called at the LA Old-time Social, Parkfield Bluegrass Festival, the Oakland Museum of California, and parties, family dances, weddings, music camps/festivals, and community dances up and down the West Coast. She is a regular caller at the twice monthly North Oakland Square Dance, which she helps organize. Robin plays fiddle in the Bearcat Stringband and teaches fiddle at Manning Music in Berkeley.
Robin Fischer will call the Saturday night dance at Ashkenaz.
Donna Ray Norton
Donna Ray Norton is an eighth-generation ballad singer, kin to Dellie Norton, Byard Ray, Sheila Kay Adams and other distinguished Madison County musicians. She grew up hearing her family’s music and stories at home, but didn’t fully appreciate her heritage until a senior project in high school led her to research her family’s ballad tradition, which led to learning the songs themselves. Donna has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival, Mars Hill University Heritage Day, and has toured as a featured performer with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, she received a Grammy nomination for her work on the “Big Bend Killing, The Appalachian Ballad Tradition”, a compilation which also included Sheila Kay Adams, Alice Gerrard, David Holt and Roseanne Cash. Donna made her first trip to the West Coast when she performed at the BOTMC in 2007; we are happy to welcome her back to Berkeley.
Donna Ray Norton appears at the Freight on Fri. Sept. 20. She will host a Song Circle in the back studio at Ashkenaz on Sat Sept 21, and she will give a ballad singing workshop on Sun. Sept 22. Donna also will participate in the panel discussion on Thurs. Sept. 19.
Echo Mountain includes fiddlers Kyle McNally and Jonathan Shifflett, Peter Linden on banjo, with Kelly Marie Martin and Ben Kramer trading off on bass and guitar. Individually, their musical journeys have spanned punk rock and jazz in places from Southern California to Alaska; along the way, each found their own inroad to traditional string band music. Echo Mountain plays for square dances in their home region of Los Angeles, and at festivals including the Grass Valley Fathers Day Festival, the LA Old Time Social, the Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention and the Carlsbad Music Festival. This band formed organically out of a love of the conviviality of jamming, so the easiest way to find them is to look for the big humming tune session!
Echo Mountain will play for the Friday early evening square dance at the downtown Berkeley BART plaza and lead a jam in the back studio at Ashkenaz on Saturday night.