Labor Day Weekend at Pinewoods Camp

2023 Staff

Sue Rosen (leader, American dance)

  • A leading caller of contras, squares, English country dance, and family dance programs, Sue Rosen has been actively calling for over 30 years in the Boston area, across the country, and overseas. She has built a collection of great dances and has written contras that have become part of the standard repertoire of dance callers across the contradance world. Her speedy and encouraging walk-throughs will have you cruising through dance after wonderful dance.

Bruce Hamilton (leader, English dance)

  • Bruce Hamilton is a well-respected teacher of English country dancing with 50 years’ experience. He has launched classes, trained teachers, coached performing groups and adjudicated festivals. A retired research scientist, Bruce is always looking for new ways to understand and present ideas. He tries to weave many threads besides technique and choreography into his lessons. Music, sociability and physiology are his current favorites. People often say they come away with things to think about and ways to grow. His weekend teacher’s class also draws high praise. Bruce lives in Menlo Park, California with his wife Jo and as many dogs and cats as her rescue operation happens to have on hand. He runs a biweekly English dance class, and is a past president of the Country Dance and Song Society.

Marcie Van Cleave (leader, International dance)

  • Queen of the Lesnoto dance and Empress of the perfect Margarita (salt on the rocks of course), Marcie Van Cleave was crowned Executive Director of the Folk Arts Center in 1988 and has graced us with her charm as a dance instructor for even longer. With her laugh heard from across the Pinewoods camp, it is rumored that the trees surrounding the paths vibrate all year round with her resonance. They have even grown twice the speed as normal because of it. When the world came crashing to a hault in 2020, Marcie didn't skip a beat in her grapevine step and immediately started providing online presentations and dance instructors to every corner of the earth. (Antartica anyone?) She continues to this day to roll up her rug (once owned by King Louis IV) and dance for all the world to see. Marcie Van Cleave is a sight and power to behold and we can only be so lucky to have her eminence bestowed upon us at Pinewoods at Labor Day!
           -by Audrey Jaber

Audrey Jaber (fiddle, music coordinator)

  • The mere words of mortals do not do justice to the personage known as Audrey Jaber. We must look to the heavens for evidence of her affect on people, dancing, and camp sessions. The sun itself is envious at the energy Audrey exudes while she plays her fiddle for dancing, and finds itself paling in comparison. And the stars above us don’t just produce light, they reflect it, too. This phenomenon was discovered when scientists measured the luminosity of the stars in Audrey’s orbit and found their magnitude was off the charts. Finally, if you look closely, you will find that the Man in the Moon is smiling more broadly over the waters of Long Pond because Audrey is in residence at camp! The magic of Audrey. It’s a thing.
           -Marcie Van Cleave

Vince O’Donnell (fiddle, music coordinator)

  • Vince O’Donnell plays fiddle for English, Contra and Scottish dancing. He discovered country dance music in 1965, through Dudley Laufman and the Canterbury Country Orchestra, with whom he still plays. A former jazz guitar player, Vince loves ensemble interaction, harmonizing and improvising, along with the challenge of keeping all of that reasonably within traditional bounds and making it fun for the dancers. Every once in a while, he manages to compose a tune, and he supports outreach to new musicians, both adults and children. He serves on the NEFFA Board, and was a founding director of the Dance Musicians Development Fund of the Folk Arts Center of New England.

Alex Cumming (accordion, piano)

  • Alex Cumming is a traditional singer, accordionist, pianist, dance caller, teacher, and workshop leader, hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Brattleboro, VT. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence.
    Along with solo performances and calling work, Alex is a member of award winning a Capella quartet The Teacups, Fiddle and Accordion duo Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley, transatlantic trio Bellwether and various high energy dance bands.

Ben Jaber (pipes, flute, tin whistle)

  • Benjamin Jaber has been obsessed with Irish Traditional Music since his early teens, after being introduced to recordings of the great master Irish pipers. He is completely self-taught on the Irish uilleann pipes, wooden flute and tin whistle, and has been making a name for himself as a piper in recent years over several visits to Ireland, performing, teaching, and recording. In his ‘normal’ life, Mr. Jaber is also an accomplished and successful French Horn player, and has been Principal Horn of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra since 2008. He remains active as a freelancer in the recording studios of Los Angeles with many film, TV and video game projects to his credit.

McKinley James (cello)

  • McKinley lives in Montreal, Canada and is an active performer and teacher in both classical and traditional music. She soloed with the Filarmónica del Café in Colombia in 2022 and the Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017. She is a founding member of the celtic band Night Tree, which was named New England Conservatory’s Honors Ensemble for 2016-2017 and toured throughout the U.S. Night Tree released their debut album in 2017 and toured in Europe in 2018. She has taught and played at and camps festivals including Fiddle Hell, Maine Fiddle Camp, Adirondack Dance Weekend, and Pinewoods. McKinley studied at the New England Conservatory for her Bachelor’s Degree and McGill University for her master's degree.

Debby Knight (piano)

  • Debby Knight grew up playing classical piano and working with numerous ensembles throughout high school and college. After discovering contra dancing in the early 1980’s, she fell in love with traditional music and began attending music camps, focusing on dance piano of various styles, as well as learning to play the fiddle. Since then, Debby has played regularly for dances and events throughout New England and around the country. She especially enjoys working with larger ensembles that provide opportunities for players of various experience levels to play for dances, whether directing Roaring Jelly, the Carlisle band, or the occasional BIDA Open Band.

Jean Monroe (piano)

  • A classically-trained pianist, Jean has played for English, contra, vintage, and ritual dancers in the Northeast and beyond for the past 15 years. She enjoys adding hand-percussion and melodica riffs to dance accompaniment. When not at a dance she can be found playing ragtime for steampunks, or singing anything choral.

Julia Poirier (strings, frets)

  • Julia Poirier has been providing live music for dancing for nearly 3 decades. She sings and plays things with strings and frets, and is a member of several Boston-area dance bands, among them The All-Girl Band, the Goat Bands, The Pinewoods Band, The Flying Squirrel Orchestra, and the Pixton-Poirier Trio. Her current fixations (aside from music) include turning her back yard into a pollinator haven, losing the Covid Forty Pounds (which somehow began accumulating long before the pandemic actually hit), and finding the time to write her job description so that she can retire.

Bruce Rosen (piano, guitar)

  • Bruce has been part of Boston's contra and English country dance community since the mid-70s as a dancer and musician. His rock solid piano and guitar accompaniment is sought after by many of New England's best contra dance musicians. Bruce also plays piano for English country dancing, appearing frequently in Jamaica Plain (MA), as well as other New England venues. As part of Boston’s traditional music scene, he plays guitar at Irish sessions and in performance with the West Newton Ceili Band, and drives the rhythm at Old Time music jams on the banjo ukulele. In the early 90s, Bruce took up the button accordion, and has played for the Pinewoods Morris Men, Ha’Penny Morris, and the Commonwealth Morris Men. Bruce has collaborated on four recordings of New England contra dance music.

Brian Wilson (fiddle, clarinet)

  • Brian Wilson has been playing for international folk dances in the Boston area for more than thirty years, as a member of Flying Tomatoes, Pinewoods Band, Shining Moon, and the Flying Squirrel Orchestra. He is equally versatile on fiddle and clarinet, but also enjoys singing and playing a variety of other instruments. He particularly loves to play Hardanger fiddle or nyckelharpa for Scandinavian dancing when the opportunity arises.

Patrick Yacono (clarinet, piano, wind)

  • Patrick Yacono has been playing for international folk dances since the early 90's, mostly on clarinet, piano, and assorted Bulgarian wind instruments. He is a member of several bands, including Zdravets, the Pinewoods Band, Shining Moon, and the Flying Squirrel Orchestra, and has been playing international folkdance music at Labor Day camp since 2009.