Alex Sturbaum is a traditional musician based in Olympia, WA. Alex is a singer, songwriter, dance musician, and multi-instrumentalist, and performs across the country at festivals, contra dance weekends, and more. A versatile and engaging performer steeped in folk music from both sides of the Atlantic, they draw influences from Celtic, American, English, Canadian, and martime music to create something at once old and new. Alex’s performances are known for high energy and an instant rapport with audiences.
Jamie Bunce taught high school choir and music theory in New Jersey for thirteen years and is now a full time student, having moved to South Florida to pursue her DMA in choral conducting at the University of Miami. Prior to her move, she was also an Associate Director of the Princeton Girlchoir and an adjunct choral professor at Wagner College. She is a guest conductor, contemporary a cappella arranger, and clinician who has been featured in Chorus America for bringing early music into the high school choral classroom.
David Millstone has been teaching dance for 40+ years throughout the US and abroad. He’s known for clear instructions and a good sense of humor, both of which helped his career as an elementary school teacher. He fell in love with English country dance at Pinewoods in 1987 and he enjoys helping others discover the challenges and particular rewards of ECD. His dance history presentations illustrate how diverse country dance styles–contras, squares, and English–influence each other.
Kelsey Wells came into the world with her feet still, her mouth shut, and her eyes wide open. Since then, she has discovered the joys of old-time fiddling, folk dancing, storytelling, and various other traditional arts. Kelsey plays fiddle and banjo and currently performs in the contra dance bands Turnip the Beet and Silver Sail, with Vermont-based folk musician Brendan Taaffe, and as a musical accompanist for her ma, poet Kory Wells.
Jacqui Grennan’s stage presence is a blend of calmness and dynamism. She likes to call as if she was the host of a party, ensuring that everyone has a good time. She is a dance organizer, a choreographer of contra and ECD dances, and likes to play around and be creative in her craft. She travels frequently to dance and to call and can be spotted in airports playing the ukulele.
Renée Brachfeld is a professional storyteller and juggler, baker, long distance runner, glass artist, and cat lover. Her work has taken her from Anchorage to Miami, from London, England to Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Her performances combine the wonder of storytelling with the unbridled joy of juggling. Renee has taught many classes for both children and adults at CDSS and Lloyd Shaw dance camps. She is co-founder of The MultiFaith Storytelling Institute. Renee lives in Washington DC with her husband,
Jonathan Werk has played oboe with the Kanata Symphony Orchestra since 2007, when he joined as a way to continue playing music while studying engineering at university. Jonathan received his Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering in June 2011 from Carleton University, and in September 2012, he started a Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa, studying oboe with Charles Hamann. At the University of Ottawa, Jonathan has performed with the university’s wind ensemble, orchestra,
Diane Sutliff has worked in many art forms, from painting, drawing, and textiles, to costume construction, cigar box guitars, and Franken-fiddles. Right now, she is mostly focused on pottery and human potential. Since 1995 she has taught thousands of kids and adults to draw, both in public schools and at her own neighborhood art classes. She currently teaches pre-K through 8th grade artists at several schools in Chicago. She likes to give her students tips and tricks,
Sarah Babbitt Spaeth (viola, violin) is a classically-trained violist with a special interest in chamber music and small ensembles. She is an avid English dancer and loves the range of the ECD musical repertoire. Sarah is a resident of Burlington, VT and is also an accomplished fiber artist and sourdough baker.
Rachel Fifer was first introduced to contra dancing when her father dropped her on her head as a particularly wild neighbor swung him off balance. Gaye Fifer leapt dramatically off the stage, only to discover that baby Rachel was unharmed, yet would have a lifetime connection to contra dancing. Rachel has since sampled every dance and music style she could. She is fascinated by the history of our creative communities and the ways that we honor our roots by continuing to both remember our past and move towards intentional progress.