Gillian has been teaching and performing sword dancing on both sides of the Atlantic since 2004. Hailing from the vigorous folk scene surrounding Boston, MA, she also indulges in morris, pub singing, percussive stepdance, and social dancing of many stripes. Her teaching has been described as “engaging, high energy, and accessible”. She currently leads Orion Longsword and dances with Candyrapper VSOP and Muddy River Morris. In her copious free time she enjoys social singing,
Rachel Bell is an accordion player, tunesmith, and music teacher based in Brattleboro, VT. She is in demand throughout the US and beyond for concerts, contra dances, English country dances, French dances, and workshops. She has spent nearly two decades exploring the wide range of sounds and moods of the accordion, always striving to connect with the audience, propel the dance, and evoke emotion. She draws her greatest inspiration from ensemble work with her bandmates Karen Axelrod,
Karen Axelrod is highly regarded for her creative piano playing at English, American and Scottish dance events around the country. She is in the band Foxfire, Alchemy with Eric Martin and Rachel Bell, and Peregrine Road with Rachel Bell. Karen plays accordion with 3rd String Trio, a band that plays old world cafe music. She also plays accordion for Orion Longsword. She loves the ensemble aspect of playing for dancing, as well as the close connection between what the musicians do and what the dancers do.
Julie Vallimont performs nationwide on piano and accordion for contra dances, English and Scottish dance, French bal folk, and concerts. She is known for her sensitive accompaniment, skill in matching the music to the dance, and music with heart. Drawing on teaching skills developed over fifteen years as a natural science educator, Julie enjoys leading workshops and teaching. She is also an experienced live sound engineer. When she has time, she makes crankies,
Hailing from Honolulu, Audrey Knuth moved to Boston in 2008 to attend Berklee College of Music and to explore the thriving New England folk scene. After graduating, Audrey has made a name for herself in the music community, as a dance fiddler and audio engineer. With her bands, The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers, Audacious (with Larry Unger) and Wake Up Robin, she has travelled across the US and Europe, playing for dances and concerts.