Bridgeport Choral & Dance Workshop Notes


Greater Bridgeport Chapter, American Guild of Organists
and the
Music Program, University of Bridgeport
a workshop for church musicians and music educators with
Peter & Mary Alice Amidon
Saturday, April 9, 2016 • 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
University of Bridgeport • Arnold Bernhard Center for the Arts & Humanities

Many thanks to Dottie Cameron and Frank Martignetti and others on the committee who worked to make this event possible, and to all the folks who came.  We had a wonderful time singing and dancing with you.

First some announcements, then the notes:

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MEET OUR BOYS & their ladies:

Stefan and Zara singing with the Starry Mountain Singers. Zara singing lead on the left, Stefan singing bass on the right.

Stefan on percussion/vocals and his wife (red head) Zara Bode with their band the Sweetback Sisters

Sam storytelling/singing

Sam fiddling

Sam’s wife Beth Orton (a cut from her yet-to-be-released album – Moon)

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My Heart is Ready – by Cindy Kallet * in Twenty-five Anthems and Online Choral Store. A Great song for instant group harmony singing.

Angels Hovering Round  in Fifty-five Anthems and Online Choral Store.
You do not need music for this. A soloist sings the first line of each verse and everyone joins in by ear in unison or harmony for the rest of each verse.

Climbing High Mountains– collected by Lucy Simpson * in our Online Choral Store

Fear Not the Pain– words by Rilke, music by Rachel Pollack Kroh * In Twenty-five Anthems and Online Choral Store.

Jesus Gave Me Water – from the 19th century gospel quartet tradition, * in Fifty-five Anthems and Online Choral Store.

Good Samaritan– by Peter Amidon * in our Online Choral Store

I Still Have joy – contemporary African American gospel. * in Fifty-five Anthems and Online Choral Store.

Take Me to the Water – traditional African American spiritual. * in our Online Choral Store

Bid You Goodnight – from the Bahamas  * in Fifty-five Anthems and Online Choral Store.

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Starburst (or “Accretian Reel”) – Challenge your students to do this dance without your calling; following on their own the phrasing of the music. Do a square dance after this dance by have each group of four find another group of four with which to make a square set.
A1: All walk around individually.
A2: gypsy and right elbow swing someone
B1: With that person walk around hand in hand.
B2: With another couple circle left and right.
A1: Start the sequence over again with a “balance” forward “Hello!” and back “Goodbye”, turning away from the circle of four as you move back and start walking alone around the floor.

Quartz Mountain Man in the Middle created by music teachers at an Amidon Oklahoma Arts Conference
Formation: Circle Mixer
Music: any reel. Try “Fancy Hornpipe” from New England Dancing Masters “Any Jig or Reel” CD.
A1: Circle left, circle right
A2: All forward & back
Gents only go forward, all clap 3X starting on 5th beat
jumping on 3rd clap: gents turn halfway round, ladies jump to right.
B1: dosido & right elbow turn new partner (or just long elbow swing)
B2: promenade new partner
    For music we used  In any circle mixer have all the dancers promenade and determine what to call the inside (traditionally ‘gent’) and the outside (traditionally ‘lady’) partners are called.  Peanut butter/jelly, spider/fly, moon/star, gent/lady.  Then I teach the “jump/clap” figure that everyone does.  You wind up by crouching and dropping arms low and back; the clap sort of launches you in the air.  The challenge is teaching the two different kinds of jumps that the gents and the ladies do at the same time.  I do a dosido/elbow swing with adults because adults get dizzy easier than children.  With children I just have them do a long right elbow swing with their new partner after the jump/clap.  I love the moment when all the dancers jump up at the same moment, and, when they land, are facing their new partner.

Bridge of Athlone  * in New England Dancing Masters (Andy Davis, Mary Alice Amidon, Mary Cay Brass, Peter Amidon) “Listen to the Mockingbird‘.
Formation: Longways set for 6-8 couples
Music: Reel de Rimouski (recorded on NEDM’s Any Jig or Reel CD) or Blarney Pilgrim (recorded on Listen to the Mockingbird CD) any 48 measure (AABBCC) tune.
A1 (16) All forward & back, clapping partners two hands on the fourth beat of the music in a “high ten”. (8)
All cross over to partner’s place, passing right shoulders.  (8)
A2 (16) All forward and back, clapping partners two hands on the fourth beat of the music in a “high ten”.  (8)
All cross back to original place, crossing right shoulders again.  (8)
B1 (16) First couple take two hands and sashay down the center.  (8)
Sashay back to the top of the set.  (8)
B2 (16) First couple cast off and all follow behind down the outside of the set.
It is wonderful if the dancers skip all the way through this figure. (16)
C1 (16) First couple make a two hand arch at the bottom of the set.  Other dancers  meet their partners below the arch, take one hand with partner, duck under  the arch, and walk back to place. All but the original first couple take two  hands and make arches, forming a long tunnel.  (16)
C2 (16) The original first lady goes up the center through the tunnel while first gent  goes up the outside of his side of the set (behind the gents line)  (8) Then the original first gent goes down the center through the tunnel while the first lady goes down the outside of her side of the set (behind the ladies’ line). Then all step back to place to prepare for the opening forward and back.  (If you want, you can have each couple go into a two hand swing (around and around and around) as soon as the gent has gone down through their arch.) (8)
Repeat the dance with the new top couple.
Here I am teaching it with some students to “Reel de Rimouski” from New England Dancing Masters’ “Any Jig or Reel

Durham Reel in NEDM’s Chimes of Dunkirk collection
longways for 6-9 couples
for music we used “Slow G” from “Sashay the Donut” CD.
This dance does not need to go exactly with the phrasing of the music.
Take hands in a circle and circle left and right.
Top (Lead) couple lead a cast off around outside.  Lead couple meet partner at bottom, take one hand, and promenade back to top; all others follow.
Lead couple lead 2nd cast off.
Lead couple hang on to partner’s hand and lead a promenade around to the left and back to place; all follow.  This is called ‘Coach and Horses’.
Lead couple lead ‘Coach and Horses’ promenade to the right and back to place.
All take hands along lines and at the bottom (but not the top) thus forming a semicircle.  Top two ladies (‘Queens’) make the Queen’s Arch, by raising their held hands.  Top gent (‘King’) lead the entire line through the Queen’s arch.  The top ‘Queen’ keeps her feet planted throughout; the second ‘Queen’ follows the rest under the arch, and changes her grip with the first ‘Queen’ as her hand twists around.
Top Queen lead lines through the King’s Arch, and back to place.

Circle Waltz Mixer – in NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut” collection.
We used ‘In Continental’ Waltz from the ‘Sashay’ CD  for the music. This is a wonderful dance for a wedding  where you can do it the original way we learned it, doing  a short waltz instead of the two hand turn.  It is helpful to have boys be “rocks” and girls be “twirlers” (or vice versa) to help keep track of who are the rocks and twirlers.  Here are some tips to for teaching this dance: Start by having everyone promenade. Tell all the inside (left hand) partners they are “rocks” and all the outside (right hand) partners they are “twirlers”. All look at partner and say “goodbye”. Rocks stay in place and keep their feet planted during the “twirl” figure. Carefully teach the first “twirl” each “Rock” does with their left hand neighbor, from left to right. Once the dancers get that twirl, the rest of the dance can go pretty smoothly.
Here are two Youtube tutorials for teaching and dancing the Circle Waltz Mixer:
Circle Waltz Mixer – Teaching
Circle Waltz Mixer – Dancing

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We had a wonderful time singing and dancing with you!


Peter (and Mary Alice)