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As a member of CDSS, you'll receive the benefits listed below and join the more than 3,000 people who are supporting our dance and music community.

  • CDSS News — quarterly newsletter packed with interesting articles, tunes, dances,...
  • Group Directory — compilation of groups that sponsor dance and music events
  • Members' List — access to members' contact info via our web site (per their privacy preferences)
  • Camp priority — priority admission to our summer camp programs
  • Discount — 10% discount on items from the CDSS store
  • Voice — members have a voice in the governance of CDSS
  • Liability insurance — members are eligible for Callers' Liability Insurance
  • Free Fractured Atlas Associate Membership — Any CDSS member can become an Associate Member of Fractured Atlas for free and take advantage of the services they offer. Fractured Atlas is a nonprofit group that serves arts organizations nationwide. Services available to CDSS members include access to health insurance, online courses to help with fundraising, marketing and other business topics, access to their calendar, and special offers and discounts. Learn more about Fractured Atlas.
  • Children's Music Network, our new non-profit partner! The Children's Music Network celebrates the positive power of music in the lives of children by sharing songs, exchanging ideas, and creating community. Both organizations are excited about the opportunities that this partnership offers to all our members, and about our shared commitment to the value of participatory arts.

CDSS members can register for the CMN conferences and receive a $30 discount allowing you to register at the CMN Member rate. When you register enter the special PROMO Code: CDSS. That's easy! Additional, if you decide to become a member of CMN at that time, you would receive an additional $30 savings. Learn more about CMN and its members at


Your membership, at whatever level, provides critical support for our efforts to support traditional dance, music and song communities.You are welcome to define any household as a "family" if that seems true to you.

Three people singing to guitar accompanimentCDSS Song of the Month

Community and traditional song in the 21st century

Join us each month in song!

CDSS designated 2016 our Year of Song. We chose it for two reasons: to honor the start of Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles’ prolific folk song collecting in southern Appalachia (1916-1918), and to look at how song serves CDSS's mission. This examination also begins a cycle of focusing on one or two genres at a time, as we identify community needs and allow for better use of our resources.

Our Song of the Month feature has been so well received that we decided to make it a permanent part of the website. You'll find an archive of these songs below as well as new ones being posted in the months to come.

CDSS’s song traditions are based primarily in the English and Anglo-American traditions — folk songs, ballads, sea shanties, rounds, songs with choruses. We also include spirituals, work songs, country harmony, African call and response, shape note and gospel, contemporary a cappella, and new arrangements of traditional songs. Our special emphasis is on community singing.

Lorraine Hammond, CDSS Board member and Song Task Group Chair, spearheaded our Year of Song efforts and oversaw 2016’s song selections. Judy Cook took on that role in 2017 and continues to contribute each month, with help from Lorraine. Our thanks to them both.

Happy singing!

Note: Many of these old songs should be looked at as "fairy tales for adults" in that they often address very strong, and sometimes scary, subject matter. They allow us to deal with difficult situations and emotions with the distance afforded by putting it in a song. They are cautionary tales, and had their use as such.

Saro Lynch-ThomasonSaro Lynch-Thomason. Photo by Studio 828 Photography.

Songs that Speak

CDSS is pleased to support "Songs that Speak," a monthly YouTube series by Saro Lynch-Thomason. Learn about the history, folklore, and modern-day relevance of traditional songs, and sing along as Saro teaches each song through sing-and-repeat.

The CDSS News is published quarterly, with one issue per year only online. Below are articles and other material from the most recent issues. We hope you find it informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Please contact us if you have comments or questions.

To submit letters, articles, dances, tunes and songs for possible publication, send to Information about advertising is here. To receive the CDSS News in print as a benefit of CDSS membership, join here.

All material in the CDSS News is copyrighted by CDSS, the individual author or the original publication and may not be reproduced—other than for personal use—without permission. Views expressed represent those of the authors and not necessarily of CDSS.

Country Dance + Song Online

The Country Dancer Archives

Country Dance + Song Online

Country Dance and Song Archives

While so many of us are mourning the temporary loss of our favorite dance and song events, for thousands of callers, musicians, singers, and sound technicians, the cancelling of these events has resulted in a significant loss of work and income. We believe that our community is one of the best in the world at supporting its members; now is the time to lift each other up!

Let’s show these talented folks our love! Click on a link below to send some kindness, business, or funds to the callers, musicians, singers, and sound technicians who make our lives so sweet. And check out our growing calendar of online events!

(In case you’re wondering, we did look into the possibility of establishing a charitable relief fund, but the IRS would require that we implement needs assessments and maintain a lot of records, which would ultimately result in restrictions and limitations on the funds. By connecting donors directly to artists, we are able to reduce additional administrative burden on the artists, foster strong community connections, and keep the IRS happy! Plus, donating directly to an artist will get funds to them much faster!)

Freelancers are listed below in random order for fairness's sake.

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