CDSS Goes to Washington
Camp Scholarship Money Still Available
Next Web Chat: Family/Community Dance Organizers Unite! April 4th
Shop Talk Update
Lifetime Contribution Award Celebration for Sue Songer
CDSS Member Directory Returns
Spring 2019 CDSS News


lynnartsadvocacydayPHOTO: Some of the Massachusetts contingent at Arts Advocacy Day in DC - l to r - Emily Ruddock, MASSCreative; Lynn Nichols, CDSS; Cathy Edwards, New England Foundation for the Arts; Ann Wicks, New England Foundation for the Arts; and Rob Southworth, The Schoolworks Lab 

CDSS Goes to Washington... to advocate for funding for the participatory arts of dance, music, and song!

As members and friends of the Country Dance and Song Society, we know how integral the arts are to our own personal wellbeing. They are also essential to the social fabric of our society. But traditional dance, music, and song aren't top of mind for our legislators, the folks who control how the federal budget is spent. That’s why Lynn Nichols, CDSS’s Marketing & Design Manager, traveled to Washington, DC, on March 4 - 5 for Arts Advocacy Day. Sponsored by Americans for the Arts, this two-day annual event involves a day of advocacy training followed by a day of visits with legislators at the House and Senate office buildings on Capitol Hill.

At Arts Advocacy Day, Lynn learned that the entire US arts and culture sector (including nonprofit, commercial, and education) is a $764 billion dollar industry (!), which represents 4.2% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That said, when those who control the purse strings in Washington think of “the arts,” they usually think of the visual arts or performing arts. However the participatory arts should also be part of the conversation, because as dancers, singers, musicians, callers, dance organizers, and nonprofits involved in traditional dance, music, and song, we are keeping a flame alive, preserving and promoting our cultural heritage for generations to come.

In her meetings with legislators, Lynn stressed the health benefits of dance, music, and song, and advocated for continued funding for the NEA funding, which is distributed across the 50 states and is in turn granted to organizations like CDSS (we receive a Mass Cultural Council grant). In the meetings and followup emails, she invited legislators to come out to Western MA for a contra dance.

Lynn will follow up the DC experience by attending Creativity Connects: MassCreative’s Arts Advocacy Day in Boston on March 26th to make the case for the participatory arts to Massachusetts legislators. We are proud to be an active participant in this important work.


Camp Scholarship Money Still Available

2018 am wk pinewoods sarah hirschPhoto by Sarah Hirsch

CDSS offers scholarships to help YOU have a life-changing week at camp this summer! Check out these amazing experiences at our weeks for families and or adults. You can apply for a scholarship as part of the camp registration process. To learn more about scholarships, go to

NOTE: Scholarships are offered on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funds remain.



webchat smDo you know any organizers of dances that include young children and all ages? If so, please share this announcement about our next Web Chat on Thursday, April 4 from 8:30-9:30 pm EDT. Organizers of thriving family and community dances from far and wide will share their stories and advice, including time for Q&A.
To join the Web Chat (by computer of phone), go to to submit an online RSVP form by March 28. Several days prior to the Web Chat we’ll send instructions via email about how to join the call on April 4th. Even if you can’t join us on this date, send an RSVP to receive announcements about future Web Chats.
For recordings of previous Web Chats, check out this LINK to hear tried-and-true stories about Boosting Attendance, Creating a Thriving Open Band, and Increasing Youth Involvement. Questions? Contact Linda Henry:
Here are a couple of “take-aways” from previous Web Chat participants:
From the Increasing Youth Involvement Web Chat: “I'm going to see if I can invite college professors and high school teachers to our dances and perhaps they will tell their students about the dances.” Catie Condran Geist, Palm Bay, Florida
“The Creating a Thriving Open Band Web Chat reinforced what I really already knew: We need to have a spearheading person to start it and keep it going. I am more inspired to try and form an open band here now.” – Linda Nieman, Phoenix, Arizona


Shop Talk Update: Our E-News for Dance, Music, and Song Organizers!

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Last August, we launched a new quarterly e-blast for organizers. There have been three issues so far – all rich in new resources, listings of upcoming learning opportunities, and more. We encourage you to sign up for Shop Talk as it’s a great way to keep up-to-date on what CDSS is doing for local organizers throughout North America.

Sign up:

View past issues:

Highlights from the first three issues include….

Our new resource on facilitating organizer discussions:

Our new collection of inspiring print promotional material:

An introduction to our new organizers resource portal:


Lifetime Contribution Award Celebration for Sue Songer

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Folks from all over the country are coming to Portland, OR, in late March to celebrate and honor 2018 CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award recipient Sue Songer’s contributions to the dance and music community across the nation. Your presence is requested to help make this a celebration of the ages, worthy of songs, poems and stories told through the generations ‘till the end of time.

The event will be held from 4 - 11 pm March 30th, at the Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy in Portland, OR. Aside from the presentation of the Lifetime Contribution Award, there will be a potluck and tons of space for jamming and singing throughout the evening. An open band will be led and managed by Betsy Branch ( and tunes will be selected from the Portland Collection volumes. Please contact Betsy if you’d like to participate. Open calling will be managed by Erik Weberg (, so contact him if you’d like to call a dance and what dance/type of dance you have in mind. Please contact Betsy and/or Erik by March 15th about playing/calling so that plans and programs can be created. Sound engineering will be provided by John Oorthuys. Admission is free, but donations will be gladly accepted to offset costs of the event. For answers to questions (or to let them know you’re coming), write to: Betsy (, Erik (erik@erikweberg. com) or Marfa (


CDSS Member Directory Returns

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The much-missed CDSS Member Directory is back!

The searchable Online Directory is LIVE on The CDSS Commons and available now to logged in CDSS members. If you are a member, you should have received an email from us with your Commons username and instructions for how to log in. If you did not get that email, please contact and we will help you out. Please DO NOT create a new account as we already have you in our database and that will complicate things.

Once you’ve logged in to the Commons you can view the online directory. 

We realize, however, that some of you want to have a directory you can hold in your hands,  so we are currently preparing a print edition, which will be available for sale to members beginning in early March. We will send a link to all CDSS members with instructions for how to purchase. 

Questions? Contact us at or 413-203-5467 x103.



Spring 2019 CDSS News

CDSS News Spring 2019 CoverPhoto: Nikki HerbstThe Spring issue of the CDSS News has been mailed and articles and features are available on the website. It's a packed issue with ten articles, four columns, two dances (one contra, one English), and eleven pages of event ads.

All in all, it's a very interesting issue, and we're anxious to get your feedback. Send feedback to

Would you like a paper copy of the News? Join us as a Member!


Join CDSS. Join us on Facebook. Share with a Friend. Happy Spring to All!

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