Julie Vallimont has been interviewing contra musicians for the Contra Pulse podcast over the past year – diving into their personal histories and exploring the growth and change of contra music and community over time.

In this special event, Julie will be hosting a panel discussion with four of the contra dance greats—Becky Tracy, Pete Sutherland, Rodney Miller, and Kate Barnes—about who their mentors and inspirations were, and how they’re mentoring and inspiring the next generation of contra musicians. We’ll hear stories from the early days of touring contra bands, learn how these musicians fell in love with their craft, and explore what tradition is and how it is (or isn’t) changing today.

Noah VanNorstrand and Julie VallimontJulie Vallimont is known for her driving piano style, skill in matching tunes to dances, and music with heart. Julie became known on the national contra scene with the beloved bands Nor’easter and Buddy System and is an in-demand pianist and accordionist in New England and nationwide, having played in many bands over the years. Her compelling, rhythmic piano style draws on her study of New England contra piano and traditional Quebecois, Irish, French, and Cape Breton music. A former classical pianist and organist, she fell in love with traditional music and dance in 2004 and since then has gone on to perform at numerous festivals and music camps.