Photo submitted – Musicians are invited to rehearsals for the TAUNY Community Contra Dance Band with Gretchen Koehler Saturday mornings February 2, February 23, March 9, and March 16 in preparation for the March 29 Community Contra Dance at The TAUNY Center.

TAUNY invites local musicians who have a strong sense rhythm and are comfortable playing their acoustic melody or chording instruments to join Gretchen Koehler and The Madstop Fiddlers to form a community Contra Dance Band for a dance at The TAUNY Center on Friday, March 29. Rehearsals for this band are Saturday mornings February 2, February 23, March 9, and March 16 at The TAUNY Center in Canton. Tuning, warm-up, and informal jamming from 10:00-10:30 am. Rehearsal will begin promptly at 10:30 am-noon.

The four rehearsals will be run as workshops, each offering specific “dance band techniques” (alternate chords, Quebec foot percussion, harmonies, etc.) and how to connect the music directly to the dance formations. Musicians will be given what they need to work on tunes at home including sheet music, chord charts, and a CD of the tunes played slowly/full dance tempo. Attendance at all four rehearsals is not required, but highly recommended. Each of the four rehearsals will cover different tunes and specific arrangements. At the dance, players will perform on whichever of the tune arrangements they have learned at rehearsals, and are welcome to join the dance or just listen in on others.

Musicians will need to bring their instrument, a 1” three-ring binder, and a pencil to the rehearsals. A recording device is highly recommended. Chairs and music stands will be available in the TAUNY Center classroom (upstairs).

RSVP is requested to Gretchen Koehler at [email protected] for a list of tunes, a link to a sound file, and more info about the first rehearsal on February 2 and/or later rehearsals if you’re not able to attend the first one.

Fiddler Gretchen Koehler, a TAUNY Heritage Award recipient, grew up in Massachusetts, surrounded by New England contra dances. Over the years, she has played in a variety of contra dance bands (Frog Bridge, Moose Chowder, Some Assembly Required, The Dance Flurry’s All Star Roots Band, Koehler & Kelly) and has taught numerous workshops/masterclasses for musicians interested in learning the nuances of dance music. As part of a year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the North Country Heritage Awards, TAUNY is pleased to offer this opportunity to work closely with a Heritage Award recipient in helping carry on the interconnected North Country traditions of old-time fiddle music and social dancing.

The TAUNY Center is located at 53 Main Street, Downtown Canton, NY. TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people understand and appreciate the folk traditions and local culture of everyday life–present and past–in the North Country. To do so, TAUNY seeks to research and preserve a record of diverse groups, customs and traditions; to recognize and empower traditional arts and artists; to identify and promote regional identity; and to provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about folklore and culture. More information is available at