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NGI Recipient: Laura Winslow

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - American Week (2011)

Thank you so very much for granting me the NGI Scholarship that allowed me to attend American Week 2011 at Pinewoods. As a music teacher, it is always amazing to see the results of community music and dancing, and this workshop was no exception. The week went by with astounding haste, but I am happy to say that I experienced many different things. I went to contra and square dancing workshops led by the fantastic Lisa Greenleaf and Cis Hinkle. We were lucky to be at Pinewoods during the Singing Squares callers course, and witnessed its participants’ great success. I learned a great deal about contra piano playing from Great Bear Trio’s Mama Bear, some of which will inform not only my playing for future contra dances but also my other musical endeavors. I especially enjoyed the community singing led by Nils Fredland. Singing with professionals, while engaging in its own right, can often get tiring – it is always refreshing to witness firsthand the transforming powers of community music. Nils is a great teacher.

It goes without saying that the dancing itself was fantastic at Pinewoods, as were all the organized activities. American Week left me with new friends, new experiences and a renewed dedication to continuing the tradition of contra dancing, particularly among my generation. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity that I could not have otherwise had. Thank you!