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NGI Recipient: Fiona Rogers

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - Harmony of Song & Dance (2017)

Thank You CDSS and Pinewoods!

I attended the CDSS Harmony of Song and Dance Week at Pinewoods, and I never stopped talking about it. To everyone. Ask anybody I’ve seen in the past month – from the cashier at Stop & Shop to my friends and family – they all know every wonderful thing about that week. I have taught music from that week to my friends and family and continue to send links to songs I learned at Harmony Week to everyone I know because the music has become so special to me. I have also discovered music by some of the musicians I met at camp that I found out I love and can’t stop listening to! I ended up buying a CD at camp and will be buying more from the talented people I met. I have been teaching some of the moves and techniques I learned from the dance workshops to my friends, and now can swing dance with a friend who has long needed a partner! I also wowed my local contra scene with my slick new moves when I got home.

There were many, but some of my favorite moments were: 1) simply hanging out with some of the most talented musicians and dancers in the country/world. I had breakfast with Alex Cumming and his adorable son, contra danced with the one and only John Roberts, and went swimming with Nicholas Williams and his family. Just being around these greats was an honor, let alone being taught by them, and they were all so humble and kind. 2) The beautiful setting of the Pinewoods camp – thanks to PCI. The camp rests in a nook between two sparkling clear ponds, nestled in under the pines. The cabins are roomy and quite comfortable, the facilities are clean, and the food, well, let’s just say it’s worth going just for the food. 3) I made tons of connections with the other campers. I had a huge amount in common with all of them, and had met quite a few of them at other folk-related events or had heard their names in the folk community. I was with the best group of people I could imagine-weird folk dancers and crazy singers-but they were the best, most interesting, warmest and most welcoming bunch to a new person such as myself. I was challenged a little by the prospect of spending a week with people I didn’t know, but in under a day I had made connections with people and felt comfortable enough to open up to other strangers whom I soon realized were just as amazing, and allowed myself to let go of my inhibitions and throw myself into the dancing and singing.

I would say that Harmony Week was the highlight of my summer. Without the scholarship, I certainly wouldn’t have gone or had instilled in me a new love and appreciation for the folk community and the lovely, talented members Pinewoods and CDSS introduced me to. I owe it all to Linda Henry and the NGI scholarship program for making my summer the best one yet and letting me have so much fun at camp! This is a wonderful program and I would encourage anyone who can to absolutely take advantage of it! See you all at Pinewoods!