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NGI Recipient: Givens Parr

Session Attended: CDS Boston Centre - Swing into Summer (2016)

Thank you for sponsoring my first trip to Pinewoods. The camp was a sweet combination of all the ways the contra and folk scenes have been joys for me since I moved to New England four years ago. Pinewoods gave me a deeper understanding of how these traditions bind people together. Also the camp is gosh darn beautiful and it fixed my heart a little bit just to be there. The year behind me had been a difficult one, and it felt great to arrive at a place where I could swim in chilled waters, drink whisky with old pals, and meet new friends on the dance floor.

Over the course of the weekend I felt like I was watching the process of community unfold. I had never gotten such a close look at what the folk traditions could mean for families, or for groups of kids growing up together, returning to a place year after year and seeing each other change. One of my cabin-mates had been coming to Pinewoods since she was a small child and had worked on the crew every summer for the past several years. I was moved to hear her talk about the role Pinewoods had played in her life. Many campers seemed to have an extra home in Pinewoods, and some to be building that for their small children or even for their first-time-camper pals. I am grateful that my friends from the greater dance community encouraged me to go to the camp and to find a home place there.

Where else could I have witnessed morris dancing and rapper in full glory? Drifted from sweaty contra spins to drinking wine and listening to French folk songs? Learned to juggle from circus-inclined pals who spent spare hours pedaling through the forest on unicycles? All this and I slept and and ate well, and laughed. Can’t ask for much more. Thanks for the time to celebrate people and the joy we can have together. I’m feeling sappy and I like it.