by Tim Swartz, Grange President (weith everyone’s help) April 29, 2022
Almost 200 dancers, callers and musicians on April 16th, a happy and friendly time had by all!
We were pleased to welcome a large crowd of happy folks to the first dance since March 7th, 2020. Everyone either pre-registered, including uploading proof of vaccination, or signed in and brought their proof with them. Everyone wore their well-fitting masks, too. We really appreciate everyone helping us all be safe by complying with our safety measures!
We are equally glad to report that nearly 2 weeks after the dance, we have had zero reports of any COVID-19 positive tests or illness. We are ready to move forward with more dances already on the schedule–see details below about bands and callers for May and June dances! I’ve included (above) a panorama of the dancers with 4 fiddlers playing together, part of the variety of combos orchestrated by bandleaders Pete Sutherland and Oliver Scanlon. And below, the very large “intro session” being led by Mary Wesley before 8:00, and the “chaos of callers” (named by Luke Donforth) assembled before the dance.
Everybody wants to know, how many people were there? We had a total of 194 people registered–including musicians, callers, sound techs (both also musicians!) and the Montpelier Contra Dance committee–we were there in force and enjoying ourselves too!
There were 5 full lines of dancers most of the evening, with 4 lines right up until the end at 11:00. 100% of the dancers were having fun, we’re pretty sure–even though we couldn’t see the smiles under the masks, the body language gave it away.
At the time that we usually do announcements, before the last contra dance of the first half, Montpelier Contra Dance committee member Alice Smolinsky stepped to the microphone to lead us in a remembrance of the dance community members whom we’ve lost–to COVID and to other causes–during the time when dances have been cancelled. We had an initial list, which Alice read, and then asked the crowd to please call out other names, so we could bring them all into the warmth of the dance and feel their presence. Much of the crowd sat down to take part in this, in an unhurried way.
MCD member Jody Pettersen is putting up a bulletin board, on which people can post photos (not too large, please!) and names of people who have passed away, so we can all keep them in our memories. Look for it at upcoming dances. We are a real community of friends, and the last couple of years have helped us all realize how much we all count on seeing each other every couple of weeks.
We used our payment scale for admission to the dance–but we had so many generous people come through that we were able to be extra generous with our payments to the musicians, callers and sound-folks. Everyone was clearly supportive and glad to have the dance happening again. We are committed to providing a $5 low-price option for kids, and for low-income folks, and the generosity of people who pay as “dance supporters” at the $20 level make that possible, while keeping the dance series financially stable. We are asking for adults who can to pay a standard $12 admission. I think everyone knows that the Montpelier Contra Dance committee is all-volunteer; all admissions support the callers, musicians and sound-folks, plus paying rent to the Grange.
May and June: who’s playing? who’s calling?
Music by: Aaron Marcus & Joanne Garton, aka “The Turning Stile”
Calling by: Will Mentor
Sound by: Peter Macfarlane
Music by: Dave Langford and Colin McCaffrey
Calling by: Luke Donforth
Sound by: Band (Colin}
Music by: Atlantic Crossing (Rick Klein, Viveka Fox & Peter Macfarlane)
Calling by: David Eisenstadter
Sound by: Band
Music by: Anna Patton, Kate Englesberg & Naomi Morse
Calling by: Nils Fredland
Sound by: TBDYou will notice a large preponderance of Vermont musicians! We are very happy to be able to start supporting the local musicians that have been hard-hit by the shut-down of dances and concerts (until recently). And we’re always impressed to realize how many really great musicians, callers and sound-folks there are in our small state.
Please check the website or Facebook page for the latest updates before you come to a dance, as we will be monitoring health statistics, CDC and VT Public Health recommendations, and adapting our health and safety requirements as conditions change.
COVID details for the next dances
Contra dancing is joyful and community oriented — and it always involves some risk. We are requiring that all dancers wear masks and be fully vaccinated to help keep our dance safer while COVID is still afoot. We ask for your help and cooperation with these extra safety measures. Based on the success of these precautions at our first dance, and the still-rising number of cases and hospitalizations in Vermont, we have decided to stick with these requirements for the next dances. Here are the details:
All dancers must wear well-fitting masks. We recommend N95s or KN95s. Bandanas or scarves do not qualify as well-fitting masks. We will have extra masks available at no cost for dancers who may need one. The caller and band members may or may not wear masks depending on their performance needs.
All dancers, musicians, and callers must be fully vaccinated against COVID (at least 2 shots of Pfizer or Moderna, or one shot of J&J). Everyone will be asked to show proof of vaccination when you pre-register, or when you enter — either your actual vaccine card or a photo of your card. To save time, we suggest pre-registering so that we have your name and vaccine proof ahead of time: forms.gle/W5psYUwPBCrjXLsHA. We will delete the photo of your vaccination card after we add you to our list of confirmed vaccinated dancers. Remember, once you are on the list, you will not need to show proof of vaccination for future dances. So if you came to the April 16th dance, we have you on the list! If not, pre-register if you can!
We will confirm that you are on the “already checked” list when you come to each dance, and that we have your email address. We will only use the contact info to get in touch with you if there is a confirmed COVID case following a dance, unless you give us permission to put you on our email list. Again, filling out the pre-registration form saves time: forms.gle/W5psYUwPBCrjXLsHA. If you test positive for COVID during the 3 days after the dance, please let us know by emailing email@example.com. We will keep your name anonymous but we do want to share news of any COVID exposure info with other dancers in the event of a positive test.
Ventilation & filtration
The Capital City Grange has improved the ventilation in the hall since 2020. This includes installing a new whole-room exhaust fan in the ceiling, which pulls fresh air in through the windows. At high speed, it will provide 8 air-changes per hour. You can expect the windows to be fully open, so dress accordingly. The Grange has also built and installed four Room Air Filter Boxes on each floor that circulate air and filter it to trap particles, including COVID aerosol-sized particles. These will be running on the lower level, as well as the exhaust fan in the Main Hall.
- If you have any COVID symptoms, please stay home.
- If you or someone in your household has tested positive for COVID in the last 10 days, please stay home.
Please wash your hands frequently. We want you to stay hydrated, but please keep your mask on when not drinking water. If you need a break from wearing a mask, please go outdoors (though be mindful to clean your shoes well before re-entering the hall to protect our beautiful floor!). Please be kind and gentle with one another as we navigate this transition back to dancing during the time of COVID.
What if things change?
The dance organizing team will revisit these requirements as COVID numbers shift. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that we may need to adapt what we’re doing to work with changing circumstances. Please check our Facebook page at facebook.com/
All the info for dancers:
$12 for adults
$5 for kids/low income
$20 for dance supporters
Gender-neutral role terms will be used.
Requirements for dancers:
Pre-register at: forms.gle/W5psYUwPBCrjXLsHA to save time. If not, you will need to bring proof of vaccination with you. We will have a couple of laptops available to fill out the form at the Hall.
Wear a well-fitting mask at all times. We recommend N95 or KN95s. Scarves and bandannas are not acceptable. We will have extra masks available at no cost.
Reminders: it’s been a long time!
Because we will be running the exhaust fan and opening windows for good ventilation, bring an extra layer in case of cool weather. For active dancing, wear light, comfortable clothing, and clean, soft-soled shoes.
Bring a water bottle, and refill at the water fountain/bottle filler.
We will supply stick-on name tags–we can’t remember everyone’s faces and names, especially when you’re wearing a mask!
The Grange is still in the same convenient location: for Google Maps or GPS, the address is 6612 VT-12, Berlin VT 05602. We’re easy to find, about 1 mile south of Montpelier.
Questions? Email Tim Swartz: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve added at least 70 people who asked to be added when they pre-registered; I’ll be happy to add others who didn’t get on the list–have your friends email me also. No information is shared or sold from this list! I email reminders about dances, notifications about dance info, and cancellations or changes.
In case you want even more dancing…
Here are a couple of dances this weekend:
Saturday, April 30
6pm to 9pm
LOCATION: Mann Hall, UVM
208 Colchester Ave., Burlington VT 05405
LIVE MUSIC by Pete Sutherland and Oliver Scanlon
CALLING by Luke Donforth
Admission: 0 to $5, pay what you can
Vaccination proof required
Masks highly encouraged
More info at: https://uvmbored.com/event/
Sunday, May 1
4pm to 6pm
Mills Riverside Park
open-sided, roofed pavilion w/concrete floor
338 VT-15, Jericho, VT
LIVE MUSIC (mostly acoustic): Carol Compton (keyboard), Sarah Babbitt Spaeth (viola), Will Patton (mandolin)
CALLER: Val Medve
$10, suggested (pay more or less, as you’re able). Your donation pays for the pavilion and the musicians.
Please reply with a photo of your vaccination card. If you’ve already emailed me your card THIS YEAR, no need to do so again — but please reply to confirm you plan to attend. email@example.com
Upcoming outdoor dances (Sundays, 4pm to 6pm): May 22; June 19 & 26; July 10 & 24 & 31; August 28, September 11 & 25.
For 2022 musician and caller lineups: https://
- Attendance: Fully vaccinated, pre-registration with proof of COVID-19 vaccination (attach photo of vaccination card, which will then be deleted). Dances may be publicized beyond this mailing list of (mostly) local dancers. Others welcome to attend with pre-registration and proof of vaccination to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dance space: Open-air pavilion (no walls) with roof overhead. Smooth concrete floor.
- Masks: NOT required, but please wear a mask if you feel more comfortable that way.
- Food & Drink: Bring your own FILLED water bottle(s) and your own snacks. There is no water source on-site.
- Trash: Carry out your own trash. No trash cans on-site.
- Bathrooms: On-site portolets in the parking lot, which is a few minutes’ walk from the dance venue/pavilion.
- Sanitation: Pump bottle hand sanitizer will be available.
- Weather Cancellation: Rain and wind could lead us to cancel the dance; we’d email you that morning if we need to cancel.
- Waiver: On-site, we ask that you read, complete, and sign a hardcopy waiver. If you’d like to see it beforehand, email Val (address above).
I don’t expect to routinely advertise other dances in this newsletter, but as dance series re-start these days, I’m listing these in this newsletter.