Triangle Country Dancers and Sun Assembly English Dancers of NC’s Triangle region are proud to celebrate the Country Dance & Song Society’s 100th year with a weekend of dancing, singing, music and more Nov. 14 and 15 at Shared Visions Retreat Center (Murphey School) in Durham. It’s free to members of TCD, Sun Assembly or CDSS.

Centennial Celebration Schedule and Program

To see a PDF of the Celebration Program, click here.

Here’s an updated (11.12.15) schedule for the Celebration. It’s got something for anyone who likes to dance or sing or play music. There may be changes, so check back to stay on top of all that’s going to happen Nov. 14-15 at Shared Visions Retreat Center (Murphey School) in Durham.

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 — Times and locations at the center.

Dance Hall Yoga Studio Boardroom Outside/tent (weather permitting)
9-10 am Irish Set Dancing

Charlie Muse (guitar), Alison Arnold (flute), Gordon Arnold (cello), Trish Hornick (fiddle); Judith Muse, leader

Cecil Sharp Community Sing

Join your community in singing some of the old songs collected by Cecil Sharp in the Appalachian mountains 100 years ago. Catherine Shreve, leader.




10-11:30 am Country Contra Swirl

Learn more about the common roots of contra and English dancing.

Dean Herington (clarinet), Mara Shea (fiddle), Walt Robinson (recorder), Julie Gorka (piano), Cosi Long (fiddle); Pat Petersen and Jack Mitchell, leaders

Jam Session — Old Time

Ninian Beall (banjo), Amy Davis (guitar), Deb White (fiddle/guitar), Paul Mitchell (fiddle), Jon Newlin (fiddle), possibly more




11:45 am- 1:15 pm                        Lunch / Gathering / Demonstrations — including food trucks!

1:30-3 pm Square dancing

Ninian Beall (banjo), Amy Davis (guitar), Deb White (fiddle, guitar), Paul Mitchell (fiddle), Jon Newlin (fiddle)

Jam Session –Piedmont Blues

Tim Wells (guitar, harmonica), leader


Tyler Johnson, leader. He’ll be teaching a story workshop. This will be an interactive exploration on how to find and develop your own story.




3:15- 4:45 pm Community dance:

Eileen Regan (fiddle), Tim Smith (various), Hal Schnee (bass), Dean Herington (piano). Ruth Pershing, caller

Jam Session — Cape Breton:

Paul Fackler (fiddle), leader; Trish Hornick (fiddle), Julie Gorka (piano)

Singing –Ballads, Shanties, Pub Songs: 

Olivia Peachley, leader




5-7:30 pm                                    Pot-luck dinner, birthday party, cake

Celebration Dance — Contra and English dancing

8-8:30 pm     Open band — Musicians invited to join in! We’ll have sheet music for a couple of tunes. Please bring a music stand if you can.

8:35-10:30 pm: The Original Footloose Four: David DeGiuseppe, Ted Ehrhard, Dean Herington, Pete Campbell will perform Berea-style alternating contra and English country dances.

10:30-11 Ceildih dances, led by Pete Campbell

Sunday, Nov. 15

10-11:15 am Dance Hall

Couples dancing (mostly waltzes):

Dean Herington (clarinet), David DeGiuseppe (accordion), Ted Ehrhard (fiddle), Mara Shea (fiddle), Pete Campbell (piano)

Yoga Studio

Gospel sing

Ed Norman (leader), Jon Newlin, Amy Davis


Roots and Branches: History

Jim Kirkpatrick, Allan Troxler (facilitators)


Outside/tent (weather permitting)




11:30 am-12:45 pm English Country Dance

Joey O’Donnell (viola), Mara Shea (fiddle), Dean Herington (clarinet), Pete Campbell (piano); Pat Petersen, Gail Lacy, Leah Hefner will call.

Shape Note Singing

Kathy Kaiser, Lynda Hambourger (leaders)

Future Dreams, the Next 100 Years





12:45-2 pm                                                            Lunch — with food trucks!

2-5 pm  Dancing Through the Centuries: Tracing Dance from Playford to Rushfest. We’ll close out the celebration with contra, square and English Country Dancing, from their origins into the dancing of today. Included in the bands will be Triangle favorite Contrazz!


Century of Music and Dance Celebrated at Nov. 14-15 Weekend


Durham – A weekend of traditional dancing, live music, singing, workshops, demonstrations storytelling and more will be showcased at the Triangle CDSS Centennial Celebration on November 14 and 15 in Durham.

The celebration is in honor the 100th year of the nation’s leading traditional music organization, the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS). The event is sponsored by two local groups, the Triangle Country Dancers (TCD) and Sun Assembly English Dancers. It will especially highlight North Carolina’s role as a wellspring of traditional dance and music that continues to nourish the tradition while replenishing it with new sounds and steps.

The event will be held at the Shared Visions Retreat Center (also known as the Murphey School), 3717 Murphey School Rd., Durham, 27705.

The Triangle CDSS Centennial Celebration is free to members of CDSS, TCD or Sun Assembly. And kids under 12 get in free, too!

Memberships are available at any TCD or Sun Assembly event, and will be sold at the door at the Centennial Celebration. Note: Memberships must be purchased with cash or a valid check. Sorry, we can’t take credit cards or debit cards.

At the door, a membership in TCD, good through 2016, will cost $28. A yearly membership to Sun Assembly costs $20. Both memberships come with additional benefits. Contact CDSS (see below) for information on its memberships.

For nonmembers, a ticket for both days of the Centennial Celebration will go for $25. Individual tickets will cost $10 for the day Saturday; $10 for Saturday evening; and $10 for all day Sunday.

People do not have to be experienced dancers to take part: each dance will be taught before it starts. No special clothes or costumes are needed, though we prefer dancers wear soft-soled shoes. Nor do you need a partner: dancers regularly change partners during events, and it’s easy to find someone to dance with.

Leading into the weekend will be TCD’s and Sun Assembly’s regular dances.

Sun Assembly sponsors English country dancing at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays at the Freedman Center of Beth El Synagogue, at Watts and Green streets, in Durham. (The dances will be at Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill on Sept. 17 and 24.) The dance features live music twice a month – including on Nov. 12!

TCD holds monthly contra dances at the Carrboro Century Center on the second Fridays, and at the Reality Center in Durham on the fourth and fifth Fridays.

The dance on Nov. 13, right before the Centennial Celebration, will be one of the highlights of the year for traditional dance in the state. The music will be by New York-based Matuto, which blends the music of Brazil and Appalachia in a sound that has won raves from critics and crowds across the nation. Calling the dance will be local favorite Eileen Thorsos.

Saturday events begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 14 with workshops on Irish set dancing, English dance, square dancing, and a family dance. Other events during the day include music jams (including blues and Cape Breton jams), and more music, singing and jamming.

A potluck and a birthday celebration for CDSS will take place from 5 to 7 p.m.

From 8 to 11 p.m., top local musicians will play for a range of dances, including square, English and contra dances.

Sunday’s events begin at 10 a.m., and include couples dancing (mostly waltzes), gospel and Shape Note singing, looks at the history and future of traditional dancing, plus more music and jamming.

Lunch (12:45 to 2 p.m.) will be followed by a session of dancing through the centuries. Participants will sample dances — including contra, square and English dancing — from 1650s roots of English dancing to its modern descendents with pop music.

Other groups sponsor contra dances in the Triangle, and anyone who wants to sample contra dancing can check out a regional dance schedule at TCD’s website,

More about Triangle Country Dancers and other local contra dances can be found at Information about Sun Assembly is available at

Massachusetts-based CDSS today is an education and arts service nonprofit, promoting participatory dance, music and song rooted in both English and North American culture, including historical and modern contra, square and English country dance, Morris, sword and garland dance, English and American clogging, traditional songs, and the vibrant music which supports them. More information is available at

For further information, email