Category Archives: Events

Music & Dance Weekend with Buddy System

Join Buddy System all weekend long for a great weekend of dance and music! Want to get in the dancing mood?! Take a listen to this great tune:

Friday: House concert, starting at 7:30pm at 207. S Aiken Ave. $20 suggested donation.

Saturday: Weekly contra dance at the Shiloh Center, 3832 Mintwood St. Pittsburgh, PA 15201 with Bronwyn Woods calling, 8:00-11:00pm, lesson at 7:30pm. ($7 Students, $10 General)

Sunday: Open Waltzing at the Wilkins School Community Center, 7604 Charleston. 2-4PM on Sunday. $10 donation.

Contra Dance at CMU with Bob Frederking calling, 5:30-8:30pm. $10 suggested donation.

NOAH VANNORSTRAND is known for his playing with The Great Bear Trio, one of the hottest and most influential dance bands in the country, as well as the Andrew and Noah Band and Giant Robot Dance. His driving rhythm, epic dynamics, creativity, and uniquely rocking style have given him a loyal following.

A versatile multi-instrumentalist and prolific composer, Noah most often plays fiddle, foot percussion, and mandolin, along with didgeridoo and drums (and a few other surprises). He grew up steeped in music and started performing with Great Bear at age 10. Since then he has played at numerous dance weekends, festivals, and music camps, including a performance on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” with his brother Andrew.

JULIE VALLIMONT performs nationwide with the band Nor’easter and her collaboration with accordionist Rachel Bell. She is known for her driving piano style, skill in matching tunes to dances, and music with heart. She also plays accordion for contra, English, and French dancing.

Julie’s compelling, rhythmic piano style draws on her study of New England contra piano and traditional Quebecois, Irish, and Cape Breton music, along with elements of rock and jazz. A former classical pianist and organist, she fell in love with traditional music and dance, and since then has gone on to perform at numerous festivals and music camps. Drawing on teaching skills developed over fifteen years as a natural science educator, Julie enjoys teaching and leading workshops. She also works as a sound engineer and organizes the BIDA dance in Boston, MA.

Dance and Music Weekend with Larry Unger and Audrey Knuth

January 19–21, Larry Unger and Audrey Knuth will join us for a special weekend of music and dancing.

Larry and Audrey are a Boston based traditional duo playing for contra dances and concerts. Guitar and banjo player Larry Unger and fiddler Audrey Knuth are a Boston based traditional duo who play exhilarating tunes with driving rhythms. Their concerts feature American and Celtic tunes with elements of other traditions including swing and blues.

The weekend will begin with a Friday night house concert at 7:30pm at Wayne and Gaye’s (1125 LaClair Street in Regent Square) with a suggested donation of $20. Contact Gaye ( or 412-860-7845) to reserve seats.

Saturday, January 20th- 12:15pm-3:00pm, English Country Dance, Gaye Fifer- and music from Larry Unger and Audrey Knuth at Friends’ Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Avenue

Saturday, January 20th, 8-11pm- Contra Dance with Ron Buchanan calling music from Larry Unger and Audrey Knuth at the Shiloh Center

On Sunday, Larry and Audrey will host a musicians’ workshop from 10:30am–12pm at Wayne and Gaye’s house. The cost is $10; please call Gaye ahead of time to let her know that you are coming.

Sunday, January 21st dancing returns Sunday afternoon at Skibo Small Gym at CMU, 5098 Tech Street in Oakland, with an open waltz from 2–4pm followed by a contra dance (with Gaye Fifer calling) from 5:30–8:30pm.

Don’t miss this full weekend of music and dance!

Planning meeting for FDW 2018

Please join us on Sunday, October 8th as we begin to plan our Pittsburgh Fall Dance Weekend 2018. Join us to discuss which bands and callers we’d like to invite for the wonderful weekend of dancing.

During the meeting we will take suggestions on bands and callers that we think would make a great weekend of dancing. After receiving feedback and input, the Contra Council will follow up with our list of possible bands and callers to make a fantastic line up (making sure to balance styles of bands and callers)!

Potluck dinner to follow.
207 S Aiken Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

A little more about our process:

Community planning meeting for the 2018 Fall Dance Weekend

Three-stage process for selection of bands and callers:

First stage—idea generation.  The first stage will involve participants making suggestions about the bands and callers they would like to perform at the 2018 Fall Dance Weekend.  Participants may have specific bands and/or callers in mind, or they may describe general musical preferences (for example, old time, modern or jazz-influenced), calling preferences or other considerations that are important to them (for example, thoughtful matching of bands and callers or a having variety of musical styles).  The goal of the first stage discussion will be to generate lists of possible bands and callers.

Second stage—voting.  The second stage will involve identifying the community’s preferences for possible bands and callers by using “dot-voting.”  Dot-voting (voting with dot stickers) is a method of consensus decision-making in which participants vote on their chosen options using a limited number of dot stickers.

Dot-voting involves the following steps:

  • Participants are each given a set number of dot stickers.
  • Participants place stickers next to the options presented that they like (they may place any number of their dots on any number of the options).
  • Options with the most dots at the end of the voting “win.”

The benefits of dot-voting as a method of decision-making include the following:

  • It is a quick and simple method for finding the priorities of the community in a long list of options.
  • It allows participants to express a preference for more than one option at the same time.
  • It leverages the collective wisdom of the community and provides an equal way for all voices in the community to be heard.
  • Since the community’s most-preferred bands and callers may turn out to be unavailable for the 2018 Fall Dance Weekend, it is important for the contra council members to understand the community’s preferences generally and not just to have “top choices” that may be unworkable.

Third stage—booking (occurs after the community planning meeting).  The third stage will involve contra council members reaching out to the community’s preferred bands and callers to check their availability for the 2018 Fall Dance Weekend and then officially booking bands and callers.

Contra Dance Community Meeting and Potluck

Please join us for a Pittsburgh Contra Dance Network Community Meeting and Potluck. At the community meeting we will share updates from the past year and seek feedback on important issues within our community. After the community meeting we will share a potluck dinner together. Please bring a dish to share (if you are unable to no worries!), feel free to post in comments what you plan to bring.

When: Sunday, June 4th at 4pm

Where: Gaye and Wayne’s house- 1125 Laclair Street, Pittsburgh, PA

Our agenda will consist of:
-Updates and milestones
-Volunteer opportunities & discussion
-New dance venue search & discussion
-General feedback & discussion
-CDSS Conference