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2016 Midwinter Festival (MiniFest) (Mini Fest)

  • 06 Feb 2016
  • 11:55 AM - 10:30 PM
  • Takoma Park Middle School, Takoma Park, MD
Hooray! FSGW Mini Fest - chanteys and shape note singing, doo wop and duets, English dance and Irish laments, banjos and bodhrans and ballads, Morris and more - at the Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road, -- Saturday, February 6, from noon until 10:30 pm. Regardless of Punxsutawney Phil's prediction, it'll be warm at Mini-Fest, with two all-day dance tracks, and seven workshop and performance sites, plus unscheduled hallway shenanigans - it'll cure your winter blues!!

Click here to see this year's less-tentative-than-it-was-yesterday schedule, in .pdf format. The date and time it was most recently updated are in the lower left-hand corner. It will be updated as additional details become available -- the folk process at work -- but additional changes will be minor. A not-to-scale (SUCH an understatement) schematic of the school is here. 

Ticket prices are unchanged from last year. We open the "gate" at 11:30 am, since first performances and workshops begin at noon. We will be able to take credit card payment at the door.



MaxDay plus evening (noon to 10:30 pm)FSGW Member$15$8$45Non-Member$20$10$55Day (noon to 6 ONLY) OR Evening (6 to 10:30 ONLY)FSGW Member$9$4$25Non-Member$13$5$35Children under 6 get in free. 

You can join FSGW at the door, and get the discount for members. 

What does Family Maximum mean in the ticket price section? This rate allows parents and their children to attend for one affordably capped admission price. The Family rate for a family of four is slightly less than four individual tickets, and there is no additional fee for any additional child. 

All of the wonderful photos are courtesy of Steve Tuttle (thanks, Steve!), of Tuttle and Tuttle Photography.

 A note from April Blum, FSGW President and Mini-Fest Logistics Chair: One of my hopes for the new website is somewhere to showcase Steve's wonderful photographs. Here are just a few from last year's Mini-Fest. He'll be there again this year. Smile!!

 Washboard Workshop.


 Morris Women with hankies. Morris Women with ribbons. A very young Morris dancer. All of the local Morris teams dancing together.

 Shape Note Singing. More Shape Note Singing.

 A young audience member. Another young audience member.

 Marimbas -- young musicians. A hallway jam session -- young musicians.

 Contra Dancing in the Gym. And here. And here. And here, too. 


Hallways and Lobby.

Perhaps we should warn you.... ahem. Perhaps we should mention that Morris Dancers and Rappersword groups infest.... ahem...appear unexpectedly. They dance in the hallways 2008 Photo here. And here. 2009 Photo here.  2011 Photo here. And here. And here. And here. 2012 Photo here. And here. And here.

And they dance outside, weather permitting. 2009 photo here. And here. And here. They often wear bells, so sometimes you can hear them coming. You can run, but you cannot hide.


FSGW encourages those who play instruments to bring them along. One of the real delights every year is hearing music being made in stairwells and at the end of corridors. In fact, we encourage these ad hoc jams by putting extra chairs in appropriate spots. 2008 Photo here. 2009 Photo here. 2011 Photo here. 2012 Photo here. And here. 


Retail therapy will be available. Musical instruments (through House of Musical Traditions) will be available for sale in the Cafetorium, and we hope to have crafts available in the hallways near the main lobby. Click here. And here. And here. 

Daytime Cafetorium Performances

Noon to 6 pm -- six hours of music, thanks to Mini Fest Co-Chair, Charlie Baum (thanks, Charlie B!). 

I STOPPED HERE - needs to be revised for 2016. At noon, the dynamic duo of Glyn Collinson and Andrew Marcus - high energy British traditional folk tunes and original songs, featuring a cittern and a squeezebox. At 1, the Sligo Creek Hedge School perform Celtic music - Karen Ashbrook and her students. Next will be the Moon Diggers, a group that mines the stars for classic and original folk music. Shenandoah Run is a collegiate-folk-style big band - 60s style "Folk Music with a Kick". At 2:45, we'll be Cooking With Gas - generous portions of blues seasoned with jazz and swing. Then all aboard for Kensington Depot - modern and traditional music, right on track. At 4, we welcome The Rogue Farmers - "Farm Jazz" - all acoustic fiddle, mandolin, guitar and doghouse bass, traditional mountain music with a contemporary drive. And at 5, Lyuti Chushki - "Hot Peppers" - play intricately rhythmic traditional Balkan music. 

Main Gym: Programmed by Chair April Blum. The day begins with an hour of English Country Dancing (think Jane Austen). Calling by Melissa Running with music by The Treblemakers: Liz Donaldson, Emily Aubrey, and Robin Wilson. At 1, Ann Fallon leads a rollicking Barn Dance, with music by AP and the Banty Roosters: Andy Porter, Mark Lynch, Joe Langley, and Art Abrams. Easy circle and line dances, guaranteed to make you smile. No partner needed, just show up and join in. At 2, there's a Tango workshop -- instruction and dance, featuring Tango Mercurio Community Orchestra. At 3, Hambo Workshop will be led by Lisa Brooks and Dan Kahn 2011 Photo here.. Music on the fascinating nyckelharpa by Melissa Running. At 4, a brand new workshop this year -- flamenco, presented by Flamenca Furia. And from 5-6, Morris Dancing 101 -- for Everyone, led by the Rock Creek Morris Women. 

Auxiliary Gym, features waltz, couples dances, contras and more all day long, with excellent local bands and callers, programmed by Chair April Blum. 2011 Photo here. 2012 Photo here. And here. And here. And here.At noon, an hour of waltz, with music by Firefly: Linda Rowan, Beverly Russell, Diane Sorenson, and Jane Ziki. Then two hours of contra. The first hour will feature calling by Shane Knudsen with music by The Treblemakers: Liz Donaldson, Emily Aubrey, Robin Wilson, and Brenna Hogan. The second hour will be called by Ann Fallon with music by the Metroghomes: Bob Garber, Mark Vidor, and McGregor Yatsevich. There will be an hour of couples dancing from 3 to 4, followed at 4 with an hour of delightful Cajun/Zydeco dancing, with music by the Cypress Trio. which should segue nicely into a lively Cajun jam. 

Jams Room, programmed by Charlie Baum and April Blum, begins at noon a one-hour Gospel Sing, led by Kathie Mack. At 1 pm there's a Shape Note Singing, and at 2 pm Vince Wilding will lead/referee an hour of sea chanteys. From 3 to 3:45 the Morris Dancers have threatened... ahem... have agreed to lead a session of raucous... ahem... vigorous singing, aka Morris Chorus. From 345 to 5, members of Archie's Barbershop will play some fine Blues, and at 5 pm, there's a rollicking Irish seisiún led by Dennis "Doc" Botzer and Pam Bozzi.

Room 104 -- American Roots FSGW would like to thank Martha Burns for putting together a fabulous line up. 

*At noon, the crystalline close harmony of the Blue Moon Cowgirls. 

*From 1-2, banjo historian and instrumentalist Greg Adams. 

*From 2-3 Bruce Hutton, Chris Romaine and Bill Mansfield -- old-time songs and tunes.

*From 3-4, folklorist and fiddler Alan Jabbour. 

* At 4 pm, award-winning guitarist and mandolin player Orrin Star performing with Ann Roddy. 

* Closing out the afternoon, from 5-6 pm, it's old-time and country-influenced music, with fiddle and guitar by Gary Wright and Leah Weiss.

Room 108 -- Traditional Song 

Lisa Null (thanks, Lisa!) has programmed a magnificent array of traditional song for Room 108.

*Noon to 12:45, Rita Ferrara, Bill Day, Darriel Day, and Jocelyn Winkler.

*12:45 to 1:15, Riki Schneyer.

*1:15 to 1:45, Peter Brice. 

*At 1:45, href=http://www.reverbnation/marthaburns/>Martha Burns.

*From 2:15 to 3:15, a ballad session, with Bea Lehman, Melissa Weaver Dunning, Connie McKenna, Steve Winick and Charlie Baum.

*From 3:15 to 3:45, Oma Pearl. 

*From 3:45 to 4:30, Betsy and Meara O'Malley.

*From 4:30 to 5, Don Stallone.

*From 5 to 5:30, Calico Jenny.

*The afternoon comes to an end with a mini-concert of traditional songs by local favorite Bob Clayton. 

Room 114 -- Matilda's Cafe A new FSGW programmer, Matilda Gawf has lots of fine music. 

*At noon, the folk rock sounds of Basswood the Band -- kazoo and glockenspiel, anyone?. 

*From 1-2, guitar, mandolin and cello blend to create Lulu's Fate. 

*From 2-3 Debra and John Annen perform as the duo DeJohn. 

*From 3-4, Lea Morris and Matt Holsen perform as SoulFolk, a fascinating mix of gospel, jazz, and R&B. 

* At 4 pm, it's Zach Parkman & Friends, performing acoustic country, folk, and blues. 

* And the feathers are sure to fly at 5, when Phil Fox and Severn Savage perform as The Barnyard Prophets -- harmonious humor.

Room 118 -- Concerts Another new Mini-Fest programmer, Judy Oppenheim offers lots of opportunities to enjoy and participate in song. 

*At noon, The Scrub Pines.

*From 1-2,the beautiful black, white, red and gold costumes of Slaveya enhance their wonderful a capella singing. 2011 Photo here. 2012 Photo here. 2014 Photo here. 

*From 2-3 it's the Capital Accord Chorus.

*From 3-4, the ever-popular Doo Wop workshop, led by the masterful Flawn Williams 2011 Photo here. 

-- get there on time for a good seat! This workshop is often SRO. 

* At 4 pm, it's The Irish Breakfast Band, with jigs and more. 

* And at 5, a performance by The Squeezers 2014 Photo here..

Storytelling -- Room 122

FSGW sponsors a monthly storyswap, and Mini Fest is proud to offer a full track of storytelling again this year. 

*At noon, Tim Livengood with "Something Old, Something New."

*At 12:30, Walter Jones.

*At 1, Penelope Fleming invites you to "Come in from the Cold." 

*At 1:30, the first session by the Twinbrook Tellers, "Kids Tell Tales."

*At 2, Charlotte Smutko offers "Jewels from Joseph Jacobs."

*At 2:30, Gary Lloyd tells "Olden Toldies."

*At 3, Jennifer Hine offers "Fabulous Folk Tales" from around the world.

*At 3:30, the second session by the Twinbrook Tellers, "Kids Tell Tales, Too."

*At 4, Marc Young.

*At 4:30, Michael Fleming.

*And the storytelling track ends with a storyswap from 5:30 to 6. Bring a tale to tell!!

Evening Activities

In the Main Gym, an entertaining evening dance from 7:30 to 10:30, featuring the MiniFest Destiny Band with local callers -- newcomer Caroline Barnes will be there, as will Kappy Laning, Greg Frock, and April Blum. 

And in the Cafetorium, an outstanding concert. The Harley String Bandare three talented singer-songwriters who mine the deep veins of American music and bring back the occasional rough diamond. Dueto Dulcimelos are a pair of musicians, husband and wife, who come to us from Querétaro, Mexico, playing Mexican music as you've never heard it before--with saltero (the Mexican hammered dulcimer) and piano. And The Capitol Hillbillies conclude with primitive New Orleans-style jazz, hot blues, and early country and jug band tunes. Their famous rolling piano stays home tonight.

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