Mid-Winter Festival (Mini-Fest )

FSGW's Mid-Winter Festival is a great way to cure your mid-winter blues. 

Usually the first Saturday in February, the Mid-Winter Festival transforms the Takoma Park Middle School into a festival site, with two dance floors, a storytelling room, a jams room, four rooms for intimate concerts and workshops, and the "big stage" in the school cafeteria.  There are crafts for sale and unscheduled hallway shenanigans, frequently involving local Morris teams.

Daytime programs run from noon to 6 pm; there's a brief break for dinner (6 to 7:30), then at 7:30 there's both a concert AND a dance and you may participate in both.

Check out schedules from previous years to get an idea of what it is all about: Previous Mid-Winter Festival Schedules

We always need volunteers to arrive early and help with set-up, or sell tickets, or staff the secure instrument check room. Let us know if you would like to help out!  Please take a look at the Job Descriptions page. Volunteers work a two-hour shift, and shifts begin at 11:30 am. 

Questions (or to volunteer) contact minifest@fsgw.org          

       Job Descriptions for FSGW Midwinter Festival volunteers (pdf)

Mid-Winter Festival -- This year's schedule (2019)

       Printable schedule (last updated 01/16/2019)

       Schematic (map) of Takoma Park Middle School 

When: February 2, 2019 from noon to 10:30pm

Where: Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road, Takoma Park MD, 20912

We do not sell advance tickets. You will be able to pay at the door in cash, by check, or by credit card.   If you join FSGW at the door, you will immediately receive the member's discount.   Children under 6 get in free. 


   Day & evening: noon - 10:30pm
 FSGW Member  Adult: $18   Child (6-12)  $9    Family maximum $50
 Non-Member  Adult: $23   Child (6-12) $11   Family maximum $65 
   Day: noon - 6pm
 FSGW Member  Adult: $12   Child (6-12) $6   Family maximum $35
 Non-Member  Adult: $18   Child (6-12) $8   Family maximum $50 
    Evening: 6pm - 10:30pm
 FSGW Member  Adult: $10   Child (6-12) $7   Family maximum $30
   Adult: $13   Child (6-12) $8   Family maximum $40

What does "Family Maximum" mean? 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. 

Hallways and Lobby

Perhaps we should warn you.... ahem. Perhaps we should mention that Morris Dancers and Rapper sword groups infest.... ahem...appear unexpectedly. They dance in the hallways. Occasionally they even dance outside, weather permitting. They usually wear bells, so you can hear them coming. You can run, but you cannot hide. 

Again this year we hope to set up a table near the Cafeteria to use as a CD Exchange.  Have you been downsizing?  Have you ripped all of your CDs and don't want all those jewel cases?  Bring no more than a dozen CDs to Mini-Fest and take that many home with you (please!). 

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. 

Retail therapy will be available. CDs and musical instruments (through House of Musical Traditions) will be available for sale in the Cafetorium, and craftspeople will have tables in the corridors near the main lobby. 

We expect to have participatory change-ringing with handbells -- hypnotic patterns of notes, ringing in different progressions. Look for the "Bell Tower" sign, which will be in a reasonably quiet corridor (look at the schematic) -- the change ringers would love to show you the ropes. No experience necessary. 

Main Gym - Dance

Programmed by Mid-Winter Festival Co-Chair April Blum.  All sessions are participatory, no need to have a partner. 

noon - 1:00  
French Balfolk - easy line and couple dances from Brittany and Central France, with leader Lynn Baumeister.
1:00 - 2:00
Argentine Tango - instruction in the basics of this dance form, and music by Tango Mercurio Community Orchestra.
2:00 - 3:00
Barn Dance - calling by local favorite Ann Fallon, with old-time music by Back Step Cindy. Easy circle and line dances, guaranteed to make you smile. 
3:00 - 4:00
Scandinavian Dance - turning dances for two people from the far North, instruction by Dan Kahn and Lynn Walker, with music by Sonia White.
4:00 - 5:00
English Country Dancing  (think Jane Austen) - Melissa Running calls to wonderful music by Susan Brandt, Tom Wright, and Paul Oorts.
5:00 - 6:00
Balkan Dance - line and circle dances from Eastern Europe led by Jamie Platt with the Ha Sega! duo

Auxiliary Gym - Dance

Features contra, squares and more, with excellent local bands and callers.

noon - 1:00   Open Waltz - music by Firefly 
1:00 - 2:00 Contras - Caller Mike Lentz, music by Back Step Cindy
2:00 - 3:00 Contras - Caller TBA, music TBA
3:00 - 4:00 Introduction to Irish Step Dance  - led by Culkin School of Dance
4:00 - 5:00 Introduction to Rapper Sword - led by Sligo Creek Sword
5:00 - 6:00 Contras  - Open mic, open band

Cafetorium - Performances

Programmed by the Mid-Winter Festival Co-Chair, Charlie Baum.

noon - 1:00 Miles Spicer,  Marcy Cochran, David Bird, Jael (Ya-Ya) Patterson- blues quartet
1:00 - 1:45 Hannah Jaye and the Hideaways -- Trad and innovative string band
1:45 - 2:45 Washington Revels Maritime Voices - music of the sea and other waters
2:45 - 3:30 DC Labor Chorus - labor songs with audience participation encouraged 
3:30 - 4:15 Capitol Hillbillies - roots music with a rolling piano
4:15 - 5:00 Ha Sega! Duo - intricate rhythms of Balkan music
5:00 - 6:00 The Bog Band with dancers - the youngest generation of Irish music with dancers from Shannon Dunne and Sean Culkin schools. 

Room 104 - Family Room

Programmed by Ingrid Gorman.

noon - 1:00 Morris Dancing for kids -  bells and hankies and sticks for kids, led by the Rock Creek Morris Women
1:00 - 2:00 Audrey Engdahl - smart and playful, fun and educational.  Harmony, invention and imagination with a little whimsy.
2:00 - 3:00 Coil Project - Takoma Radio brings a twist to the storytelling tradition -- you are at the center of the action -- with stick puppets!   
3:00 - 4:00 Gabrielle Zwi - songs about friendship, breaking barriers, and identity -- thoughtful lyrics with energetic accompaniment on ukulele and cello.
4:00 - 5:00 Family dance -  led by Kappy Laning -- easy circle and line dances for everyone.
 5:00 - 6:00 Party play games - Molly Hickman and Busy Graham lead easy-to-follow movement patterns to folk songs -- an American tradition from the early 1800s.

Room 108 - Traditional Song Mini-concerts

Programmed by Lisa Null.

noon - 12:45 Steve Woodbury & Ann Bauer -  an unusual repertoire of traditional songs, many with a participatory chorus
12:45 - 1:15 Sarah White - is known for an ethereal voice, delivering the lyrics with a dash of wit
1:15 - 1:45 Martha Burns - back by popular demand to sing old-time and cowboy songs
1:45 - 2:30 The Two Sisters (Guen & Liz Spilsbury) - will surprise us with a program of ballads with happy endings!
2:30 - 3:00 Nita Korn - A diva of the local Irish song community shares her rich repertoire
3:00 - 3:30 Ya-ya Patterson - draws on African American song traditions and adds some from her own experience.
3:30 - 4:00 Barbara Tressider-Ryan - Celtic songs with panache and virtuosity
 4:00 - 4:45 Don Stallone - a strong-voiced veteran of Clam Chowder sings powerful songs both old and new
 4:45 - 5:15 Bea Lehman - proves that soulful interpretative skills are being embraced by the next generation
 5:15 - 6:00 Jocelyn and Darriel Day - lovely duets, thoughtful lyrics, and rousing choruses

Room 114 - Workshops & Mini-concerts 

Programmed April Blum.

noon - 1:00 Martha Burns & Pete Kraemer - mini-concert of Carter Family songs
1:00 - 2:00  The Alligator Pears -- a mini concert by Eleanor Ellis and Pearl Bailes.
2:00 - 3:00 Small pipes (show & tell) - Dan Gillespie & friends will discuss and demonstrate small pipes from the British Isles and beyond
3:00 - 4:00 The Rigatoni Brothers - Paul Oorts and friends will discuss and play Italian American music written by immigrants in the early 1900s.
4:00 - 5:00 Shanty sing - participatory maritime rowdiness. 
5:00 - 6:00 Hammer dulcimer workshop & mini-concert 

Room 118 - American Roots

Programmed by Kim Forry & Jan Scopel.  Celebrating families who make music together!

noon - 1:00 Ulrike and Lizzy Brauneis -  mini-concert with songs in 2-part harmony with fiddle and banjo
1:00 - 2:00 The Metz Brothers - mini-concert of old-time music with banjo, mandolin, fiddle and fine tight harmonies, the Metz boys will be joined by friend Matt Kline on guitar, bass and vocals, and Liz Metz, Chandra Metz, Angie Muehl and Alyson Kline (and assorted kids). 
2:00 - 3:00 Zoe and Alaya Zsebenyi - this mini-concert  flows through old-time, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Quebecois songs.  Dad Eric and siblings Eric Michael and Wren will join Zoe and Alaya for a few songs.
3:00 - 4:00 Emily Martin and daughter Elora - mini-concert featuring mandolin playing by Emily Martin, a member of the talented Martin Family Band. Daughter Elora is an accomplished flute player.
4:00 - 5:00 Pearse Marschner & son Willie - "Fiddlin' Willie" is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist who plays old time, bluegrass, swing, and Irish with dash. (He's also really good at shooting his dad in video games.) Pearse accompanies Willie on guitar and banjo, and sister Lorena is a clogger and buckdancer-in-training. 
5:00 - 6:00 Old-time jam and sing-along participatory!  Led by Kim Forry & Jan Scopel

Room 122 - Storytelling

Programmed by Tim Livengood.  This year's theme (since it's Groundhog Day) is shadows -- but these callers will surprise you!

noon - 12:30 Laura J. Bobrow
12:30 - 1:00 Jane Dorfman
1:00 - 1:30 Geraldine Buckley 
1:30 - 2:00 Michael Fleming
2:00 - 2:30 Twinbrook Tellers 
2:30 - 3:00 Walter Jones
3:00 - 3:30 Barbara Effron
3:30 - 4:00 Candace Wolf
4:00 - 4:30 Robert Rovinsky
4:30 - 5:00 Susan Gordon 
5:00 - 5:30 Margaret Chatman 
5:30 - 6:00Jennifer Hine

Room 184 - Jams & Participatory Singing

Programmed by Charlie Baum and April Blum.

noon - 1:00 Shape Note Singing - led by Christian Bracken and Mollie Hickman. Loaner tunebooks will be available.
1:00 - 2:00 Gospel Sing - led by Kathie Mack
2:00 - 3:00 Morris Chorus -- loud and rowdy - led by local Morris teams
3:00 - 4:30 Archie's Barbershop - extra fine blues, led by local masters of this iconic musical style
4:30 - 6:00 Doo Wop Sing - bring your sha-na-nas and ramma lamma ding-dongs

In the evening

7:30 - 10:30  A contra dance in the Main Gym, with music by Honey and Tea, a group of young musicians who met through the Glen Echo Open Band, with caller Janine Smith.

7:30 - 10:30  A concert in the Cafeteria with The Potomac Revelers, Storyteller Tim Livengood, Singer Flawn Williams, and more, TBA. 

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