Along with our many wonderful Michigan musicians and dance leaders, we also gladly welcome Goldcrest, our band, caller Joseph Pimentel, Dance Mistress Cathy Stephens, plus the fabulous foot percussion of Shelia Graziano and Adam Wheeler. Read more about all of them below. Better yet, register for the dance and see them in person!
Named for a British songbird with close relatives in the Americas, Goldcrest was hatched in 2002 when pianist Dave Wiesler got two of his favorite musicians together to form a trio for English country and contra dance. The chemistry was right, and the group has been scheming ever since for more opportunities to play together, despite their geographic separation. Goldcrest features New Orleans fiddler Daron Douglas, multi-instrumentalist virtuoso Paul Oorts, and pianist/guitarist Dave Wiesler, all seasoned musicians of national reputation, steeped in the folk dance traditions of Appalachia, New England, and the British Isles.
Daron Douglas combines the precision and tone of a classical violinist with the energy and soul of an Appalachian fiddler. She grew up in the Appalachian hills, learning traditional ballads from her grandmother and studying classical music through college.
Paul Oorts is much in demand on the dance circuit for his driving world rhythms, improvisations, and stylistic versatility. Paul plays an astonishing array of instruments,including mandolin, tenor and five-string banjos, cittern, musette accordion, dulcimers, and guitars.
Dave Wiesler has a national reputation for his rhythmic and innovative piano playing. At home in a huge range of styles, Dave plays for concerts and dances of many sorts: contra, swing, vintage, couples dance, English and Scottish country dance, and Viennese waltz. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Washington Folk-Life Festival, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Smithsonian Museum, as well as festivals and dance camps across the U.S., in Canada, Scotland, and England.
A New England native (and former Michigander!) Joseph is now happily settled in Houston, Texas. A popular caller at dance events across the U.S. and further afield, he draws on a broad repertoire of contra, English country, and community dances. His calling combines clear teaching, discriminating taste in dances, and respect for tradition. He is the author of many popular contra dances which have found their way all over the country. He and Goldcrest often work together, and, after a decade of playing together, Goldcrest released in 2015 a long-overdue recording, The Goldcrest Collection, featuring music for dances written by Joseph.
From Ontario, Canada, Cathy is an internationally-known dance instructor, choreographer and historian. She returns to teach couples and vintage dance and to host the ever-popular Cathy's Lounge. http://www.vintagedance.com/cathy.htm
Sheila discovered her passion for dance as a child, when she started taking tap dance lessons at the Shirley St. Mary School of Dance in Detroit. As a young adult, her enthusiasm for percussive dance grew with the discovery of Appalachian clogging and other forms of traditional dance. She spent several years taking workshops from masters who passed through Michigan, often meeting and working at them at events like the Wheatland Dance Camp and myriad music and dance festivals.
Meeting other like-minded people led to the formation of dance performance ensembles such as The Crosstown Cloggers, Crow’s Feet, and The CommonWealth Dance Collective. Always one to share her knowledge, passion and expertise, Sheila teaches workshops at camps and festivals in the midwest and in Canada, often in tandem with performances. She also holds ongoing workshops for teenagers (The Saline Fiddlers) and adults in southeast Michigan.
Graziano is a four-time recipient of the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program grant -- thrice as a "master,” and once as an apprentice.
Some of Sheila’s mentors over the years include Shirley St. Mary (tap dance, "mid-century," 1950s - 1960s), Eileen Carson, Ira Bernstein, Sandy Silva, Sharon Leahy, Evie Ladin, Abby Ladin, Rodney Sutton, Benoit Bourque, Tony Barrand, and Chanda Gibson Leahy.
Adam began dancing at the age of 10 after seeing the Cottonwood Cloggers perform locally in Southeastern Michigan. In his teen years, Adam danced with various clogging groups across the state of Michigan. He also joined a youth performance group called the Earth Angels, which brought to life the music and spirit of the 50s and 60s.
Adam danced at the International Clogging Expo parade in D.C. (2002). He, along with dance partner Laura Laymon, competed at the 2005 Junior Olympics in New Orleans and took home a silver medal.
Adam attended Mars Hill University in North Carolina where he joined the Bailey Mountain Cloggers. The team claimed 5 national titles over the course of his time with BMC. Adam also served on the leadership team and as team captain his senior year. In 2010, Adam was inducted into the America’s Clogging Hall of Fame All American Team. Adam has had the wonderful opportunities to represent clogging and the United States at international folk festivals with BMC in Spain (2009) and Germany (2011).
Adam is a also a proud member of American Racket, and has traveled with the group to Korea (2012), North Carolina (2017), and Brazil (2018) to similar international folk festivals.
After returning to Michigan in 2014, Adam reunited with Sheila Graziano and began dancing again with the CommonWealth Dance Collective, as well as teaching clogging to the Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic, a local high-school performance group.