Thursday December 20, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- The twice-monthly Brattleboro Contra Dance will have a special holiday glow this Sunday.

Featuring music by Lissa Schneckenburger on fiddle, Peter Siegel on mandolin, Max Newman on guitar and Stuart Kenney on bass, with calling by George Marshall, the dancing will be plenty of fun, but during breaks there will be some holiday singing and refreshments to add to the cheer.

"We just want to make it a little bit more of a festive occasion," said Siegel, who took over organizing the Brattleboro Contra Dances from Ethan Hazzard-Watkins this fall.

The dance runs this Sunday from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., with a beginners’ lesson at 7:15 p.m. It is held in The Stone Church at the corner of Grove and Main streets.

Siegel is trying to build participation for these dances and urges younger folks and everyone who’s never dared set foot in a contra dance to give it a whirl.

He says it’s easy to pick up the basics and jump right in, and the music alone is worth it.

"It’s a fusion of northern and Celtic fiddle music, with improvisational music ... sometimes it borders on jazz. The music itself is fairly innovative," he said.

Siegel’s own band, the Gaslight Tinkers, will be playing at the Feb. 10 dance. Dances in January feature music by Frost and Fire (Jan. 13) and Elixir (Jan. 27). Come January, dances will start at 7 p.m., with the beginners’ session at 6:45 p.m.

Admission to this Sunday’s 7:30 p.m. dance is $10, $7 for students, seniors and low-income. Beginners are welcome; all dances will be taught. No partner is needed. Bring clean, soft-soled shoes to protect the dance floor.

For more information, visit www.brattcontra.org.

-- Jon Potter