Corn Potato String Band
The Corn Potato String Band has earned high praise in traditional American music, keeping old time fiddle and banjo music from a one-way trip to the dustbins of history. Theirs is a story of struggle, hard knocks and triumph. Essentially unable to cope with modern life, the members of this band are outcasts of society who survive by playing the lost music of the flatlands where they were raised.
The Corn Potatos have delighted audiences with their driving fiddle tunes and harmonious singing across the US, Canada, Europe, Mexico, and India. They are all multi-instrumentalists dedicated to continuing the music and dance traditions of the Central and Southern US. In addition to being champion fiddlers they play banjo, guitar, bass and mandolin and deftly handle many different antiquated styles including ballads, “ho-downs,” country “rags” and southern gospel, specializing in twin fiddling and double banjo tunes.
Jive at Five
From swingin’ harmony vocals to smokin’ hot jump blues to silky smooth ballads, Jive At Five has an ear in the past and an eye on today’s swing and jazz scene. Inspired by the small combo traditions of Nat King Cole, the Mills Brothers, Louis Jordan, Count Basie, and other legends of swing and jazz, this Michigan based group will have you swingin’ from the first note. Add a healthy sense of humor to a diverse repertoire of swing dance tunes, jazz and blues and you have a recipe for a good time! Jive At Five came together as group in 1992. Founding members are Tom T. Ball on upright bass, David Raffenaud on piano and organ, Mark Schrock on electric guitar and vocals, and Frank Youngman on trumpet, archtop acoustic guitar and vocals. In the spring of 2000, tenor sax veteran Gene Harris joined the group, followed shortly thereafter by Dan Giacobassi playing saxophone and flute. Drummer Dave Zerbe rounds out the current line up. While staying true to their swing and jazz musical mission, Jive at Five is known to be versatile and adaptable. Often credited with “bringing the event alive”, Jive at Five has performed at hundreds of concerts, dances, receptions, clubs, parties and festivals over the years. In addition Jive at Five offers several programs for schools featuring assembly performance, instrumental workshops and exciting swing dance workshops for students and staff. Programs can be designed for all age groups and for audiences small or large.
K. Jones & The Benzie Playboys
K. JONES & THE BENZIE PLAYBOYS are bringing the roots sound of southwest Louisiana’s Creole, Cajun, and Zydeco scene to ya’ll up here in the Great Lakes area. The Playboys are dedicated to keeping the Cajun/Creole music alive with live performances for two-steppin’, waltzing, and smoking red hot zydeco dancing. Cajun/Creole/French lyrics are common in many of the tunes we sing in the tradition of Amede Ardoin, Bois Sec, Canray Fontenot, Boozoo Chavis, John Delafose, the Balfa Brothers, Iry LeJune, Dennis McGee and many others. The 10 button diatonic accordion of K.Jones is the driving force of our music, with Jonah Powell on fiddle. Jamie Bernard is on the drums, and Doug Albright on bass. Mark Stoltz is our man on the scrubboard and tit’fer driving the beat…..Mark also gives dancing lessons parties and workshops.
Rachael & Dominic Davis
The Nashville-based award-winning songwriter with a magical voice, Rachael Davis has been captivating audiences since childhood. When Rachael was eight she sang on stage at the Wheatland Music Festival. The Irish singer Maura O’Connell was just backstage. After her performance, Maura went up and grasped Rachael’s face with both hands and said, “Never stop doing it for the love of it!” Rachael was born into a musical family and has been in the company of music all her life. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan and grew up singing with her family-based group Lake Effect. Rachael is a multi-instrumentalist, award-winning songwriter and widely celebrated vocalist whose talent has taken her across the world and left many people of many cultures thunderstruck by the power and purity of her preternatural talent.
Her husband, Dominic Davis, is one of the most sought after musicians in Nashville, playing in Jack White’s band and working with icons like Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and Christina Aguilera. He is well known for his amazing bass talent in the Michigan band, Steppin’ in It.
Together they play jazz, swing, folk and roots tunes.
Since 1971 Pop Wagner has produced some of the most spirited traditional music around and has quite the reputation as a singer, master picker, fiddler, square dance caller, poet, purveyor of rope tricks and dry humor, and downright funny guy.
Wagner appeared quite frequently on Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion during the show’s formative years and for the last four decades he has worked his cowboy magic throughout 44 states and ten countries.
His cowboy anthems crackle with the warmth of a prairie campfire and his old time fiddle tunes set toes a-tappin’ while he serves up spellbinding rope tricks and tall stories — all with a good dose of friendly humor.
IRA BERNSTEIN is a dancer and teacher who specializes in traditional American dance forms such as Appalachian-style clogging, flatfoot dancing, tap dance, and step dancing. He is considered an authority on clogging, and the leading figure in this dance style. He calls himself a “percussive step dancer who specializes in Appalachian flatfooting,” and also dances Green Grass style Appalachian clogging, English clogging, French-Canadian step dancing, Irish step dancing, and South African gumboot dancing.
Bernstein has performed in concerts and at festivals all across the United States, as well as in Japan, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Israel, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Canada. A few selected performances include the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, England, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival in Scotland, Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France, the Carre Theater in Amsterdam, Holland, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Germany, the Ataturk Cultural Center in Istanbul, Turkey, the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Colorado, Boston, and Portland Jazz Tap Festivals, Town Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, the Chautauqua Institution in NY, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
Bernstein has shared the stage with many of the world’s greatest tap and step dancers, including tap dancers Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Charles “Honi” Coles, Chuck Green, Jimmy Slyde, Lon Chaney, Howard “Sandman” Sims, Buster Brown, LaVaughn Robinson and Brenda Bufalino; Irish step dancers Donny Golden and Jean Butler; Canadian step dancers Benoit Bourque, Normand Legault, Harvey Beaton and John Pellerine; as well as with renowned ensembles such as the American Tap Dance Orchestra, the Jazz Tap Ensemble, Manhattan Tap, Rhythm in Shoes, the Fiddle Puppets and Footworks. His teachers also include many of the legendary masters of the various forms, including tap dancers Steve Condos and Eddie Brown, as well as Mr. Coles, Mr. Sims, Mr. Robinson, Ms. Bufalino; English cloggers Sam Sherry and Tony Barrand; Irish step dancers Josephine McNamara and Mr. Golden; French-Canadian step dancers Mr. Bourque and Mr. Legault; Cape Breton step dancers Mr. Beaton and Mr. Pellerine; and South African boot dancer Tsepo Mokone.
Bernstein is a former member of the American Tap Dance Orchestra of New York City, the Fiddle Puppets of Annapolis, MD, Marlboro Morris and Sword of Marlboro, VT, and the Mill Creek Cloggers of Philadelphia, PA, and has been a featured, lead soloist in Rhythms of the Celts of Belfast, Northern Ireland, as well as with Rhythm in Shoes of Dayton, OH, and the Vanaver Caravan of New Paltz, NY. He was one of the artistic creators and featured soloists in Mountain Legacy of Asheville, NC, and is the director of the TEN TOE PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE, a collective of internationally acclaimed step dance soloists. He has also repeatedly won first place in the Mount Airy Fiddler’s Convention old-time flatfooting competition and is the originator of the Festival of Percussive Dance, having produced the first full-scale festival concert at Symphony Space in New York City in 1988.
Nic Gareiss & Caleb Teicher
Meghan Scott (formerly Meghan McCartney) specializes in Irish dance education and percussive dance performance. She grew up in the Lansing area, and was an original member of the Irish Dance Company of Lansing (IDCL). After nine years in the Company, she graduated after her senior year. Alongside her involvement in the IDCL, she studied Irish dance under the tutellage of John Heinzman, A.D.C.R.G, and went on to become an Open Champion, the highest level that can be attained in Irish dancing. She competed in both the North American Championships and World Championships as a solo dancer.
After retiring from competition, Meghan moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina and attended Mars Hill University through a dance scholarship, where she became a member of their prestigious traditional dance team, the Bailey Mountain Cloggers. While on the team, Meghan explored the intricacies of many traditional dance forms that are linked to Irish dance, such as flatfooting, precision clogging, and figure dancing. She helped the Bailey Mountain Cloggers win two National Championships in Maggie Valley, North Carolina before graduating from Mars Hill with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2008. She also had the pleasure of traveling with the Bailey Mountain Cloggers to Mallorca, an island off the coast of Spain, where she performed and competed in the World Folk Dance Festival.
Meghan has performed at theaters and festivals across North America, including multiple performances at the world renowned Wheatland Music Festival, in Remus, Michigan. She was a guest dancer for many well known traditional musical groups including Eileen Ivers, the Gibson Brothers, the David Munnelly Band, Jamie Laval and Ashley Broder, and Liz Carroll and John Doyle.
While Meghan has mostly focused her dance education on Irish dance and Appalachian clogging, she has also studied other styles of dance from a wealth of percussive dance talent, including learning body percussion and Cape Breton step dancing from Sandy Silva, French Canadian step dancing from Benoit Bourque, Ottawa Valley and Marley dancing from Sheila Graziano, and rapper sword dancing from Sharon Leahy of Rhythm in Shoes fame.
Currently Meghan resides in Williamston, Michigan with her husband, two young daughters, and her dog Jack. She became involved in the Irish Dance Company of Lansing again in 2011 as a choreographer and dance educator, and she is thrilled to provide quality Irish dance classes to the greater Lansing community through McCartney Irish Dance.
Susan Filipiak is celebrating her 35rd year as a dance teacher, and her 58th year as a life-long dancer. She founded Swing City Dance in 1995 as a hub for the American vernacular dance styles of tap, jazz, swing and ballroom. Susan has developed a detailed pedagogy designed to introduce dance skills and lift students to high levels of dance achievement.
Dance is physical, dance is mental, dance lifts the spirit and makes the heart smile!
Susan specializes in four areas of instruction: tap dance for all ages, dance for young children (creative movement, ballet, tap), dance conditioning (ballet floor barre), and social ballroom and swing dance.
Susan has intensive training in multiple dance styles: tap dance, ballet, jazz, modern, ethnic, swing and ballroom. Her tap dance mentors include: Brenda Bufalino, Dianne Walker, Barbara Duffy, Heather Cornell and a host of tap dance legends – Buster Brown, Eddie Brown, Honi Coles, Leon Collins, Steve Condos, LaVaughn Robinson, Lloyd Storey, Gregory Hines, et al. Her jazz dance mentors include Billy Siegenfeld, Cholly Atkins, Frankie Manning and Ed Kresley.
She has choreographed for many area theater companies – Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theater, The Croswell Opera House, UM Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Ann Arbor Civic Theater, Chelsea Area Players, Saline Area Players and area high school theater. She continues to work as a dance educator in local schools, bringing dance into the everyday school curriculum.
In 2014, Susan was named a Michigan Traditional Artist by Michigan State University with a grant supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, focusing on perpetuating American percussive dance.
Emily Doebler discovered her passion for dance and music while attending an arts school in Alba, Michigan called Concord Academy Antrim. Her first dance teacher, Jeannine Sladick, incorporated the traditional arts into all of her dance classes and created a dance group called Dance Attack! Emily danced with this group performing many traditional percussive dance styles throughout Michigan for four years. Currently, Emily attends Central Michigan University and teaches tap dance and clogging at the Academy of Performing Arts. Emily spends most of her time outside of the classroom teaching at camps and performing. In both 2016 and 2017 Emily received a Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Award and studied percussive dance and traditional music with the notable Nic Gareiss. Emily has also worked with many other distinguished dancers including Sharon Leahy, Becky Hill, Sheila Graziano, Daniel Gorno, and many others.
“The Johns” is a Michigan based band, dedicated to bringing you music that is both traditional and new.
Ruby John: Ruby plays Celtic, country, bluesgrass, old time and Metis fiddle music. She is in early twenties and has been playing fiddle since her single digit years. Ruby is from Northport, MI and has studied with some of the top fiddlers from the US and Canada, including Pierre Shryer, Lee Sloan, Bobbie Hicks and Anne Lederman. Ruby grew up attending Julie Schryer and Pat O’Gorman’s Algoma Trad Traditional Music Camp on St. Joseph Island, Canada, where she studied with some of the top fiddlers from Canada. Ruby was invited to participate in the Elder Youth Legacy workshop in Toronto where six young Native American fiddlers learned tunes from four of the top Metis Fiddlers in Canada. As a
result, Ruby performed at the North Atlantic Fiddler Convention in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Budd John Greenman: Budd started playing fiddle when he was eight years old. Like Ruby, Budd is a home school graduate and the two have played fiddle together since their very beginnings. Budd is in his late twenties and is a graduate luthier of the Galloup School of Guitar Building. After four years of classical training, Budd switched over to old time fiddle when he was introduced to the Original Michigan Fiddlers Association. There he fell in love with the history and the music of the northern Michigan fiddle style. As a teenager Budd competed twice in the regional Fleadh Cheoil Irish music compertition, taking home a 3rd in fiddle In addition to first and third on mandolin.
Budd is equally talented on mandolin, tenor banjo, viola, as well as progressive finger style,rhythm Celtic guitar. Budd is also a prolific tune composer and hopefully The Johns can get up to speed with some of Budd’s original dance tunes as they are some of the very best tunes that they play.
Jon Cotton and John Warstler: These Johns are the elder members of The Johns, and as of June 2014, they are both retired educators, so you can do the math for their ages as they have stopped keeping track. They are best of friends and have played together for years, but they can never seem to be to play enough music together. Jon is an excellent bass player and an avid dancer and he understands the necessity for that steady bass pulse needed for a successful dance. Jon plays traditional styles of bass as well as bowed bass. Jon has accompanied John on two of his three latest fingerstyle CD’s over the past years. John has pressed seven thousand of these popular discs to date and he will probably never produce another CD without Jon playing bass on it. The two of them have performed together the past several years at the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival in a number of configurations. Most importantly, These Johns are part of the main stay of the dance scene around Michigan. Jon’s bands have played all over Michigan from Ann Arbor to Marquette. Being from upnorth, The John’s bands have played main dances at the Hiawatha, Bliss and bayside Travelers dances. Back in the early 80’s his band, The Boreal Stringband, played the mainstage at Wheatland and they were fortunate enough to have a portion of their performance saved on vinyl as part of the 6th Annual Wheatland album.
Blue Water Ramblers
The Blue Water Ramblers are lead singers who take turns harmonizing with each other to create the Blue Water Rambler tapestry of sound. Banjo-Jim Foerch sings of the sailors, farmers, lumberjacks, politicians and workers. Bear Berends croons the love songs and delivers protest songs old and new.
Michigan’s Premiere Old Time Band!