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Corvallis Contra Weekend Talent for 2013


Elixir (2013) (Eastern US)

Elixir is a high energy dance band and caller combination that blends superb calling, driving fiddle and guitar playing, and the rich texture and rhythmic excitement of a full horn section. Elixir performs tightly crafted music drawing on a wide range of styles and evoking a variety of moods. Elegant melodies evolve into raucous dixieland horn riffs; transcendent harmonies, playful improvisations, and rock, swing and reggae-inspired rhythms weave in and out of traditional and original Irish, French Canadian and New England tunes. Elixir plays for dances, festivals, camps, weddings and other events, with a repertoire that includes music for contra, square, English and swing dancing; waltzing; couples dancing; and concert programs.

Elixir is:

Nils Fredland
calling / trombone / vocals
Ethan Hazzard-Watkins
Jesse Hazzard-Watkins
trumpet / flugelhorn
Anna Patton
clarinet / vocals
Owen Morrison
guitar / foot percussion

Since its start in 2005, Elixir has evolved a sound that combines musical innovation with strong danceability, and has quickly become popular with dancers and audiences all over the country.

The Retrospectacles (Originally from Olympia WA )

The Retrospectacles are a young group of contra dance musicians whose natural enthusiasm and powerful playing have torn up dance floors all over the Northwest. Drawing from their childhoods growing up at music camps and festivals, and their early immersions in contra dancing and music, The Retrospectacles were formed in high school and have continued as a band after graduation.

The Retrospectacles are:
Josie Sokoloff
Andrew Foster
Scotty Leach
Ethan Jodziewicz

Twin fiddlers Josie Sokoloff-Toney and Andrew Foster lead the band through the twisting, turning medleys of tunes required for contra dancing, and harmonize beautifully at the same time! Scotty Leach's infectious piano playing and Ethan Jodziewicz's burning bass lines make up the other half of the band, and have propelled dancers across many a dance floor. Though inspired by the eclectic music of today’s contra dance scene, music taken from Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian and old-time traditions, the Retrospectacles play many of their own compositions now. They also arrange the music into a densely woven and highly rhythmic sound that sounds as good on the dance floor as it does on the concert stage.


Nils Fredland (Vermont)

Nils Fredland has been calling dances with admirable skill and infectious energy since 2000. Respected for his expertise as a teacher and caller, sensitive leadership, and generosity, Nils is one of the busiest and most sought-after callers in the business. He draws on a large and varied repertoire of dances, presenting material from centuries-old "chestnuts" to cutting-edge contemporary choreography.

Nils is also known for breathing new life into traditional singing squares, and he has co-authored two books on the topic with master callers. Nils studied classical trombone at Indiana University, and has played his horn in ensembles ranging from symphony orchestras to ska bands. In Elixir Nils brings together his myriad talents in one thrilling package. Nils also works as the American Dance Publications Coordinator at the Country Dance and Song Society.

Susie Kendig (Portland OR)
Susie has been delighting dancers from the West Coast to the East with her clear, concise teaching and light-hearted calling since 1996. She began leading dances in Santa Cruz as a favor to a friend and was a San Francisco Bay area favorite until she relocated to Portland in 2007. Dancers appreciate her selection of interesting, smooth-flowing dances tailored to maximize fun and called with her characteristic cheerful aplomb.


Alan Roberts (Seattle, WA)
Alan is a fiddle player (plays with Southwest Passage) and dancer in addition to being an excellent sound man. He is aware of the nuances that make us all happy, and is able to provide a great experience for the callers, band members and dancers.