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Corvallis Contra Weekend Talent for 2015


The Latter Day Lizards (New England)
The Lizards are a New England based dance band featuring a trio of musicians fervent with the desire and talent to ignite flames under dancing feet. With a wide ranging and hopelessly eclectic repertoire including everything from Irish and Scottish traditional jigs and reels to Balkan, blues and swing tunes (often juxtaposed next to each other) the Latter Day Lizards bring excellent musicianship, playfulness, drama and unrelentingly infectious rhythm to their dance performances. With Peter Barnes on piano, guitar and flute, Bill Tomczak on clarinet, sax and drum and Dave Langford on guitar and fiddle, they blend swing, rock-and-roll and jazz influences with traditional foot-stomping dance music to make an innovative, spontaneous and rhythmically inflammatory sound. Stuart Kinney adds a playful, solid, multifaceted bass line.

The members of the Lizards come from diverse backgrounds within the traditional dance world and have been hired for dance events, festivals and concerts from California to the British Isles. Peter Barnes has been playing piano, flute and assorted other instruments for dancers for an embarassingly large number of years, and has been invited to most major contra, square, English and vintage dance events throughout the United States. He currently works with the bands The Lizards, Bare Necessities, and Yankee Ingenuity. Bill Tomczak has been playing clarinet for folk dance of one kind or another since 1979. He has recorded with BLT, Wild Asparagus and Yankee Ingenuity and appears on the recordings Cascade of Tears and Gypsy Wine with Mary Lea and friends. Dave Langford is an experienced and versatile fiddler and guitarist and fiddle teacher from the Boston area. A veteran of 20 years of playing for public dances, weddings, parties and late night sessions, Dave combines multiple styles of fiddling with fierce energy and drive. He has been a staff member for music and dance weeks at Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, Ogontz, Agusta and Christmas Country Dance School at Berea KY as well as dozens of weekend long events around the country. One of the most in demand upright players on the contra circuit, Stuart Kenney's musical interests range from New England contradance music to Cajun and Blues.

Shared among all the Lizards are decades of experience in getting people's pulses racing and feet moving.

Joyride (Portland, OR)

Joyride is a Portland Oregon contra dance band known for fun, skilled play, tune sets carefully tailored to dances, and well-phrased melodies and harmonies set in a danceable groove. George Penk’s rich, compelling fiddle, Erik Weberg’s deft flute, harmonica and bombarde, Sue Songer’s heartbeat piano and Jeff Kerssen-Griep’s vital guitar and percussion provide modern and traditional tunes for dances, weekends and festivals throughout the year.
This band loves creating a great experience for everyone, every time. Come catch a lift with Joyride!

Here are some Youtube links to video of Joyride playing at Balance the Bay dance weekend in July, 2012.  Video shot by David Pokorney:


Steve Zakon-Anderson (Conway, Mass.)
Steve Zakon-Anderson has been calling contras, teaching couples dance, and leading workshops for callers for over 25 years. He has performed at dance camps and festivals from Alaska to Florida and practically everywhere in between, including Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, Lady of the Lake, Augusta and Brasstown. His own dance compositions are well known to dancers and other callers, and he weaves them into his program along with other contemporary and traditional favorites. Steve's clear teaching, precise calling and sense of humor have made him a favorite of dancers of all ages and abilities.
Susan Michaels (Vashon, WA)
Susan is funny, accurate, engaging, friendly, effective and experienced. She is a teacher of traditional American dancing, especially contra dancing and square dancing. She has called and taught dances at local evenings, weekend workshops and week-long camps throughout the U.S. and Canada. She says "I believe my 'calling' in life is to teach people how to hold hands in a circle."


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.