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Callers and Band 2013

Gaye FiferGaye Fifer

Gaye Fifer is one of the favorite callers among our dance gypsies. Her gentle, delightful personality makes everyone happy to be dancing, and her clear, charming explanations makes it easy. Gaye is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is famous for her contra dance calling throughout the United States and Canada. She was one of the stars of Joseph Pimentel's class for contra callers learning to call English Country Dancing, and we're delighted to have her here now while she is still somewhat in the early stages of letting the world know what a great English caller she is. She is also an excellent teacher of Waltzing. The waltz workshops that she and her partner Wayne Albright give are much in demand at dance weekends.

The Band

Karen Axelrod, Miranda Arana and Martha Edwards

Karen Axelrod, Miranda Arana and Martha EdwardsKAREN AXELROD, keyboard, is a full-of-life, passionate musician from Massachusetts. She plays piano for English, American and Scottish dance and has been on staff at numerous dance events around the country, including Pinewoods, Ogontz and Buffalo Gap camps, Berea Christmas Dance School and Brasstown Winter Dance Week. Karen is highly regarded for her creative and rich piano accompaniment. She also plays accordion for the renowned longsword team, Orion Longsword.

She plays in the band Foxfire (with Daron Douglas) and Woodlark (with Earl Gaddis and Chris Rua). Karen is also a professional dog walker (with a Ph.D. in dog walking from a highly respected internet correspondence school), and occasionally appears with the comedy improv troupe, the Villa Jidiots.

MIRANDA ARANA, flute, is the most fun flutist you'll ever meet. The last time she was here (for High Tea & Whiskey in 2011), she 1) handed out kazoos for the band to play during the English Ball, 2) swam in the Grand Basin at the foot of Art Hill during the Flash Dance, and 3) started a stellar calling career.

Miranda, originally from western New York, currently teaches world music at the University of Oklahoma, where students consistently rank her as one of their very favorite, even though (or especially because) she makes them dance contra dances in public places.  She spent her twenties living in Southeast Asia, studying traditional Vietnamese flute with master artists while working with Vietnamese refugees in the Philippines. During a two-year stay in Hanoi in the early 1990s, she became a member of the Phong Nguyen Ensemble, one of the premier traditional Vietnamese ensembles in the United States. She has also toured with Tibetan pop singer, Dadon Dawadolma, performing at Carnegie Hall in NYC in 1996. Since moving to Oklahoma in 1999, she has played Latin American folkloric music, Celtic music, and Middle Eastern music at fairs, festivals, schools, universities, and private functions throughout Oklahoma and neighboring states. Her recent passion is to play for local contra and English Country dances. Her band, Ladies at Play, is a high-spirited and musically adventurous trio that has been performing for Contra and English Country dances in Oklahoma and Texas since 2008.

MARTHA EDWARDS , fiddle, started playing the violin when she was 8 and continued through college, graduate school and for twenty years as a free-lance musician in Boston, MA. She now plays exclusively for dancing – contra, morris, English Country Dancing and nineteenth-century couples dancing. She is a member of Stringdancer (which has played throughout much of the Southeast and Midwest), the Tu'Penny Players (English band for the performance troupe Dance Discovery), Reel Women and the Jigelos (with Kristin Graham), Playford's PaJaMa (with Pam Carson Stoll and Jane Knoeck), The Rolling Scones (with Pam Carson Stoll and Kendall Rogers), Summer Lightening (with Jill Allen), the Halcyon Light Orchestra (which plays for Waltzes and other nineteenth-centure couples dances) , Chicory (with Ben Schreiber and Michael Shapiro), and Ragged Robin (with Ben Schreiber and Billy Boyer).