Open Bands &
Community Bands for
Contra Dances

One of the traditions of contra dancing is that, at many dances, the musicians who play are part of a community band that plays for the dance or a regular or sporadic basis or perhaps the musicians who play on a particular night are simply those who showed up (the classic open band). Bands of this nature range from organized ensembles such as Roaring Jelly (the Massachusetts edition) to nights in which several musicians are scheduled to play but welcome others to the whoever-shows-up situation mentioned above.

I have tried to list all opportunities to be a part of these groups, even if the opportunity is once-a-year. Each situation has different traditions, rules or requirements, so visit the web sites before making any assumptions and showing up.

The list is limited to situations in which, through some process, musicians who are not part of formal band can play at a contra dance. In many cases, there are associated jams and/or rehearsals. I have not included jams which do not tend to lead to playing at contra dances. There are plenty of jams, especially Celtic and old-time, in which musicians can learn more tunes and gain a better understanding of how to play with others (and have lots of fun). For a list of those jams and sessions, I suggest trying The Session web site which concentrates on Celtic music and FolkJam which covers a variety of genres.

Arizona, FlagstaffJust Desserts Contra Dance Band1st
Saturday (every other)
7:30pm-11:00pm
The Just Desserts Band is the House band for the Flagstaff contra dances every other month. Rehearsals are open to anyone who wants to play or listen to contra dance tunes. Any instrument and playing ability is welcome. The name comes from the fact that the real reason we gather every Thursday, is for the purpose of eating and yakking afterward. The rehearsals are at the home of Deb Comly and Mike Redig at 1457 Meade Lane at 7pm and everyone is invited (there are always enough percussion instruments and accordions to go around...) Call 928-774-5936 to learn more.
Arizona, TucsonTucson Open Band3rd
Saturday

Performances are usually on the 3rd Saturday of each month and otherwise irregularly (e.g., New Year's Eve). The Tucson Open Band has existed for about 30 years. Most Members play together at the Rincon Market (NW corner of 6th St. & Tucson Blvd.) on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings, between 7pm and 8pm for "Slow Jammers" and between 8pm and 10pm for "Fast Jammers". We are considering making these sessions every Tuesday evening. They are not Official Rehearsals, but they do help players to learn dance and other music. Rincon Market sessions and Open Band performances are open to all. Please visit the Tucson Friends of Traditional Music at http://www.tftm.org/ and join http://groups.google.com/group/tucson-open-band, for which contacts are: Steve or Suzanne. Also check out the Tucson Traditional Folk Music web site at http://www.tftm.org/.
Australia, CanberraDancing in the ParkEvery
Monday (in December and January)
6:45pm to sundown
Walk-up musicians welcome, sheet music provided.
British Columbia, VictoriaCowichan Fiddlers Jam Sessions3rd
Friday
7:30pm-11:00pm
Cowichan Fiddlers Jam Sessions - It's a party!!!!!! Bring your fiddles, any other instrument as well; guitar, banjo, flute, tin whistle, borhan, harp, voice. Bring your dancing feet as we will be learning square dances and other celtic folk dances. And bring food (if you can). Please, if you are unable to come for the potluck (6:30pm), you are still more than welcome to come for the jam and dance.
California, BerkeleyBerkeley Wednesday Contra Dance1st, 3rd, 5th
Wednesday
8:00pm
Open band led by specific bands and musicians.
California, HaywardHayward Music Slow JamFourth
Sunday
2:00pm-3:30pm
Are you a Beginner - Intermediate level budding musician? Tired of playing alone in your living room? Join the Hayward Contra Dance Slow Jam! Held prior to the Beginner Workshop, the Slow Jammers will practice playing Old Time, Irish and Celtic tunes at a (very!) moderate tempo. Slow Jammers can be found in the kitchen from 2:00 - 3:30 pm. Listeners welcome.
California, HaywardHayward Music Open Band DanceFourth
Sunday
4:00pm-7:00pm
Open band opportunity on October 24, 2010
California, Los Angeles areaContra Dance Open BandOccasional
Sunday
4:00pm-7:00pm
We invite musicians of all skill levels to join the Contradictions on stage for an evening of music, fun and the unexpected. We play Old Time Hoe Downs, Irish Reels & Jigs, Bluegrass, Marches, French Canadian Reels and Waltzes. Dances are held at Veterans' Hall in La Verne. The Veterans Hall is located at 1550 Bonita Ave., corner of Wheeler and Bonita. The dance runs from 4pm - 7pm. We have a jam session from 1:30 pm - 3:30pm. Very often the jam tunes are the same ones we'll later play for the dance. Musicians who would like to join us on stage please be at the hall by 3pm. All are invited to join us in the park across the street from the hall for potluck picnic at noon.
California, San DiegoSan Diego Contra Dance - The More the Merrier2nd and 4th (some)
Saturday
6:00pm-11:00pm
The Community Band, The More the Merrier, is our pool of local musicians who love to play tunes for our contra dances. Its leaders/coordinators are Karen Croot, or Rick Johnson who can answer any and all questions about the band and its music. The Community Band is open to anyone who wants to participate You should be able to play at least some of the tunes from the playlist The Community Band will play on select 2nd or 4th Saturday night dances (see our schedule). On 2nd Saturday nights, an open music jam will run from 6:00-7ish p.m. After a break for sound setup/check and dance instruction, the music will start again at 8:00-11:00 p.m. On 4th Saturday nights, there is no jam, but instead we feature a potluck from 6:30-7:15 p.m. Join us for some good cheer, food, and lively conversation! Come and play as much or as little as you like. Look forward to seeing and hearing you!
Colorado, DenverColorado Dance Tunes JamVarious
Various
Various
We primarily play American old-time music for our own enjoyment. The music we play sometimes takes excursions to the traditional musical styles of New England, French Canada, or Ireland. We welcome musicians who play fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, hammered dulcimer, and other acoustic instruments. We get together once a month at various locations in the Denver metro area, on the 4th Sunday of each month. If this sounds like something you would like to be part of, please send email with a short description of your musical interests to the Jam Coordinator.
Colorado, Glenwood SpringsGlenwood Springs Community Contra Dance1st
Saturday
7:30pm
Callers and musicians seeking to gain experience should contact the dance organizers for information on calling and participating in a band at this dance.
Colorado, WestminsterWestminster Old-Time Community Dance1st
Saturday
7:00pm-10:00pm
Callers and musicians seeking to gain experience should contact the dance organizers for information on calling and participating in a band at this dance.
Connecticut, New HavenNew Haven Celtic/contra slow jamTwice a month on
Monday
7:45pm
Celtic/contra slow jams. The jammers play mainly by ear and take turns teaching each other tunes. Check web site for contact information.
Connecticut, Sandy HookNorthern Fairfield County Acoustic Jam3rd
Thursday
7:30pm-9:30pm
We are an intermediate speed jam, playing tunes which are common to the contra dance repertoire of New England (and beyond). All instruments are welcome. We also gratefully accept donations to help defray the cost of the hall.
Connecticut, WethersfieldHartford Community Contra Dance2nd
Saturday
5:30pm-7:30pm
The jam is most appropriate for "intermediate" skill levels; we don't play slowly, but we're not up to full dance speed either. The contra jammers provide the music for two contras each year - the August contra in Wethersfield, and the last contra before Christmas in Branford.
England, CambridgeBig Round Bandoccasional
Saturday
8:00pm-10:00pm
This means you. We've got plenty of talent in Cambridge, and want to encourage more, so many of our ceilidhs feature our own musicians. We hold several informal practices during the term to make sure everyone is ready for the big night. [The dances at these ceilidhs are called, so I am including this on the list even though it is only related to contras - Charlie]
England, LeedsLeeds Contra Dance - Good Parking2nd, 4th and 5th
Tuesday
8:00pm-10:30pm
Good Parking is the resident band for Leeds Contra Dance, where we play on 2nd, 4th and 5th Tuesdays (except in high summer). Line-up of fiddles, flute, piano, guitar, and squeeze-boxes. Depends who comes.Do you play a suitable instrument? got a bit of facility on it? Yes? come along one evning and talk to the band, arrange a try-out. (If you're not sure, trying playing along with one or two of the midi files to make sure you can keep up.)
Florida, GainesvilleGainesville Contra Dance1st
Sunday (one shot)
4pm to 7pm
The GODS pick-up band will be supplying the music on June 7, 2009.
Illinois, Downers GrovePlank Road Folk Music Society Old Time Dance PartyOccasional
Saturday
7:30pm-?
PRFMS' Old Time Dance parties are one of our most popular, regular events- a family-oriented evening of down home music (provided by a live band- our Plank Road All Volunteer Band!), wonderful instruction suitable for folks who've never danced before, and grand conversation - with refreshments! The Dance Parties are open to anyone who wants to dance or play. There's always been a core of musicians that have regularly played the dances and want to learn new tunes and help smooth up the playing. So the Saturday All-Volunteer Practice sessions started to work on learning tunes, figuring out which chords sound the best with each tune and learning new tunes. The practice sessions continue to be a great excuse for musicians to get together and play fiddle tunes for a couple of hours a month. The sessions are not required for All-Volunteer String Band participation, they are just an opportunity for brushing up on tunes and/or chords and getting together with like-minded folks.
Illinois, Downers GrovePlank Road Folk Music Society Old Time Barn Dance PartyOccasional
Saturday
8:00pm-????
The Plank Road All Volunteer String Band will provide music. The band practices on the afternoon of the 2nd Saturday of each month unless it coincides with the date of the dance.
Illinois, McLeanIllinois All-Weekend Barn DanceAnnual in October
Saturday
8:00pm to ????
Open stage and and open mic calling as part of this event.
Illinois, UrbanaChambana Jan JamAnnually in January
Friday/Saturday
7:00pm to ????
There are opportunities for open bands as part of this event.
Illinois, UrbanaUrbana Country DancersFriday or Saturday
Occasional
8:00pm
There is an open band, on occasion, as part of the regular schedule.
Indiana, BloomingtonBloomington Old-Time Music & Dance Group1st (?)
Wednesday
8:30pm-10:30pm
Open band with a leader.
Indiana, GoshenGoshen Community Contra Dancing1st
Saturday
7:30pm-11:00pm
Generally at least one open band date each season. The group also holds two jams a month on 2nd (full-tilt) and 4th (slow jam) Saturdays from 9:30am to 11:30am. These jams are focused primarily on strummed, plucked, and bowed acoustic instruments. All levels of playing ability are welcome. Emphasis is on playing Old-Time fiddle tunes though "New England", Celtic, bluegrass, and "old-pop" tunes are also included. Jams are held in full view of the public. Check the jam page for more information.
Kentucky, BereaBerea Third Friday Dances3rd
Friday
9pm to midnight
Note that we also dance most third Fridays upstairs at 128 N. Broadway to open-mic calling and a pick-up band. For more information on Third Friday Dances, call 859-985-5501. Not every 3rd Friday dance is open band.
Kentucky, FrankfortThorn Hill Dancers and Folk Dance Band3rd
Friday
No time listed
The Thorn Hill Country Dancers meet first and third Fridays monthly, September through May. The Thorn Hill Folk Dance Band meets first and third Thursdays monthly, September through May, and plays for the dances on every third Friday. The band, also intergenerational (ages 6 through 70s), is fast growing into a dance orchestra.
Kentucky, LexingtonLexington Traditional Dance AssociationMany
Friday
8:00pm-11:00pm
Atcher, Beck, and Kahl is the open band led by David Atcher. All musicians are welcome on these nights.
Maine, BelfastBelfast, Maine Community Dance1st
Friday
6:30pm-7:30pm
The All-Comers Band plays for the Community Dance at 6:30pm before the regular dance later in the evening. Anyone who plays an instrument (all levels of players encouraged) is welcome to join in. We've had as many as 20 musicians serenading the Community Dance! What FUN and a great way to hone your playing skills. A list of tunes is available.
Maine, Portland4th Saturday Community Dance4th
Saturday
4:00pm-:5:30pm
Community dance party before the evening dance.
Maine, PownalSouthern Maine Folk Association JamMost
Thursday
6:30pm-11:00pm
Maine, TopshamDowneast Folk Festival - Festival OrchestraSaturday
March
various
The Festival Orchestra plays at one session during the weekend. It welcomes all comers. Bring your instrument and be ready for fun. Sheet music will be available at the Fest and there will be an optional rehearsal. In case you want to practice before the festival, all tunes titles (listed on the Festival Orchestra page) are followed by the book where you can find the notes if you don't already know the tune.
Maine, West FarmingtonFarmington Contra DanceOccasional
Saturday
7:30pm-11:00pm
The West Farmington House Band occasionally plays for the Farmington Contra Dance. Sit-ins are welcome. Sit-in musicians get half-price admission to the dance.
Maryland, BaltimoreBaltimore Squares and ContrasSporadic
Wednesday
7:30pm-10:30pm
Musicians of all playing experience levels are invited to come and play with us. Sheet music and friendly leadership will be provided!
Maryland, CaliforniaSouthern Maryland Traditional Music and Dance2nd
Saturday
7:00pm-10:00pm
Live music is provided by the Southern Maryland Open Band. This band is comprised of talented, local musicians. The band's repertoire for Contra Dances includes Irish jigs, reels, hornpipes and 18th century waltzes. As it is an "Open" band, musicians interested in playing this type of music are welcome to join in. The Bushwood Mill Jam meetings will be held on the last Sunday of the month at the Elwood Manor about 1 mile past the Old Mill in Bushwood. Jam sessions will begin around 4 pm. Bring things to share such as songs, food and refreshments. For more information contact Lucy Peterkin at 301-769-4762. Check the Jam session page for details.
Maryland, Glen EchoFriday Night Glen Echo Dance2nd
Friday
7:30pm-11:30pm
On the second Friday of each month, the "Fabulous Glen Echo Open Band" provides the music for the dance. Both amateur and professional musicians are welcome to sit in and are admitted free. One of our Open Band members, penny-whistler Jim Stahler, has compiled a 13-year list of tunes played by the Glen Echo Open Band and how many times they were played. Newer members are encouraged to download the shorter list of recently played tunes so they can practice the most frequently played tunes. Both lists are PDF files. Here is a podcast that offers the sets of songs along with the page Open Band FAQ or send email to Colleen Reed (change the at to @). Podcasts of the band are available at http://www.openbandonline.com/Open%20Band/Welcome.html.
Maryland, PikesvilleBaltimore Folk Music Society - Thanksgiving Day Dance4th (in November)
Thursday
8:00pm-10:30pm
This is an all-volunteer evening featuring an open band and open mic for callers (English, contras, squares).
Maryland, PikesvilleBaltimore Folk Music Society - Saturday DanceSporadic
Saturday
7:30pm (set-up) 8:00pm-11:00pm (dance)
The Baltimore Open Band plays at the August 8, 2009 dance.
Maryland, St. MichaelsSt. Michaels4th
Satuday
6:30pm and after the dance
For local musicians (teens and adults) - there will be an open band session 7-7:30 pm (and again at the end of the dance) -- for anyone who plays an instrument and would enjoy the opportunity to play some tunes in an ensemble setting. (Arrive 6:30 for warm-up before dancing starts at 7pm). Visit http://www.CarpeDiemArts.org to download tunes and practice in advance. Please encourage your musician friends to give it a try. The tunes are great fun to learn and sound even better with a band!
Maryland, ThurmontCatocin Mountain Music & Dance Weekend - SpringAnnual
Friday-Sunday
????
Volunteers lead music and dance events during this camp.
Maryland, ThurmontCatocin Mountain Music & Dance Weekend - FallAnnual
Friday-Sunday
????
Volunteers lead music and dance events during this camp.
Massachusetts, CambridgeMIT Contra DanceVarious
Tuesday
8:00pm-10:30pm
Sit-in musicians are welcome at many of the dances. Students and others are welcome to sit in with the band and/or call dances in this series! Feel free to bring an instrument and join the band at any dance whose listing below indicates that sit-ins are welcome.
Massachusetts, CambridgeBIDA Open Band Night3rd
Sunday
7:30-10:30 p.m. Musicians workshops at 6:00! (see below for details) Introductory contra dance workshop at 7:00!
BIDA's January contra dance kicks off the new year with a special event: the first ever BIDA open band night! All musicians of all experience levels welcome! Come join us for some hot tunes and camaraderie to go along with BIDA's typical hot dancing! Spearheaded by the house band, we invite YOU to come join us for a night of music and dancing. Come early for a MUSICIANS WORKSHOP on the finer details of playing for contra dances!
Massachusetts, CarlisleCarlisle Contra Dance2nd
Friday
8:00pm-10:30pm
Carlisle has a core band and sit-ins are welcome. We hope that sit-ins come with the intention of ensemble playing.
Massachusetts, LexingtonRoaring Jelly Contra Dance3rd
Friday
8:00pm
Roaring Jelly is a great place for beginning to advanced musicians to develop skill on their instruments, develop group playing skills, and expand their repertoire of tunes. If you know some contradance tunes, want to learn more, and can make it to most rehearsals and dances, this might be the band for you. The band rehearses on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 7:30pm in Concord. Only Band members play at Dances, however our practices are open for anyone to 'sit-in' with us to decide whether or not to join the Band. Members pay a modest season dues to help support our Lexington dance and other Band expenses. Besides the Friday night dances, the band also plays at other venues from time to time.
Massachusetts, MansfieldNew England Folk Festival
April
various
One or more sessions at the New England Folk Festival feature the Festival Orchestra a which there is Contra and square dancing to the music of a Contra dance band consisting of many Festival participants -- open to all! If you'd like to join the band, there is no need to pre-register. Just show up with instrument in hand, and play! Conductors and lead musicians will be picking tunes from The Portland Collection and the New England Fiddler's Repertoire, both of which will be available to the Orchestra. There is also a session for the Youth Festival Orchestra, featuring musicians age 21 and under.
Massachusetts, MelroseMelrose Contra Dance3rd
Saturday
7:00pm-10:00pm
Cammy, Al MacIntire, Eli Kaynor, Nickolas Kaynor and Peter Butcher welcome sit-ins in the band and newcomers on the dance floor.
Massachusetts, RehobothSunday Night Jammersvaries
Sunday
7:00pm-9:00pm
The dance music jam sessions continue in Rehoboth every Sunday night from 7-9 p.m. We play every Sunday. Once a month the session is a "Community Dance", usually, but not always on Second Sundays, at which we teach everything that needs teaching, depending on the experience of the dancers. For information or to check about cancellations, call Bob Elliott at 508-669-5656, or you can email him at bobolinkelliott@yahoo.com. The Sunday Night Jammers are a group of (mostly) instrumental (mostly) musicians, who play (mostly) Celtic-inspired dance music. Our music is (mostly) for couple dances, such as waltzes, hambos, polkas, and schottisches.

Now, to clear up those "mostly"s:

1) Sometimes we sing...or at least some of us sing.
2) Some of us are very serious musicians, some are duffers, many are in between. We are VERY polite about each other's errors.
3) We started with English, Scottish, Irish, Canadian, and New England dance music, but we have gotten more international as the months go by.
4) After Scandinavian and German couple dances, a few Israeli line dances appeared, followed by some Greek and Balkan dances with "interesting" time signatures.

In brief, all of us have learned a lot, and we welcome others to come play, teach, learn, and, in general, have fun!
Michigan, Ann ArborPittsfield Open BandSporadic
Various
Various
Our jam sessions are free and open to all interested musicians and are held three times each month. We play jigs, reels, and waltzes as played for contra dancing. The goals are to have fun, learn more tunes, and develop our contra dance musician skills. In addition to our regular jams, we play for contra dances and sponsor occasional workshops on contra dance musicianship. We hire an experienced dance musician to lead us when we play for dances. Our jams are held on the first, third and fourth Saturdays: 3pm-6pm (4-6pm on afternoons before an evening gig - see schedule below)
Michigan, Grand RapidsGrand Rapids Folk Arts Society Contra Dance4th
Friday
7:00pm-10:30pm
Bring your acoustic instrument or flat/ low-heeled dance shoes. Come to dance, play dance music, or call a dance!
New Hampshire, DoverDover, New Hampshire Dance - Lamprey River Band1st
Thursday
8:00pm-10:40pm
Guest musicians and callers welcome.
New Hampshire, DurhamWednesday Night Canadian Jam SessionEvery
Wednesday
7:30pm-10:30pm
We welcome anyone interested in playing traditional fiddle music on fiddle, piano, guitar, bass, or any other instrument that can be made to fit in! Musicians of all levels are welcome. We like to have a friendly, relaxed atmosphere at the jam session, and enjoy the fact that we’re playing for ourselves rather than for an audience. Every week we get together to play a variety of old-time Canadian fiddle tunes: Quebec, Maritime, Ontario; waltzes, reels, jigs, two-steps, polkas, etc. We also play New England square dance and contradance tunes; and Scottish, Swedish and Irish tunes now and then -- bring in your favorite tunes!

Every evening we take a 15-20 minute break at about 9:15 or so to socialize, eat snacks, and listen to recordings of the great fiddlers in the traditions we play; usually we listen to one side of a record per evening. We've listened to fiddlers such as Jean Carignan, Isidore Soucy, Graham Townsend, Patti Lamoureax, Marcel Robidas, Ward Allen, Andy DeJarlis, Omer Marcoux and many others. This has allowed people who don't have extensive record collections to hear how the tunes are played by some of the excellent fiddlers who grew up with the music and who have influenced how we play it.
New Hampshire, MilfordMilford, New Hampshire Dance4th
Friday

Sit-in musicians, guest callers welcome.
New Hampshire, NelsonNelson Monday Night DanceEvery
Monday
8:00pm-10:30pm
The Nelson Monday Night Dance is an informal dance featuring a variety of callers and musicians, from local regulars to visiting dignitaries. If you are musician and would like to play for a dance or two during the evening, speak to Roger Treat (or the caller if need help identifying Roger) - he is the official coordinator, and he will work you into the program (such as it is). If you’d like to sit in as a backup musician, you should ask whoever is playing at the time; some players are more receptive than others, and some may have tune sets that are more difficult to follow.
New Hampshire, NelsonNelson Monday Night DanceEvery
Monday
7:00pm-8:00pm
Nelson Town Hall, before the Nelson Monday night dance. Usually a dozen or so folks, playing reels, jigs, and waltzes, at half to three-quarter speed. Round robin – each attendee gets to pick a tune. There is a designated piano player to provide a solid foundation, but all other instruments welcome. A collection of sheet music is provided ($5 donation requested if you want to keep it), and many tunes are also played out of the Portland Collection and the New England Fiddler’s Repertoire. Contact: Lisa Sieverts 603-762-0235
New Jersey, PrincetonPrinceton Contra Dancesporadic
Wednesday
7:30pm-10:30pm
The contra-dance pick-up band is open to all and typically plays once per month (or more) for the weekly dance. Sheet music is generally available at the dance. Please set up by 7:30 PM. Lists of tunes previously played are available.
New Mexico, AlbuquerqueAlbuquerque Megaband3rd
Saturday
7:00pm-10:30pm
The Albuquerque Megaband is an open acoustic band that plays for each 3rd Saturday contra dance in ABQ. Since its beginnings in the early 1980s it has provided a place for experienced musicians and those just starting out to play together for dance-inclined humans (and occasionally cats and dogs) at FolkMADS dances, workshops, and other events. The Megaband plays for "the love of playing" (meaning: for free), which coincidentally helps the organization maintain a positive cash flow for the monthly dance series. Semi-organized practice sessions are held on the Tuesday preceding the 3rd Saturday dance each month at the Blue Dragon Coffee House, 1517 Girard NE. While these sessions are not rehearsals, per se, and the repertoire is ever-expanding and wandered-from, the practices do allow folks a chance to play together at dance tempo, and learn some of the ingredients of live, called dances (i.e. how to smile and nod when the caller explains that there's a balance in A1, gypsy in B2, etc., while thinking about which reel to play).
New Mexico, Las CrucesSouthern New Mexico Music & Dance Society MegabandVarious (Usually 3rd)
Friday
7:30pm-10:30pm
New York, BrooktondaleWednesday Night Contra Dance TunesEvery
Wednesday
7:00pm-9:30pm
Open Jam at Mike's workshop on Canaan Rd every Wednesday - Traditional Celtic, American and world fiddle dance tunes: Reels, Jigs, Hornpipes, Hambos and Waltzes in a friendly speed controlled atmosphere. Newcomers welcome. All instruments welcome: Fiddles, Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos etc ... welcome! Sheet music and MP3's available. EVERY Wednesday 7:00 - 9:30 pm interrupted by occasional special events. RSVPs are not generally required for everyday ordinary events, but they are VERY useful to us - especially if you are new to one of our groups or attending a house concert - email is great for that! :-) michael@canaaninstitute.org
New York, Cold Spring HarborLITMA OrchestraEvery
Saturday
10am to 1pm
The LITMA Orchestra provides an opportunity for musicians to play traditional tunes with a large (sometimes very large) group of people.

The orchestra usually rehearses on Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM, except for weekends when the Orchestra has an event or a workshop scheduled. Most rehearsals are held at St. John's in Cold Spring Harbor. To make it easier for Nassau County musicians, second Saturday rehearsals will be at the Westbury Friends Meeting Hall. If you're interested in joining in, or would like more information, contact Bernie Stolls at (516) 433-4192 or through e-mail toBStolls@optonline.net . You'll need to arrange to have a tunebook made available at the first rehearsal you choose to attend. The Orchestra plays at some of the LITMA dances.
New York, DelmarDance Flurry Family Dances2nd
Sunday
4pm - 5:15 pm
Music by Tame Rutabaga. (sit-in musicians of any age and any degree of experience are welcome to join in).
New York, IthacaTompkins County Country DancersSummer
Monday
7:30pm-?
Open Band! New musicians are welcome. Play by ear or with sheet music (provided).
New York, New YorkCDNY Contra Dance w/ The ContrapolitansSporadic
Saturday
8:00pm-10:45pm
Contradance musicians wanted: The Contrapolitans (CD*NY's own community band) are looking for musicians. If you are interested, contact them to join the band, which plays for at least two contra dances, Call Jonathan Brandt at 212-721-9230, or send an email to him at Brandt@ruanecunniff.com.
North Carolina, AshevilleAsheville Community Open BandEvery (jam); Every-so-often (dance)
Thursday
6:30pm to 8:00pm (jams), 8:00pm (dances)
The Asheville Community Open Band plays on occasion for the Thursday night dance at Warren Wilson College. The jam welcomes all beginning and intermediate players at Kittredge Hall each Thursday before the dance, Room 25.
Ohio, AthensSoutheast Ohio Traditional Dance Society - AthensSporadic
Saturday
7:30pm-11:00pm
There will be open band opportunities and an open mic for callers at the dance on July 12, 2008 and August 9, 2008.
Ohio, CincinnatiCincinnati Contra DancersOccasional
Monday
7:30pm-10:00pm
The Open Band plays at the regular Cincinnati Monday Night Contra Dances in Wyoming, OH, about once every two months (click on http://www.cincinnaticontradance.org/ for more information). The Open Band is, as its name implies, open to all! Whether you are a beginning musician, an experienced one new to the area, or something else entirely, you are are welcome to sit it. We do have rehearsals, but you are still welcome to come and play even if you haven't rehearsed before. Many of your tunes come from a collection called the Kentucky Open Band Contra Tunes. However, others have been added as we have played for a while. Check http://homepage.mac.com/richard_l_boyce/ for more information.
Ohio, ColumbusBig Scioty Open BandSaturday
3rd
6:00pm-7:30pm
The Big Scioty Open Band is practicing before the contra dances at First Congregational Church on third Saturdays. The goal will be to play at dances at some later date. Everyone is welcome regardless of musical ability. Whether you are a beginning musician, an experienced one new to this area, experienced in playing other kinds of music, or whatever, you are welcome. We will play slow to help beginners get up to speed. Some experienced dance musicians have offered to be there to help us get started. We play tunes from the Cincinnati Open Band tune list. We'll start with tunes from "KY Contra tunes.pdf". You are welcome to bring sheet music from that list. We meet at First Congregational Church, 444 E. Broad, Columbus from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM before the contra dance on third Saturdays. Summer schedule is pending.
Ohio, Lake LoganMay Apple StompAnnual in May
Saturday and Sunday
Various
Musicians and Callers please come and share your talent! Band and caller sign up begins at 7:30 PM.
Ohio, LakewoodMud in Yer Eye1st
Saturday
8:00pm
Mud in Yer Eye plays one regular dance every month in Lakewood, Ohio and is also available to play for dances or other occasions in the greater Cleveland area. If you are interested in joining us, also consider coming to a rehearsal, meeting folks, and picking up a tune set. For additional information about rehearsals, gigs, or bookings, send us an e-mail and we'll be in touch.
Oklahoma, KingstonFiddler's DreamAnnual
Varies
????
Volunteers lead music and dance events during this camp.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma CityScissortail Mega Band2nd or 4th (Occasional)
Saturday
7:30pm-11:00pm
The Scissortail Mega Band is made up of volunteer musicians who enjoy learning and playing contra dance music. They practice the 1st Saturday each month at the Oklahoma City Traditional Music Association at 6pm.
Oregon, Coos BaySouth Coast Folk Society Contra DanceOccasional
Saturday
7:30pm-9:00pm
Open Band opportunity on November 20, 2010.
Oregon, La GrandeNE Oregon Folklore Society Contra DanceSome
Tuesday
7:30pm-9:00pm
On some Tuesdays there are opportunities for playing and calling at the dance. Call ahead if you want to try playing music or leading a dance.
Pennsylvania, BradfordHeart of the Alleghenies Folk Music FestivalAnnual in August
Saturday (?)

Annual music and dance festival with at least one opportunity to play with an open band during contra dancing along with plenty of jamming events and workshops.
Pennsylvania, ElversonElverson/Locust Lane2nd or 4th
Friday
7:30pm to 11:00pm
Open band opportunity on August 13, 2010
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia areaThursday Night Contra Dancesporadic
Thursday
7:30pm-11:00pm
SPUDS is open to accoustic musicians of all levels. We play reels, jigs, hambos, and waltzes for the Thursday night contra dances several times a year. For dates, rehearsal information, tunes to download, etc, visit the SPUDS website or contact Kim Neubauer or Bill Quern. SPUDS is an acronym from the Summit Pickup Dance Society.
Pennsylvania, State CollegeState College Contra Dance3rd
Friday
7:30pm-10:30pm
the Open Band will be playing on April 16, 2010. Our tune list, being drawn from local jam and session repertoire, should be familiar to many of you. A printable OCD Band Tunebook in Adobe .pdf format is available via email by request from my address: bryfiddle@aol.com.  A pre-dance warm-up will be held at a time and place to be determined. Even if you are unable to join us for the warm-up, you are still welcome on April 16! Regards, Bruce Young
Rhode Island, KingstonSouth County Open Band2nd
Monday
7:00pm-9:00pm
Any acoustic instrument welcome. Practice to be in the South County Open Band for its Spring Contra Dance. Kingston Free Library, second floor Potter Hall, 2605 Kingston Road, Kingston, RI (please use side entrance on Upper College Road). .
South Carolina, GreenvilleHarvest Moon Folk SocietyOccasional
Wednesday
7:30pm-10:00pm
The Wednesday night dance series in Greenville has occasional dates for the Community Band and a callers open mic. Check web site for details. Next date is August 12, 2009
Tennessee, Chapel HillChapel Hill Contra Dance3rd
Thursday
7:00pm-9:00pm
Music for the dance is provided by an open band led by Jim Reynolds and Ronnie Schuppan. If you play an acoustic instrument, please feel free to participate in the music (we encourage everyone to play whether you are just beginning or have years of experience). There is no admission for musicians. The dance occurs at the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 316 N. Horton Highway in the Family Life Center, which is at the back or the east side of the church. For more information: chapelhillcontradance@yahoo.com.
Tennessee, Flat CreekFlat Creek Contra Dance2nd or 4th
Tuesday
7:00pm to 9:00pm
We have a complete blast, and everyone is welcome to join us regardless of his experience level. We have 15-25 area pickers providing the music and usually have twenty-five to forty folks dancing and listening and we have had as many as 130 in attendence before.
Texas, AustinAustin Barn DanceEvery
Wednesday
7:30pm-10:00pm
The music is provided by volunteers ("The Local On-Call Orchestra" or LOCO), so if you want to learn how to play contra music (or the occasional waltz), please feel free to bring your instrument to play as much as you want, and also to dance.
Texas, IrvingNTTDS Irving Dance2nd
Saturday
8:00pm-10:00pm
New dance series in Irving on 2nd Saturdays from March 2009-May 2009 with open calling and open band.
Utah, MoabMoab Community Dance BandUsually 4th
Friday
7:00pm-10:00pm
Information about rehearsals.
Vermont, BrattleboroBrattleboro Dance Slow Jam2nd and 4th
Sunday
5:30pm-6:30pm
The Brattleboro Dance welcomes musicians to a slow jam session before every dance. All instruments and skill levels are welcome to come and play tunes starting at 5:30 PM and going until around 6:30. Bring New England Fiddler’s Repertoire and/or the Portland Collection if you have them, or come play by ear.
Virginia, GreenwoodGreenwood Contra Dance4th
Sunday (one-shot)
6:00 (lesson); 6:30 (dance)
One-shot opportunity for Local volunteer musicians on May 24, 2009
Virginia, NorfolkSteve Suhring's Open Band ExperienceOccasional
Saturday
7:00pm-11:00pm
The "ObeX"- Open Band Experience with Steve Suhring plays a few times a year at the Norfolk dance. To join in the fun as a musician contact : Steve Suhring at suhring@jlab.org or telephone (757) 255-4028.
Washington, BellinghamBellingham Country Dance SocietyVaries
Friday or Saturday
7:30pm-11:00pm
Open band opportunity on Saturday, November 29, 2008.
Washington, GoldendaleMCFS Simcoe Mountain Music & Dance WeekendAnnual
Friday-Sunday
????
Volunteers lead music and dance events during this weekend.
Washington, SeattleSeattle Community Open Band Contra Dance2nd
Sunday
6:00pm-8:30pm
Seattle Community Contra Dance - an open-band contra dance, featuring an open mic for callers, preceded by a potluck supper (please bring a dish to share, as well as your own plates and utensils). It's a supportive place to dance, call, and make music - beginners welcome! The band and the callers' open mic are led and hosted by a different favorite local musician and caller each month.
Washington, SpokaneSpokane Contradance Music Jam3rd
Wednesday
7:00pm-9:30pm
Contradance music jam takes place on the third Wednesday of each month (Sept-June) at the Woman's Club Hall. Sponsored by the Spokane Folklore Society 509/747-2640. Musicians play for contra dance...
Washington, Vashon IslandNorthwest New Year's CampAnnual
Varies
????
Volunteers lead music and dance events during this camp.
Washington, Walla WallaWednesday Night Band3rd
Saturday
7:00pm-10:30pm
The Wednesday Night Band provides music for the 3rd Saturday dances in Walla Walla. For more information, call Dan Clark at (509) 522-0399 or Howard Ostby (541) 938-7403.
West Virginia, BeckwithFall Flingmid-September
Friday, Saturday, Sunday

The weekend includes Jamming, Contra dancing, Open mic for musicians and callers, Workshops, and a Saturday Night Potluck!
Wisconsin, MadisonMadison Contra Dance Cooperativeevery
Tuesday
7:45pm-9:40pm
Open band and callers.
Wisconsin, MadisonUW-Madison Contra Dancessporadic
Sunday
3:00pm-6:00pm
The band for the dance is The Hackberries. The Hackberries are a group of grad students and community members who gather weekly to play Celtic music, often on Thursday or Friday nights. We welcome musicians to join us on any instrument and have had musicians who've played fiddle, guitar, cello, string bass, tin whistle, Irish flute, piano, accordion, hand drums, Irish bones, harp, and mandolin. No experience with Celtic music is necessary if you're eager to learn. For more information, please contact us through the "Contact" form on this website.

This page is part of the Contrdancelinks.com web site. For more information about contra dancing, visit these other site pages:

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*The Colorado link will bring you to Dancing on the Web. The Maine link will bring you to the Downeast Friends of the Folk Arts. The New Mexico link will bring you to the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. The Utah link will bring you to Utah Contradance Information. These fine organizations and individuals already have complete listings for these states and there is no reason for me to duplicate their efforts.

**As far as I know, there are no regular dances or events in Mississippi, South Dakota or Wyoming, but I have created pages if something changes in the future.


http://www.contradancelinks.com/openband.html
Produced by Charlie Seelig
This page last updated on March 14, 2015.