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RiverJam Romp Benefit Concert and Dance

RiverJam Romp Benefit Concert and Dance will be held on Tuesday, August 22, 2023 from 6-9:00 PM at Fair Winds Farm, 513 Upper Dummerston Rd, Brattleboro, VT.
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RiverJam Romp is a new local annual weekend event celebrating the music and dance traditions of Southern Vermont, the Monadnock Region, and the Pioneer Valley. With a rotating staff of some of the finest trad musicians of the region, RiverJam Romp nurtures these traditions and strengthens connections through inclusive, community-based music and dance activities. Concerts and dances this summer are planned to raise scholarship funds and help ensure a smooth second season as they transition to their new permanent home at Potash Hill in Marlboro.

Approximately 30 people filled the backyard at House Concerts chez Grossman/Peel in Brattleboro on Sunday June 18, 2023. The RiverJam Romp musicians – Peter Siegel, Amanda Witman, Andy Davis, David Canteini, Ann Percival, Peter & Mary Alice Amidon, and Cedar Stanistreet – regaled the crowd for over two hours with a mix of instrumental and vocal selections, even including some opportunities for the audience to join in on the singing. Audience donations gave a good starting bump to RiverJam Romp’s fundraising efforts.

The next RiverJam Romp Benefit Concert and Dance will be held on Tuesday, August 22, 2023 from 6:00-9:00 pm at Fair Winds Farm, 513 Upper Dummerston Rd, Brattleboro, VT. Come picnic on the green and enjoy a showcase performance of local musicians with staff of the new RiverJam Romp camp and friends: Louisa Engle, Peter Siegel, Amanda Witman, Jay Bailey, and others, followed by a Community Dance in the barn with all-comers band and callers. Bring your own picnic supper and something to sit on during the concert. All dancing is beginner friendly and open to all ages.

For updates and more details, be sure to follow RiverJam Romp on Facebook at, and sign up for their mailing list at

If you can’t make it to one of the events, donations are very welcome at

Learn more and register at


Peter Siegel is an award winning musician, educator, and founding member of the genre-bending band, The Gaslight Tinkers. Influenced by the songwriting of Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs, dixieland, old time fiddle tunes and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Peter grew up singing on the Hudson River Clearwater. He moved to the Pioneer Valley as a young adult, where he became a longtime member of the Greenfield Dance Band and recognizable figure in the New England contradance scene. Peter lives in Brattleboro and is a public school teacher in Keene.

Amanda Witman is a passionate carrier of songs from old and evolving musical traditions that connect people across a room and across time. For years, Amanda has been a force in the development of Brattleboro’s strong local tradition of participatory sings and sessions, including the Brattleboro Pub Sing, which she co-founded with English folk legend Tony Barrand in 2011. Amanda also performs with Southern Vermont a cappella quartet, Big Woods Voices, and can be found most Sunday mornings singing at Fire Arts Cafe with Peter Siegel and Shawn Magee.

Peter and Mary Alice Amidon‘s choral arrangements and compositions are rooted in their life-long immersion in the harmonies of Sacred Harp singing, African American spirituals and gospel, pub singing, and other spontaneous group harmony singing, and American and English folks songs. The Amidons lead choral harmony singing workshops at major traditional music festivals, and weekend/week-long choral singing workshops in the United States and the UK. Peter has been one of the major U.S. leaders of American shape note singing. The Amidons’ choral arrangements are being sung by hundreds of choirs throughout the United States and the UK. Mary Alice is a member of, and Peter is Music co-Director of the Guilford (VT) Community Church, UCC Choir and the Hallowell Hospice Choir. They live in Brattleboro.

Andy Davis calls traditional New-England-style contra and square dances. Andy’s specialty is calling for community events welcoming to dancers of all ages and abilities. For over thirty years, Andy taught music and dance in Vermont public schools and summer camps. He plays accordion and piano for traditional dances. Andy’s repertoire includes jigs, reels, polkas, marches and waltzes that would be part of a lively and joyful evening of community dance. He has composed a variety of dance tunes and songs. Andy is a founding member of “New England Dancing Masters,” publishers of dance books and recordings for the teaching of New England traditional dance. For 30 years he was part of the group “Nowell Sing We Clear,” a Vermont based group that performed and recorded mid-winter carols and customs. For many years Andy and his wife Robin were program directors for Country Dance and Song Society “Family Weeks” in West Virginia, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He lives in Brattleboro, VT.

One of Louisa Engle’s fondest childhood memories is dancing through a long tunnel of clasped hands during a contra dance at her elementary school. She grew up to be a fiddler and fiddle teacher who is passionate about bringing together musicians and dancers of different ages and abilities. She has taught at the Brattleboro Music Center, Maine Fiddle Camp, and Nelson Elementary School, has had numerous private students, and has called and played at family contra dances throughout New England. She has helped run the legendary all-night Brattleboro Dawn Dance for a decade. Her current interests include Maypole dances, claw hammer banjo, family dance calling, and alternate fiddle tunings.

Julia Friend is a singer of pub songs, sea shanties, and ballads. She loves the power and vulnerability of the human voice. An occasional performer at folk festivals, Julia is happiest swapping songs and blending harmonies in dark corners in the wee hours of the night. She co-authored the Country Dance and Song Society’s folk singing starter kit, helped launch Youth Traditional Song Weekend, and cheers for singing in all genres. She lives in Brattleboro, VT.

Yann Falquet is a very creative acoustic guitar player located in Brattleboro, Vermont. Also an active player in the Québécois music scene, Yann has explored many styles of music and completed a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz. Since then, he has developed a personal guitar style for Québec folk music, inspired by the playing of the accompanists of different cultures (Brittany, Scandinavia, Ireland, North America). His involvement in the province’s traditional music scene has brought Yann to perform on numerous recordings, and to tour regularly throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia with his trio Genticorum.

Lissa Schneckenburger was raised in a small town in Maine and moved to Brattleboro as a young adult. Inspired by her parents’ interest in folk music, she began playing fiddle at the age of six. She grew up in the New England contradance scene, developing an extensive repertoire of traditional and original tunes while playing for countless dances, teaching at numerous camps and festivals, and touring with bands such as Halali and Low Lily. Over the last several decades she has made music that showcased everything from traditional New England dance tunes to original songs inspired by her experience as a foster and adoptive parent.

Mary Cay Brass began her involvement with traditional music at the age of nine when her Croatian neighbors invited her to join a children’s folk dance troupe. Later, while at the University of Minnesota she encountered numerous folk dance groups at the height of the folk revival in the 70’s. After graduating with a degree in ethnomusicology, she won a Fullbright Scholarship to the former Yugoslavia, where she worked with ethnomusicologists in Croatia and Serbia, attended festivals and dance seminars throughout the former Yugoslavia and conducted fieldwork in the singing traditions of the region. Back in the US, she was introduced to the contra dance musical traditions of New England and began passionately learning everything she could about the piano back up traditions to fiddle tunes as well as learning the tunes on accordion. This led to a move to southern Vermont in 1984 where she became part of a thriving traditional music scene playing regularly for contradances in Greenfield; playing and teaching throughout the country at dances, festivals and camps; and leading international performance tours with Village Harmony.

David Cantieni has been making people dance to his music for more than two decades with his captivating performances on the Irish style wooden flute, Breton bombard, oboe, sax, and pennywhistle. David switched to playing dance music from Bach and Stravinsky (music which he still adores) after developing a passion for traditional New England contra dancing. The love of music and dance infuses all of David’s many activities, which range from performing with the well known bands Swallowtail and Wild Asparagus, to leading a parade of costumed campers at family dance camps. He has been leading workshops and teaching for years; his appearances include Irish Week at Swannanoa Gathering; Northern Week at Ashokan; Heritage Arts Workshops in Elkins, West Virginia; and numerous other music and dance camps around the country.


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