Somewhere in the middle of all this, I started calling on my own in order to expand my horizons, and because there seemed to be a greater need for callers than for bands. I also started to compose my own dances . This was mainly to have dances available to call that "did what I wanted them to" (or maybe just ones I could REMEMBER!), but has grown to be away to commemorate a particular event, or honor a particular person. "Well THAT deserves a dance"., etc etc... Sometimes I spend years working on a particular dance, or more properly trying to get a particular combination of moves into the form of a pleasing dance. Sometimes a dance just hits me. When that happens I'm often driving down the highway and the initial transcription is often on a scrap of paper or on the side of a coffee cup! To date I've called (or played and called) with a lot of great bands all along the east coast and on the west coast as well. I've had the pleasure to meet and work with some great musicians from near and far including Pam Weeks, Jim Joseph, Greg Anderson, Eric Johnson, Mark Murray, Hank Washburn, John Pranio, George Fowler, Bill Shubeck, Heidi Daub, Ed Howe, Steve Muise from Maine, Laura Lengnick, Buz Lloyd, Bill and Libby Hicks, and Laurie Fischer from North Carolina, David Knight from D.C., Benoit Bourque and Richard Forest from Montreal, Dave Bartley, Claude Ginsberg, Julie King and Anita Anderson from Seattle, Mary Lea, Mary Cay Brass from Vermont, Rick Mohr, Peter Barnes, Cal Howard, Amy Richardson, David Cantieni, Ann Percival, Stuart Kenney, Peter Siegel, Lise Brown, Susan Conger, Susie Secco, Larry Unger from Massachusetts, Nat Hewitt, Roberta Sutter and Timm Triplett from New Hampshire. And then of course, there's David Kaynor, caller and fiddler from Montague, MA, a friend, colleague and mentor without whose help I probably would have given up on this long ago! David spends time at his family's summer cottage in South Harpswell, Maine, the site of many a daytime paddle around the cove and many a late night session playing music and philosophising about contradancing and the meaning of life.
In the Spring and Summer of 2003 (see schedule page) I did my first "dance weekends" as a solo caller. This is new for me, as I have always done this sort of thing with a band and as a MEMBER of that band, ie: playing and calling. With the expectation that I will really like doing this sort of thing and would like to get hired to do MORE, I am including here a list of workshops that I like to do.
That's the past, the present and a little look into the future. I hope to keep calling, playing, writing dances for many years to come. I love travelling around the country and experiencing the regional differences that exist in this artform we very loosely refer to as "contradancing". I hope to keep meeting more dancers, musicians and callers in these places and learning new dances and tunes as well as making new friends.
Bill Olson (Dec. 23, 2002)