Peter and Mary Alice Amidon are versatile and widely respected performing and teaching artists who for the past twenty years have dedicated themselves to traditional song, dance and storytelling.
The Amidons are equally at home doing a concert of stories and songs for adults or children, calling a contra dance for adults or a community dance for all ages, leading harmony singing workshops with adults, or doing an elementary school residency of singing, storytelling or traditional dance. Peter and Mary Alice are familiar faces at the major northeast U.S. music and dance festivals, at teacher conferences, and at summer folk camps of traditional dance and song. They have performed concerts and led residencies in hundreds of schools, libraries and churches.
Thousands of teachers and parents have shared the Amidons' music through their albums of songs for all ages. And thousands of educators and community dance leaders have led children and adults in traditional American and English dances and singing games gleaned from the books and recordings produced by New England Dancing Masters Productions: Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, Andy Davis and Mary Cay Brass.
Peter is founder and former director of Brattleboro Music Center Children's Choir, a choir director at the Guilford Community Church, and a regular leader of Adult Village Harmony summer camp sessions. He has led Sacred Harp singing at the Old Songs Festival for the past fifteen years, and was handpicked by Pete Seeger to run the Circle of Song, a participatory singing stage at the Great Hudson River Clearwater Revival Music Festival, for four years. His choral arrangements, published in the book and companion CD 'Beatitudes', are being sung by choruses throughout the US and the UK. He is co-music director of Hallowell, Southeastern Vermont's hospice choir. Peter is in demand throughout New England as a contra dance and community dance caller. He has been the featured storyteller, contra dance caller, and harmony singing leader at several of the Country Dance and Song Society of America's summer camps of traditional dance and song.
Mary Alice is an annual favorite in many elementary schools for her music, storytelling and dance concerts and residencies with K-4 students. She presents teacher workshops by herself and with Peter Amidon across the country. Her two solo albums of songs for children: 'Teaching Kindergarten' and 'Songs for a Singing Family' are two of the most popular CD's from the Amidon collection. Mary Alice just released her first 'solo' album for adults: Keys to the Kingdom. Produced by son Sam Amidon and including the playing by many in the stellar network of Mary Alice's music friends, her new album includes songs old and new, and quite a few Mary Alice originals. She leads harmony singing at Adult Village Harmony and Country Dance and Song Society summer camps. She is one of twenty-five composers commissioned to compose an original choral piece ('Sweet is the Day') for the Social Band's Vermont Composer's Project. Mary Alice has a particular gift for enhancing picture books with music, song, storytelling and movement.
Vist Mary Alice's Myspace page at: www.myspace.com/maryaliceamidonmusic
Mary Alice also keeps a blog, here: http://maryaliceamidon.blogspot.com
Based in Manhattan, Sam reinterprets old American songs, plays free jazz, includes surprising performance art in his shows, plays a mean Irish/Old Timey/contra dance/free-jazz fiddle, and also is a superb guitar and banjo player. Sam leads his own band (samamidon) as well as playing in Doveman, and Stars Like Fleas. His recently released CD 'All Is Well', (2008 - Bedroom Community) one of Sam's several collaborations with composer Nico Muhly, is garnering rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. 'All Is Well' is the 2nd CD of Sam's interpretations of roots traditional American folksongs with his original banjo and guitar harmonizations. The first, 'But This Chicken Proved False Hearted'(2007) was done in collaboration with Sam's childhood friend and long term music colleague Thomas Bartlett. Sam just returned from a very successful solo performing tour of Europe and England celebrating the release of 'All Is Well'. Check out Sam's Myspace page for his performing schedule. Sam is married to British singer/songwriter Beth Orton who just released her first album in six years "Sugaring Season" to world-wide critical acclaim. Beth has a daughter Nancy; Sam and Beth have a son, Arthur.
- visit Sam's website:
- and his myspace page:
Stefan is living in Brooklyn, NY after graduating as a jazz percussion major from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He is a percussionist in the Sweetback Sisters, a "honky tonk band for the modern cowboy and girl", featuring lead singers Zara Bode (Stefan's fiancé) and Emily Miller. The Sweetback Sisters have appeared on Prairie Home Companion, coming in second in Garrison Keillor's national "Twenty-somethings Bands" competition.
Stefan, a gifted singer and singing leader, has led harmony singing at Oberlin and at the CDSS-sponsored summer camps Pinewoods Family Week and Ogontz Family Week. He has been on several Northern Harmony tours, and was a leader of an Adult Village Harmony singing camp. Although he is best known as a percussionist, he is also becoming a hot mandolin player, a clarinetist of heartbreaking poignancy, and a deeply meditative old time fiddler.
The Amidons have released seven albums of songs for children and adults. They are founding members of the New England Dancing Masters: publishers of recordings, books, DVDs and Youtube videos of traditional dance for children and community dance leaders.