Shops, Stores and Balls

I was talking to a friend not long ago, and she said something that I’ve pondered over for the last few weeks. She asked how the Civil War Balls were going, and then she said, “I’m so glad that you are offering the Balls. We haven’t been in a long time, but it’s nice to know they are there in case we want to go sometime.”

Her comment got me thinking about all the local shops and stores that I have liked that have gone out of business recently. Most of them have been places that I have rarely frequented such as a cute antique store in Cambria or a specialty paper store in Atascadero, but I was sorry when they were gone. It made me wonder if, in some small way, I might have helped these shops that I enjoyed stay in business had I frequented them more often. Maybe if I had told my friends how much I enjoyed shopping there and how I always found just what I was looking for, they would have purchased things there too.

I guess what is true for the local shops is true for the Balls as well. If everyone had the attitude that the Balls would continue whether or not they attended them, they would probably find that another activity they enjoyed was no longer available. My hope is that the Balls are valuable enough that people will continue to make the effort to attend and invite their friends because they always find just what they are looking for.

Too Young To Marry

I enjoy many of the aspects of being a dance teacher and caller, but one of the best parts is all the fun I get to have working with student musicians. When we have live music events, our gentleman’s trio Liberty Hill carries the bulk of the responsibilities to learn the songs and play them. But we have so many musically talented students that attend our events that I delight in giving them an opportunity to share their gifts as well.

At our October Ball, we had our men’s trio play, and in addition, we had nine other student musicians. Three of the young ladies who played have formed a group called Too Young To Marry. They have learned many of the Civil War Era songs, and they are able to play for other private events with me like one we did out in Edna Valley last summer and the Hoe Down that we did this month. But not only are they gifted musicians who play a large range of Celtic, dance and folk music, but they are also phenomenal vocalists who sing many gorgeous accapella songs.

Another one of my passions is photography. I’ve had the opportunity to do photo shoots for several local music groups, so it was fun to take the girls from Too Young To Marry and do a photo shoot with them.

Too Young To Marry is available to play for private events. Email me at for more information.

The Hoe Down

On Friday, I taught and called dances for a local children’s choir fundraiser event. In some ways, it was different from the Civil War Balls where I most often teach dancing. First of all, instead of a corset and hoop skirt, I wore my floor-stomping cowboy boots, country skirt, white blouse and a bandana! Although I still taught some of our old favorites like the Virginia Reel, I also had a chance to teach some Country Line Dances like the Electric Slide.

But some things were just the same. We still had dads out there swinging with their small daughters, big smiles all around. And it was definitely a community building event. People who had been in choir for a while but hadn’t really gotten to know anyone had an opportunity to talk with other members of the choir. And of course, there was food! The organizers of the event staged a pie eating contest for the dads, and a whip cream eating contest for the kids.

I used recorded music for some of the dances, but I also had the privilege of again working with the trio “Too Young To Marry” who provided live music for several of the dances. All three of the young ladies are current or former members of the choir, which made their playing all the more special.

My husband was able to video tape a few clips from the event, and you can see them at:

Children’s Choir Family Hoe Down – Line Dance #1

Children’s Choir Family Hoe Down – Line Dance #2

Children's Choir Family Hoe Down - Live Music

Children’s Choir Family Hoe Down – La Bastringue

The Hoe Down was so much fun that I think we should have another one!