Staff Bios CDW 2022

Gaye Fifer
(Caller, English, Waltz)
Gaye Fifer is an accomplished contra & English caller from Pittsburgh, PA. An active dancer herself, Gaye understands the subtleties of making dances particularly satisfying for dancers. Her instructions are clear and concise, as she is a teacher by profession. An easy smile and delightful sense of humor are part of Gaye's relaxed, pleasant style at the microphone. Gaye calls contra and English dances throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is also an enthusiastic advocate and instructor of contra-style waltz. Gaye is currently President of the Board of CDSS. 

Seth Tepfer
(Caller, Squares, Calling 9-12, Dance & Games 6-8)
Seth Tepfer is "Atlanta's Dance Magician," calling dances for adults and children like you've never seen before. Known for his infectious energy, his short walk-thru's, and his 'hash-contras', Seth's warm enthusiasm is contagious, and gets everyone moving, smiling, and having a great time. Whether squares, contras, or other folk dances, you can be certain that all involved - novices and experienced dancers alike - will amble away happy and eager to dance more!


Deb Shebish
(Musician, Dance Band)

Deb is a dynamic fiddler and educator originally from Whiting, Indiana.  She fell in love with old-time, Irish, and bluegrass fiddling in Bloomington, Indiana in 1998 and was greatly influenced by the musicians there.  In 2000, Deb met Joe Dawson, (1928-2012), an old-time fiddler from south-central Indiana who grew up deeply immersed in the traditional music of the area.  She loves to share his unique style and repertoire that she learned from his weekly living room jams.  

Deb has performed at dances, festivals, and concerts throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe at venues such as the The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN, the United States Air Force Academy, the Waterford Tall Ships Festival in Ireland, and the Leith Folk Club in Scotland.  Deb lives in Philadelphia, PA where she performs and teaches students of all ages.

Matthew Olwell
(Musician, Tap, Dance Band)
A founding member of the acclaimed music group Maivish, Matthew Olwell is a performing and teaching artist whose work blends percussive dance, live music, and visual media. The son of renowned wooden flute-maker Patrick Olwell, Matthew began his professional career touring with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, including a run of the London production of Riverdance. Matthew has been a featured performer and teacher at numerous festivals and camps,  including the Dublin Dance Festival, the Augusta Heritage Center, and the Aulnay All Blues Festival in Paris. Other recent works include CyberTrad, a recording project that blends traditional and original Irish and Breton music with bass and Beatbox, and of which the Irish Echo writes, “Outstanding... Olwell is an artist with a keen vision.” A 2017 graduate of Davis & Elkins College with a degree in Multimedia Performance, Matthew currently resides in Philadelphia, where he is pursuing an MFA in dance studies at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. 

Brian Lindsay
(Musician, Mummers Play)
Brian Lindsay has been dancing since he could walk, singing since he could speak, and holding a fiddle to his chin for most of his life. Surrounded by both contra dance and Irish music and dance throughout his childhood, Brian spent much of his youth going to sessions in the NY area and studying with respected Irish fiddle player Brian Conway. An accomplished performer and Mid-Atlantic Irish Fiddle champion by the age of 17, Brian has also found the influences of many other musical styles and traditions make their way into his playing. Starting at a young age, other instruments started to enter his vocabulary, including the banjo, mandolin, guitar, and Irish tin whistle. Brian’s skill as a multi-instrumentalist extends especially to the voice. As an experienced performer of folk songs both new and old, Brian creates unique arrangements and thought provoking harmonies, and delights in the joys of social singing.

Brian grew up going to contra dances all over New England; the rhythm and flow of the dance has set deep in his bones and impels the music he makes. The dynamic, living tradition of contra dance embraces the new and the old, and the creativity in Brian’s playing draws on both a wealth of traditional influence and an enthusiasm for new things. In 2009 Brian found himself at Oberlin College, where he first met his close friend and musical collaborator Alex Sturbaum. Together they formed the band “Gallimaufry“, and toured the midwest and east coast while still returning to northeast Ohio in time for class on Monday morning. Years later, Brian and Alex both moved to the Pacific Northwest, and gave the name “Countercurrent” to their musical partnership, which has now flourished for over a decade. Brian can be found on stage in dozens of different combinations with other musicians, including this year at Cumberland!

Wendy Graham
(Callers Course, Revelers Craft) 
Wendy is a self-described “dance maniac” at the Perky Pants Dance Factory. Her passion for music, song and dance caught fire in 1991 on a Danish American Exchange (DAE) youth dance tour in Denmark. Today, Wendy leads English, American, and couples dances in Durango, CO, across the country, and abroad — as far away as Alaska, England and Denmark. She loves building community and sharing joy through dance. She proudly served on the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) and Lloyd Shaw Foundation boards, and currently is a CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award committee member.

Sam Bartlett

(Musician, Parade Art)

Sam is a traditional musician known throughout the United States for his mandolin, banjo, and guitar playing as well as his original music. His compositions have been profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered and his playing has been featured on the Thistle & Shamrock, and in two Ken Burns documentaries, Prohibitionand The Dust BowlSam has recorded with a virtual who’s who of traditional musicians, among them: Garry Harrison, Paul Brown, Eden MacAdam-Somer,  Rafe Stefanini, Pete Sutherland, Dirk Powell, Rodney Miller, David Greely, and Rick Good.

Sam is also a master entertainer, and author of The Best of Stuntology (Workman, 2008) which is sold internationally and translated into Finnish and German. As an artist, Sam has for the past 20 years played a role in the resurgent interest in the 19th century entertainment form, the moving panorama, or “crankie show.”

Emily Oleson
(Vernacular Dance Sampler, Jazz-Era Party Dances, Mummers Play)    
Emily Oleson is a dance scholar who has studied a broad range of movement styles, from traditional Appalachian flatfooting and other percussive dances, to forms of Irish dance, partner dance, contemporary urban dances, and vernacular jazz. Emily’s performance highlights include appearing with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Aulney-All-Blues festival in France, Wheatland Music Festival, the Newport Folk Festival with Seeger’s Clogging All-Stars, Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out Stage, and a US State Department tour in Russia with The Meaning of Buck Dance, a collaboration with Good Foot, Urban Artistry and Baakari Wilder. She received her MFA in Dance at the University of Maryland College Park in May 2012 and a certification in Laban-Bartenieff Movement Analysis in 2015 from the Laban-Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Dance at Temple University.  

Jonathan Whitall
(Musician, Band Skills)
Jonathan is an avid dance fiddler, pianist, and melodeon player coming to us from Chicago. Drawing from a variety of British Isle-based traditions, he regularly performs for contras, squares, Irish sets, and English country dances. He is also a dancer and musician for both Pullman Morris and Sword and Fox Valley Morris. Being a dancer himself, he brings intricate, energetic and tasteful music to his performances. His current musical endeavors include the Cosmic Otters (founding member), Chicago Reel, and I Am Ireland (a nationally touring show featuring the personality of Paddy Homan).

Val Mindel
(Musician, Harmony Singing, Old-Time Stringband, Singing 9-12)
Val Mindel is a longtime musician, teacher and workshop leader, known for bringing out the best in singers, whatever their level. In addition to working on the close, buzzy
harmony that is a pillar of American old-time, bluegrass and country harmony, she also addresses such indefinables as tone, ornamentation, putting across a lead and more. She teaches regularly at music camps across the US and abroad. This will be her first time teaching at Cumberland.

Val is a founding member of the Any Old Time String Band (check out I Bid You Goodnight) and has two CDs with her daughter, old-time country musician Emily Miller: In the Valley and Close to Home. She has just published a book, So You Want to Sing Folk Music, part of the “So You Want To Sing” series for Rowman & Littlefield and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She lives in Elkins, West Virginia.

Kappy Laning
(Rapper 9-12, Ritual Dance 6-8)
In 1985 Kappy became a member of the first garland team in the USA, Court Square Dancers.  She enjoyed her time with the team for 11 years as dancer, teacher and musician. She has taught  garland as well as several other English ritual dances (rapper, longsword, border morris) at many camps and schools for children and adults over the years.  Kappy has been on staff at Lloyd Shaw sponsored Cumberland and Terpsichore camps for many years and looks forward to returning to Cumberland again this year.

Eric Schedler
(Musician, Band Skills)
Eric Schedler plays accordion, piano and banjo for contra, square and English country dancing with Midwest-based bands the Cosmic Otters and Supertrad. With his playing firmly rooted in traditional Irish music, Eric has performed and taught at camps and festivals around the country, and currently serves as program director of the all-ages Cumberland Dance Week, a project of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation, of which Eric is also a member of the board of directors. Eric lives in Bloomington, IN with his wife, Katie Zukof, where they run a family dance series, raise their two daughters and operate a brick-oven

Meg Dedolph
(Musician, Music & Movement 0-5, Rhythm & Music Storytime)
Meg Dedolph plays guitar and drums for the Cosmic Otters and is a dance caller in the Chicago area. She also teaches parent-child music classes for the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Wiggleworms program.

Drake Meadow 
(Souvenirs of the Ottoman Empire)
Drake Meadow first experienced traditional Eastern European dance in 1987. From the dance traditions of the Balkans and the nations of the Near East, he learned ways of moving in grace, despite painful problems with his feet and ankles that had plagued him since birth. When he discovered contra dancing, several years later, he found that lessons learned from Balkan dancing and martial arts gave him a different perspective on footwork in contra, a dance idiom that doesn’t usually emphasize footwork.
Drake started teaching and calling dances in 2004.  He is committed to the idea that anyone, including the mobility challenged, can dance. After a 2017 injury left him walking with two canes, his path to recovery gave him fresh insights about teaching movement and dance.  
Drake loves to share dances of various styles, including contras, reels, squares, Quebecois, Eastern European, Near Eastern, and English country dances. He has called and taught dances in numerous venues from Ontario to Tennessee, but calls most frequently in southeast Michigan. 
He teaches Biology at Eastern Michigan University’s Early College program.

Sarah Wendtlandt
(Souvenirs of the Ottoman Empire)
Sarah Wendtlandt grew up dancing and traveling throughout Europe with her parents’ International Folkdance group and English country dance group. From a young age she also studied ballet, tap, Irish stepdance and ballroom. In 2005 she received her associates degree in Austin, Texas in modern dance. Sarah toured throughout Texas with the Hungarian Folkdance Performance group Csardas for a few years before relocating to Staunton, Virginia in 2018. Here she has discovered her love for contra and is eagerly planning on starting a Balkan dance group in the Shenandoah Valley. Sarah is a massage therapist and specializes in A shiatsu where she ‘dances’ on the massage table using her feet to massage clients. She has taught a few of her favorite Balkan dances in Austin, TX and Charlottesville, VA and is excited to be a part of Cumberland 2020!

Beth Harvey

Beth grew up in the folk arts and crafts capital of KY. Daughter of a woodworker, she loved watching and learning from all the crafts people surrounding her. Now residing in Asheville Beth has focused on children in folk arts, merging her affinity for stories, dance, crafts, and nature. One of Beth's favorite mediums is needle felting. Loving that wool forms can be simple and playfully shaped, the can also continuously change and become intricate and complex. She's looking forward to watching worlds and characters come to form at the hands of Cumberland's adult campers. 
Beth has taught at Christmas Country Dance School, Cumberland Dance Week, and Pinewoods, as well as dance weekends and other workshops. She severs on The Lloyd Shaw Foundation Board of Directors and as Camp Director for Cumberland Dance Week.

Marliss Kehaulani Brockington
(Childgrove Outdoor Explore, Childgrove Craft)
Originally from San Diego, CA, Marliss currently resides in Southwest Florida where she is an elementary school teacher. Her and her husband have three lovely and diverse children who keep them busy with sports, dance and various activities. Her family is originally from Hawaii and she started learning Polynesian dance at an early age which included dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Marliss went on to perform at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii as well as with various groups in Utah and was a dancer at SeaWorld Orlando, Disneyworld and Universal Studios. She established her own group 10 years ago, the Napua Polynesian Performers, comprised of approximately 20-30 children and adults. They love to share the spirit of Aloha with the residents of Southwest Florida. Marliss was asked to choreograph dances for the original pilot of Disney’s Moana Jr and still performs professionally with Tuika’s Polynesian Island Magic. Her and her children have loved the opportunity to enjoy Cumberland and are excited to be able to return this year. 


Tom Cunningham
Tom Cunningham has been playing music for 50 years, and most of all loves playing contra dances with his bands, Hot Coffee Breakdown and Wizard Walk. He played contra dances from coast to coast with the Coffee Zombies, and has a one-man show, Fiddle Tales, which incorporates fiddle playing and storytelling. He has taught fiddle, mandolin, and guitar at the Louisville Folk Music School, Calliope Folk Music Society, Augusta Heritage Center, and Cumberland Dance Week. He recently traveled to Denmark to play for a group of dancers from Berea, KY. He also does sound gigs for dances. 

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