Swing & Shine Reflection by Gina Gould
On Saturday night, The Ashokan Center and the Woodstock School of Art hosted more than 80 guests at our second annual Spring Swing & Shine Gala, a benefit co-conceived and produced together.
The Catskill Mountaineers rocked the house! This year, the party focused on square dancing, with some swing, contra and zydeco thrown in for good measure. The newly formed band—Peter Blue, a Catskill dance, dance caller, Cindy Cashdollar on dobro & pedal steel, Chris Kendall playing tenor sax, Laurel Massé singing her heart out, Molly Mason playing guitar and bass, and singing, Colin McCaffrey, also on guitar, bass, and singing, Tony Trischka picking on the banjo, Jay Ungar on fiddle and singing, and Sam Zucchini jamming on the drums, and finally Adam Armstrong on the sound board—played as if they had grown up together, understanding each other’s nods, smiles and facial expressions as they inspired the guests to dance!
The room whirred for hours as the dance couples went round and round, their feet and hearts kept afloat by the music that buoyed them. It was as if we had been transported in time. A time when socializing was not through a computer screen, but in person during Saturday night dances where you nurtured you community by dancing with your friends and family.
The evening began with spring-like weather, Chef Bill Warnes and his team’s hors d’oeuvres, local wine from the Milbrook Winery, and “Shine” tasting from our friends at Glenrose Spirits. By the time we enjoyed the sumptuous dinner of shrimp scampi and chicken provencal, there was a palpable sense of community.
The dinner was concluded with a music precession into the Performance Hall—past the silent auction items, which included paintings by Woodstock School of Art instructors and students and black smithed items and furniture made by Ashokan instructors and staff. For over two hours Peter Blue and the Catskill Mountaineers regaled us with their songs, tales, and talent.
All of us had a great time. So great in fact, it is easy to forget that Swing & Shine is a fundraising gala. Instead, it felt like a Saturday evening dance of yesteryear… And as if we have known each other forever …That is community building.
We, The Ashokan Center and the Woodstock School of Art, thank YOU for coming, our community, and for your support, which helps us to further our missions. We also thank our staff, students and volunteers for their donations to our silent auction, their time, and their enthusiasm in decorating and preparing for the gala. And a special thank you to Jay Ungar and Molly Mason for sponsoring the music, and Glenrose Spirits for donating their proceeds to the event.
Enjoy the photos from the event taken be the wonderful photographer Stewart Dean and stay tuned for next year!