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Western & Swing Week 2024

Sunday, June 23 - Saturday, June 29

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason host this full week of Swing, Western-Swing, Classic Country and Tejano Conjunto music and dancing.

It’s a fun and friendly learning vacation offering classes in singing, dancing, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, piano, bass, percussion, and practical music theory, along with jams, song swaps, band labs, and themed evening dance parties with hot live music. Musicians and dancers of all levels and backgrounds are honored and welcome.

DANCE
LINDY, WEST COAST, TWO-STEP, WALTZ, SQUARES, CONTRAS, BLUES & MORE: Brian Lawton & Anneke van Renesse, Cindy Overstreet & Steve Ryan, and Casey Carr

MUSIC
COUNTRY & WESTERN SWING: Emily Gimble, Rose Sinclair, Randy Elmore, Valerie Ryals, Dick Gimble, Hayes Griffin, Michael Archer.
SWING & TRAD JAZZ: Peter Davis, Dave Davies, Laurel Massé, Kevin Wimmer, Tom Mitchell, Vinnie Martucci, Larry Baione, Harry Aceto, Billy Lang
TEJANO CONJUNTO: Belen Escobedo & Ramon Gutierrez
PLUS: Austin Scelzo, Tom Krumm, Michael Sansonia, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason

NATURE HIKES & JOURNALING: Wendy Hollender & Del Orloske

Scroll down for more details!

Can't spend the week - or feel like coming one night early? Check out the pre-camp dinner & dance.

Western and Swing BBQ & Dance 2024

June 22, 2024 - June 22, 2024

Dine, dance, or just enjoy a great evening of Swing & Classic Country music under Ashokan’s outdoor pavilion! Learn swing & two-step basics and then get down to live music by Jay Ungar & Molly Mason and the Western & Swing Week house band.

Tickets & Info

JAY UNGAR AND MOLLY MASON, Your Hosts! Jay, Molly and Tom Krumm will teach a Waltz and Slow Tunes ensemble class for all instruments at a wide range of levels. Jay and Tom teach beautiful melodies, harmonies and stylistic nuances for fiddles, mandolins and other melodic instruments, while Molly works with the guitarists and other backup players on chordal and rhythmic accompaniment. Molly will lead a country backup guitar class and Jay will offer mini-lessons during the week.
BRIAN LAWTON & ANNEKE van RENESSE will team up to teach Lindy Hop, Charleston, and other jazz dances of the 1020s to 40s. Anneke teaches swing dance at Cornell University and has been an avid dancer since childhood. Brian is an award winning competitive dancer and performer who loves to share his skills and knowledge. Click Brian's video and see him dancing up a storm with the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
CINDY OVERSTREET & STEVE RYAN will teach West Coast Swing, Country Western Dancing and more. They're great dancers who remember what it was like to be a beginner. Cindy and Steve are dedicated to helping new dances feel comfortable on the dance floor, as well as teaching moves and techniques that experienced dancers crave.
EMILY GIMBLE, daughter of Dick Gimble and granddaughter of Johnny Gimble, grew up in a legendary musical family. An inspiring singer and piano player with a wide knowledge of classic country, Western swing, blues and jazz, Emily will lead song sessions, help coach the Western Swing Band class and play a key role at evening dances.

 
CASEY CARR loves to generate fun and build community by leading traditional social dances. She'll host square and contradances for all with toe-tapping live music provided by our amazing musical staff.
MICHAEL ARCHER grew up in musical family in Ontario, began playing bass at 10 and soon developed a love of blues, rock, country and roots music. He eventually moved to Austin where he now plays with Asleep at the Wheel. Michael will coach the Western Swing Band class, play for dances and dance classes and offer mini-lessons.
DICK GIMBLE was born while his dad was on the road with Bob Wills and grew up with the beat of swing and the sound of Johnny Gimble's fiddle in his ears. Returning for his second summer at Western & Swing Week, Dick will teach Western swing guitar, coach the Western Swing Band class, and play and sing for dancing.
BELEN ESCOBEDO & RAMON GUTIERREZ play an old and exciting style of fiddle music from the Texas-Mexican borderlands — a form Tejano music that pre-dates the now ubiquitous accordion. Belen and Ramon are passionate about teaching and sharing their music with students of all ages and experience levels in ensemble classes for all instruments.

 
Michael Sansonia is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist with a broad repertoire of American music spanning many decades. He loves to teach piano, guitar, mouth harp and songwriting. His fun-loving piano bar-style evening singalongs have become a Western & Swing Week institution.
KEVIN WIMMER is a virtuoso fiddler in a wide range of styles from swing and western swing to blues, Cajun and old time. He will teach swing fiddle and two ensemble classes with guitarist Tom Mitchell, “Riffin' Together” and  “Small Band Swing." In both classes students learn exciting multi-part arrangements of classic swing tunes, along with the stylistic nuances of swing era instrumental music.
RANDY ELMORE has worked with artists such as Reba McEntire, George Strait, Mel Tillis, Ray Price, and Asleep at the Wheel, was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame, the Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame, won “Texas State Fiddle Champion” six times, and “World Champion” twice.  Beyond being a great player, Randy is also committed to passing his skills and knowledge forward through teaching at his Elmore Fiddle Camp in Texas and at Western & Swing Week here at Ashokan!
AUSTIN SCELZO is a skilled singer, fiddler, mandolin and guitar player who is fluent in a variety of American music styles. An experienced teacher, Austin also loves to host jams and sing-alongs.
VALERIE RYALS comes from a long line old time Texas fiddlers and music makers. Tutored from childhood by her fiddling grandfather O. G. Ryals, Valerie won the Junior World Championship at age 13. Among her numerous honors and awards, she was the first woman inducted into the Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame. Valerie has collected thousands of old time Texas fiddle tunes and enjoys sharing her knowledge with those who want to learn. She has a special love for helping beginning fiddlers get off to a solid start.
TOM KRUMM has long been immersed in traditional music having grown up in a musical home and attended Ashokan Music & Dance Camps since birth. As a result he has absorbed the intricacies of a wide variety of musical styles on violin, mandolin and guitar. As a student at the Berklee College of music Tom expanded his horizons even further, making him the ideal leader of the wildly eclectic, "Experi-Mental Band." He will also co-teach the "Waltz and Slow Tunes" ensemble class with Molly and Jay and offer one-on-one mini-lessons.
HAYES GRIFFIN is thrilled to share his deep knowledge and appreciation of Western & Swing mandolin and guitar playing. He enjoys working with beginners and experienced players alike. One of his mando classes will focus on the music of the great Tiny Moore.
ROSE SINCLAIR returns to Western & Swing Week from her home in Austin TX, where she moved in 2012 to learn from legendary lap steel players like Maurice Anderson, Denny Mathis, Pee Wee Whitewing, and Herb Steiner. She has become a key member of several area bands including the Women of Western Swing. Whether you’re an experienced lap steel player or just getting started on the instrument, Rose has tips and insights to sharpen your skills.

 
LARRY BAIONE has taught jazz guitar for decades at the Berklee School of Music, where he is Guitar Department Chair Emeritus. He is a master guitarist who has authored several books on guitar playing and practice, but most importantly Larry is a consummate teacher. He has a special ability to work with students with a wide range of skills and experience in ways that make learning satisfying and effective for all.
TOM MITCHELL's guitar playing is rooted in the jazz, western swing, and country blues of the 1920's and 30's. He will teach two ensemble classes with fiddler Kevin Wimmer, "Riffin' Together" and "Small Band Swing." In both classes students learn exciting multi-part arrangements of classic swing tunes, along with the stylistic nuances of swing era instrumental music.
LAUREL MASSE, a co-founder of the jazz vocal group, Manhattan Transfer, is on the music faculty of SUNY New Paltz. Her Ashokan class, "The Heart of a Song," helps singers find the story in a song and express that story with honesty and heart. Laurel also hosts "Stealth Singers," a daily gathering for those who've been told not to sing.
DAVE DAVIES is a talented composer, arranger and a born teacher with a special gift for inspiring students to new musical heights in his popular ensemble classes, "Swing Harmony Chorus" and "Big Band Swing." He also lights up the dance floor as a key member of the Ashokan All-Star Swing Band on trombone, guitar and vocals!
VINNIE MARTUCCI is a jazz pianist with a broad knowledge of all kinds American music. Former chair of the Music Department at SUNY New Paltz and long-time Western & Swing Week faculty member, Vinnie has a true passion for teaching. In his legendary piano class and one-on-one mini-lessons, Vinnie zeros in on each student’s interests and needs. In his “Guided Listening” class you will learn to hear and understand the building blocks of seemingly complex music.

 
PETER DAVIS is a swinging singer and instrumentalist with a vast repertoire and charisma to spare. He'll lead his legendary morning Chord Changes Jam, a fun way to explore practical music theory and will play reeds, keys, guitar and sing for dance classes and evening dances.

 
HARRY ACETO is an awesome bass player and guitarist, fluent in a wide range of musical styles. You'll find him in joyful support of the music and fun at dances, hosted jam sessions, and spontaneous musical get-togethers throughout the week.

 
BILLY LANG, drummer and percussionist par-excellence, has been keeping the beat and teaching at Western & Swing Week for decades. Swing, western swing and classic country are all in Billy's eclectic wheelhouse.
WENDY HOLLENDER is a world-class botanical illustrator. She enjoys coaching total beginners in her hands-on Nature Art and Journaling classes. These relaxed sessions include gathering plants, learning how to render them on the page, and sharing the experience with fellow students.
DEL ORLOSKE enjoys sharing his vast knowledge of flora and fauna, along with the human and geological history of Ashokan's 385 historic acres. His engaging manner captivates all ages during his fun and informative campus tours and guided nature hikes along our woodland trails.

Additional Info:

Payment/Cancellation/Refund Policy

You may pay in full or hold your place with a deposit of 25% per person if registering 4 or more weeks before camp. Full payment is due 4 weeks before camp begins. To cancel your camp registration, email events@ashokancenter.org

‱ We retain $50 per person for cancellations requested up to 4 weeks before camp begins, and for COVID-related cancellations made at any date.

‱ We retain your 25% deposit between 4 and 2 weeks before camp.

‱ We retain the full registration amount within 2 weeks of camp.

Schedule Overview

SUNDAY

  • 1-3pm: CAMPER ARRIVAL & CHECK IN
  • 3pm: WELCOME GATHERING
  • 4pm: MEET THE TEACHERS
  • 6pm: DINNER
  • 7:00pm: EVENING DANCE & JAMS
  • 10pm: SNACK

 

MONDAY-FRIDAY

  • 8:30-9:30am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30-12:30pm: CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
  • 12:30-2pm: LUNCH
  • 2-5pm: CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
  • 5-6pm: OPEN MIC (Esopus Courtyard)
  • 6-7pm: DINNER
  • 7:30-10pm: EVENING DANCE & JAMS
  • 10pm: SNACK & INFORMAL JAMMING

 

SATURDAY

  • 10am: BRUNCH
  • 12-2pm: FAREWELL GATHERING
Pricing & What's Included!

You may choose to pay up front or pay a deposit and balance. Balance payment is due 4 weeks before the event.

Registration includes all activities and meals. Lodging is optional and camping is free.

Children under 5 attend for free (under 3 for Family Camp). Campers under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Food & Drink

All meals are included. You may indicate your dietary restrictions when registering. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.

The Ashokan Center is licensed to serve beer and wine in Esopus Lodge (the main building). The bar is generally open from late afternoon to early evening. Sorry, by law, guests are prohibited from bringing their own alcoholic beverages into this licensed building.

Lodging

LONGHOUSE BUNKS: Rooms hold up to 24 people and are designated women, men, or all gender. Place your belongings on a top or bottom bunk after you check in to claim it. Pillows are available, please bring your own blankets, sheets, pillowcases, and towels. There are a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance.

PRIVATE ROOMS: There are a limited number of private rooms that must be reserved in advance at extra charge. Pillows are available, please bring your own sheets, pillowcases, and towels. There are light quilts in each private room.

CAMPSITES: Camping is available with access to bathrooms and outdoor showers. Please park by your campsite only if you plan to leave your car in place for the duration of the camp.

What To Bring

If you’re lodging with us please remember to bring a blanket and linens (or sleeping bag), towel, toiletries, soap, flashlight, earplugs (for light sleepers). There are light quilts in each private room and we have a small number of light blankets for bunkhouse residents who can’t bring one of their own. Let us know well in advance if you’ll need one.

Flashlight, recording device, camera (or maybe those are all your phone!)

Comfortable informal clothing for wet and dry weather. Some may also bring dressy, wild or fun clothing as well but that is up to you! There’s no laundry on site so bring enough clothes for the camp.

What Not To Bring
Please, no pets or drop-in guests.
Mail/Phone/WiFi

Incoming mail

Your Name c/o Ashokan Music & Dance 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY 12461

Outgoing mail leaves each weekday at 4pm.

Music & Dance Camp Phone (845) 657-8333 x 3

Cell phone reception is available but spotty. Calls may be dropped but texts are reliably received.

High speed Wi-Fi is available in all buildings.

Directions & Transportation

Physical Address: Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY 12461

DRIVING DIRECTIONS   Take NY State Thruway (1-87) to Kingston exit #19. From traffic circle take Route 28 West (toward Pine Hill). In 12 miles (shortly after Mobil & Citgo) turn left onto Reservoir Rd. Cross the Ashokan Reservoir, turn left at the Tee. Head down the hill, pass the first left (Rt 28A East) and merge onto 28A West. Take next left onto Beaverkill Rd. Follow Beaverkill for about one mile, then turn right into the Ashokan Center driveway and follow the signs.

AIRPORT  Albany, NY (ALB) is the closest major airport (about 1.5 hours away). Public transportation is available from the airport to the Kingston bus station, where you can take a taxi to Ashokan. Or contact us at least one month before your program begins for a list of people driving from the Albany area who may be able to give you a ride.

Covid Safety Policy

We recommend but no longer require everyone test for COVID-19 in the 24 hours before arrival. 

All refund requests due to a positive test, COVID exposure, or COVID-related concerns will be honored (less a $50 administrative fee).

We will provide onsite rapid testing upon request.

Additional FAQ's
CAMP WAITLIST & PRIVATE LODGING WAITLIST (only join if ADD CAMPER button at top of page is disabled or your preferred lodging choice is greyed out in that form.)

If there are no camp spots or private rooms available above, you may add your name to this waitlist. If space opens up we will contact you.

The Ashokan Center builds community through shared experiences in nature, history, music and art. We have hosted traditional Music & Dance Camps at our 385 acre nature preserve for over 40 years. In 2020 we learned how to host them online and in 2021 we began to reimagine how to gather in person once again.

Come join the Ashokan family to celebrate, learn, connect, deepen your music, make new friends, and brighten your day. Our events are open to all folks, all ages and all orientations.

M&D Need-Based “Pay it Forward” SCHOLARSHIPS We are holding 5 deeply discounted spots (includes tuition, meals & bunk) to provide a learning opportunity to gigging musicians and music, vocal, and dance teachers who will be sharing out their newly learned skills with a wider community. We prioritize new applicants each year and notify all applicants within 1 month before camp begins.

NEED HELP?

EMAIL: events@ashokancenter.org
CALL 845-657-8333 x3

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about camp!

Thank you to the Martin Foundation for supporting Ashokan Music & Dance Camps.