Music is everywhere at Danebod Family Folk Camp.
There is music in the dance hall, where each tune brings about a different memory. There are some dances that I’ll always picture my dad calling, singing into the mic for ‘Doudlebska Polka’ and ‘Goodnight Irene’ and giving yips and yells during the stomping part of ‘Savila Se Bela Loza’. There are some that will remind me of the way my Grandpa used to confidently grip my hand while in promenade, bouncing it along to the light hearted music in the “B” section of ‘Lott ist Tod’. Other tunes remind me of Shira, demonstrating difficult moves in front of willing dancers as they pump around their bodies to ‘Koubayo’ and do a cherkessia to ‘Od Lo Ahavti Dai’. But the most amazing part of dancing at Danebod is the way the live music played by the folk band summons up the energy of the group on the dance floor and together, the dancer’s rhythmic clapping and stomping and the musician’s strumming and drumming melt together and echo each other in that great hall where the floors are made to bounce.
There is music in the lecture hall, where each song is heard ringing out to the children on the playground and the people on their way downstairs from the third floor. Some songs can make you laugh such like ‘Sandwiches’. Others are so beautiful, they make you shed a tear like ‘The Great Storm’. And some can make you laugh and cry at the same time like ‘Waltzing With Bears’. Then there are those perfect moments, when the setting sun is streaming into the windows and you can almost hear a single bird chirping as the group takes a breath while singing ‘Evening Star’.
Yes, Danebod is full of musical moments. So how will I pick one to share in this blogging soundtrack of mine? Shall it be one of the songs from a spontaneous singing session on the front steps? A unique song from one of the many musical acts in the variety show? It really could be any number of songs, but I am going to showcase one that made camp different for me this year. Although busy with dance, I purposefully made time in the daily schedule to relax, and while this sometimes included a nap, it also meant that I had more time to sit outside on the lawn and jam, (Admittedly, I did not make it to a single discussion…) and who better to jam with than Bob and Lynn Dixon?
I got out my mandolin and joined the musicians under the tent. A breezy prairie wind picked up, caught the music, and brought it around the grounds for others to hear. More joined in, some came to listen to the tunes as we all gazed at the familiar campus grounds. The red brick dorm building- regal, like a castle, the gym hall- doors left swung open, beckoning people in, and the sturdy stone hall with its bell tower, all surrounding us. A storm the summer before had destroyed many of the familiar old trees, leaving their branches pointed up in a slightly Seuss-ian pose, and had completely destroyed the forest, exposing highway 14. As different as the landscaped looked, it was still a place you could call home. The people still met there as a community, the man-made buildings still stood firm, and music still echoed on the wind.
Here is a song from their album “Blue-Eyed Boatman” written by Bob himself. It’s happy and dance-able and very “Danebodian”…