California Traditional Music Society
By Ryan Thomson
This society, organized primarily by Elaine and Clark Weissman, along with a board of
directors and many volunteers, puts on a number of traditional music oriented festivals,
concerts, and workshops. They are organized as a non-profit group, promoting traditional
folk arts. I've twice attended their music and dance camp which takes place in a canyon,
just a quarter mile from Malibu Beach, California. The camp runs for 4 days after Christmas
and over New Year's Eve.The site is wooded, with a large dining hall/dance space, and
cabins for participants.
I enjoyed myself because of the slightly informal organization of the event. Besides the
high quality of staff musicians and dance callers which were brought in from around the
USA, all other participants were encouraged to lead their own workshops also. I ended up
leading a group in some of the latest jitterbug dance steps which had struck my fancy at a
previous camp I had attended. Other dance styles included: contras, squares, Balkan, and
couple dancing, Music workshops included: fiddle, banjo, song, and accordion.
There was much informal music making and socializing. I learned a number of new tunes,
danced a lot, and made new friends. New Year's Eve featured a gala party, with costumes,
fancy dinner, and other merriment. Some attendees took day hikes through the
surrounding hills, or to the beach.
For more information visit the web site.
This article written by Ryan Thomson, 1996
postscript - Elaine Weissman has since passed away and is sorely missed!