EMAIL CELIA RAMSAY AT, or call 510-995-6615



April 8, Saturday: Libby McLaren and Robin Flower perform at the Freight and Salvage, 8:00pm (Celia will perform backup vocals)

April 15, Saturday: Fortunate Strangers at The Monkey House Theater from 7:30 - 10:00pm



May 6, Saturday; Nevada City Dance 8:00 - 11:00pm

May 13, Saturday; San Rafael Contra Dance, 8:00 - 11:00pm

September 2, Saturday; Nevada City Dance 8:00 - 11:00pm

October 14, Saturday; Reno Contra Dance 7:30 - 10:30


Sixty Years and Still Learning New Tricks!

I am writing this on my birthday, and hoo-boy, it's a big 'un! Today I turn 60, and there's definitely some creaky-crunchy stuff going on, but hey - I'm glad to be on the planet, and I know that I'm in good company!

Birthdays with a zero in the one's place tend to provide cause for reflection. As you can see from this photo of me when I was sixTEEN years old, I've been singing for a long time, but there was a sizable gap in my musical life from about 26 till after I had kids. In fact, I was singing to our daughter when Kent admitted he'd never heard me sing before. I was content to sing lullabies for a while because kids and a fledgling business made it hard to indulge any musical desires. But one night, Kent nudged me to go to an open mic, and it was there that I met Stan Dye and Vern Flock, who asked me to sing in their Bluegrass band with Bill Downs in Napa. I was about 35 years old, then. I had quite an awakening of old yearnings to sing and perform, and those guys helped me bcome confident enough to do that. I honestly think if it weren't for them and some nudging from dance pal, Carlo Calabi, I wouldn't have had the nerve to start calling dances, let alone get in front of a microphone to sing again.

Anyway, I'm here to tell you that not only does life continue to present beauty and challenges, but with four CD projects in five years (with number five under way) I continue to learn more about music and dance, teaching and performing, and all along the way I am building beautiful friendships. There's so much here to play with - and I'm glad to be in the game with all of you!


You may still be in a position to join Fortunate Strangers at the Moneky House on Saturday, April 15, at 7:30pm, and the suggested donation is $20. Just come to 1638 University Avenue (near Sacramento) in Berkeley - doors will open at 7:00pm. I'm pretty sure we'll have space for you, but if you want to be sure, you can buy a ticket!


I've been so excited about singing gigs lately, that aside from a recent mention of Family Dances, I've given short shrift to Contra Dance. And having worked as a caller for fifteen years, I feel I should do better. So: why might you want to elarn to danc? There's a veritable laundry list of answers! First the physical reasons: dancing increases stamina, coordination, balance, exercises your heart, releases endorphins, and helps you sleep. There are emotional reasons: dancing creates and maintains community, builds individual confidence, and provides sheer pleasure in freedom of movement. And finally, there are the social reasons: you get to hang out with people, you cooperate with humor, you learn compassion for other dancers and how to be fair & kind to yourself, and you have fun. Oh, and there's this, too (watch the video):


The Place the Songs Come From

My travel-hungry husband has us planning our next trip abroad, and I voted for a trip to Scotland! "Where in Scotland?" said he, and I replied, "To the places where the songs come from!"
YEARS AGO, we needed to Get Out of Dodge, so Kent, the kids, and I went on a Laura Ingalls Wilder "literary pilgrimage". We'd read all of her books backwards and forwards, and thought it would be interesting to visit the places where Laura had lived. That trip still ranks among our favorites, because we saw places we'd never have reason to visit otherwise - and they were rewarding and fascinating!
SO MY BIG IDEA for this trip, is to visit places in northeast Scotland that are named in the songs I love to sing, and record video of me singing the songs in each of them. This "song itinerary" will definitely bring us to small, un-touristed (and hopefully interesting) locations, but I'm excited that I will get to explore the places the songs come from.


 What a wonderful workshop we had on March 4th! Libby McLaren and I had a blast and by all reports, everyone else did, too! Some people have asked us to next do a more advanced workshop, so we'll work on making that happen. We have to do some schedule work to find out when we can do the next one, but likely it will be in early summer. Folks at the workshop who'd already bought a copy of Carmony reported that they love it! You can find ordering information below. 

SPEAKING OF COOL SINGING, Libby and her partner in life and music, Robin Flower, have a show coming up at the Freight and Salvage.It's on Saturday, April 8, and you won't want to miss it, because Robin and Libby have a wonderful, joyous energy when they perform that just makes you smile. Oh, and I'll be there singing backup harmonies along with Mary Ford and Danny Carnahan, and with Peter Maund on percussion, and Jan Martinelli on bass.


Wow! Our Carson City gig was delightfully full and commensurately fun. (It also has netted us a sweet gig at the Nevada Governor's Mansion in November! More about that when I have more to tell.) Filling the Brewery Arts Center was no small thing, because on the day before the concert there was serious flooding in the Carson Valley. But that didn't keep anyone away and folks heartily joined in on our sing-alongs. Joe's voice was in fine form and he was great on flute and whistles, and Kathy's rock solid guitar playing kept everything tied together with a bow. Honestly, the unsung guitarists of the world deserve a major shout-out. They provide unfailing rhythm when they aren't shining on lead parts, and for the vocalists and other instruments, they're the bedrock of the band. Our Kathy is all of that for us, and it's a tall job!
NEXT UP, FORTUNATE STRANGERS is set to perform at Berkeley's own Monkey House on Saturday, April 15.Look for a separate reminder, closer to the date, for details!




Carson City Coming Up!

Kathy, Joe, and I will take Fortunate Strangers to the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City, NV on Saturday, February 11 at 7:30pm - and I hope you'll come! There'll be opportunities to join us singing, and we promise to provide plenty of songs about love in all its various permutations! Find out how one clever maid avoids a pirate's unwanted attentions, or hear about the lad who kisses his lass through a window - and encounters some unexpected difficulties. With songs of love lost and love found, this show is perfect for sharing with your Valentine! 


I'm at it again - back in the studio with a new recording project. I don't have a name for it yet, but this time it will be ALL original songs. While many of my songs have been jazzy, others are not easily classified, so expect an eclectic mix of styles and instrumentation. With so many talented music buddies, I hope the result will be sort of a musical variety show. Also, you may remember that I've been taking piano lessons for the last four years, so I'm trying to lay down a couple of my own piano tracks. It's kind of scary for all manner of reasons, the biggest of which is our old friend, Self Doubt: is it good enough? Well, I'm taking a deep breath and hoping I play well enough to include it on the album. Above is a little video clip I made of my most recent studio date. I have lots of work ahead, but it's work I love to do. It'll probably take at least a year to finish, so stay tuned for updates! 


Speaking of work I love to do, I'm delighted to report that the March 4 Harmony Singing Workshop sold out very quickly, which I take as a sign that everyone wants to sing more! Libby McLaren and I will look for opportunities to offer the workshop again, soon, but be sure to check my report of how it went in the March newsletter, so you can decide if the next one might be for you! And folks that bought their copy of Carmony are reporting back that they love it! You can find ordering information below. 


It feels like a resurgence! Family dances are coming back, and I couldn't be happier. Kudos to Sola Grantham for organizing a wonderful family dance in Belmont on January 29, where I called for preschool­age children and their parents with 80 pairs of feet in attendance. Craig Johnson, Paul Kostka and Clara Stefanov­Wagner was our band du jour and we even sat down and sang a song ­ as you can see in the picture. I felt it went VERY well and it was fun for everyone. I'll be doing an annual school dance at Sunridge School in Sebastopol with Jon Berger and Charlie Hancock playing in early March ­ that's a private event, but it will be my third year calling for them. There will also be a family dance in Sebastopol on Saturday, March 25 from 5 ­ 6:30pm at Wischemann Hall for kids of all ages.

I'm so happy that these dance opportunities exist for young children. They learn coordination and patterns, healthy social behavior, self­confidence, and the sheer joy of movement. It's my favorite way of having fun! 


Upcoming Harmony Workshop

How do teachers learn to teach? Just because you do a thing well, doesn't strictly mean you can teach it. To teach anything, you must understand your students. What do they already know? What DON'T they know? What might get in their way and how do you present new ideas in a way that will make sense to the greatest number of people? And what must a student know at a minimum that will allow them to connect the landmarks (or fill in the spaces between them) that we can offer in the limited time a workshop provides?

Libby McLaren and I have spent a lot of time thinking about answers to these questions, and we think we found some good ways to teach harmony singing - even if you're new to it. We can show you how to find your vocal range, offer tips for practice and tricks for orienting your ear to the strange experience of singing different parts simultaneously with other people. There are two of us, so we can really demonstrate the things you'll want to learn. For us, that's exciting - having a knowledgeable teaching-partner means one of us isn't relying on a piano to model the harmony. For singers, it offers the benefit of two lifetimes worth of experience in one workshop. If your New Year's resolution is to sing harmoniously, Libby and I will be a teaching small group of 10 - 12 people on Saturday, March 4, from 2 - 5:00pm, at my home studio in North Berkeley. $50 covers the three-hour workshop and any materials we hand out. Space is limited, so save the date, and send me an email to hold you a space. I'll confirm you're in and supply instructions on where to go and how to pay.


Kathy, Joe, and I will take Fortunate Strangers to the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City, NV on Saturday, February 11 at 7:30pm. You can be sure that we'll include some opportunities to join the singing, and we promise to provide plenty of songs about love in all its various permutations (and there are many!) Find out how one clever maid avoids a pirate's unwanted attentions, or hear about the lad who kisses his lass through a window - and encounters some unexpected difficulties. With songs of love lost and love found, this show is perfect for sharing with your Valentine!



Carmony - Get it in Time for Christmas!

Well, I'm excited and so is Libby! Carmony is being replicated as we speak and we should have copies in hand to send to you in the second or third week in December! If you want it for Christmas, I will put them in the envelopes and send them to you personally - let me know by December 15 by email.

The three-CD set of lessons will cost $45. And just to recap, this three-level series of lessons teaches harmony singing AND is a tool for practicing it - kind of your own practice buddy! Level One features simple rounds and songs, separating the voices so you can learn both parts. Level Two builds on this with more complicated songs. Level Three gives you the guidance you need to create your own harmonies, including some simple aspects of theory.

How will you be able to get yours, you ask? Well, you can wait till we have it - or preorder. Then you have three choices:

1. Use any credit card to buy the CD directly from my store,
2. Pay via PayPal using as my account name, or
3. Simply mail me a check to my address: 1325 Arch Street, Berkeley, CA 94708.

Libby and I are also planning to do a harmony workshop! We'll let you know when that will be - probably in March here at my home studio in Berkeley. More on that when we get closer, but if you know you're interested, let me know and I'll start a list - with YOUR name on it!

...two years before the story, the Ramsay kids!As I write this, the words "like kids waiting for Christmas" sent me back to Christmas Eve when I was in fifth grade. My sister, Lauren, was telling me with great angst, that our brother, Graham, was questioning the existence of Santa Claus. We were really bothered by that, so we contrived a frantic spur-of-the-moment plan. I went outside into the dark, just outside of the window of our shared bedroom, where she had lured him on the pretense of a shared candy cane. I peeked into the window and could just hear their conversation, and he was indeed asking her if Santa was real, so I took my cue and began ringing jingle bells, trying ever so hard to make them sound like sleigh bells. Lauren in hushed voice said, "Listen! What is that?" (ching, ching, ching, ching) "It's Santa!" she crowed, and Graham's eyes got big, and he ran to the window. I had to duck to avoid being seen, but it worked - he believed he was hearing Santa's sleigh! Our conniving saved Santa for one more year.

Years later, when our own kids were beginning to doubt, I remember Kent telling them, "As long as you believe in him, Santa will come!" They're in their 20's, now, but they very wisely still "believe"!

Kathy, Joe and I are looking forward to February 11, 2017 when we get to perform at the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City. Mark your calendars for a 7:00pm show. It'll be so close to Valentine's Day, we'll have to sing some love songs.

Think stocking stuffers! Look, you have THREE choices! They cost $15 each, and to buy, follow this link to my new Square store. Want downloads? I can handle that by sending you download cards if you want to gift a friend. For delivery in time for the holiday, you need to order before December 15.