CONTACT CELIA

EMAIL CELIA RAMSAY AT celiaramsay@gmail.com, or call 510-995-6615

 

CONCERTS & CLASSES

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

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DANCES

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

Thursday
Jan072016

May the New Year Fill All Our Hearts With Music!

Snippets of things are flashing through my mind, but first I want to wish you all HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Snippet #1: I figured out how to connect my electronic keyboard to my computer so I can write music faster as midi files! Yes folks, I just play it, and it flows through the wires of my stage piano to my computer and into a software program and onto the paper. Endless possibilities for this old dog and her new tricks! See - I wrote a dance tune! 

Snippet #2: In my October newsletter, I mentioned that Libby McLaren and I plan to create a CD that teaches harmony-singing. Dance caller pal, Ric Goldman wondered if it should be called "Carmony". Or he countered his own suggestion with "Auto-tune"?

Snippet #3: Libby and I have been shepherding that very CD through the production planning stage, and we're going to start recording in January 2016. Obviously, it'll take a little while to get it finished, but watch this space for progress reports! I'm excited about it!

Snippet #4: I got a testimonial from a voice student! Here's what was said:
"Celia, I had a wonderful comment yesterday that I was able to 'hold my own' & seemed more confident. I felt it too & absolutely loved hearing it & attribute the improvement to our working together. Thank you so much!" 

RESERVE YOUR SEAT!

Folks are already reserving seats to hear Alan Reid and Rob Van Sante at my house - the perfect way to fight the El Niño damp that will be entering your bones, come the end of January! Alan and Rob present a lively show rooted largely in the music of Scotland; its rich and varied history and landscape provides much of the inspiration for their material. The duo combines their musical talents to offer seamless harmonies supported by sensitive arrangements on piano, guitars and accordion. I attended Alan's classes at Swannanoa and was very taken with his music and humor; I am sure you will be, too! Email me to reserve your seats for Saturday, February 6 at 8:00pm in North Berkeley. I'll send you directions once you reserve - and as you know, you must reserve a seat because they are limited!

NOTHING BORING ABOUT THIS BOARD!
For many years, it was a dream of mine to perform there, and I have done several times. But now I've gone a step further and I'm proud to be a recent addition to the board of directors for the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley. The Freight is still adjusting to its relatively new location across from Berkeley Rep, but that block has become dynamic as a performing arts district, with the Aurora Theater and Berkeley Jazz School also on the same block of upper Addison Street. I know many people miss the older, funkier venue of yore on lower Addison, but the newer location is full of possibility and its board is completely dedicated to the local music community. This is not my first time on a non-profit board (I've been on four others!), but it's one of the best group of directors I've had the pleasure of working with. 

Thursday
Jan072016

Come Down Off the Fence!

I just got word that I'll be teaching my Get Your Voice Out of the Closet workshop in 2016 at Lark Camp. I'm really pleased to be able to offer that class; I really enjoy empowering folks to find their singing voices.

Anyway, if you have been on the fence about whether to come to Lark Camp or not, I'm on my side reaching out my hand to pull you down to join me. It is a magical place, and really unlike any other music camp experience. This link will take you to the staff list (still more staff to come!) It's a great place to scan the teachers, hear samples of their work and read their class descriptions. Here you can find instrumental music from all over the world, singing and dance for folks who want to learn some new things. Always amazing teachers, and all of it the brain-child of Mickie Zekley and his band of merry volunteers. 

IT'S NOT TOO SOON -

I met Alan Reid in July during Celtic Week at Swannanoa Gathering, where he was teaching two separate classes about Lowland Scots culture and the modern Scottish folk movement. I really enjoyed his classes and his singing . . . so much so, that I invited him to perform at my house in North Berkeley. It's not too soon for you to save Saturday, February 6 on your calendar to hear Alan and his buddy Rob Van Sante do their thing! Email me if you'd like me to save you a seat!

Alan wrote songs for and performed with the Battlefield Band, and Rob was BB's sound engineer and "fifth". They both left the band in 2010 and have been doing solo work, but they also perform together and have a very sweet sound, Rob on guitar and vocals and Alan on keyboard and vocals.  

Sunday
Oct252015

Learning to Sing Harmony - In Your Car?

I'm about to start up a new project, and it's related to lessons in harmony singing. I'm going to create a recording that anyone can use alone or as a companion to a class they might take with me. It will include rounds that are "looped" with a single voice that a listener can sing with to learn the round, and then sing against, to create the harmony that is built into the round. But there will be other songs with parts, again so that the parts can be learned and then sung with. The best part for me is that Libby McLaren will be sharing this project with me, so you'll get to listen to us sing the harmonies (so you know what you're aiming for) and then to have us break them apart (so you can understand how the individual lines of music sound with a single voice.) Just imagine it - you can learn to sing harmony in the privacy of your car! Stay tuned for updates as this gets underway! 

ALL TIDIED UP FOR FALL

I know - it's supposed to be "spring cleaning", but fall comes 'round and I get twitchy for tidy. So in addition to clearing out some things from my closet, I've cleaned up my website, changed a few photos, and added a really lovely video/slide show to my "DANCE" page. The video was created by photographer, Doug Plummer - who publishes a Contra Dance Calendar and just completed a Kickstarter campaign to make a full-length film about Contra Dance; I think he plans to call it "Take Hands". His motion photography is wonderful and his video . . . well, go to my website and check out the Dance page and watch it! It really catches the wonderful energy of Contra Dancing. 

JUST OVER, AND NEXT UP -

The KVMR Celtic Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds was a blast. The little singing circle was wonderful and lots of singers came to join us with their favorites Scottish and Irish songs. Calling the Nevada City Contra Dance on the evening of October 3rd was wonderful - so many great beginners who joined us and made it fun for everybody! I'll be calling four more dances over the next couple of months. I hope I'll see you at one of them!

COMING UP IN THE NEW YEAR: Alan Reid and his music pal, Rob van Sante, will be at my place in North Berkeley for a sweet deal of a house concert. Below is a sample of what they do. They'll be here either the last Saturday of January 2016, or the first Saturday of February 2016. You might just want to pencil something in till we have it ironed out...you wouldn't want to miss it! Alan wrote songs and performed with the Battlefield Band, and Rob was the Battlefield Band's sound engineer and "fifth". They both left the band in 2010 and have been doing solo work, but also working together and they have a very sweet sound, Rob on guitar and vocals and Alan on keyboards and vocals. 

Friday
Sep252015

Just Back From France!

Couple of clowns in Toulouse

School is back in session, but summer wasn't quite over for us. My husband, Kent, and I just got back from a group tour of the Périgord region of France,much of it near the Dordogne River. We got to see caves with prehistoric drawings and engravings, visited where Roquefort cheese is made, wandered

St. Cirq-La Popie

cobblestone streets of medieval cities, and ate ourselves silly on "all things duck". Aside from the ubiquitous pipe organs that were being practiced on in every church and cathedral we went to, there was very little music on this trip. But there was a lot of food!

 The thing that stands out most in my mind was the light. As the days shorten, the angle of light is lower and the countryside - which was already beautiful - was sort of distilled into an even finer thing. Plus, we rain-starved Californians got to buy umbrellas for a few days of "soft weather". If you've a yen to go to the Perigord, I'd be happy to tell you what sights we took in. It was a delightful trip!

NEXT UP AND LAST MONTH'S HOUSE CONCERT

Well, this year sure is speeding by - October is imminent! That means the KVMR Celtic Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds is coming up! I'll be joining several other vocalists to lead a singing circle on October 3rd and 4th, and the concert line-up is fabulous. But not only that, I'll be calling the Nevada City Contra Dance on the evening of October 3rd, and I'm hoping that you'll come to that as well. I'll be camping back at the fairgrounds, so maybe I'll see some friendly faces . . . like YOURS! 

Last month's newsletter was released on the very day that I had a performance, so there hasn't been an opportunity to tell you how much fun I had singing at my house with Ken Risling. Mostly, we performed original music; Ken did the lion's share by accompanying me when I needed his guitar support, and it was a treat for me to provide harmony for his fine songs. We had a lovely audience, intimate enough that we were able to answer questions on how and why some songs were written. We are hoping to do it again after the first of the year, so I'll let you know when that is on the calendar.

I LOST A FEW OF YOU - BUT I FOUND YOU, AGAIN!

Where those names went...all directions!
Something happened. It may have been my fault, but I'm not about to admit it! What happened was some of you got dropped off my mailing list and have missed about four newsletters. I did finally figure it out, as well as how to bring you back from the black hole of lonely-for-Celia-ness; I promise not to send you the older newsletters (that is, unless you ask me to, of course!) but all is well, once again, in the world of Stay Tuned!
Friday
Aug212015

Of Contra Dance and Ceilidh . . . 

Kathy & Joe Bly, (me) and Holly Sternberg: CíanaMY DANCE SEASON IS REVVING UP!

I'm slated to call seven dances between now and the end of the year, some private, some public. In fact, I just called a Scottish ceilidh dance for a wedding celebration in Incline Village with a fabulous band called Cíana. "Calling a dance" simply means that I'm the dance teacher: I first teach the dance and then call out verbal prompts when the dance is underway. What's the difference between a contra dance, a family dance, or a ceilidh? Here's a bit of clarification:

Contra Dance is New England style-folk dance. It's mostly done in longways sets (think "Virginia Reel" and you'll get the right mental picture.) These dances are accessible to newcomers and at the same time, very satisfying for experienced dancers. If you're new to Contras, be sure to get to the dance in time for the beginners' lesson. It's usually 15 - 30 minutes before the official dance begins, and it's a great way to get dancing immediately.

Family Dances are just that - a program of dances that has been organized to accommodate dancers of all ages. These are often part of a private party or a school event or fundraiser and are all about variety and accessibility - anyone can dance them, including kids as young as six years old.

Scottish Ceilidh (say, "kay-lee" - it means party!) dance is for parties, also, but includes a bit more partner dancing. These are great when the number of dancers is unknown, hard to organize, or changeable--like at a wedding. Some folks just get too tired to dance, but with a dance like The Gay Gordons, six people can still have fun. No experience is necessary for a ceilidh. And just for the record, the dances in an Irish ceílí are a bit different, though the overall concept - PARTY/FUN - is the same. 

In all of these, there can be longways sets or circle dances, sometimes "mixers", where your partner changes frequently (a sort of ancient mating ritual!) By the way, this is a lot of fun, and ­ you can hire me! I'll even find the band! 

WHAT A LARK! - Lark Camp was fabulous. I don't know how it's possible, but I swear this was the best year of music camp yet, and if you don't believe me, go the Lark Camp Facebook group page and check out all the photos. You may remember I was slated to teach a four-day beginning voice class and that went very well. I learned a lot about what my students needed, and I was pleased at the amount of progress we made in a few short days. We covered why we sing and how to view ourselves as singers (we're storytellers!), and how to sing harmony . . . 

WOULD YOU LIKE VOICE LESSONS?
In fact, I was so encouraged by how the class went, I'm officially offering private and small group voice lessons at my home in North Berkeley, and am thinking of possibly organizing harmony singing workshops for no more than eight people of four or five sessions. Are you interested? Send me an email and let me know.

UPCOMING MUSIC EVENTS:

Just in case you read this in the nick of time, Ken Risling and I will be performing a duo-concert - at my house in North Berkeley, Saturday, August 22 at 8:00pm. There is plenty of room, and I sincerely hope if you can make it, you'll email me that you are coming: celiaramsay@gmail.com, or better yet, CALL! 707-337-0498. I'll provide address/directions when you do!

Sunday, September 6:
Tony Becker, music booster extraordinaire, hosts a song/instrument jam session both days of the 150th
Pleasanton Scottish Games. I'll be doing a bit of performing there on Sunday only, but you can come Saturday and enjoy the same fare with Philip Batchelder. You'll find me in the AmeriCeltic booth in the Clan area near the Palm Pavilion ­ I think not far from the Red Lion Pub! Hope to see you there around 11:00am!

Saturday & Sunday, October 3 & 4: I'll be part of the song circle both days at the KVMR Celtic Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Look for us on the schedule ­ we'll be at the Gazebo near Gate 5.