May 9th – The Whoots Concert

On May 9th at 4 pm Pacific time, SCDS will host The Whoots for a live online Mother’s Day concert. Play and dance along with Shira Kammen and Jim Oakden as they present tunes and songs from 11 different countries, played on 10 different instruments, covering 7 different centuries. 

Marking the myriad manifestations of motherhood!

  • It’s a Concert! Songs and tunes from East to West, with appropriate commentary.
  • It’s a Play-Along! Concert selections and music dots (written music) for playing along can be downloaded at Musicians are encouraged to download the file and play along.
  • It’s a Dance! Most of the music will be danceable, mixing in couple dances and danceable surprises.

You can join the concert at, starting at 3:45 pm on May 9th.

After starting college on a music scholarship, Jim Oakden rapidly realized that he wasn’t cut out for six hours a day in a practice room, so he switched to science as a career while doing music for love. He launched on a musical odyssey that led first to early music and baroque, then into the captivating world of traditional and ethnic music and dance (Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Galicia, Klezmer, Greece, Bulgaria, middle East, etc). Jim plays for English country dance and records with Roguery, Persons of Quality, and the Whoots on an absurd variety of instruments from accordion to zurna. Specializing in dance music, he has performed and taught at dance camps throughout the US and organized contra, Breton, and English dance events. In his other life, Jim is a marine biologist, and has inexhaustible stories about research diving adventures at both poles and numerous places in between.

Multi-instrumentalist Shira Kammen has spent much of her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music of all kinds. A member for many years of the early music Ensembles Alcatraz and Project Ars Nova, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, storyteller/harpist Patrick Ball, singers Azam Ali and Joanna Newsom, the Balkan group Kitka, Anonymous IV, the King’s Noyse, the Newberry and Folger Consorts, The Compass of the Rose, Vajra Voices, Calextone, the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, the California Revels, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to providing music on river rafting trips. In the English country dance world, she plays with Roguery and The Whoots. Shira has played on over 100 CD recordings, and also on a number of movie and television soundtracks, when weird medieval instruments are needed.

Jim and Shira have played a vast diversity of music together for nearly 25 years, in close and far-flung places from the Great Barrier Reef to Iceland, Scotland, and England, along the Colorado, Grand Ronde, John Day, and Green Rivers, and in several National Parks, among them Denali, Yellowstone, Joshua Tree. Perhaps their most epic venue was at Glacier Point in Yosemite, rendering the Death March from Star Wars for a wedding recessional.

Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. To receive email announcements of SCDS events, sign up at

Tips: (make sure to click on the ‘friends and family’ option, so PayPal doesn’t take a fee!)
or send a check to 5607 Macdonald Ave, El Cerrito CA 94530

Upcoming events:
June 13 – Glen Loper and Bethany Waickman of Stomp Rocket

New Years Eve up next

  • New Year's Flyer 2015Susan Petrick calling to The Whoots (Michelle Levy, Jim Oakden and Shira Kammen)
  • December 31, 2015 8:00 PM – midnight
  • Location: Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St, Sacramento, CA 95819
  • $15 for adults; $10 for college students with ID; $5 for dancers under 18; $35 maximum for families (special pricing for the New Years Eve dance)

Susan Petrick is a favorite, coming to call us into the new year. The Whoots, from the bay area, get rave reviews everywhere they play. For New Years Eve, we will dance from 8:00PM all the way to midnight, and then toast the new year with apple cider. We’ll have an earlier full-scale potluck snack break with food items that you bring. This is a standing and socializing break, not a sit-down dinner, so bring food that fits.

Susan Petrick & The Whoots

Susan Petrick & The Whoots

A newcomer’s orientation is offered at 7:30PM, perfect for people who have not contra danced before, or who could use some refresher. Experienced dancers are invited to partner with newcomers during the orientation and early dances to help integrate them into the community.

No partners are needed, so come by yourself or with friends or with family. These events are accessible to people with disabilities.


For more contra dance information, and contra lost and found, contact Laura Leonelli, 916-549-7093, or email

New Years Eve Contra Dance

Susan Petrick

Susan Petrick

Sacramento will be dancing the night away on New Years Eve! The SCDS dance will take place from 8:00PM to just after midnight. We will have a potluck snack break (not a potluck dinner, but snacks), and then at midnight, a toast to the new year with apple cider.

Susan Petrick, a Sacramento favorite, will be calling to the music of The Whoots (Jim Oakden, Michelle Levy & Shira Kammen). Though less familiar to us, The Whoots have a strong reputation in the bay area and beyond.

We know you have a lot of options on New Years Eve, so if you can’t join us for the entire four hours, carve out at least two hours and join us for crazy fun dancing. There will be more posts as the evening approaches, with more details, but please put it on your calendar now.