Summer 1996 -- Volume XXII#2
Editor: Angel Roman


President's Message

The 1996 New England Folk Festival is now a memory, and what a grand memory it is! The weather cooperated, the performers were excellent, the participants were enthusiastic, the food was good, and, most important of all, the sense of community which always marks the Festival was strongly present. It is also a joy to see a stark public building turned into such an alive space. Everywhere I looked there were people dancing or jamming or chatting or working on crafts or enjoying the products of our vendors. We create our own separate, special world in Natick for a bit of time each April, and the pleasure of it stays with many of us throughout the rest of the year.

A number of people stopped me and others on the Festival Committee to thank us for our efforts in putting the Festival together. I would like to extend those thanks to all who volunteered their time, whether as performers or ticket sellers or table wipers or instrument checkers, etc., as well as to everyone who simply came to take part in the Festival with such good cheer. It takes all of us together to make it happen.

By the time you read this, we will be starting to plan for next year's Festival. We will have sorted through the evaluation forms which were turned in, and taken note of the compliments, criticisms, and suggestions. It's not too late to give us your opinions. I look forward to hearing from you.

-- Nancy Hanssen

Letter to the Editor

A letter published in
The Dance Gypsy newsletter and a letter from Jonathan and Sheila Bosworth have brought to my attention an issue that I believe needs more discussion in the dance community: the sound level at dances.

Ample research has shown that at some level of sound volume, the hearing of humans will be damaged permanently. There are regulations published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which limit the decibel levels to which people may be exposed in the work place.

Some investigation on the part of dancers and others has shown that the OSHA limits are exceeded at some dances, thus putting the dancers, callers, and musicians at risk for permanent hearing damage. It seems to me that this ought to be a matter of considerable concern to all members of the dance community.

Once hearing damage from excessive sound volume has occurred, it is not reversible. Even if the listener does not think there is a problem, damage may be happening.

Sound levels are measured in decibels (db). The OSHA limits for exposure times over an 8-hour period are:

Sound LevelMaximum Exposure
97 db3 hours or less
100 db2 hours or less
102 db90 minutes or less
105 db60 minutes or less
110 db30 minutes or less
115 db15 minutes or less

The Bosworths quote several professionals in the dance field, including Bob Mills (NJ), Eric Arnold (MI), Paul Stamler (MO), and David Kaynor (MA), as recommending a maximum level of 90 db for a dance. If some dancers complain of inadequate sound at 90 db, it may well be that their hearing has already been impaired, as is the case with many people who have grown up in the era of rock concerts. It seems inappropriate to jeopardize the hearing of those who don't have this problem to satisfy those who do.

Ideally, a decibel meter would be a part of every sound system kit. The biggest benefit of a decibel meter is that it provides an objective standard. If some people at a dance want the volume higher, there would be an impersonal basis for resisting.

If a dance is a very small one in terms of normal attendance, it may not be practical to purchase a decibel meter. On the other hand, there should be very little reason for excessively loud sound at a small dance.

Human inertia being what it is, it may be reasonably expected that very little will be done to make changes unless there is a significant chorus of concern that lets dance organizers know that many people are aware of the problem and care about it.

I urge all who are concerned about their hearing to make their feelings known wherever possible. Tell your dance organizers; tell the sound system operator at dances; write to dance publications such as this one; and become part of the solution. It's your hearing!

-- Steve Langford, South Windsor, Connecticut

For More Information:

Another Great Festival!

Well, we had another wonderful year. The weather was a fantastic warm and sunny all weekend, the new activity room was a big success, and nothing disastrous happened (thank deity, or whatever).

While it is hard to know exactly how many people actually attend the Festival, the total number of tickets purchased was 4,736. In addition to this figure, there were approx. 1500 performers (wow!), and 312 volunteers (thank you all, come back next year, encourage friends to volunteer too).

For those interested in more details, the minutes from the post-Festival board meeting will be in the next issue of the News. See you all next year!

-- Angel Roman

Mainewoods Dance Camp Summer Schedule

Mainewoods Dance Camp was founded in 1995, and features a mix of dance styles, including International, Eastern European, Scottish and English country dancing, contras, squares, and Scandinavian and novelty couple dances. Located in a beautiful pine forest on the shores of Crescent Lake, 20 miles north of Portland, Maine, the facility offers a spacious wooden dance floor, two beaches, swimming, boating, canoeing, hiking, and a hot tub. Rooms have single or double beds and are handicapped accessible.

Here is the schedule:

I. July 20-26

Mihai David (Romanian), Mark Finlay (International), David Vinski (Balkan/Contras), The Nemovichers (Israeli), Julie Gorn & Susan Robinson (Arts and Crafts)

II. July 27-Aug 2

Mihai David (Romanian), Mark Finlay (International), Olga Sandolowich (Macedonian), Joe Wallin (Scottish), Lisa Orr (Arts and Crafts)

III. Ted Sannella Memorial Contra Week - August 3-9

Tony Parkes (Contras), Tod Whittemore (Contras), Jimmy Drury (Couple Dances), Contra Music Magicians: Andy Davis, Laurie Indenbaum, Keith Murphy, Becky Tracy

IV. August 10-16

George Fogg (English), Jacek Marek (Polish), Stew Shacklette (Squares and Contraas), Ya'akov Eden (Israeli)

V. August 17-23

Steve and Susan Kotansky (Balkan/Hungarian), Sandy Starkman (International), Ayalah Goren (Israeli), George Fogg (English), Regina Laskowski (Arts and Crafts)

VI. August 24-30

Marianne Taylor (Scottish), Sandy Starkman (International), Teme Kernerman (Israeli), George Fogg (English), Sandra Olansky (Arts and Crafts)

VII. Labor Day Weekend - August 30-September 2

Sherry Plaencia (Country/Western), Teme Kernerman (Israeli), Sandy Starkman (International), George Fogg (English), Sandra Olansky (Arts and Crafts)

Cost is $450 per week, $225 Labor Day Weekend, including all taxes. Work scholarships are available. For full brochure or to register, contact Rae Nemovicher, 150 North Court, Roslyn Heights, NY 11577; phone (516) 621-6273. After July 17, contact Rae at Mainewoods Dance Camp, 559 Route 85, Raymond, Maine 04071; phone (207)655-2633.

Summaries of the Minutes of the NEFFA Exec Board

28 January 1996

by President Nancy Hanssen. A note of thanks from Jean Sannella for the condolence gift was read.

Secretary's Report (Dan Pearl)
After a few corrections to the minutes of the 3 December 1995 meeting, they were approved.

Treasurer's Report (Ralph Jones)
The RPLW is going to be slightly in the black for this year. The Ralph Page Memorial Fund has received $3000 in Ted Sannella's memory.

George Fogg is paid by CDS, and NEFFA pays CDS $75 per month. George feels that closer to 50% of his time is NEFFA-related, and that NEFFA should be paying more its fair share. A motion was made to increase NEFFA's contribution towards office help expense to 50% level. It was stated that although CDS has not discussed this issue, it would be unlikely that they'd refuse the financial assistance. Dan recalled that the current reimbursement scheme was derived from actual time sheets that George collected over a period of a few weeks. At the time, we rounded up the percentage of NEFFA's contribution in acknowledgment of the heavy NEFFA load in the time before the Festival. Dan suggested that we do more research, perhaps a new log. Dan was willing to make any future change retroactive to this day, if a change were warranted. The motion was tabled.

Ralph has expense forms and tax-exempt forms. Don't pay tax!

Membership Report (Nancy Hanssen)
We have mailing size information: 1707 members at 1189 addresses. Plus 177 free mailings.

Program (Janet Yeracaris)
Lori Fassman, the new printed materials person, was introduced.

The Program committee is thinking about the following:

  • Three contra medleys
  • Zweifachers on Saturday morning
  • Some Folk Music and Song will be on Auditorium Stage.
  • We have two new rooms for Folk Music and Song: S200 and A190.
  • We are thinking of redesignating Art Room as napping space.
  • Someone has applied for Country Line Dances (some Country-Western, some Israeli). There was some discussion about this, but most people thought that it would be a harmless, accessible offering.
  • There will be several sessions concerning Ted Sannella: Festival Orchestra Saturday night, an hour of Ted's Triplets, and an hour of Ted's squares. There might be a reminiscence session as well.

Arrangements (Bob Solosko)
The school contract is signed. Baby Nursing will be in a small room next to the Natick Room. There is 5% ticket surcharge (a maximum of $2000). However, there is no trash handling fee (was around $980 last year). There are increases in matron and janitorial fees. Leslie felt that we, as a regular renter, should be given a break in our fees. We have written approval from Natick Labs for parking Friday-Sunday. Dan was willing to get quotes from rental companies to see whether we are getting a good deal. We will need to rent another piano.

Bob circulated a revised booth fees proposal. There were some issues with this, and Shelagh was charged with redrafting it. She came up with the following motion: "Fee assessment will be based on room/activity, based on the estimated costs to provide the needed facilities for that room/activity. Thus, there will be a single, but separate fee assessed for the Folk Bazaar, the Crafts room and the Cafeteria. The fee differential is based on the different needs of each area. The Folk Bazaar requires only tables, chairs and a divider curtain; the Crafts room requires tables, chairs and electrical wiring; the Food booths require tables, chairs, multiple cable electrical wiring, and matrons. In general, the booth fees will be no lower than the previous year's booth fees." This motion passed.

Sound (Nancy Hanssen)
C.J. is not available for NEFFA. Eric Kilburn thinks he can handle Main Hall. Progress is being made on other halls. It is important to get contracts inspected by Leslie before signing. There will be volunteer training sessions this year.

Food (Nancy Hanssen)
Mary has sent a survey to the vendors. Harvey will discuss the returned surveys with the Board of Health to see how much of a problem we have with susceptible foods.

Safety (Shelagh Ellman-Pearl)
John is still looking for a co-chair. If he can't get anyone I will be the defacto co-chair.

Ticket Prices
A motion was passed to keep ticket prices unchanged for 1996. Lisa suggested that we discuss ticket prices in the fall as a matter of routine.

Volunteers (Nancy Hanssen)
Needs assessments are due soon! We discussed whether we need a pickup truck for hauling stuff from the storage locker.

Activity Room
This previous Exhibits Room will be known as the "Activity Room" and Linda Palmstrom will be known as the Activity Room Chair. She will have budget by next month. If you have any ideas for activities, convey them to Linda or Nancy.

Festival Flyer (Lori Fassman)
A flyer draft was presented. Corrections were solicited.

Mugs (Dan Pearl)
There was sentiment for reissuing the Festival 50th mugs. Dan Pearl has been charged with making this happen. There were suggestions on the order of 144-200. A motion was passed authorizing the purchase of more mugs.

Web Page (Dan Pearl)
Steve Boylan has surveyed some Web providers; he will make a proposal in the near future.

Group Auto Insurance (Leslie Morrison)
[Shelagh Ellman-Pearl was not in the room for this discussion.] Our insurer wanted to know if we were interested in applying for a group discount rate on Mass. auto insurance. Sentiment was against (1-7) this because we didn't want people applying to NEFFA just to get the discount.

Nominating Committee
We need a Treasurer, VP, four Board members, and a Nominating Committee member. See Jonathan Young if you have suggestions.

Orientation booklet drafts are being circulated.
Comments are being collected by Susan Janssen. Next month's draft will have wider circulation.

Standing Search Committee (Jack Janssen)
Jack and Elsa are staffing this. Jack presented a draft of a flyer to invite NEFFA participation. People suggested that a review of current staffing needs be a regular part of the agenda.

The meeting adjourned at 4:20pm.

25 February 1996

Call to Order (Nancy Hanssen)
The meeting was called to order at 1:45pm by President Nancy Hanssen.

Secretary's Report (Dan Pearl)
There was one correction to the minutes of the 28 January 1996 meeting.

Treasurer's Report (Ralph Jones)
The George Fogg reimbursement issue was revisited. George has provided a brief statement, but not a timecard-style accounting. Nancy suggested that the request for increased reimbursement should come from the CDS Boston board. NEFFA is registered in New Hampshire, but a bureaucratic mix-up has resulted in New Hampshire canceling our registration. Leslie will investigate this and iron things out.

Annual Meeting
This will be Sunday April 21st at 3pm.

Ralph Page Weekend (Sylvia Miskoe)
We had 100 full-time registrants and another 121 part-timers, and additional walk-ins. Weather kept people away on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were just fine. It was fine to be back at the refurbished MUB. We might have a $300 surplus. About $3000 has been donated in memory of Ted Sannella. We are considering adding individuals to the committee. Sylvia Miskoe was approved as chair of the Ralph Page Memorial Committee.

Program (Janet Yeracaris)
Larry doesn't favor discussions in the echoey Small Hall. The new rooms will be The Loft and the South Room. The South Room will have a sound system. Larry suggested that a "Rest Area" designated during the time when people don't want to rest (e.g., Friday, beginning of sessions, etc.) loses NEFFA credibility. Janet summarized her printed report.

Dan suggested that some procedure to assist Inca Son in getting sound levels set would be helpful. Perhaps even schedule a 15-minute unprogrammed slot before their slot.

Performers that may be impacted by overflowing dance performances need to be specially contacted and handled. Ralph cited a continual problem: a performer who exceeded their time slot. Do we keep track of these people? Larry suggested that performers could "powwow" to address local timing anomalies. Janet will attempt to emphasize NEFFA's policy to performers in future mailings.

There will be no Morris contingency plan this year.

The Program Book deadline is very early April.

Arrangements (Bob Solosko)
Bob has suggested that we review the Emergency Procedures Manual. Natick Labs and the skating rink will be kept in the communications loop. We will have two buses servicing the Natick Labs route to keep the waiting down to a maximum of 15 minutes.

Larry will print the early-admission stickers again. The booth fees were reviewed. Ralph questioned the differential fees for the Crafts vs. the Bazaar considering it is just an ancient choice which placed them in their respective areas. The Crafts room was deemed to be a preferential area. The difference is also so minor not to pose a problem.

Myrna Johnston is going to do the Main Hall. Eric Kilburn will be doing the Auditorium and Lower Hall. Things are getting organized with respect to volunteers.

Food (Nancy Hanssen)
The Finnish and Chinese booths are not returning. Mary is trying to find a kid food booth. Steve Zakon-Anderson has inquired about doing Cajun food. Home-baked goods are not a problem with potential health issues with the exception of cheesecakes. There will be reserved parking spaces for the food vendors again. We have learned that some vendors are renting out the Masonic Hall kitchen to prepare their food.

Someone has approached Angie about selling woolens that are made by, and for the profit of, Bosnian women with yarn purchased from the sales of the items. People felt that if the booth meets Angie standards, then we don't mind, as long as they refrain from issuing political messages.

Safety (Rayna Tulysewski)
Rayna is the co-chair! Safety is under control.

Tickets (David Reid)
Masters were presented. Index card stock will be used. No one had an issue with this. David will print the number used last year plus 10%. Late night sales (after 10pm) has not been staffed. Nancy said they are thinking that all the lobby jobs could be done by a very small number of volunteers during the late night hours. There was some confusion about "NEFFA" tickets; they are to be used for special volunteers such as Safety co-chair, etc. Ordinary tickets can be used for comps. Dan suggested that a special, undated ticket be held in reserve in case we run out of any particular ticket. This idea was not met with support.

People should maintain an accounting of complementary ticket distribution. Robert said that when we had parking less under control, free ticket distribution to neighbors was done. Leslie feels that distribution to neighbors is an inexpensive goodwill investment. Door to door distribution was done in the past. Bob will find out how this has been handled in the past.

Volunteers (Nancy Hanssen)
Needs assessments are due immediately! Job descriptions were circulated for commentary. If you want volunteers early, then you have to be there early for training.

Activity Room
Linda reports that the Puppet Workshop person will be a major part of the room. There will be a loom set up made up of tree branches, quilting and more. Linda is looking for artists who work with paper.

T-Shirts (Dan Pearl)
Designs are still under consideration. Some sample designs were presented.

Mugs (Dan Pearl)
We now own 192 mugs they will be for sale for $8 at the Festival.

Nominating Committee (Jonathan Young)
The partial slate was presented. Shelagh reports that drafts of the orientation booklet will be available at the next meeting.

Web Page (Steve Boylan)
Steve presented the options in his proposal of February 23, 1996. Motions were passed to establish a mostly-free account with UltraNet, and to obtain a domain name for NEFFA. Steve inquired whether anyone cared to have their E-Mail addresses hidden or concealed. No one cared.

Publicity (Steve Boylan)
A press release was reviewed. No radio spots are being arranged.

Standing Search Committee (Jack Janssen)
Jack mentioned some names of people that might be potential volunteers. There are needs for Parking Czar and Sound Assistants.

The meeting adjourned at 5:10pm.

24 March 1996

Call to Order (Nancy Hanssen)
The meeting was called to order at 1:45pm by President Nancy Hanssen.

Secretary's Report (Dan Pearl)
There was one correction to the minutes of the 25 February 1996 meeting.

Treasurer's Report (Ralph Jones)
The Ralph Page Legacy Weekend looks to be netting $400.

The insurance bill is the same this year; the split will continue last year.

The Family Dance lost around $800 this year (less than recent year's loss).

Ralph is unsure about membership policy. What is the membership year? The membership figures (the post-Festival number in 1995 is greater than the number now) are confusing. Shelagh Ellman-Pearl said that, going forward, the household memberships will only designate the number of voting adults.

Some people who received a form acknowledging contributions to the Ralph Page Memorial Fund were offended by the brusque and cold nature of the form. Ralph mentioned that RSCDS has a good model of a contribution acknowledgment form.

Ralph presented a letter from the CDS Board requesting that NEFFA pay 50% of George Fogg's salary. A motion was passed to do just that. The letter from Jean Farrington, CDS President, also expressed CDS's regret to forgo having a food booth at NEFFA this year. Nancy said that Jean said a few weeks ago that it was difficult getting volunteers to staff the CDS booth.

Ralph requested that check requests be given to him in advance of the Festival.

Ralph Page Memorial Committee
Peter Yarensky and Deanna Marvin were approved as members of this Committee.

Emergency Procedures Manual (Shelagh Ellman-Pearl)
This manual had never been officially approved by NEFFA. Certain changes will be needed every year: the Festival staff, the map, and the checklists. A motion to approve the manual, subject to necessary updates, was passed. Robert Johnson reminded us that we had a "Board Member on call" system. A sign-up list was circulated at the break.

Crafts (Emily Ferguson)
There's a lot of turnover in the room. There is a 50-50 split between instrument builders and other crafts people. This is bothersome to me, but there is no denying that building instruments is a craft. I think I have identified a successor.

Program (Janet Yeracaris)
We added warmups to the schedule. We have Judith Stames-Hamilton and another TBA. This will not interfere with sound setup.

The Green Mountain Volunteers want to make special arrangements to rehearse. Bob presented some possible guidelines, but a straw vote was strongly against having a policy.

A proposal to have a foot massage workshop was intriguing. We think its a great idea, but its hard to classify. We think it might be good for the Activity Room. (Linda doesn't want to have to organize it for this year.) Concerns about licensing and cleanliness prompted us to reach the consensus: next year!

Arrangements (Bob Solosko)
Janet Breslau wants to set up a portable crib. The new nursing room was suggested, as was the Art Room during the Rest Area periods. Dan wanted to remind Janet that if the baby fusses, then she should be removed from the quiet area.

Final rental amounts are needed in two weeks. I always rent extra tables and chairs.

Board member parking for those who need it was arranged. Bob presented the pager-holder list for approval.

Inside Signs
Get requests for these to Diane and Michael. Be aware that a revised lobby layout may affect sign needs.

Sound (Michael Bergman)
I am going to arrange for a sound quality form. There will be boxes near each mixing console. If there are no boxes, just slip a note to Michael.

Qualified assistants are still being sought.

Any leads on acoustical curtains would be appreciated.

A pickup truck is needed for scaffold transportation.

Michael reviewed the budget, with no major changes from previous years. The need of tape decks was discussed.

Bazaar (Angie Taylor)
Angie is going to squeeze in the Bosnian Socks person.

Food (Nancy Hanssen)
The Finnish and Chinese booths are not returning. The UNICEF booth is not returning due to staffing problems. Steve Zakon-Anderson can't do it this year; but will tour the kitchen to see if he could try for next year. CDS is off this year, as discussed earlier. Other booths will be returning. Common Ground (from Dorchester) will be renting two spaces. They are also performing as The Twelve Tribes. Bob: They also need a 220v drop. Lisa: Is this the first commercial establishment for us? Answer: Yes. It is difficult to read code for food preparation. The Town of Natick is giving us a lenient interpretation of the rules. The Health inspector is going over the proposed menus booth by booth.

Housing (Elsa Elliott)
Things are fine. We need more local housing hosts. There is a problem with hotels raising their rates beyond what was printed on the flyer. We did not negotiate the rates, and so the hotels are free to raise their rates. Nancy remarked that the 100th Boston Marathon may have affected the rates.

Safety (Rayna Tulysewski)
Lisa Greenleaf reviewed the early admission procedures and recruited door guards. Early arrival people should either have a special badge, an early-admission sticker on the back of their badge, or on the early-admission list. The need for "SOUND" tickets was discussed. David will make these for the contractors to allow them early access.

Volunteers (Nancy Hanssen)
I need names of volunteers so that I can prepare tickets for them. Can anyone handle an irresponsible volunteer? Possibilities: Activity Room, Instrument Check...

Activity Room (Linda Palmstrom)
Information about the room was presented. A motion was passed to cover all expenses for craft materials in the Activity Room in 1996.

T-Shirts (Lisa Greenleaf)
There will be a T-shirt based on Lissa Story's design. We're going to order about 300. We are not sure how the artist wants to be reimbursed, but this will affect the bottom line.

Family Dance (Jacob Bloom)
Jacob presented a proposal to increase pay for Family Dance performers. A straw vote indicated favoring staying with the status quo, as the pay was deemed to be reasonable for that type of event.

Grants Committee (Robert Johnson)
A risk sharing loan has been awarded to the Gilmington, New Hampshire start-up contra dance.

Nominating Committee (Jonathan Young)
The remainder of the slate was presented.

Eisteddfod Request (Dan Pearl)
We have received a request for a donation from the Eisteddfod festival. Michael suggested that it would be more appropriate to give them a donation for the future, rather than a bailout for past actions. We are taking no action here.

Dates for Next Festival
Natick has not changed the school vacation date for next year. The Festival, pending school approval, is going to be at the end of the Patriot's Week vacation.

The meeting adjourned at 5:25pm.

If you'd like to attend a future meeting of the NEFFA Exec Board, please contact NEFFA Secretary Dan Pearl at 508-229-2854.

What Else Does "NEFFA" Stand For?

Someone posted this in the main hall at the Festival. Here are some of the answers.

Not Every Folk Fanatic Attends
Nebulous Extremists Flirt First & Always
Natick Embraces Folk Festival Attendees
Normally Excitable Fast Footers Abound
Naturally Every Friend Finds Another
Needy Eaters Find Food Available
No Emergency Faxes For Anyone
Never Ending Fun, Frolic, & Adventure
Naturally Everyone Finds Flirtatious Activities
National Exhibition For Funky Artists
New Englanders Favor Fast Action
No Extraneous Fast Food Allowed
Now Everyone Finds Folk Appealing
Nostalgic Elderly Fogies (Folkies) Finally Attend
New Energy From Folk Activities
Naturally Effervescent Friends Follow Along
Nude Exhibitionists...(never mind)
National Endowment For Flirtatious Activities
Natural Energy Finds Folks Alive
Neighbors Eventually Find Favored Allemanders
Not Enough Floor Footage Available
New Experiences Follow For Amateurs
Names Evade Frequently From Alzheimers
Nervous Elementary Flingers Feel Accepted
Novices Err From Faulty Announcements
Nationalistic Entertainers & Feeders Feel Artistic
Neophytes Enjoy Frequently Favored Attention
NEFFA Evokes Fantastic Frolicking Always
Nearly Everyone Finds Flirtation Acceptable
New England Frog Festival
Never Ending Folk Festival Arghhh!

Copyright © 1996 New England Folk Festival Association