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NGI Recipient: Molly Graham Hickman

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - Harmony of Song & Dance (2021)

I had the privilege and pleasure of attending CDSS Harmony Week at Pinewoods this year. I couldn’t have felt safer, more affirmed, or more at home (paradoxically, since this was my first foray outside of my house since getting the COVID vaccine) than I did at Pinewoods. After many months of virtual meetings (and even virtual singings [1,2,3]), being able to lock eyes with people across the pavilion while singing in harmony had me overwhelmed. I still get goosebumps — the “that was so good I can hardly believe it happened” kind — when I remember moments in Katie Martucci’s Swing Harmony class, and on the C# dance-floor, and in Long Pond, and in the dish line (best chore ever), among so many other places.

Pinewoods and CDSS have fostered an incredible community. Immediately upon arrival, I was enveloped by it. I can’t say the last time I felt so much like a thread in such a close-knit fabric. My dad said he had never heard me so happy as when I called him on my drive home to tell him about camp. I learned so much from the staff and fellow campers alike: sad songs, silly songs, Scandi dance tunes, contra-dance tunes, how to lead, how to follow. My appreciation for concertinas has quadrupled. My cup runneth over — into my local community (SW Virginia)!

Thanks from the bottom of my heart to Jo Rasi and Debbie Hutton for encouraging me to apply for an NGI scholarship; to Micah Walter (a 2018 NGI recipient, and dear friend from the Sacred Harp community) for being my steadfast buddy; to Daniel Friedman, Chris Jacobs, Crispin Youngberg, Steve Howe, Morgan Lobrose, Eleanor Lincoln, and everyone else at CDSS and Pinewoods for making the magic happen; to the fabulous staff musicians and teachers; and to the Pinewoods community at-large. You’ve changed my life. I can’t wait to be back.


[1] Carpe Diem Arts’ Daily Antidote of Song  – soon to hold their 500th singing – every day at noon! https://carpediemarts.org/daily-antidote-of-song

[2] Bucket Brigade , Jeff Kaufman’s amazing open-source program for making music – handles lag – you have to use it to believe it. https://echo.jefftk.com/#About

[3] Youth Trad Song  (YTS) – best virtual workshop/weekend I’ve attended. The organizers really nailed it. http://www.youthtradsong.org/