And of course, Ungar and Mason's own band Swingology will be on hand, featuring Jay and Molly; Mike (Merenda, on drums and the old-time banjo) and Ruthy (Jay's multi-talented daughter on fiddle, ukulele and guitar, not to mention her show-stopping pipes); Peter Davis (multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire playing clarinet, sax, piano, banjo, mandolin, guitar and whistle); Peter Ecklund on cornet; Dave Davies on trombone; and bassist Harry Aceto. The group is known for exploring a wide range of music with remarkable fidelity to each idiom, and will showcase swing, blues and waltzes from Cajun to Celtic to country-style, proving that the impulse to dance is central to all cultures.
Dinner starts at 5 p.m., with two rooms opening at 8 p.m. for your choice of music and dancing: contra and square in one, and swing and Cajun in the other. Singles, couples, youngsters and oldsters are invited to choose either type of dancing or to just come to listen. A huge snack table will open at 11 p.m. to energize dancers for the big push to midnight. And the music won't stop until 3 a.m.!
Now in its 28th year, the New Year's Eve event is a part of a weekend-long Fiddle and Dance Fest, where serious folkdance and music will be taught by members of the Ashokan Foundation. From 4 p.m. on Thursday, December 31 through 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 3, attendees can dance and jam at night and participate in dance, fiddle, banjo, guitar and voice workshops each day. The Fiddle and Dance Fest offers bed-and-board or recommended local accommodations. Reservations can be made up to Monday, December 28. The full cost is $495; no alcohol or pets, please. Meanwhile, everyone is invited to bring on the New Year Thursday evening at the Ashokan Center, located at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge. Reservations for dinner and dance are $50 per person, prepaid by December 28; but if you want to attend the dance only, admission is $25 with no reservation needed. For further information call (845) 246-2121 or visit www.ashokan.org/ashokan/campnyrs.shtml.