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Berkeley Old Time Music Convention Dance Party!

7:30pm dance lesson
8:00 pm show (see below)

$18 Advance/$20 Day of Show

$5 for kids aged 5 and up, kids under 5 free

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2017 BOTMC Dance Party at Ashkenaz

2017 BOTMC Dance Party at Ashkenaz

Berkeley Old Time Music Convention’s Dance night features three great bands (Marley's Ghost, Bryant & Brown, and Hotdish plus two callers (Larry Edelman and Jordan Ruyle) who love to introduce the uninitiated to the joy of a square dance! The callers teach all dances from scratch and call the moves all the way through. No need to bring a partner, although you can if you want, and same-sex couples fit in fine. All ages are welcome at all BOTMC dances. And there is jamming in the back room led by BOTC performers. 


FREE Square Dance Calling Workshop: “Learn to Call Square Dances” with Larry Edelman in the back studio 5-6:30pm

7:30-8:00   Honky Tonk Dancing lesson with Rina Rossi
8:00   Marley’s Ghost - Honky Tonk set
9:00  SQUARE DANCING with callers Larry Edelman and Jordan Ruyle
9:00  Bryant & Brown
10:30   Hotdish

9:00 - 11:00  jamming in the back studio, hosted by BOTMC performers
Instrument check will be available.

The history of BOTMC is steeped in mirth. The first convention, held in Provo Park (now Martin Luther King Park), was listed as the “35th annual.” It was followed a year later by “the 17th annual.”  And of course they haven’t happened every year until the 21st century, so your guess about this year’s event is as good as the organizers’. What counts is the amazing quality of musicians from all over, and at Ashkenaz the best dancing of the whole festival, which runs Sept. 26-30 (Ashkenaz also hosts Sunday’s family square dance).  There are workshops, lectures and endless music at various other venues from the Freight to UC Berkeley. Information on all of the BOTMC events is at



Bryant & Brown features the playing of two old-time music masters, Mike Bryant and Paul Brown. This extraordinary foursome presents old-time music traditions of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia and other southern U.S. states with depth and expertise reflecting long experience. Mike and Marcia Bryant of Tennessee have played for decades at home, and at dances, fiddlers’ conventions and festivals. Mike is revered as a fiddler of style, strength and grace, with a repertoire spanning both well-known and obscure tunes. Marcia is widely respected for her super-solid guitar and bass backup. Paul Brown & Terri McMurray make North Carolina their home, and they too have performed both locally and around the U.S. for many years. Paul is probably best known as an NPR newscaster (now retired, although he still does special projects for NPR.) More to the point, he is a respected banjo and fiddle player whose unique sound on both instruments reflects his own imagination and his many years playing with senior musicians including Benton Flippen and Tommy Jarrell. Terri is a prize winning banjo player and a fine singer. These two couples, who love to make music together, bring you the old-time music sound with an easy, down home friendliness in every performance.

Hotdish is a all-star pickup band of old-time players from all over the country, with fiddlers Aaron Olwell and Sonya Badigian (Virginia), banjo player Aaron Tacke (Minneapolis), guitarist Ryan Nickerson (Johnson City, Tennessee), and bassist Nokosee Fields (a native of Oklahoma, now living in Asheville). Aaron Olwell won first place fiddle at Clifftop (not coincidentally, two of the BOTMC organizing group were judges!) and plays many other styles of music including Irish and New Orleans-style jazz, on fiddle, flute and clarinet. Sonya focuses mainly on Missouri and Kentucky fiddle styles. Aaron Tacke first learned to play clawhammer banjo, but was inspired to learn three-finger style after hearing Kyle Creed. He’s played with the Bootlickers and currently is in Steam Machine and the Minneapolis country band Hello Heartache. Ryan Nickerson specializes in early styles of old-time backup guitar and country blues. Nokosee Fields was born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He moved from playing classical music to various forms of traditional American music, including old-time fiddling, and tours with the Americana band Western Centuries and the old-time band Steam Machine. He has taught at the Augusta Heritage Center and has been involved with Dancing with the Spirit—an Alaska-based youth and community music program that aims to re-inspire fiddle and dance traditions in indigenous communities throughout the region.

Perennial favorites at the Strawberry Music Festival, Marley’s Ghost is celebrating its 30th anniversary. This genre-hopping band consists of singer/multi-instrumentalists Dan Wheetman, Jon Wicox, Mike Phelan, Ed Littlefield Jr., Jerry Fletcher and Bob Nichols, and the instruments include guitar, pedal steel, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, accordion, keyboard, bass and drums. Occasionally Ed will break out the Scottish bagpipes but at the BOTMC, they’ll focus on Western Swing and honky-tonk, with some rhythm and blues thrown into the mix. You might even hear an Uncle Dave Macon song reinvented as a reggae rave!






Jordan Ruyle is one of the founders of the twice-monthly Friday square dances at the Niebyl Procter Library in Oakland and is an accomplished clawhammer banjo player and fiddler. He’s called dances up and down the West Coast, including at CBA Father’s Day Festival (Grass Valley); Dare To Be Square; Portland Old Time Gathering; LA Old Time Social, Oakland Museum, BOTMC, Autry Museum, New L.A. Folk Festival, San Francisco Old Time & Bluegrass Festival, etc.

Larry Edelman The BOTMC is honored to welcome reknowned dance caller Larry Edelman to the BOTMC. For more than 40 years, he has been delighting both novice and veteran dancers with his humor, enthusiasm, skillful teaching, knowledge of dance history, and colorful calling. Larry has taught hundreds of workshops at camps throughout the U.S. and in Europe, including the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Ashokan, Augusta, Pinewoods, Lady of the Lake, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, and many more. He’s also a musician, a video producer (currently working on a film about the Highwoods String Band) and a scholar of dance; since moving to Colorado, he has been studying and collecting traditional music and dances from the southwest and produced a documentary of an elder southwestern singer and fiddler, Eva Nuanez: Memories of My Musical Life (

Earlier Event: September 28
House of Hamill with Heron Valley
Later Event: September 30
Soul Sanctuary Dance