Northwest Passage Dance Camp
Labor Day Weekend, September 1 to 4, 2023


Three seasoned musicians of national reputation and steeped in the folk dance traditions of Appalachia, New England, and the British Isles come together to form the band Goldcrest. Named for a British songbird with close relatives in the Americas, Goldcrest features fiddler Daron Douglas, pianist Dave Wiesler, and multi-instrumentalist Paul Oorts in a trio producing country dance music of exceptional quality and unsurpassed variety. Their characteristic sound is captured in their recordings, The Goldcrest Collection and The Green Jay Collection, featuring music for contra and English country dances of caller and choreographer Joseph Pimentel.

Daron Douglas plays English country dance fiddle. She thanks her North Carolina grandmother for the gift of her ballads and gardening preoccupation. She has played with the Knoxville Early Music Project, the Hominy Mamas, the contra dance band Misbehavin’ and currently fiddles with the bands Foxfire and Goldcrest. Daron travels to play dance weekends and lives, weaves, gardens, and makes music in New Orleans.

Dave Wiesler has built a national reputation for his compositions, orchestral imagination, and rhythmic and inventive piano playing. At home in a huge range of styles, Dave plays mostly for his dance communities, in styles ranging from English and Scottish country dance, to contra, swing, vintage dance, couples dance, Viennese waltz. He has performed concerts at the Kennedy Center, the Washington Folk-Life Festival, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts; was a performing docent for the Smithsonian Museum; and has played at festivals and dance camps across the country as well as in Canada, Scotland, and England. Dave plays on twenty recordings, many featuring tunes and songs he wrote, and he is a capable guitarist, singer, music teacher, and choir accompanist. Dave presently lives in Newark, DE, with his wife, two high-school aged boys, and one high-strung cat.

Belgian-born Paul Oorts performs on harp guitar, 10-string cittern, mandolin, and musette accordion most often with his wife, hammered dulcimer player Karen Ashbrook. He is very active in the world of English, Contra, and Vintage dances in the DC-Baltimore area. With the trio Goldcrest he has performed at dance events all over the US. As a teacher or staff musician, he has been on faculty at many week-long camps like the Augusta Heritage Center (WV) the Swannanoa Gathering (NC), Common Ground on the Hill (MD), Kentucky Music Week, Pinewoods (MA), Timber Ridge (WV), Hill County Acoustic Music Camp (TX), Hey Days (CA) and the Volksmuziekstage in Gooik (Belgium). During the academic year Dr. Oorts teaches French and Italian at Loyola University in Baltimore.

Fine Companions starts with four great talents, mixes in some magic and gets a musical feast better than the sum of its ingredients. This Portland favorite just keeps growing their reputation and it's all good! The band features Betsy Branch on fiddle, Lisa Scott on piano, Bill Tomczak on clarinet & saxophone, and Erik Weberg on flute. If you like lots of dreamy textures and rich harmonies, this is the band for you.

Betsy Branch has been a mainstay of the Portland, Oregon dance community for many years. Her exuberant dance fiddling has delighted dancers on both coasts and her warmth and engaging smile extend beyond the stage and draw in dancers and listeners alike. She is the Associate Music Director of Portland’s Revels theater company, and their house fiddler. Betsy plays for English and Irish dancing, and in several contra dance bands.  Her primary passion is teaching and mentoring fiddlers and dance musicians. Betsy teaches privately out of her home in SE Portland, and for workshops around the region. When not playing or teaching, she works as a music editor, arranger, and transcriber.

Lisa Scott is an accomplished pianist and teacher. Coming from a musical heritage, she earned a Bachelor of Music at Lewis and Clark College. She studied the art of accompaniment at the University of Southern California and in New York. She began Scottish dancing, soon earned her preliminary teaching certificate, and then learned to play for Scottish dance. Lisa has played piano for Scottish dance in the U.S., Canada, and Japan, and Scotland. Many years ago she fell in love with English country dance and music and has been playing for workshops and balls ever since. Lisa's sensitivity to dance rhythms and her lyrical style make her music a joy for dancers.

Bill Tomczak started playing clarinet at the age of 9. After a typical round of high school bands and concerts, he entered Northwestern University as a music major and studied under several teachers from the Chicago Symphony. In 1979, he discovered the world of International Folk Dancing and has been playing for folk dance of one kind or another ever since. The International repertoire provided a solid ground for all his subsequent work with Balkan, Klezmer, Greek, contra dance and jazz. He developed a reputation as a tasteful and innovative improviser who learned to blend seamlessly into a wide variety of fiddle styles, practically defining a whole new tradition for contra dance clarinet and saxophone playing. Bill now plays for contra dancing and English Country Dancing with The Latter Day Lizards, Campaign for Reel Time and Fine Companions. He has recorded with The Latter Day Lizards, BLT, Wild Asparagus and Yankee Ingenuity and appears on the recordings Cascade of Tears and Gypsy Wine with Mary Lea and friends.

Erik Weberg plays flutes, harmonicas, and bombardes (yes, plural). He is a regular musician at English country dances in Portland, and he organizes and plays for a monthly contra dance with the band Joyride. He is also an English and contra dance caller, performing at festivals and weekends around the country, and programmed Northwest Passage for many years. Erik is also co-producer of the Portland Megaband contra dance event.

Mark Douglass enjoys group music making in many forms - choruses, jams, performances, dances, rehearsals, workshops, literally any opportunity to gather people around cool melodies and harmonies and rhythms. He made music professionally for many years, but currently works in addiction counseling and finds time for music with his spouse, Betsy Branch, on evenings and weekends. He and Betsy have lived together in Portland for 25 years this year. Mark joins on Saturday for a number of workshop sessions.

Orly Krasner loves to share the joy of English Country Dance as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She is a regular part of the teaching rotation in Westchester, NY and New York City and is a frequent guest for dance evenings, special events, and festivals both near and far. Orly has emceed balls and weekends across the US, Canada, and England. She has taught at Pinewoods Early Music Week and joined Gene Murrow for two trips to Japan where they taught ECD workshops under the auspices of the National Federation of Teachers of Folkdance. Orly loves a challenge, so she’s been learning Japanese, how to wear a kimono, and studying traditional dance. She is also studying Baroque dance and is looking forward to a minuet-step revival!

As a choreographer, Orly’s first collection, Celebrations, has sold 300 copies. The book and CD, recorded by Reunion (Daniel Beerbohm, Barbara Greenberg, and Jonathan Jensen), are both available from CDSS, and a second collection is in the works. In real life, Orly credits her discovery of country dance with helping her finish her PhD dissertation; she currently teaches in the music department at the City College of New York/

Brad Foster loves sharing the joy of dance through his teaching. He started teaching in his teens and running events in his twenties. Brad is co-founder of the Mendocino Country Dance Camps (the predecessor of Hey Days) and was Executive and Artistic Director of the Country Dance and Song Society for 28 years, frequently serving as Program Director for CDSS’s English Week. Brad has traveled throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe as a teacher of English country, morris & sword, and contra dance. He founded New London Assembly in 2013, and more recently the New Home Ball in 2019. His last trip to NWP was in 2006.

Highly regarded by dancers, musicians, and callers for his high-quality sound work, John Oorthuys has handled the board for many dances, balls, camps, and special events for PCDC and surrounding Pacific Northwest communities. He has been the camp sound engineer for years and years, and his wizardry makes the sound fantastic.