With its frequent theater productions, art shows, and musical performances, the South Coast is without a doubt a center of culture for Southern Oregon, and the South Coast Folk Society, an all-volunteer, nonprofit educational organization, helps make up the depth of culture.
The South Coast Folk Society is dedicated to the preservation, study, teaching, enjoyment, and continuing evolution of traditional and historical dance, music, and song. They meet their goals by offering contra, folk, and morris dancing, sing-alongs, concerts, and workshops, and they bring us the South Coast Celtic Fest each spring.
The South Coast Celtic Fest, typically held in April, is a celebration of Celtic culture. It is a must for all musicians, dancers, and those who appreciate music and dance. Entertainment typically includes local talent, such as Sharon Rogers on accordion, Candace Kreitlow on harp, and even local elementary students, and it also brings well-known entertainers from around the region, such as folk musician Kevin Carr. Daytime workshops for all ages in dance, music, and other aspects of Celtic culture are scheduled throughout the day.
Sing-a-longs happen the second Sunday of each month, and new singers and musicians are always welcome. The music happens at the North Bend Public Library from 4-6. Songs come from the book “Rise Up Singing.”
Contra dances are held September through May on the first and fifth Saturdays at 7:00 at the Bay Area Senior Center. A live band with fiddles, guitars, mandolins, flutes, drums, and more, plus a caller who teaches and leads the dances, entertain and move the dancers. No experience or partners are needed. As they say, if you can walk, you can contra dance!
Each fourth Saturday at 7:00 at the Bay Area Senior Center is international folk dancing. The evenings begin with a beginning dance lesson, then all can enjoy moving to the music from around the world.
New dancers and musicians are always welcome to join the Side of the Tide Morris Dancers. Rehearsals happen on the second Thursdays at the Bay Area Senior Center. See their Facebook page for more information.
A new and exciting arm of the South Coast Folk Society is the South Coast Dance Orchestra. The orchestra is a collection of musicians from Coos Bay/North Bend, Bandon, Coquille, Langlois, and Port Orford and includes fiddles, guitars, flutes, drums, an accordion, a concertina, mandolin, bouzouki, viola, piano, and even a cello. Modeled after the Portland Megaband, the band is directed by The Portland Collection creators Sue Songer and Betsy Branch and is rehearsing through the winter and spring of 2017. Their efforts will culminate in a contra dance on June 10 in the Millicoma Intermediate School Gym at 7:00 and a benefit concert at the Egyptian Theater at 2:00 on June 11.
For more information about the South Coast Folk Society and its many exciting activities and opportunities, contact Gail Eber at GailElber@gmail.com.