American Morris Newsletter  

American Morris Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 2
August, 2006

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 AMN Article  

Invitation to the Midwest Morris Ale

Judy C. Stein


Ahoy, morris dancers of the universe: your team is invited to the Midwest Morris Ale, to be held in St Louis, Missouri, May 25-28, 2007! Proudly hosted by the Capering Roisters and the St Louis River Rats, we will be using scenic Camp Wyman as our base of operations.

We are working on making this a stupendous Ale. Many of the classic events of every Midwest Morris Ale will be in place:

Friday teaching of mass dances.
Saturday contradance/ singaround/ pickup dances.
Touring and mass dancing in beautiful, historic venues, always close to excellent pubs.
Silent auction.
Sunday skit night/talent show/event of some sort....

...and more! Some of the things we are also working on include:

Some sort of a nod to Cecil Sharp's 1916 visit to St Louis, during which he taught morris dances to high school boys and choreographed a production of "As You Like It", which was performed outdoors in Forest Park. We've decided not to do the play, but are researching just what dances were done, and where-- look for one or two of these to show up in the list of mass dances, and a few of the songs he brought to appear in the....

Commemorative songbook! We all like to sing on the bus, and in the dining halls.... And occasionally in the restrooms.... Singing is a fine old custom and should be encouraged. Even if you're one of those people (and some of us are actually helping with this book, so we understand) who believes that singing is best done without props, we hope you'll want this book as a reference.

This songbook we have envisioned will include as many favorites as we can collect; words to songs muttered at the beginning of certain dances, classic songs with lots of harmony and choruses for people to join in, American songs, sea chanteys, parodies, melody lines where possible, and REQUESTS (this means you. If you have half a song in your head that you'd like for us to find the rest of, tell us. Likewise, if you have songs you or your team sing all the time that you'd like to share, SEND THEM! You can send suggestions, requests and/or musical contributions to Judy, j_c_stein at

We'd like to gather as many styles and variants of Morris and Morris-related dance as possible: rapper, longsword, molly dancers, Border, good old Cotswold, cloggers; men's teams, women's teams, mixed teams, kids' teams! If you know of a team that might have escaped notice when we built our mailing list, let them know.

One word of heads-up, here: because of rising costs of gasoline and therefore EVERYTHING, this may prove to be a rather expensive Ale. We are finding that bus companies don't even want to give us quotes for springtime tours yet. We are exploring all sorts of fundraising possibilities, with a view to keeping costs per person under $200, and looking for ways to reduce prices for kids. We'll do our best here, but it might be a good idea for teams and individuals to start now, saving up for this one.

Please let us know if you plan to attend, or, at this point, if you hope to plan to attend. We will keep you updated, as plans solidify regarding fees, housing, meals, schedules, mass dances and music.


 AMN, Vol. 26, No.2, August, 2006  ISSN: 1074-2689