Susan Kevra, caller and clarinet
Susan Kevra is a dance caller, musician and singer who makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee. She travels across the country and occasionally, around the globe to teach contra, square dances, English country dancing and French dancing. She is an accomplished clarinetist and a member of the recently hatched English Country dance band, Constellation – Susan on clarinet, Rachel Bell on accordion and either Dave Wiesler or Jacqueline Schwab on piano –which made its début at Set for Spring in 2023! Her experience as an English country dance clarinetist gives her a keen appreciation of the link between the music and the dance figures, something she brings to her teaching. It is also key to her ability to create pleasing dance programs, arranged not only for the dance figures but for the musical moods evoked by the tunes. A composer of contra and square dances, Susan represents a new voice in English country dance choreography. Tunes by her bandmates, Rachel Bell and Dave Wiesler, have inspired her to choreograph a dozen English dances and counting, including “Trip to Provence” and “Moonflower,” which are making their way onto dance floors and ball programs in the US and England. She is also a professor of French and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches the class “American Social History through Dance.”
Jacqueline Schwab, piano
From the soundtracks of Ken Burns’ documentaries to the White House to the PBS American Roots special with The American Pops Orchestra, pianist Jacqueline Schwab is known for evoking the American musical past, but in a fresh, personal way. She has performed vintage American music on the solo concert stage in almost every state of the union. She is well known among English country dancers for her groundbreaking playing with the Bare Necessities ensemble. In concert, her up-tempo tunes have a lilting flow from her decades of improvisational playing for many genres of dancing. Her reflective solo pieces resonate with heart and breath.
Audrey (Knuth) Jaber, fiddle
You know Audrey Jaber is performing if the room is buzzing at a higher level. Her fiddling, featured in bands including The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers, Audacious (with Larry Unger), and Wake Up Robin, has electrified dance and concert halls across the US and Europe. Hailing from Honolulu and now living in California, she cut her folk teeth in the Boston area, attending Berklee College of Music and spending years exploring the thriving New England folk scene.
Audrey’s fiddle playing is rhythmically lively and spontaneous; she’s guaranteed to get you up and dancing. She specializes in English dance, New England, Celtic, and Old Time tunes (and did we mention she’s also an audio engineer?!). You might also have taken a workshop with Audrey, as she’s been on staff at various camps, including Pinewoods, Ashokan Northern Week, BACDS American week, New London Assembly and Halsway Manor. For more on Audrey, visit her at audreyknuth.com
Ben Schreiber, fiddle
Ben Schreiber, a fiddler and tune writer rooted in the contra dance scene, brings a diverse musical palette influenced by his Midwest upbringing and years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having started with the Suzuki method at an early age, Ben’s musical journey has been enriched through exploration of folk music. While best known for his contributions to contra dance bands like Uncle Farmer, The Dam Beavers, Offbeats, and Potent Brew, he also performs with the newly-established chamber-folk trio, Long Story Short. Ben’s musical experience also extends to English country dancing, where he is a regular presence at local dances in addition to playing for workshops at various camps and weekends. Beyond music, he enjoys cooking, running, coding, and digital art/design.