CANCELLED – Play Party Games with Deborah Payne and Sam Gleaves

CANCELLED – Saturday, July 9, 4:00 PM Workshop & 7:00 PM Live Concert

Most folks are familiar with children’s games like “London Bridge” and “Ring Around the Rosy,” which are common play-party games. This hands-on workshop will engage everyone in learning play-party games from Appalachia and the Georgia Sea Islands.  

These games have served as entertainment, a means of connection, and educational tools for many generations. Typically the players sing to create musical accompaniment. Often the song lyrics guide the players to the next motions and some games use common figures from square dancing.  Though they originated as children’s games, the games can be adapted and made useful for dancers of any age, ability, or experience level.  In Appalachia, these traditional games have been taught in many schools, including Berea College and Hindman Settlement School.  Many mountain play-party games were documented and shared by the Ritchie Family, Jean Ritchie’s bunch from Perry County, Kentucky.  Check out this video of Jean Ritchie describing the importance of play-party games in her community.

Anyone age 7 and up is welcome to participate. Participants should be prepared to join in singing and dancing in a welcoming, supportive environment.  Beginners and experienced dancers are welcome.  No previous experience is required.   


Rockville Studio
1057 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

DEBORAH PAYNE & SAM GLEAVES – Learn about Deborah Payne and Sam Gleaves!

A shared love of Appalachian music brought Deborah and Sam together. Deborah was born and raised in Berea, Kentucky, a small town at the foothills of the Cumberland mountains. Sam grew up in Wytheville, Virginia, a small town at the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Deborah and Sam were immersed in traditional music and dance communities and began playing music early in life.  Their friendship formed around their shared experiences as Berea College students.

Deborah’s knowledge of folk dances and games draws from Appalachian, English, and Danish traditions.  Beginning as a youngster with the Berea Festival Dancers (an international touring dance troupe), Deborah has played for the Berea College Country Dancers and she is a regular staff musician at Berea’s Christmas Country Dance School. She has taught folk dance in many different settings, performed throughout the U.S., and traveled abroad to share Appalachian traditions in Denmark and China.  

Sam grew up playing square dances every week in the summertime, and as a student, he  played with the Berea College Country Dance Band. Sam spent two years in Hindman, Kentucky teaching traditional music and dance in local schools, sponsored by Hindman Settlement School.  Randy Wilson, a venerated traditional artist, taught Sam many play-party games that he had collected in his 30+ year career of teaching through the Hindman Settlement.  Randy learned these games from local teachers, Jean Ritchie and the Ritchie family, Bessie Jones, and various books and archival sources. 

Deborah and Sam play and sing fiddle-and-banjo tunes, ballads, hymns, and original songs, delighting in close harmony. Since they began performing together in 2013, Deborah and Sam have shared the stage with legendary artists, including the McLain Family Band, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Si Kahn, John McCutcheon, the Reel World String Band, and more.  In 2016, Deborah and Sam collaborated with writer Silas House as part of the folk opera IN THESE FIELDS, commissioned by the Southern Foodways Alliance. Deborah’s self-titled album, produced by Michael Cleveland, shines with brilliant original fiddle compositions and her subtle, tasteful interpretations of old tunes.  Sam’s debut recording of original songs, AIN’T WE BROTHERS, was produced by Cathy Fink and featured by NPR Music and the Guardian. WELCOME AS THE FLOWERS IN MAY is the first duo recording by Deborah and Sam.  For more info, please visit www.SamGleaves.com.

Workshop Only $30
Concert Only $20
Combo Ticket $40

Photo features students at Hindman Settlement School enjoying a play-party game.  Photographer George Pickow, Jean Ritchie’s husband, documented life in eastern Kentucky in the 1950s and ‘60s.

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