Lost & Found
Second Saturday Contra Jam Sessions
Contra jam sessions are 5:30-7:30 pm second Saturdays September through July at the American Legion Post, 275 Main Street, Old Wethersfield, CT [map], just before the second Saturday contra dance.
Note: There is no jam before any contra at West Hartford Town Hall, nor before the August jammer dance.
Jam admission is free for jammers who stay for (and pay to attend) the contra dance; otherwise, we appreciate contributions toward the hall rental (suggested donation: $5).
The HCD contra jam sessions provide a great
opportunity for new and experienced musicians to learn, play, and enjoy the
contra dance repertoire. We play a mixture of standard contra tunes - mainly
reels, jigs, and waltzes. Players of all instruments are welcome (keyboard
players should bring their own instruments). The jam is most appropriate for
"intermediate" skill levels; we don't play slowly, but we're not at full dance
speed either. We use an "around the circle" system to ensure that everyone has
a chance to pick tunes. We'll play anything a jammer wants to play -
except "The Irish Washerwoman" and "The Devil's Dream," which are forbidden. We
honor the tempo of whoever selects the tune, even if others could play
Participants can use sheet
music or play by ear.
Our basic references are:
The books are available from many places, including from their authors, from CDSS, and from the Button Box.
Click here for a rather outdated playlist.
Click here to enter the Contra Jammers' private area (userid and password required).
The contra jammers provide
the music for two contras each year - the August contra in Wethersfield, and
the last contra before Christmas in Branford. The jammers have also
stepped in to provide music for other dances where a band has failed to show or
has at the last moment cancelled.
Here are some cell phone
videos Peter Ohring took of the December 2011 Jammer Dance in
Rules For Ensemble Playing
-- J.W. Swing, with some alterations
For more information, please contact Rob at (860) 232 2504 or by email.