Stringdancer got its start in St. Louis, MO, in 1995, at the last Kimmswick Dance Weekend at the Old Lee Farm. That weekend was legend - you couldn't really tell people about it on Monday, because who would believe you? So we come from excellent roots.
We're a bit geographically challenged, but we keep playing together whenever we can. Every reunion is just a blast for all of us. We particularly enjoyed playing the Stringdancer Memorial Time Slot at Kimmswick, opening on Saturday or Sunday evening, the time no one else wanted, but that turned into the reason that everyone finished their dinner cleanup really fast.
The Stringdancer CD
The Stringdancer CD, long a favorite of afficionados, are now a rare collector's item, so if you have one, take good care of it! Since we still get really happy every time we get together and play, we really should make another - too bad we live so far apart. It doesn't seem to stop us from playing a hot dance together now and again, but we kind of think a new CD would be tough. If you want one, ask Martha or Pam or David. We have a few left to share.
Who is Stringdancer?
Stringdancer is Martha Edwards on fiddle, Pam Carson Stoll on fiddle and David Kirchner on guitar. Pam and Martha combine high energy fiddling with improvised, creative harmonies and David provides the steady, inventive rhythmic support. It's probably Pam and Martha's classical training that makes everyone swoon over the waltzes, but they hide that as best they can to create that folky drive in the contras.
Martha Edwards, Fiddle
Martha comes from a classical background, with degrees in music and everything, and she free-lanced in Boston for 25 years without ever once hearing of contradancing. All that changed, however, in the early 90s, when she moved to St. Louis and started dancing, then met Pam and played for waltzing, and then met David and started playing for contras, and later, English Country Dancing. She now plays exclusively for dancing – contra, Morris, English Country Dancing and nineteenth-century couples dancing.
She's played contra dances with Stringdancer, Reel Women and the Jigelos, Summer Lightening, Chicory, Ginger, Ragged Robin, and Rich and Famous, and been a guest with the Ladies at Play, the Avant Gardners, and fistfuls of pickup bands. She is also a member of the Halcyon Light Orchestra (Waltzing et al), Blackthorn Morris, and lots of English Country Dance Bands, like Tu'Penny Players and Ragged Robin, and the staff of Pinewoods English Week. She has also developed an unfortunate tendency to start dance series - Waltz Parties, Calling Parties, Callers' Choice Dances, Family Dances, and Childgrove English Country Dances.
Pamela Carson Stoll, Fiddle
Pam started playing violin at age 9, and played in community orchestras in the US and France and then professionally with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. In the early 90s, Pam started contra dancing and fell in love with the community and dance. She played with the Original Speckled Band for the English Country Dancers in St Louis and discovered the joys of being a dance musician. Playing waltzes with Martha and David evolved into Stringdancer, which still feels like "home". She also composes dance tunes and has been exploring other instruments including recorder, mandolin and bodhran. In addition to Stringdancer, she plays with Brittany Bay and Pigtown Alley, and organized the quarterly Queen City Consort waltz evenings in Cincinnati. She and her husband Fred, (a wonderful fiddler and bass player) now play in the dances of the Southeastern US.
David Kirchner, Guitar
In college, David told his friends continually that he was going to buy a guitar and learn to play it. Eventually they all chipped in to buy him one just to shut him up. He claims to be completely self-taught at the guitar, which means that he is apparently a really good teacher. He's a highly accomplished caller and dance writer as well. He has been known to call one of his own dances while playing the guitar, but has not yet done this while playing a tune he wrote, the slacker.