Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2018

performersscheduleregistrationpumpkin carving contestother details

Calling by:
Dela Murphy
Casey Carr
Squash Family and Cousins

Music by:

Sister Haggis
and more!

Dela Murphy (rhymes with Petronella)

Our featured caller, Dela Murphy is an infectious and fun-loving dance leader from Portland, Maine, where she promotes contradance and other arts-related community building of many kinds. Dela is all about connecting people with one another in ways that are active and participatory. She calls new and old dances, but they always have new life. Please join us in welcoming Dela to upstate New York… where dancers have not yet had nearly enough opportunity to get to know her!

Two Featured Bands: Tempest and Sister Haggis!


Special guest: Larry Unger

For nearly a decade Tempest has blended traditional fiddle tunes with inventive, progressive grooves and harmonies that draw from jazz, world music, and pop/R&B. As a dance band, their goal is to see how many ways they can inspire dancers to move in an evening of contra dancing: from slinky blues to hot swing to straight-ahead, Irish-inspired jigs and reels. They celebrate the diversity of modern contra dance music by digging into its many roots and returning with music that’s fresh, exciting, and danceable.

The core of the band is Chuck Abell (guitar), Tim Ball (fiddle), and Eric Metzgar (drums). At the PMFF, we will get the big band sound as they are joined by special guest Larry Unger (bass), as well as Rowan Wolf (sax) and Brendan Lanighan (trombone).

Sister Haggis

Sister Haggis is a Western NY mainstay. Eileen Kalfass and Jane Knoeck are beloved in the Syracuse community, but also well known traveling musicians who play all over the country. Eileen is the daughter of Syracuse Country Dancers’ president: Bob Nicholson, and grew up with this kind of music. Now she plays nationally with the bands Seaglass and Continental Drift. Jane is a founding member of The Groovemongers, and Montage, as well as a number of other great combinations, including Riverbend and New Brew. Together, Eileen and Jane play clear and expressive music that will delight you — both for contra and English dancing.

And More Fabulous Calling and Music:

Casey Carr

Casey Carr is an Ithaca-based caller who has led contras, squares and community dances for many years. Casey organizes a hot dance series for Cornell. Her calling style is warm and welcoming, and her repertoire of dances is bound to get you smiling.

Carmen Giunta

Carmen Giunta, who will be leading a set of English dances on Saturday morning, is known for his meticulous teaching of International and English dancing, his rich repertoire of dances, and his fancy footwork.

laurel smile

Laurel Shar

Laurel Sharp plays winds for English country dancing and contras in our region. Her sense of harmony adds depth to the music. Laurel joins Sister Haggis for the English country dance.

Laurel is also a mainstay of the All-Comers Band which anchors our monthly Family Dance.

Kailyn Wright

Kailyn Wright will energetically lead this year’s Root Beer Pub Sing. Bring your favorite chorus song!

We are delighted to announce that the Squash Family Callers will put in an appearance (as they have occasionally in past years) at the PMFF. We are always happy when we are able to coax this reclusive, motley, and talented collection of cousins out of the backwoods to call for us. This year, expect two or three new cousins!

3 original members of the Squash Family

And, as she has for many years, the amazing and flexible Rita Anderson will lead a session of yoga  — just perfect for keeping us all in good shape for more dancing!

PMFF Schedule

Friday Dance Hall
6:30 – 8:00 Potluck
8:00 – 11:00 Friday Night Dance Party with Dela, Tempest, and guests
Saturday Dance Hall Participatory Workshops
10:00 – 11:25 English Country Dancing with Carmen calling, and Eileen, Jane, and Laurel providing delicious music.
11:35 – 1:00 Beyond Hands Four with Squash Family callers and a magical melange of musicians. And, of course, we will include at least one dance in Tempest formation! Morning Yoga: Rita will help get the kinks out.
1:00 – 2:25 Lunch Break
2:25 – 3:50 Creative Contras and More with Casey and Tempest: unusual dances that are bound to pique your interest. Our Famous Root Beer Pub Sing: An a cappella song swap led by Kailyn. Bring your chorus songs!
4:05 – 5:30 Being a Generous Partner with Dela and Sister Haggis: Dance safety and fun, experiential opportunities to tune into your body, your partner, and the room “How To Jam” Session with Tempest: How to listen and play with others in a musical way (come for new ideas, and then join the All Comers Band)
5:30 – 7:30 Dinner Break (sample one of many nearby eateries)
6:30 – 7:30 BONUS: Check out our Family Dance with Sadie Squash, Laurel and the amazing All Comers Band
7:30 – 8:00 Couple dancing with Sister Haggis
8:00 – 11:30 Saturday Night Dance Party with Dela and…
Sister Haggis (8:00-9:30)
Tempest (10:00-11:30)

How to Register

Click here to register. Do it now and save money. If you are not that interested in saving money, you can do it now anyway, and donate the difference to us to help others afford the weekend (be a star!).

Pumpkin Carving Contest

Yes, we have a pumpkin carving contest. Because. Just Because.

You Can Help — Volunteer!

Contact Patty at any time to volunteer for our dance organization, including if you’d like to help out at the Phylla Mae weekend. Volunteers may help with decorations, floor sweeping, kitchen duties, tear-down, etc. We also encourage you to bring something to our Friday potluck at 6:30 PM before the first dance of the weekend. Thanks for lending a hand!

Getting to Phylla Mae Fall Fest

Our venue is the United Church of Fayetteville which is also where most of our regular dances are held. It is located at 310 East Genesee Street in Fayetteville, NY. From either the NYS Thruway or I-81, get onto I-481. Take 481 to exit 3E. This puts you on E. Genesee St. (Rte. 5), heading east. The church is about 3 miles from that exit. You should stay to the left at the fork at Lyndon Corners to follow Rte 5. The church will be on your right in the village of Fayetteville.

Local Accommodations

Register a.s.a.p. and let us know if you are interested in the possibility of staying in a local dancer’s home. Information on other local accommodations is available from

Check Out Previous Years of the PMFF

Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2017
Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2016
Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2015
Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2014

Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2013
Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2012
Phylla Mae Fall Fest 2011

About “Phylla Mae”

Phylla Mae was the “nom de dance” of Phyllis Antos — the name she always put on buttons or nametags at the many dance events she attended. Phyllis was one of the organizers who got our fall dance weekend off the ground in its first two years. After she was killed in a head-on collision on her way home from a clogging team rehearsal, our Board voted unanimously to name the weekend after her, since she loved it so much and worked so hard on it. Phyllis’s favorite contra dance was Delphiniums and Daisies by Tanya Rotenberg, and we often find a way to include it in the weekend.