September 18th, 2006


Fall Dance Camp

This past weekend was another great LCFD gender role free dance camp. It was the 19th one I've gone to, rsc missed one in 1999 because he had flu-like symptoms (as the baseball announcers say).The weather was a bit rainy on Friday but just fine on Saturday and Sunday - although it was a bit humid (but not too hot) that added to the production of sweat. It's mostly contra dancing, and there also is some English Country Dancing and this time some Israeli Folk dancing. Plus lots of socializing, eating, doing nothing, and the variety show. We don't call it the talent show because.....

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Click for short movie of English Country Dancing
Click for short movie of Contra Dancing

I'm the treasurer which creates a bunch of tasks before and after camp. I've just balanced the books and it looks like we netted $890 on a total of about $16,000. I do the budgeting and try to plan for breaking even on a likely low head count so that we have not much risk of losing money. Break even was 80 people and we had 85 this time. Part of the uncertainty is due to the mix of people on work exchange and at full fee. We set the rates so that work exchange people pay approximately the cost we pay the hosting site. The full people have to account for the staff fees, the publicity expenses, and the room and board for the staff (musicians and camp committee).

Fall Dance Camp - the Sound System

At dance camp we have a 3-4 piece contra dance band and we bring our own sound system. The person who normally does sound (Shirley) couldn't come, and Chris wasn't there. We attempted to find a low cost replacement, found a person, but she became ill and couldn't come, so it was me this time. I've done it for some of the local contra dances, so I'm not a complete novice and am gaining experience.

It worked out fine with lots of work on Friday night to get things stabilized, Tom subbed for me some of the time, the band tweaked stuff occasionally, and we were mostly on autopilot so I didn't have to miss much dancing. rsc helped setup and take down and since we were the sound system schleppers we have moved the stuff quite a few times since we don't want to leave it in the car and we aren't near the JP church where is normally stored.

We have an 10 channel mixing board (EV Entertainer), 2 main speakers, 2 monitor speakers, a huge box of cables and mikes, a variable speed CD player and a combination variable speed CD and tape player (which I had to lug back and forth between the dining hall and the dance hall several times).

We use 1 channel for the caller mike,1 each for the piano, guitar (played by the pianist), fiddle, mike for the mandolin, pickup box for the mandolin, etc. player, his feet. There are two special channels for the CD player. We had a spare channel that we didn't need.

Each of the first 8 channels has a gain control, high/med/low frequency adjusters, and an output volume slider. There is a control for how much of the signal from each channel goes to the Monitors so that the musicians can hear each other. In addition you can split each channel into one of two separate volume controls before they get the speakers. As a result, in addition to each channel having several ways to control the volume, we split so the caller is controlled by one volume control and all the music by another. There is a third volume control for the monitors. There is also a set of sliders to control boost at various frequency ranges sent to the speakers (1 each for main and monitors). Thus there are a huge amount of things that can be adjusted.

There is also means to divert the signal from each channel to another output which can then be re-input into the system after being processed by an external processor. At the JP church we use this to feed the caller into another amplifier to feed a remote speaker that is at the bottom of the hall to make the caller easier to hear.

This entertainer is Tom Toomey performing as Eartha Kitt in the Variety Show.