CDW is proud to offer live music for its dances, both enjoying periodic guest bands and fortunate to have its own ‘resident’ house band, Serendipity!

Serendipity (House Band) –  Leah Barkan, pianist; Stewart Dean, concertinas;  Mark Eisenberg, recorders;  Sue Polansky, clarinets;  Donn Williams, mandolin

Leah-at-piano     Leah Barkan playing for her own birthday party

Stewart-Dean     Stewart Dean  “I’ve been rubbing shoulders with music all my life and picked up the English concertina and music in earnest around 1990.  A year or so thereafter, I was introduced to Marshall Barron’s arrangements of ECD music; it was utter love.  Thanks to much patience and direction from Leah Barkan (who has helped and influenced so many) and the opportunity to play at Westchester since 2000, I now see myself as a passable journeyman ECD musician and revel in the opportunities to play as part of Serendipity – music that constantly changes and often is new, playing multiple times a month with the wonderful synergies of this kind and talented band.  More information about me and about ECD can be found here.


 MarkLEisenberg-head-shot   Mark Eisenberg began playing for English Country in Marshall Barron’s Friday night Dance Band in 1981 and still sits in with them from time to time. Besides being a member of CDW’s Serendipity, he’s also played for Dances, Balls and Workshops throughout New England and New York State. Mark is also a founding member of The Richmond Consort, an Early Music Recorder Quartet which has performed in varied venues, from soirees in private homes to concertizing at the Fuentidueña Chapel in the Metropolitan Museum’s Cloisters in New York City.

Sue-Polansky-musician-pic  Sue Polansky has been a music therapist at the Hallen School for over thirty years.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Applied Music.  She also has a Masters Degree in Applied Performance on Clarinet.  Sue has played in many churches, nursing homes and off broadway musicals.  She was a member of the Danbury Symphony Orchestra for 4 years.  She has played with several English folk bands – Garden Variety and Hudson Crossing.  She is currently performing with the Serendipity, 3 Muses, Tidily Pom, and Lady Jane’s Delight.  

donn_williams-smaller  Donn Williams began playing guitar for English Country dancing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as a founding member of the band T & Spice. This band played for the 10 years of the 1990’s throughout eastern PA, playing for both contra and English dances, at weddings and for an annual Ball at the state capital. He started playing mandolin in 2006 and enjoys playing a melody instrument with Serendipity.

Guest Bands:

Bare Necessities – Peter Barnes (flute, whistles); Earl Gaddis & Mary Lea (violin, viola); Jacqueline-Schwab (piano)

Flying Romanos – Norma Castle (flute); Marnen Laibow-Koser (violin, viola); Robin Russell (piano)

A Joyful Noise – Daniel Beerbohm (clarinet, flute, sax); Barbara Greenberg (violin, viola); Kathy Talvitie (piano)

Lady Jane’s Delight – Julia Hartman (violin, viola); Jean K Monroe (piano); Sue Polansky (clarinets)

Thanksgiving Band – Robin Russell (piano); Sue Polansky (clarinets); Julia Hartman (violin, viola); John Austin (bass)

Would-be ECD Musicians –  Persons interested in sitting in with the House Band at Thursday dances are invited to speak with the band leader, Leah Barkan.  Leah is eager to give you an opportunity to learn to play for English Country Dance.  That can mean sitting in occasionally to try your hand or undertaking a more serious commitment.  You may contact Leah by email using the “Contact Us” page on this blog, or speak to her at one of our dances about playing.

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