On behalf of Laurie and Nina I’d like to thank everyone who came out for the Big Big Benefit this weekend. It was great to so many people out along with so many different groups working together to help one of their own. In particular I’d like to thank the following people: At the top of the list is the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture for all their support. People who work for the park were some of the first to come to Laurie’s side when she was first admitted into the hospital, and they were super helpful all weekend. Donna Barker especially worked very hard to facilitate everything and even poured in a lot of time to put together the the puppetry performance CD’s.
The Tom Cunningham Orchestra for volunteering to play for free for a benefit before anyone else got the idea. More than anyone else, Tom and his band have had a huge impact on the DC lindy scene, playing dance music for dancers for almost 35 years. It was especially good to see Tom in good spirits after his own surgery.
Blue Sky 5 led by Craig Gildner performed with TCO so we danced to continuous live music all night on Friday. Craig is a staple in our scene, and is the only musician to have played every DCLX.
My compatriots at The Jam Cellar who helped out wherever they could for the main benefit dance on Friday. In particular, Al Mattei coordinated all the volunteers for all the dances and workshops and Andy Reid got the website up and running and designed the fliers, posters, and pins from an undisclosed location.
Quite a few of them also provided the entertainment for the evening
In order of appearance
- Bobby White
- Kate Hedin & Bobby White
- The Cherry Blossons: Kate Hedin, Crista Seipp, Meg Taylor
- Crista Seipp & Lee Tucker http://leetucker.net/
- The Jam Cellar’s performance team: The 15th St. Stompers
Kate and Bobby also taught all three dance workshops on Saturday. In addition to their own classes, they filled in at the last minute for Nina who got very sick on Friday night.
Ellen Engle & MArc Shepanek of Flying Feet Enterprises were already hosting a Saturday night dance, but graciously contributed a portion of the proceeds to the cause. They were also super accommodating with all the other activities we piled onto their dance.
The Boilermaker Jazz Band not only played on Saturday, but contributed a musicality workshop. They’re a highly entertaining and knowledgeable group of guys, including Jennie Luv, and I probably would pay money just to hear them talk about anything.
Our scene has so many parts and we’re thankful to Gottaswing (who also contributed proceeds from their own Friday night dance) and the Washington Swing Dance Committee for spreading the word. We even got help from far off Baltimore from the kind folks at Charm City Swing.
Finally, I’d like to thank Gretta Thorn who did most of the work wrangling this group, including me, to get this benefit done. Like Laurie, Gretta is a person you don’t hear about too often, but has been an integral part of Lindy Hop in DC performing, competing, teaching, and promoting this dance for 10 years. She doesn’t get much credit because she doesn’t do it for that, and is often overlooked by her more well known friends. However, Jam Cellar, this benefit and Lindy Hop in DC in general would be a lot different without her. I know lots of people who have a passion for the dance itself, but Gretta is one of those few who has contributed a lot of time and effort to help other people realize their passion.
If you’re still interested in helping out Laurie please visit the Big Big Benefit website at
Also note that The Puppet Co will be doing their own benefit for Laurie this weekend on July 16th. Check out their website for ticket information at http://www.thepuppetco.org/