Captain Fiddle Music

Ryan and Brennish


Ted Kennedy Jr. wedding, on

Block Island

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Calling a dance for the Ted Kennedy Jr. Wedding

by Ryan Thomson

The Kennedy family had decided that an old fashioned square dance would be fun. I was

contacted, and after numerous long distance phone calls to Washington DC, the details

were set. There was only one complication. My agency had meant to send the senator the

tape of my country dance band but had mistakenly sent a tape of my sea shanty and

traditional music of New England group. The music was totally different on the two tapes.

After finally sending the proper tape, the agency informed me that the Kennedys liked

both recordings!

I brought a six piece contra/square dance band to the Kennedy's beach front house on

Block Island. We ended up dressing in western attire for the job, but started out the

evening singing acappella sea shantys in our cowboy hats. It seemed a bit incongruous at

the time, but everyone was happy, so I was happy.

I've called a lot of dances for private parties, but I found that the Kennedy's were unusually

enthusiastic dancers. There were several couples practicing steps on the dance floor even

before the band was ready to play. I called dance after dance for 4 hours with only one

short break in the middle while everyone stopped to admire a fireworks display. At the end

of our scheduled performance time there were numerous requests for more dancing, and

we obliged with another 35 minutes of circle dances and longways sets. Needless to say,

the rest of the band and I ended up exhausted, but we congratulated ourselves for a job

well done as we rode the ferry back to mainland Rhode Island the next day.

Written by Ryan Thomson, 1996