Island Folk Dance and Song Society
Jamestown, Rhode Island
Who We Are
The Island Folk Dance and Song Society (IFDSS) was founded in 1998 by Christine
Ariel and her husband, B.J. Whitehouse who are active singers and dancers.
IFDSS is a tax-exempt corporation and is a group affiliate of the Country
Dance and Song Society and the Folk Arts Center of New England.
B.J. has been the musical director of the Jamestown Community Chorus
since 1989. In the summers, he leads the Men's Chorus of Jamestown
under the aegis of the IFDSS. The Men's Chorus is open to men and boys
and meets throughout the summer. The fellows have performed in benefit
concerts on the island each year. They are proud to have sung the National
Anthem prior to a Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA affiliate) every summer since
1998. B.J. holds a Bachelor of Music from Bowling Green State University
in Ohio and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Music from Rhode Island College.
He is an active member of the American Orff Schulwerk Association and Music
Educators National Conference. He has appeared as a clinician for the AOSA,
local schools and at the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA.) He currently
teaches music in grades K-8 in the Little Compton, RI public school. His
most recent musical comedy "A Modern Melodrama, or: The Perils of Prudence
Meriwether" was recently performed in Little Compton, RI.
While Chris was exposed to Polish and Russian dances as a child, Chris
started international folk dancing in earnest while attending Duquesne
University (home of the Tamburitzans). Since then, she has kept dancing
socially as often as possible and began calling contra dances in Rhode
Island in 1973. She is one of the cadre of dance leaders for the
Kingston English Country Dance. She has attended numerous camps and workshops
led by leaders in the folk dance and music field who specialize in Balkan,
Central American, European & British Isle traditions. Chris has
worked with the Folk Arts Center of New England in Boston for the past
several years so that she might bring the beauty and energy of world music
and dance to others. Chris also has an average alto voice and usually
joins the community chorus led by BJ.
We would like to encourage and develop awareness of the folk music scene
in our region through classes, workshops, singing and dancing opportunities,
concerts and guest performances. Consider joining us by becoming a member