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 of IFDSS.