Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dianne Britton

Dianne was born into a family of ear-trained musicians in the Pine Barrens of NJ.  Her father ("Uncle Bill" Britton) and grandfather played fiddle and other stringed instruments.   Childhood memories include listening and playing in various family kitchens and in the Alberts' hunting cabin in the woods on Saturday nights. Dianne primarily plays fiddle and hammered dulcimer,  and dabbles in some other instruments, including guitar and piano.

Dianne learned to play by ear from her dad, but she also has some formal training in classical violin. After getting additional training as a Suzuki violin teacher, she maintained a small violin studio for several years, teaching violin and fiddle to children and adults.

Her first experience with a band, other than family, came during her college years, when she was a member of the Unreliable String Band (see the photo on the right) in Rochester, NY.  Later, in the early '80s, a friend invited Dianne to join the Rum & Onions* contra dance band, and she has been playing for contra dances ever since, first in NJ with the Princeton PickUp Band, and since 1992 in SC with Holly Ridge (Fred, Dianne, Woody, Amanda Burts, David Knight) and Cabin Fever.

While Irish reels and jigs have been a staple component of the contra dance repertoire, it was only recently that Dianne began to dive whole-heartedly into the Irish repertoire, finding the subtlety and complexity of the tunes to be especially satisfying. 
Dianne's day job is with IT Web and Database Services at Columbia International University.

* "Rum & Onions" is a yearly event of the Princeton Country Dancers,  for which a band reforms every year.  The year Dianne first played with it, the band had 33 members!

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