Family Dances with Mixed Age Dance (MAD) band

Family Dance

with Mixed Age Dance (MAD) Band

sponsored by Princeton Country Dancers

We have dates for the 2015-16 season; music will be posted soon.  Stay tuned!

Here is the 2015-16  Family Dance flyer

MAD Band Tunes for 2015-2016: tunes

Join in the fun of an old-fashioned barn dance for all ages with live music and professional calling. All dances are taught; no experience or partners are necessary. Great fun for the whole family, from toddlers to grandparents! Musicians of all ages and abilities are welcome to play in the Mixed Aged Dance (MAD) band with a rehearsal immediately prior to the dance (details below). Admission for Dancers and Mad Band Musicians is $5 per person, or $15 per family.

Here are the dates and callers for this coming season's family dances.

  • Sat Jan 16, 2016, caller John Krumm from Philadelphia with the MAD Band led by Janet Mills.     NOTE THAT THIS IS A SATURDAY DANCE. Band Rehearsal Time: 2:15pm. Dancing: 3:00-5:00pm.  Contact janetmills<at>verizon<dot>net for musicians’ info.
  • Sun February 21, 2016, callers Richard Fischer and Desiree Melegrito Halcomb with the MAD Band led by Amy Zakar. Band Rehearsal Time: 3:15pm. Dancing: 4:00-6:00 pm (note time change). Contact amyzfidl<at>gmail<dot>com for musicians’ info.
  • Sun March 20, 2016, caller Sue Dupré with the MAD Band led by Janet Mills.    Rehearsal Time: 2:15pm. Dancing: 3:00-5:00 pm.  Contact janetmills<at>verizon<dot>net for musicians’ info.


Tunes for the 2015-16 season can be downloaded by clicking here.

Note regarding "Extra Tunes": For February 21, the only Extra Tunes to be used are Alabama Gal, Zemer Atik, and La Bastringue. For March 20, the only Extra Tune used will be Black Nag. Even if you have printed them, please ignore the following "Extra Tunes" which will not be used this year and have been deleted: Sweets of May, Black Joke, Jimmy Allen.

The band leader will lead a rehearsal for those wishing to play in the band. Both rehearsal and the dance are in the Suzanne Patterson Center (on Monument Drive behind the police station, at the corner of Rt. 206 and Nassau St., Princeton, NJ 08540). For this dance, the tune list directly below will be used.

About the Mixed Age Dance (MAD) band

The band plays easy-to-learn tunes for the Family Dance. Participants range in age from grammar school to senior citizens. Anyone of any age, on any instrument, is welcome to join in. It’s a great way to learn a new instrument or learn to play with a live band.

You don’t need to go to lots of rehearsals; just show up early on the day of the dance for a practice! But you do need to know some of the music. Learn only as many as you are comfortable with. Some people like to play just a few tunes and dance the rest of the time. The whole point is to have fun. And you don't need to know every tune to play in the band!



  • Musicians must print out and bring their own music for tunes that they wish to play.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult during both the practice and the dance.
  • Please bring your own music stand. It is a good idea to write your name on the stand--address labels are helpful for this.


The music is divided into approximately three levels of difficulty. You may play one or all pieces or levels, or any number of notes in a given piece. The half measure will be ~ metronome marking 108. Bandleader Louise McClure recommends learning at least one or two of the “easy” pieces first.  The point is to have fun and not stress out.

Some tips for faking: play the first note of each measure, or of each group of three (In 6/8 time) or four (in 2/4 and 4/4 times) notes. If you can follow the printed notes with your eyes, even if you can’t play them yet, you’re halfway there. Some people learn best just by listening to the tune several times through before starting to “fiddle” with it, or even by watching someone else’s fingers.