Scandinavian-American Old-Time Dance Music Ensemble


The Nordic Folklife project at UW–Madison is proud to announce that traditional fiddler and Musician-in-Residence, Beth Hoven Rotto from the band Foot-Notes, will be forming a Scandinavian-American Old-Time Dance Music ensemble. The ensemble will be open to both students and community members and will be held approximately once per week.

To help you get a sense for what to expect, Beth describes her plans for the ensemble here:

Musicians will be encouraged to learn by ear, although sheet music will also be provided. We will focus on tunes played by early fiddlers of the Upper Midwest, including waltzes, polkas, and schottisches. I hope we can have a big (barn) dance by the end of the semester. I can’t quantify the difficulty of the music, but perhaps it is ‘intermediate.’ If you are a beginner who has the basics, come and give it a try. If you are more advanced, you can help work out harmonies. I’m most comfortable guiding fiddles and mandolin players and will provide chords for instruments like guitar and bass, who we also really need. There are so many great tunes waiting for you. I hope you’ll join me!


If you are interested in joining this ensemble, please fill out this registration form:

Who’s ready for the weekend?!?! (Two thumbs pointing at the person behind this Google Form catastrophe.)


The ensemble will not be meeting in-person until it is safe to do so, but in the meantime, resources will be made available over Google Drive and we will plan to meet virtually over Zoom to introduce ourselves to one another, beginning at 2pm on Sunday, February 6, 2022. Once you are registered using the link above, we will contact you with a Zoom link and additional information. We anticipate the ensemble will begin meeting in person sometime in February.

If you’re not sure about whether you’d like to join and/or have questions about the ensemble or your instrument, please email us at:

PLEASE NOTE: The ensemble has the following COVID-19 plan (subject to change, of course, depending on the public health situation):

  • Masks must be worn indoors in all buildings, even while playing
  • Individuals are expected to be vaccinated
  • Individuals attending any ensemble-related event in-person must be asymptomatic
  • Social distancing rules may apply


This residency is sponsored by Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, the Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest project, Mills Music Library, the Mead Witter School of Music, as well as German, Nordic, Slavic+.