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Interview with Vonnie Estes

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Interview with Vonnie Estes



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Skidmore-Saratoga Memory Project


DS113A: Storytelling Interviewing, Skidmore College


Interview with Vonnie Estes, musician, dancer, and volunteer at The Flurry Festival, a three-day music and dance festival in Saratoga Springs, NY. Estes speaks about growing up, her evolution as a piano player, the history of The Flurry Festival, and her influence over many folk music events around the Northeast.




Clara-Sophia Daly


Saratoga Springs -- Flurry Festival -- History


Original recording wav file, 16 bit 44.1 khz


00:0:26 Header

00:0 20 Explanation of The Flurry Festival and types of music there.

00:1:30 Vonnie Estes. Born in Syracuse New York October 12 1953. Grew up in Fabias New York. Played Piano as a child and took private lessons in school.

00:5:22 Volunteered at Boston Spa Historical Society. Attended first contra dance in 1978.

00:10:17 Attended first Flurry Festival Dance in Gymnasium.

00:14:36 People come back to The Flurry Festival year after year for the community. Many relationships are formed from the music and dance community.

00:18:20 Describes why it is so fun to play for dancers as opposed to jamming with other musicians in a house concert setting.

00:20:40 Young Skidmore students attend jam sessions with other local musicians.

00:23:20 Describes music sessions as “welcoming” and inclusive.

00:25:40 Explains other music groups in NY area that Vonnie Estes and husband are members of.

00:29:10 Defines what a hammer dulcimer is

00:32:26 Prefers upright piano to a keyboard. Likes the acoustic sound and tonality of a real piano.

00:35:15 Describes her job at General Electric working with digital equipment and using a genographics machine to digitize images.

00:36:16 Describes the lack of communication today in comparison with when she was young.

00:38:50 Meets volunteers at The Flurry who are also community minded.

00:41:32 Explains a typical day at The Flurry and what she does. Goes from venue to venue around Saratoga to hear music, play music, dance and volunteer.

00:42:21 Added three extra hours to schedule for The Flurry Festival in 2016.

00:42:46 Describes husbands responsibilities in relation the The Flurry.

00:45:40 Calls her husband “tall, dark and handsome” and “a good dancer”.

00:46:36 Losing Saratoga Music Hall as a venue. Talks about new venue possibilities for The Flurry.

00:49:05 Describes contra dancing as easy. You only have to know “your right from your left hand and walk up and down”

00:49:38 Explains what a “figure” is in terms of square dancing.

00:50:04 Talks about how contra dances used to be segregated by gender, but now are not. Used to be called “proper” dances, now they are “improper” - meaning that it is mixed woman and men and not separate. Notable change in contra dance.

00:51:29 When asked about politics in this country as a whole: “We’re in trouble coming up” “I didn’t vote for him”

00:52:13 Invites all Skidmore students and dancers to The Flurry and to other local dances in the area.

00:52:56 Thank you from Interviewer to Interviewee.

Date Created


Oral History Item Type Metadata


Clara-Sophia Daly


Vonnie Estes


Lucy Scribner Library, Room 127, Skidmore College - Saratoga Springs NY

Original Format

Digital audio recording


53 minutes

Record Creation Date




Clara-Sophia Daly, “Interview with Vonnie Estes ,” Skidmore Saratoga Memory Project, accessed January 28, 2023,

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