Thursday, October 5, 2017
Caroline Oakley was born in Upper New York State, near Buffalo. At age three, her family moved to Charleston, South Carolina. Her parents had three children, giving Caroline an older brother and a younger sister. Recently they celebrated 50 years of marriage! Her mother is English, so her parents spend summers in Europe and the rest of the year in South Carolina. Caroline says she started off shy as a child but became more outgoing as time passed. She played classical violin from the age of six until she was eleven. She then took a ten year break from music. Over the years she loved to dance, but had no formal training, ran track, played basketball, soccer and swam on swim team. Her father was a long distance runner and she ran often with him. To earn money during high school, Caroline worked at a neighbor's jewelry store. After graduation, she headed off to Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. While there, she saw a book on a coffee table with photos of Oregon. She was fascinated. She worked two summers at a Girl Scout camp in Florence, Oregon. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology, she worked for Girl's Inc., a program to empower low-income girls. Four years after graduation, Caroline biked solo from Denver to Portland. She tent camped the entire way and brought a fiddle to play each night. During the two month journey, she stopped to see and visit with friends that she had met at music festivals while in her 20's. A boyfriend from a bluegrass family had inspired her to play the fiddle at age 21. At age 25 she taught herself to play the guitar. When Caroline finished her bike trip in Portland, she got a job at the YWCA for five years. Caroline met Pete in 2000 while playing music. They married in 2002, moved to Portland and had three boys- Simon, Gus and Benjamin. Caroline stayed at home for four years. When Gus was a year old, she started teaching a parent/toddler music program. She did this for ten years. She also has spent a decade teaching as an Artist-in-Residence in tri-county schools. Pete and Caroline moved the family to Corbett in June 2013.They have since separated and are raising the boys together. In 2016, Caroline earned her Master's degree in Elementary Education. She currently teaches music at Corbett Grade/Middle School and CAPS. She is also on the board at Corbett's Columbia Grange and organizes many of the dances held there. Caroline is well-known nationally as a community square dance caller and calls dances locally and at music festivals around the country. She also works for several NW organizations that promote old-time fiddle music and community dancing. Caroline loves music, writing letters and physical activity. She is thankful to raise her boys in Corbett and teach what she is passionate about at the local school!