1995 – Earl & Marion Johnston (CT)

Square Dance Caller & Teacher

Pioneers in bringing modern western square dancing to New England, Earl and Marion Johnston became household names to thousands of dancers.  Such a team of leaders, the unmistakable voice of the skillful choreographer on the one hand, and the ever present business partner and “Girl Friday” on the other. Together they have left their indelible mark on our dancing heritage.

A legacy of calling started when only a teen, Earl continued to develop his natural talent. They started several clubs, and over a fifty year period traveled far and wide both nationally and internationally to bring square dancing to eager dancers everywhere.

Earl has demonstrated his leadership and service to callers through his personal participation in both local and regional associations. As the square dancing momentum exploded, Earl realized the need for organization. He became the first NECCA Chairman in 1962 and again Chairman in 1977. Earl was one of twelve callers to originate CALLERLAB, and he served on the first Board of Governors. With the need for systematic training of callers becoming evident, Earl along with Al Brundage conducted their well known callers’ school programs for over thirty years beginning in 1961. Along with Al, Earl and Marion were the publishers of one of the first caller note services, “News ‘N Notes”, as a training aid to assist callers in developing their skills.

Earl also recognized that good sound equipment was vital if square dancing was to be enjoyable to large crowds. Earl along with Ervin Gross and Ed Ross Smith created the Yak Stack, the first column speaker, and still today a leader in column speakers. Their son Gary and his wife Cindy now operate the business.

Earl was inducted into the Hall of Fame, of the Sets in Order American Square Dance Society in 1970. He was a recording artist on the Grenn label. Earl also received the CALLERLAB’s highest award, The Milestone Award, in 1993 for outstanding achievement and significant contributions to square dancing.

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