1999 – *Ted & *Jean Sannella (ME)

Square Dance Caller & Teacher

Ted Sannella, a prolific composer of contra and square dances, was born August 14, 1928. This popular energetic leader lost his struggle with cancer on November 18, 1995. The story of his life is a full one. He graduated from Revere High School in 1945. As a matter off act, Ted began calling while in high school and continued calling earning enough money to pay for his Tufts College education: After he graduated from Tufts in 1949, he attended the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy where he received his B.S. in pharmacy in 1954. He was employed for 35 yrs. as a pharmacist at Richardson Drug in Concord, MA. Ted met Jean Davis of Wellesley Hills, MA and they were married on June 12, 1954.  They have 2 daughters, Marianne and Janet and 2 sons, Donald and Michael, and five grandchildren. Ted retired in 1989 and in 1990 they moved to Wiscasset, Maine. He started calling a monthly dance series in No. Whitefield, ME in 1991. Ted had a passion for square dance calling. It was something he loved doing. He was actively involved in traditional New England square dancing as a caller, choreographer and dancer.

He ran a weekly dance series for 21 yrs. in Porter Square, Cambridge, MA from 1950 to 1971. He called weekly summer dances for 38 yrs. in Westport, MA from 1952 to 1990. Ted also called monthly dance series since 1959 at the Concord Scout House. That group held a special “Salute to Ted Sannella” in 1992 in recognition of his many years of calling contras and square dances at that location. Ted was known as the Dean of New England Callers. He was the featured caller at dance weekends and summer dance camps for many years. He traveled extensively and called in 36 states and 5 foreign countries. He is the author of the books Balance and Swing and Swing the Next and Caller’s Manual published by Country Dance Society. Ted served on the Executive Board of the New England Folk Festival since 1947. He was a representative of NEFFA to the Square Dance Foundation of New England from: 1983-1988. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Folk Arts Center of New England, and the National Council of the Country Dance and Song Society. He was past president of NEFFA and the North of Boston Callers’ Association. He was New England Dance Consultant and honorary life member of the Boston Centre of the Country Dance Society. Ted chaired the Ralph Page Memorial Committee and in the planning of the annual Ralph Page Legacy Weekend. Even though Jean Sannella, who graduated from Wellesley High School in 1949, says that “Ted alone” deserves the Hall of Fame Award, we respectfully have to disagree. As most of us realize, Ted could not have accomplished all that he did, unless he had an intelligent, loving and caring wife, who by her attitude and support, enabled his successful efforts. One of which was a contra dance he wrote on their honeymoon, titled, “Newlywed’s Reel”. In recognition of their contribution in support of the promotion, preservation and perpetuation of New England‘s Folk Dance Heritage, the Square Dance Foundation of New England proudly inducts Ted and Jean Sannella into the Hall of Fame this day, Saturday, May 15, 1999.

Comments are closed.