Square Dance Caller & Teacher
Bob Brundage was born in Danbury, Connecticut on March 08, 1922 to Gene and Harold Brundage. He grew up as a farm boy in that town. At the age of 12, he played drums in a square dance orchestra organized by his mother around 1933-1934 as a 4-H Club project. It was called The King Street Pioneers, and was well-known throughout western CT and eastern NY state. Bob started calling when he was 13 years old, and has been calling squares and contras ever since.
He started the first of 50 Square Dance Clubs in western MA and 4 in CT, one of which – The Mad Hatters – is still going strong. He started and cued at the first Round Dance Club in CT. He also helped organize The Connecticut Callers and Teachers Association in 1952, and Western Massachusetts Callers Association in 1953.
Bob’s recordings on Folkraft and MacGregor labels are still being used today at Contra and Folk Dance Institutes and weekends. His philosophy is that dance steps are set to music – music is not an incidental accompaniment to choreography.
During WWII, Bob was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps, flying P-47 fighter bombers, flying close support for Gen. Patton’s army, and flew 3 missions on D-Day. He married his childhood sweetheart, Frances Eno a year and a day before D-Day. After the war, he returned to college and graduated from the University of Maine in 1948 with his Masters Degree in Recreation.
Bob was the official square dance caller for the New York State Fair Teen Dance Festivals from 1961 to 1966. In 1960 he appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s live television show with one square of his square dancers. Bob has called in hundreds of dance festivals and conventions – both in and out of the United States. In 1958 we was honored to be designated an Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska. This was a “Key to the City” type honor for calling with Arnie Kronenberger at an Omaha, NE weekend that had 300 squares of dancers in attendance.
In 1995 Bob moved to Albuquerque, NM and volunteered his services to the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. In 1996 he started an Oral History Project to fill the void in the documentation of the history and development of the square dance activity during its formative period from “traditional” to our “modern western square dancing”. So far, over 100 callers, round dance leaders, and regional leaders – from over 36 American states, Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand have been interviewed at his own expense with no thought of monetary reward. Many of his interviews are available from the SDFNE in sound or print.
Bob is a member of CALLERLAB, and received that organization’s Award of Excellence in April 2000. He has been on the N.E.F.F.A. Board of Directors, President of the CT Callers and Teachers Assoc, and Treasurer of the New Mexico Callers Association – just to name a few of his many leadership positions.
On April 27, 2002, at the 44th New England Square and Round Dance Convention in Sturbridge, MA, Bob received CO-OP’s prestigious Yankee Clipper Award. The next day, April 28, 2002, he was inducted into the Square Dance Foundation of New England’s Hall of Fame. To receive this dual recognition, on the same weekend, is an unprecedented event. Congratulations, Bob. You are a man who deserves a great deal of respect and admiration.