Square Dance Caller & Teacher
Al Brundage has been instrumental in the growth and popularity of both traditional and contemporary square dancing throughout New England.
As a teenager Al became intrigued with the music and fun of the square dance. Al along with his brother Bob formed a square dance band know as The King Street Pioneers that debuted in 1933. In 1935 Al who had played trumpet in the band, at the age of fifteen, became the band’s caller, using a megaphone to project his voice. Throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s, Al and the Pioneers fame spread and they were invited to participate in many festivals.
In 1937 Al attended the state 4-H Conference as the instructor of Square Dancing and prepared his first syllabus of square dance calls he would be teaching. The week long event ended with a square dance for all 200 attendees.
In the late 1940s a transition started when square dance music on 78RPM records became available. AI’s first records on the Kismet and Folk Dance House labels featured traditional tunes and figures. He recorded on his own label, Alamar, and in later years has been featured on most of the major record labels including Windsor, MacGregor, Red Boot and TNT.
Al had his own square dance hall, The Country Barn, for many years in Stepney, Connecticut. After attending the Lloyd Shaw Institute in Colorado and Herb Greggerson’s School in New Mexico, AI started programs featuring this new style of “Western” Square and Round Dancing at the barn.
To help callers make the transition to “western style” he conducted the first of his callers schools at The Country Barn. In 1953 he and Earl Johnston started a callers school that is still being run today with other caller leadership.
In the mid 1950s he sold The Country Barn and became a full time traveling caller. Though one of the most sought after callers for weekends and festivals, AI continued to maintain a local program with several clubs and guest calling dates throughout New England.
Al was one of the founders of the Connecticut Callers Association. He was also one of the founders of the New England Caller Magazine.
AI was selected as a member of the Sets In Order Hall of Fame. He is a charter member of
CALLERLAB has served on the Board of Governors and is an accredited CALLERLAB Caller Coach.
In 1975 AI received Callerlab’s prestigious Milestone Award for his many contributions to
the square dance activity and the calling profession. In 1993 AI was inducted into the Square
Dance Foundation of New England’s Hall of Fame.
AI is a true pioneer, whose ability, hard work and showmanship enabled him to successfully bridge the period from traditional square dancing with no microphones, sound systems, or records, to the western style square dancing with the technology that most dancers are familiar with today. A true veteran of the square dance activity, with over 60 years of calling experience, he has brought much pleasure to thousands of square dancers.
The New England Square & Round Dance Cooperation Committee, acting on behalf of the Square Dancers of New England, is proud to present the Yankee Clipper Award to AI Brundage.
GIVEN AT STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS APRIL 26, 2003