Article Details

Jon Jones August 4, 1996

Bob Brundage: Well, here we are today, on August 4, 1996, and we're at the home of Jerry Gilbray, who came from Texas, not too long ago, and his friend, Jon Jones is here for his interview today, and we're talking with Jon about what was life like before square dancing for you, and how did you get into it, and give us the facts.

 

Jon Jones:       Well, actually, I called my first square dance, Bob, when I was in the seventh grade in a school in Brandon, Mississippi. my Mother taught me how to do this call for her fourth grade class, and I remember that the call was Picking Up Paw Paws and Putting Them in Your Pocket. And I didn't know what I was doing, but she taught how to do it, and I did it in front of the entire school assembly. And incidentally, one of the dancers in her fourth grade at that time was Miss America of 1959, Marianne Mobley, who was my childhood sweetheart. But of course, we didn't know at the time she was going to wind being Miss America, but I did not call at that time, and my Mother had a book that she had gotten somewhere that had these calls in it. In fact, after I really got involved in square dance calling, I went back and looked through her music books, and I found this book and I took it home, and I still have it in my library as one of the things, mementos of my calling. Then I got, we moved shortly after that back to Texas, and square danced just a little bit in the town, a small town that we lived in, but not very much, and then we wound up moving again down south of Fort Worth, about 35 miles, and after we had been, right after I graduated from high school and went to college for a short while, then I quit and went home and I was in love, and I got married. Then I married Shirley at that time, and this was back in 1953. Well, right after we got married, the county that we lived in was having a centennial celebration, and they asked Shirley and I if we would be in an exhibition square to do a square dance demo in our little old town the night that we were going to have our celebration. And so they found a guy there that knew a little bit about square dance calling and square dancing, and he taught us some of the old timing, traditional dances of Chase a Rabbit, Chase a Squirrel, was one of them that I remember, and we did a few things, and we would practice, go to various homes and practice once a week. Then it came the time for our town to have its celebration, and this guy got up and called for us to dance, and we thought we were pretty good. And, of course, we knew how to do what he had taught us to do, and then after the celebration was over with, they announced that there was going to be a street square dance. And so a caller from the neighboring town got up to call, and we got our square and got up to dance, and we couldn't dance anything he was calling, because we had no idea what it was. We hadn't been taught those things that he was doing.

 

BB: Were any of these callers that your talking about, are they still around, still calling?

 

JJ: No. Both of these guys have passed away, and the guy that was doing the real modern western square dance calling became a good friend of mine after we got involved in, because shortly after that, he came up to our little town and taught some square dance lessons, and Shirley and I went over and took those lessons, and as he was calling, I had always enjoyed singing and enjoyed Country Western music, so this was very interesting to me. As he would call different patters or singing calls, I would memorize them as fast as he was calling. And so we were dancing there 1 night, and he looked at me and he said would you like to call, and I said yea. I wasn't bashful at all about doing it, and he handed me his microphone, and I called the same thing that he had just gotten through calling. I didn't really know what it was, but I called it. And then after that, well, he and his wife took us to a dance up in Fort Worth, and we had not had enough experience at dancing to know really what was going on. The caller calling that night was Ross Carney, and I do remember that, and he called a Scatter Promenade the first tip, you know, and I never did see Shirley again until the dance was over with, you know, but I didn't have any idea I was doing and so, shortly after that, we moved up to Arlington, and they were having some square dancing, the city was sponsoring some square dancing. This was in early 1955, and so we went over and started taking those lessons, and I was doing the same thing with that caller. Whatever he'd call, I memorize. And then 1 night I told him, I said I'd like to call. And so he let me call, and I did one of the record that he had, and then he gave me, loan me some records, and I went out to Sears Roebuck and bought a $10 record player and started practicing on that and going to different dances and learning various types of calls. And then, I actually started calling, trying to learn to call in September of 1955. So, I was very fortunate to have such guys to listen to as Red Warrick, and I'd go to nearly every dance he would call in our area, and my next call or whatever would sound a lot like whatever he was doing. And in those days, as you will recall, callers wouldn't tell you a whole lot. They had their own book of calls, and they kept it to themselves. But, if they didn't want me to use their material, well then they best not call at the dance because I had a book with me, and I'd go write it down as soon as they called it and then, and I would learn it. Of course, we were doing all memory work back in those days. And, then not too long after that, of course, Ray Smith was in our area down there, and he kind of took me under his wing and was one of my mentors. And I shall

never forget that I was invited to come and call at a festival with Red Warrick and Nathan Hill were the two prime callers at that time, at this particular festival. And Ray Smith and I were there along with a number of other callers. Back in those days, when you got invited to come and call at a festival, it was an honor, you know, just to get invited. And some guy was up calling, I don't remember who it was, but we had about 100 squares on the floor, I guess, and after he had called a few calls, the entire floor was broken down, and Ray looked at me and said look it there, Jon, that old boy calls so good they can't nobody dance to him. And so I've remembered that, and I'll never forget that. And so I have worked ever since of trying to make my calls where people can get through them and enjoy it and have a good time. And then not too long after that, I met Manning and Nita Smith, and I guess I was doing something right as far as they were concerned, because they kind of took me under their wing too. And I had them, and especially Manning, as one of my mentors as well. And as a result of getting to know them and Ray Smith, Ray invited me to come call at the Lighted Lantern which is up in Golden, Colorado. After I had been calling for about 5 years, I was invited to come up there and be on the staff and call for a whole week. And I do remember on about the third day, I ran out of material to call, and I went to Ray and told him. I said I've used all my material already. And he said no, you really haven't. He said go back and remember all the things that you have forgotten about, and so I did, and then I wound up with more material than I needed to do a whole week with. That was an interesting experience to get started with that, and then Manning and Nita Smith and Ray Smith, as well, were doing lots of traveling back in those days, and they would recommend me to various people and to various areas, and that's how I got started becoming a so-called traveling caller, you know, and branching out and getting away from home. And, and it has been a very rewarding experience for me for the last 41 years, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

BB: Did you ever have any other jobs, Jon?

 

JJ: Oh, yea, I had a full-time job all the time. I was with the City of Arlington. In fact, I'm retired from the City of Arlington. I worked there for almost 33 years, and I retired at age 52, and I'm 60 years old now, so it's afforded me the ability to do what I want to do, and I don't depend on square dance calling for a living. I have a retirement income.

 

BB: Yea. Tell us all about getting started with Callerlab now.

 

JJ: Well, before Callerlab ever had its first convention in 1974 in St. Louis, I knew that it was being formed. I had inside information of some people that were going, and I wanted to be in on the organizing of it, or get in on the beginning. But I knew that I had to wait until I was invited to come in, and that the ground work was being laid by Bob Osgood and of course, before that, he and Ed Gilmore and Frank Lane got together up in Colorado and started the first meeting of it, and they first organized, thinking about it in the early 1960s. And then Bob started calling together his people that he had inducted into the Hall of Fame and the Sets in Order Hall of Fame, and but I knew these meetings were taking place, but as I said a moment ago, I knew I had to wait until I was invited to come in. And then when the first convention was decided to be held in St. Louis in 1974, well, then I did receive an invitation, and I was very pleased that it was signed by both Lee Helsel and Bruce Johnson to invite me to come, and went to that convention and thoroughly enjoyed it. And I think it is one of the greatest things that ever happened to square dancing, to get all of us callers together from everywhere. And you got to put names with faces, you know, in fact your face, your name developed a face, and certainly your brother AI, and all of the other callers that I had heard of for so long and hadn't been able to meet. Then as a result of CALLERLAB, I did get to meet them, and then, of course, the Board of Governors was established with 25 members on it, and I thought, well heck, I'd like to be a member of that, and so I waited until the time came about, I didn't run for the Board of Governors when they had the first election for it, because I thought there were other more deserving people that could contribute to the organization more than I, and so I waited until the second year when it came open for people to apply, or partition, to get elected to the Board, and then I decided I wanted to do that, and had some good help.  Jack Lazry helped me, and Jim Mayo, and several others as well, circulating my partition to run for the Board, and I did get elected in 1976 to the Board of Governors, and I wound up serving 13 years on the Board. A total. I did drop off at one time and stayed off for a couple of years and then went back and served another term. But in, shortly after I got elected to the Board of Governors, well then I was elected to the Executive Committee and served on it for a couple of years. And then 1 year Bob VanAntwerp was Chairman of the Nominating Committed and called me and asked me if I would consider being Chairman of the Board. Well, I didn't think I was good enough to do that. And I first turned him down. Well, he called two or three more times and finally talked me into doing it. And I did, and that was in 1979, and then I wound up serving 2 years as Chairman of the Board. So it was a very rewarding experience, a great experience, and, of course, I'm still very active in CALLERLAB, and will probably continue to be as long as I'm a square dance caller, because I do believe in the organization, and I think we're headed in the right direction. We've made some mistakes in the past, but I think we're smart enough to figure out what to do, and we're in the process of doing that now. 

 

BB: Well, that's great. you've made some recordings.

 

JJ: Yes.

 

BB: Want to tell us a little bit about who and when and

 

JJ: Well, I guess, you know really, I was looking the other day at the first record that I made. The name of it was Wings of an Angel, and it was recorded on the Square L label which Melton Luttrell owned at the time. Still does own the label, but it's inactive and has been for a long time. And he was the first guy to ever use a different color record, and we had red vinyl. They were real pretty with a blue label on it. And the name of the tune, the original name of the tune was the Prisoner's Song. Well, I changed it to Wings of an Angel, and, which is one of the lines of the song, and that was the first recording that I made, and I was listening to it the other day, and it had a Daisy Chain on it, which, of course, has been dropped, it's been put in the glossary now. But we wrote some pretty good choreography back in those days for singing calls that we don't have today. Some of us are trying to do some better choreography today than what we've had of the same old routine. But that was the first recording that I made. And I really don't know how many records.  I made several records for Melton on the Square L label. And then he kind of quit recording or didn't record for quite some time, and C.O. Guest and Billy Lewis in our area had bought the Kalox label from a guy that had originally started it, and C.O. asked me to record with him, and so I did, and I made a number of records with him. I think the first one I recorded with him was Good Hearted Woman, but I can't remember exactly for sure. I made several records for him, and then Norman Murdock, who owned the Blue Star Label down in Houston, he asked me to record for him, and I did. I wasn't under contract. In those days, and we still don't, and I still, have never been under contract to record and don't want to be. And so, I made two or three records with Blue Star. In fact, my son, Vernon, is also a square dance caller and has been for about 17 years, and he'd been around square dancing all of his life. That's all he's ever known as far as recreation, but he took it up, and he's a very good caller. Has two clubs at home that he calls for, and he had done several recordings with Blue Star, and then he and I did one together. And we've had the first father/son recording for a long, long time, until Wade Driver recorded his Dad, and then,  but we were quite proud of that. We've got two of those. In fact, we may do some more before too long. He and I really enjoy calling together. And then there's a new label that has started. And I still record with Kalox who has now been bought by Fred Bean up in Portland, Oregon, and I just did a record for him with Al Stevens from Germany. We did one together. And, but there's a new label that started up in Dallas called Global Music Productions, and they have asked me to do some recording with them, and I just did one. I've got one coming out right now, and the tune is Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehen. It's a brand new record out. So, I really don't know how many I've done, Bob, I haven't counted them.

 

BB: Are you going to take that to Germany with you?

 

JJ: Yes, and that was one of the reasons that we did it because he knew I was going overseas, and we thought, boy, this will really work good over there, you know.

 

BB: Right. Have you, what about hobbies? Do you have any spare time to play golf or anything like that?

 

JJ: Well, I played golf for a little while, but I am not an avid golfer. I've only played twice in the last 10 years, you know. I just didn't really get involved in that, but my Mother is still alive, and she owns 265 acres down south of Fort Worth, and in fact, Shirley and I have been divorced since 1986, but we're very good friends, and we get along great. And she and I and my son, Vernon, we have half of my Mother's place leased, and we have some cattle on it that we fiddle with, and then I buy and sell antiques, and I have a space rented in an antique mall where I do that. And that keeps me occupied when I'm at home. But it is just a hobby.

 

BB: Well, you can't be at home very often. You're always on the road.

 

JJ: You know being retired from my regular job has afforded me a lot more travel time, and I don't have to be back at work, and I can schedule my time to do what I want to do. And it's been really good to be able to do that. I quit calling in 1986, in January of 1986, I decided after 30 years that was long enough. So I quit. And I didn't want to stay in the activity until I got ran out. I've seen callers do that, and I didn't want to be that way.  So, I thought, well 30 years is enough to dedicate to the activity, so I retired from calling, and I stayed out for 18 months. And then I was invited to participate in the National Convention in Houston in 1987, which was in June, and I thought, well, while I'm down, I may as well call a little bit, so I signed up to call. And then they asked to call with a live band they had there, of course, I enjoyed doing that. Back in my early days of calling, as you well know, we all used live music because we didn't have any records. And I thoroughly enjoyed calling with bands, and so I enjoyed going down there and calling with the Ghost Riders Band out of California. And then I thought, well, if I can get back into the activity and do what I want to do and not do those things that I don't want to do, then I might enjoy it for a while. And so, I've enjoyed it, doing what I'm doing. I don't have any regular clubs any more because I did that for 30 years. I had as many as three clubs, and I just want to be, do guest calling. But I do help teach a class in Fort Worth. We have a co-op type class going there at Swing Time Center in Fort Worth, and I fill in and help with that as much as I can, they need somebody. So, I'm still involved in teaching, and I think that's where this backbone of our activity has gotta be. If we don't have, if we're not teaching new dancers all the time, well then we don't have anybody to fill the vacancies that we have in our activity.

 

BB: I heard you talking, for the sake of the tape Jon, you gave a very interesting seminar at the (?) District Callers Club today, and after that, I heard you talking to somebody else about some trips you've got coming up. You mentioned three or four different countries I think, at least.

 

JJ: Yea. Right now, I, my schedule is pretty heavy for the next 3 months. On August 12, I leave to go to England, and I'll be there for 6 days calling dances in London and up in the (?) England with Pete Skippings is the caller over there that has set this up for me. And I'll go up and call with Malcolm Davis and several of the other callers that are around in the London area, and then I fly on over, my destination is Salzburg, Austria, where I am going over to do a festival that's in connection with the Mozart celebration that they have over there, and after I finish that, then I go up into the Netherlands and call, and then the summer round-up of the European Square Dancers Association and European Callers Association is Cologne, Germany and so I am going to attend that as a visitor and just as a dancer. And then I call seven other dances in different towns throughout Germany. And then I leave there and be back home for a week, and I've got a couple of local dances in Texas. Then I go to Australia for 2 weeks, and I've got a weekend festival in Brisbane, Australia, and than I've got another one in Sydney. And then I leave there go over to New Zealand for 2 weeks. I've got a weekend festival in Christ Church and one in Wellington. And it's my, they get my visa paper together, as soon as I get back home, I'll be home for a week, and then I am suppose to go to Saudi Arabia for about 10 days So it's quite a hectic schedule coming up here real soon.

 

BB: Have you had any experience with non-English speaking groups?

 

JJ: Oh, yes. In the first one that I had was in Japan. I was invited to come over to Japan to call their summer jamboree along with the caller, Mike Letzen, and that was my first experience with non-English speaking people. My first dance to call was in Osaka, Japan, and we went all the way across from Tokyo. Shirley was with me on that trip, and got to the dance in the early evening and went into the hall, and the entire group were all female. And I thought, oh boy. And as a sight caller, you know, that really made it difficult for me.  So I had to revert back to my memory, and I had to really do some thinking. And it was really interesting to call to those ladies. Just about the time I had them figured out as to who was dancing with whom, they would change partner and switch sides. They could dance either side. It didn't make any difference. They all had on beautiful costumes. And they would come to the dance, they were all housewives, and they normally danced in the afternoon, but this was a special dance for them, and they rode bicycles and mopeds and this type of thing to get to the dance. And they'd bring their square dance clothes, change in the building, and after it was over with, they would change clothes again and leave. And so I asked them why they had, why they didn't tell me it was an all female club to start with. And they said they were afraid that I would decline to call for them. They really wanted me to come over and call. But it was a very interesting experience. One of the local callers there, Machello (?), who is a very good caller in Japan, he and three of his friends were a little bit late getting to the dance because of work, and so three men came, four men came in and they had four ladies, and they danced in front of me the rest of the evening so it made everything okay. You know, and to digress just a minute back to the sight calling situation, you know, it was rather interesting that in my, in 1957 and 58, we went and attended two week-long sessions that Les Gotcher had up in Euroka Springs, Arkansas, for dancers, and I knew that that man was doing something different from what I had learned to call. And so I sat down and talked to him 1 day and asked him if he would explain to me what he was doing, and he described sight calling to me there in Arkansas. And when he showed me what sight calling was all about, it made it so very, very easy for me to learn how to do that. I wasn't smart enough at the time. I learned it a little bit too much, and I overdid it to a certain extent, because I thought it was really a great tool, and it has been. But yet, it has caused callers to not be as creative as they should be because of it. We get lazy a little bit with sight calling, I think. But Les Goucher taught me how to do that back in 1957, and I've been a sight caller ever since. Of course, I know that you are aware of the fact that Les passed away about 2 months ago. But he was a controversial individual, but yet, he was still a good friend of mine.

 

BB: They say a sight caller's worse nightmare is eight nuns.

 

JJ: Is what?

 

BB: Eight nuns.

 

JJ: Eight nuns. (Laughter. ) Yea. And, of course, you know, of course, we, all the Japanese people were all about the same size, and they all have black hair, and you know, it was very difficult to distinguish between the two of them. But also during that same weekend, when we went over to, near Mt. Fuji to do this week-long institute, and we called all the way from basic through A-1. At the time, I was calling Advanced. I don't do that anymore. But at that time, I was, and all of these people that would dance the so-called higher levels, all of the Advanced dancers were in dancing with the basic dancers, and all of the Mainstream dancers were there. Every dancer was in dancing with the basic dancers. And I told them later that I thought they had a really good system, and they said they kept it that way. That if you dance one of the other programs, you must go back and be a part of the, the other programs, because that is the only way to keep their activity together. I think they have better control over it than any where else in the world that I'm aware of. But that weekend, we had three American military dancers on the floor. And I would say something funny in English, and they would be the only three people that would laugh. The entire floor of about 25 or 30 squares of Japanese dancers would just stand and look at you like they had, and, of course, they didn't. They didn't understand what we were saying. But they understood the square dance calls. But you had to call them exactly like they're written in the book. And I found out when I had the heads do a dive thru, and I said heads turn around, and the entire floor stopped and did not move. And it finally dawned on me that I was saying the wrong word, and I said heads do a U-turn back, and then they did exactly what they were supposed to do. But they didn't understand anything other than the call exactly as it's written. But since then, I've called in Germany. One experience that I had the first time I called in Germany was at the European Festival in Munich, and they asked me if I would do a workshop session. And so I did about 30 minutes. And I got up and was teaching some call. I don't recall exactly what it was,  but we probably had a hundred squares or so on the floor that afternoon. And while I was teaching, the entire floor was talking, and they weren't paying any attention to me, I thought. And so it was rather irritating. You know, we like for our dancers to listen to us, and they weren't listening to me. And so when I finished with that session, I went to the Chairman of the festival, and I said I must be doing something wrong because I couldn't get those people to listen to me, and I explained to him what was going on. Well, then he apologized to me for not telling me in the very beginning that every single square on the floor had an interpreter in it, and everything I was saying in English, they were interpreting it in German as fast as I was saying it. They could dance what I was calling, but I thought they were not paying attention, and so that was an experience that I had to get use to. So it's going to be even, going over there again, I've been back into Germany since that first time, and I've learned to understand the situation a little bit better. Of course, more of them speak English now than used to, so you can say a certain number of English words and get by with it, but not very much. You have to call the call exactly like they are written.

 

BB: Getting back to your Mother just for a minute. It reminds me, it would be interesting to know, was yours a musical family?

 

JJ: Yes. My Mother played piano, my Father didn't, he couldn't sing at all. He could whistle a little bit, but he never would attempt singing. And my oldest brother was a musician; he played clarinet and saxophone, and then my brother just older than I am was a musician. In fact, he has a Masters Degree in music. But they were more into popular music and also symphony­ type music, and I was the rebel in the bunch. I like Country Western hillbilly music, we called it, you know. And I played drums. I don't read music. Never did learn to read music, but I knew rhythm and learning to play drums, gave me a great experience at rhythm which has been a big help in my square dance calling. But I always enjoyed singing, and when I was a young child, and my Mother and my brother tell me this, that I was really tone deaf. That I couldn't sing worth a flip. And so, my Mother and my brother taught me how to sing. Still today, I can hit a bad note, and I know I've done it, but there's not anything I can do about it.

 

BB: Yea, right. Have you ever gotten involved in contra dancing or round dancing?

 

JJ: I've done some contra dancing, and I've taught and called some contra dancing, but not nearly as much as I probably should have, because I stayed more involved in the square end of it. But I do enjoy contras. And I've done a lot of contra dancing with Bob Osgood and Don Armstrong, you know. And, of course, I think Don Armstrong is probably one of the very best in the business as far as doing contras, and I thoroughly enjoyed dancing to him. And, but I have done lots of rounds. In fact, I taught rounds for a long time. And I don't any more, but I still do as many rounds as I can. And I enjoy all the aspects of it. I just don't do as much of it as I used to.

 

BB: Well, you really don't have the time to.

 

JJ: No, I don't have that much time to dedicate to it. It would take up all of my time if I were doing everything.

 

BB: Right. Well, Jon, this has been a very interesting conversation, and I wonder if you would just, let me put you on the spot for a second. Would you give us a kind of an overview of how you consider the activity today, and where you think it might be going.

 

JJ: Well, our activity today is on a decline, and it has been for several years. And I predicted over 10 years ago that when the Advanced and Challenge callers begin to suffer for people to come into their activity, then they would start a campaign to get more people into the activity, because they would begin to lose them. Most of the Advanced and Challenge callers are, most of them are more well-known callers today in the program system that we have, that was developed by CALLERLAB. I think the program system was necessary to do because we had such a hap-hazard situation going on all across the country.  That there was not control. And so, developing the program system put the control that we were looking for, but it also created a situation where people are more interested today in dancing a program rather than having fun and fellowship and/or dancing to a caller. And I said this the other day that I can remember in 1965 when the National Convention was in Dallas, that Marshall Flippo was the most popular caller at the time and probably the most popular caller we have ever had in the whole world. And people would follow him from hall to hall just to dance to him. Whereas this past National Convention in San Antonio and Marshall was there, but there were people that never heard him call because they stayed in a particular hall to dance a program rather than to go dance to a particular caller. And that has been a rude awakening for a lot of people that all at once, we realized that that's what's taking place. That people are dancing programs and not wanting, they're not as concerned about having fun and fellowship. I have said for a long time that we've got to put the three Fs back into square dancing. That's fun, fellowship, and family. And once we do that, and we concentrate on that, then we will begin to build our activity again. It was very interesting at the CALLERLAB Convention this year, there was a debate between Jerry Story and I about this very situation, and that he has proposed that we put more emphasis on basic and Mainstream and take everything else, all the calls that we don't keep in Mainstream and the Plus calls and put them all into Advanced to make that step from Mainstream dancing to the next step to be such a broad step that more people will want to stay in and have more fun in Mainstream and basic. And my position in the debate was to defend the CALLERLAB programs, which I think I successfully did. However, I reserve the right to give my own personal viewpoint before that debate was over with, and that was, that in my opinion, to build our square dance program back to what we need to do, that we need to take the very best of our square dance calls that we can teach in no more than 20 weeks and eliminate everything else until we build our program back. Now I don't know that that will ever happen, but that's my own personal viewpoint.

 

BB: Well, that's an interesting thought. I talked with Cal Campbell, and his philosophy is the savior for square dancing is to start at the student level, the university level. He said we're not developing new leaders the way we should.

 

JJ: We don't have any new, young leaders. That, not like we used to have. And, I mentioned to Tony Oxendine, the most recent past Chairman of the Board of Governors, a few years ago, and I told him I could remember when me and Jerry Story and Larry Letzen and, and Craig Row, and a number of other callers around the country were really pushing us older guys because they were new, and young, and good, and we had to work to stay up with them, or to stay ahead of them, or even be close to them. And I asked him to name the callers that were pushing him, and his first name was Tim Mariner, and then he couldn't name anybody else. He said there is nobody else. And I said, yea, that's right. And that's one of the problems that we face today. All of our newer square dance callers coming into the activity today are either 50 years or older. Whereas, back in my day, when newer callers came in, I was 19 when I first really got started, and then I got started at age 20 and was really got me involved in the activity, and I was young. And, of course, today that's young. We don't have that situation going on. Well, everybody keeps saying that we've got to have newer dancers; we've got to have younger dancers. Well, we're not going to get any younger dancers until we get some younger callers. And, because callers attract their own age group, and that has been proven over the years, and so to get some younger callers, we got to teach some younger dancers. And nobody has any teen clubs anymore, and we don't have a teen program. We're trying to build one again in Texas. And in the north Texas area we're trying to build one. It's very difficult to do. Because nobody is willing to spend the time to work with teens anymore like we used to. We used to have a lot of them, and that's where these young callers came from. I had a university program going at the University of Texas at Arlington for 13 years. It was a full, I hour PE credit course that I was teaching there. And finally got it developed through one of the PE professors there on campus that belonged to my square dance club. And I was the only non-degree professor that the University of Texas at Arlington had for a long time. But they accepted the fact that I was an accredited caller from CALLERLAB, and that I became an accredited caller coach, and after I got both of those accreditation's, then they accepted my credentials as being approved to teach there in the university. And, there have been six or seven callers come out of that group. But we don't have that type of activity going as much as we need to, and that's where we're going to have go.

 

BB: Well, it's certainly been a very interesting conversation, Jon. I appreciate your taking the time, and we appreciate Jerry Gilbray for providing the facility for us to do this and using his electricity.

 

JJ: Well, thank you very, I must add that I, that CALLERLAB presented me with the Milestone Award back in 1985 which is the highest award that CALLERLAB gives, and I'm extremely proud of that.

 

BB: Yea, I meant to have mentioned that. Thank you for mentioning it. So, I'll see you again, Jon, around the square.

 

JJ: Thank you, Bob, appreciate it.

 

BB: You bet.

 

 

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Written By: Bob Brundage
Date Posted: 11/22/2007
Number of Views: 2110

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