Article Details

Dick Leger November 15, 1996

Bob Brundage: So here we are again; this is Bob Brundage continuing our little oral history project. And today we are in the big state of Rhode Island, talking to Mr. Dick Leger. I hope Sue gets back pretty soon because we'd like to get Sue on our tape too.  The date is November the 15", 1996 and Dick Leger is here and ready to go and tell us about what was life like before square dancing and you got involved and go right ahead Dick.

 

Dick Leger: Well, OK, I'll, I'll start by saying, out of High School I went directly into the service even before I graduated from High School. And I spent 4 years with the United States Navy, Regular Navy and ended up as a Navigation Radio Man after going through school in New York in pier 92 for 4 months. I was an instant Radio man and I graduated 142nd out of a class of 196, which meant I was 142nd person to earn third class riggings.

All the rest were seamers.  After the service, after the war was over, I got discharged and I planned to go into, back to my lace company, where I had been employed about a year prior to going into the service. And I went back, yes I went really to tell them I wasn't coming back, but

 

BB- this is the Lace Company?

 

DL- This is the L-A-C-E, lace company and I went back to tell them I wasn't coming back, and they offered me a job in the drafting room, which is what I wanted, to go to a secondary college to study textile design. And it fit right in so this was my chance to study and get paid at the sarne time.

 

BB- Right, makes sense.

 

DL- Yeah, I stayed with the lace company for approximately 1946 through 1970.

 

BB- Good, where abouts were you born and brought up?

 

DL- Well, I was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, we moved several times into New York and New Jersey but primarily always considered myself a Rhode Islander.

 

BB- OK, So you're in the Lace Company.

 

DL- Yeah, it actually, what I was working it was the lace drafting, which is the lace drafting involved, interpreting the designs and making 'em so they work mechanically, to make, you know, the lace on the bottom of slips and so forth and also the type of curtain lace is what we were making much, much more, you know, finer than that type of thing. It was a Levers lace, l-e-v-e-r.  Levers lace and it was, you had to serve a ten year apprenticeship to become a lace draftsmen. And even after 10 years I really didn't consider, and I guess no one ever does feel they know it all.

 

BB- Yeah, go ahead, so now you're a, how did we get into Square dancing?

 

DL- Well, when I was working in the lace company which I worked for many years, my wife's mother, Helen Durfee, had a Square Dance Orchestra. And she had Susan, my wife, Susan as a piano player in her orchestra and neither one of them could drive nor could the other 2 members of the orchestra, so I got drafted into providing the transportation to take them to their various jobs, mostly on Saturday nights.  So it pretty well tied me up for Saturday night.  If you can picture a sailor coming out of the Navy after 4 years having to be, you know, having to drive the orchestra to and from their place of employment and of course the dances in those days were traditional and also they went from 8 o'clock to 12 o'clock, midnight.

 

BB- Right, and you were playing guitar back then?

 

DL- Yeah, I didn't really start playing guitar with the orchestra, I just, all though, I did arrange so that my wife's mother when she played the violin sometimes the crowds would be, you know fairly large and people in the back rarely heard the violin. So I remembered from my aviation, Navy Aviation days we used to have throat mics. And I remembered I had taken one, I had kept one from the service. I brought it home never feeling I ever would have used it. I don't know why I even brought it home. But I put that throat mike on her violin and I amplified it directly into the recording, a little amplier called a Recordio. It was used to make records. It was used to play record. It was used to be a radio and you know this type of thing.  And after when she started playing with that, she never went back to just playing a fiddle. She always played it with the throat mic and people used to say what a great sound it had and it did.

 

BB- Right and I think you mad the comment to me earlier that this was not a microphone per se. It was taking up the influence directly from the soundboard on the fiddle.

 

DL- That's correct, the mic, the microphone, throat Mic, you fit around your throat when you're wearing one of the aviation helmets in the old days.

 

BB- I used to wear one.

 

DL- And you could still talk and use your hands for something else like keying a code, which we did also, watching radar and fiddling with the dials so it didn't interfere. You could talk to the pilot and co-pilot when you saw something on the radar screen without having to hold the Mic.

 

BB- Right, right. Now were you married at this time, before you started drive, chauffeuring the band?

 

DL-OH yes! Yes, we got married the third year I was in the service. We was sent to Texas and we were transferred up to Corpus Christi and I put in my last year of my service at Corpus Christi. We were there when the Japanese surrendered in 1945. 1946 I got discharged, we were already married.

 

BB- Ok so where did you meet Sue?

 

DL- Well, when we, when I was going to High School, even prior to high school I played the tuba, and the High School band needed a tuba player for some of their

marching dates. They only had two. They needed three because there was 86 pieces in the band. And they asked if I would come up and play with the High School band, so that's really how I met my wife and she played the saxophone at that time.  Now my wife is quite musician. She plays several instruments. And the, actually, the tuba and at one time she played the bass, the bass viol. And I can remember one time walking her back, walking her home after High School practice and I carried her bass viol and had the tuba wrapped around my shoulders. HOOOOa.

 

BB- Ok, there you go.

 

DL- I must have been in love.

 

BB- Right, so now you playing with the band finally. They indoctrinate your guitar into the band.

 

DL- Yes, when the square dance band, actually, prior to playing the guitar in the square dance band. I used to just sit in the corner, because I really wasn't happy because my time was taken up on Saturday nights. But, I remember, this one time, this lady actually needed one more man in the square and she wouldn't take no for an answer. Literally she dragged me with my feet sliding on the floor. And that's when I got into square dancing, very reluctantly. 

 

BB- Well, it was quite a transition from there. Now, how did you get into calling?

 

DL- Well, that's another situation, one year the band was playing every other Saturday and on the Saturdays we had off we started going square dancing and friends of ours noticed we were going every Saturday. They knew the orchestra was only playing every other Saturday and they asked if we could teach them enough to where they could come with us. We said yes, sure. We had a little hall down in Laurel Park and we worked 'em and taught them a ladies chain and right and left through and by having only 2 couples, we couldn't teach them grand right and left and things like that. So they said well gee, we have friends of ours that have been asking us and can we bring them down next week. This was usually a weeknight.  Ah, pretty soon we had a square. I was teaching 3 couples how to Square Dance and then we all go out the following Saturday. They would use what they learned and they got enthused about it and they came back the time we practiced with 2 or 3 more couples. And so consequently, I'd have 2 squares to teach and in those days you actually taught little dances. I can remember some were "around that couple and take a little peek", was the # 1 couple used to do the dance first, because they were the more experience ones. The # 2 was the next more experienced and by the time you got to # 4 we always put the new people there.  And, by the time they could see it 3 times, they'd just get up they were instant dancers.  Consequently, it ended up that particular year when we went down to this little hall in Laurel Park it wasn't uncommon to have 4 or 5 squares learning to dance so we could bring them somewhere else.

 

BB, Yeah, right, right, so you're saying these were all traditional visiting couple dances.

So when did you start to discover, about what time of year, about what year are we talking about?

 

DL- We're talking about 19 probably '49 or 1950. And around 1951, this groups getting bigger and I found myself having to, it was pretty tough teaching all these people without any music to go by. All I was doing was teaching 'em so they could go to this dance.  And we kept coming in every other Saturday with more and more people and the dances, which was always done in live music in those days as you well know.  The people were always happy to see us. We had all these young people coming in and what not. So I got some copies of some records and I picked an old Masco, I still remember the name, amplifier and a turntable I saw advertised for sale. And I picked it up and I didn't have a microphone so at least I had the records and the music. Now the turntable you couldn't adjust the speed.  So if a record was fast I had to kind of lean on the record, you know where it was if a record was 78 in those days. I lean on the record to slow it down a little bit but it’s the only way I could make so they could catch up with it. But they ended up having so much fun at these practice sessions that they said why don't we just form a club.  And we'll do this and I said well gee, I don't know, I feel I'm being forced into something that just come about by accident, but we did. Someone formed a club and I went out and got a microphone because, because there was so many people there, you know, it was getting pretty tough for them to hear my calls, you know. Yelling, "head 2 ladies cross over." My voice was getting kind of hoarse, so I went and got a microphone and that was the start of my calling career.

 

BB- Right, 1952, Ok. So you were not using the guitar to call with at the time?

 

DL- No, the guitar came about, because we decided all the dances at that time were being done with live music. And my wife played the piano. So we decided to have our dances on Friday night and we knew this, I used to sing in a quartet.  And the tenor in the quartet, his wife was a violinist, played in a symphony orchestra.   So we asked her and also when Sue's mother was available, she would come down and work with this girl trying to teach 'em the different songs we were going to use. I can remember one was "Just Because" and another was "If You Knew Suzie". Well one of the worst problem this violinist had, this concert violinist, was that she would get one number confused with the other.  Of course we couldn't afford a 3rd instrument at that time, ‘cause we didn't have any money. I played and strummed the guitar. I learned the chords of the song, but she would continuously switch from "Just Because" to "If You Knew Suzie".  We never knew what we were doing but we had a great time.

 

BB- Sure, that's really interesting. So well, she was probably wishing you could give her the sheet music, right?

 

DL- Yeah, right.  We didn’t have the sheet music.

 

BB- So, Ok we were talking early 1950. This is just at the beginning of the bloom of our western style square dancing activity, of course. So what got you involved in that?

 

DL-Well, you know, we, something I left out in '48 and '49 we also had, my wife played the piano. I played the guitar and I double on the coronet, because I learned taken coronet lesson and we had some friends of ours from the high school band, that wanted to play. And of course, Sues brother played the saxophone, her other brother played the drums so, we worked up a little combo. We had a little 5-piece combo and we used to go around to these different clubs where there was drinking involved and so forth and we played. They'd hire us as an orchestra and we did start buying sheet music.  We did that until the orchestra, course you played your heart out. You'd be hired 8-11 or sometimes 8-12 and people wouldn't start dancing until about 10:30, after they had 3 or 4 drinks in them. And so, consequently, I thought there must be a better way. Of course with square dancing the people would jump on the floor the very first

time and I had a good chance to compare the two and so we decided, well square dancing had much more of the type of people we liked to play for.

 

BB- So, I remember that the induction in Western Style Square Dancing into New England came about when Herb Greggerson visited a session in Brockton, Massachusetts. Did you happen to be there by any chance?

 

DL- No, I never met Herb Greggerson, not to my memory. I don't remember him. I remember of him, but I don't remember him. We kind of just started our own dances and also I know the Modem Western was starting to make its way in. In a way it caught a lot of people I guess, in between because the traditional dancing had so much to offer in fact because it was to the music and some of the Western Square Dances really weren't all that great shape, as far as being to the music. The ones that were, were the ones, that people used to be able to sing along with so you didn't need a caller. I can remember one particular number, " My Pretty Girl". You know Dick sings, "My Pretty Girl" and there was a call to that and even though the caller was singing, Head couples Promenade----they would start promenading as soon as the music started. So consequently, they were on the first beat of the song and that's the one, I don't know if you remember that went "head ladies chain across and chain to the right, which probably today wouldn't go.

 

BB:- Would turn ‘em twice.

 

DL- Yeah, right. Would probably throw some of the club dancers.

 

BB- Right, Well, what I'm trying to get out is where did we, where did you get involved in, where did you begin to meet some of the people who were involved in the activity like Charlie Baldwin and his brother Al and things like that.

 

DL-Oh, Ok, I was running or I should say, at this point the club, which was actually formed in '52, in 54, in 1954. The club started sponsoring dances of course now we had been having our regular dances at the Laurel Park Casino and we were kind of like an unorganized club. But, really got officers and every thing else and a name, I mean by 1954. And so then officially we are a club and we started scheduling every other week dances. And of course people started, you know, coming in because we were doing like a, at that time the western influence was there we were doing some singing calls that were pretty exciting but what I remember doing with the live music is a, doing particular numbers that weren't on, that weren't recorded yet. And so this was kind of a novelty, people were traveling in to hear this live music dance with some different numbers. You know, singing calls and what not and our format at that time is we would do a singing call and then we would do a platter call, and then we would another singing call. There was always 3 numbers to a tip.  So the crowds started getting bigger. Our classes, by teaching these people and I had to put a separate night for teaching the people to came, that they would be able to dance and that took a little longer now. Maybe six to eight different nights before they were allowed to come to the dance. People at that time were so enthused. That they started coming after 4 lessons and I would see them in the hall and automatically my first instinct, well, they're paying the money they deserve to dance. So I'd have to work a little harder to try to get everybody to be able to get through the number without making too many mistakes, but at that time they didn't take it to, that serious. And we were known as a fun club. And so the experience dancers would always say "well gee I'll split up with them and we’ll help ‘em through it.”  And that’s th4e attitude I think that made us grow to such sizes. Our bigger problem became; we couldn't find a hall big enough to hold everybody. And that was a great problem to have. The other problem was we were making too much money and really the club didn't know how to do it cause I kept hinting they could pay me more, and the musicians, which they did.

 

BB- Yeah, What was the name of this club?

 

DL- The Rhody Merrymakers.

 

BB- There you go. Heard that name before.

 

DL- Ah, yes it been around for 40 years, there still. I retired 2 years ago but the club is still functional, still operating.  We call ourselves the walking wounded, right now because we only have a small group left. From the days we were dancing 44 squares every other Saturday.  Which is hard to believe today.

 

BB- Yeah, They are western style square dance club now?

 

DL- I would call it easy mainsteam.

 

BB-Easy mainstream, OK.

 

DL- Yup, You know a parallel to this Bob? In Kansas City, last year, there were, the talk was very much getting back to one level.  And the one level was something you could teach, you know between 16 and 20 lessons.  And I would say that our club has been doing this for forty years. One of the reasons, I think we have been so successful is we never put it out of the reach of people taking lessons for 16 weeks. Matter of fact even 12 weeks, I'll even put the figure lower.  There is so much you can do with the material, the basic material, that you just have to get down and, and you work with it, you know, and ya make it different, but yet, and not get out of the basic program.

 

BB- Yes, so now you're talking about Kansas City. This is Callerlab.

 

DL-That's Callerlab, Yes.

 

BB- I know you been very active in Callerlab over the years and were Chairmen of the Timing Committee.

 

DL-Yeah!

 

BB- Let's talk about that for a minute.

 

DL- Well, with the, I'd like to go back a little bit If I could, before that because before even Callerlab. I joined Callerlab in 1974 and prior to that I started getting, you know, by recording records and I was approached by Folkcraft to put "All Day All Night Mary Ann", that was one of the numbers we were doing with the orchestra that wasn't ever recorded. And we were having bus loads traveling in with other callers from as far away as New Hampshire to hear this "All Day All Night Mary Ann" being done live. And of course at that time the number was very popular on the local radio stations. So our crowds just got really big and sometimes people just couldn't get into the hall. The fact of the matter was when the orchestra got there around 7:30 people were all ready lined out to the street. We used to dance on the second floor of this beautiful French Hall, that held comfortably about 27 squares.  When the orchestra got to the dance they were lined out to the street. Well that lead to recording and when the recording got of course, once it got out, we are going back to 1957 now.  "All Day All Night Mary Ann" came out and I put out several records after that one. It was such a big hit and I think it's still the biggest seller that's ever been in square dancing.

 

BB- Is that right?

 

DL- Yes, the only one I ever got any royalties from, but that's beside the point. Since then I've recorded with Grenn. And in recording, you're putting records in hands, you know that is distributed around the country, various places that sell square dance records. And then groups start writing you and asking if you can come out and call for them and, you know this is how a traveling caller becomes apparent. Well, I did a lot of traveling and one of the places I went was, every other year I'd travel, on my vacation time, up to Nova Scotia. And I went through Yarmouth, Halifax and then driving sometimes up through New Brunswick and I was able to arrange enough dates from people who had written me to work every night say on a ten day swing around.  Well in Halifax and another part of Nova Scotia, a caller approached me to teach them what I was doing with a crowd. They liked what I was doing with a crowd of course you know I was calling so they could dance to the music, period.  And they asked if I could help them to do the same thing I was doing. In other words my timing is what they wanted and I had never had thought about it before but that posed a tremendous problem to me because you know, when you do it, you really don't know how you would teach it. I had to give it a lot of thought but, it took 2 years to finally work out the First Callers School on Timing.  And I learned during that week. I learned ten times more than anyone attending the caller's school to learn timing.  I learn so much about the fact of giving them the music, giving the number 1 beat of music to the dancers to move to. And this is what I been doing and this what ties in the whole crowd so they move, in other words, you're moving, you're telling them what to do when you know. You're telling them what to do, but the music is telling them when to go.  And once they go then it's your job to give, always give them the next call just before they need it. So they are still using the music and people don't get tired dancing that way. And what I call it is like pre-cueing. It's like a round dance really and this what eventually developed into my style of calling. It's that I could pre-cue the call and still sing the song. And even in the patter calls I could pre-cue and then, I have it now so it's almost second nature. And the system of running Caller Schools, teaching timing is that you can put it down so they can actually get it. And ah, you know the number I beat, the phrase of music is so great to dance to that when a caller starts calling to it, he wants to use it to, to call to. And it just common sense the caller has to say well, the dancers are paying the bill so that the dancers really deserve that number I beat. So he has to back up his calls to 5, 6, 7 or 8.

 

BB- Right. Well, that's very interesting.  So going back to recording, I know that you made many, many, many recordings over the years. You mentioned Grenn and you also recorded, what on Top.

 

DL- Yeah, Top. I did quite a few prior to Grenn.  But they're all the same company you know. Topp and Grenn and the Full Time Caller was F.T.C. That's all the same company. Then I was approached by Sets In Order to do

 

BB- Their promotional records?

 

DL-Their promotional records, I did several numbers probably, maybe about half dozen on that over the years. Then I was approached to do an educational series of albums to use at school, and that was by Kimball. That was by a gentleman by the name of Bob Kimball. And the reason I, we got approached to that is this gal in Bridgewater State College. She used to be a square dancer and there's a place up there called Hoagies, which I used to call to about 4 times a year. And, she was at a dance I called at Hoagies. And I guess the dance was that much different from anything else that she had gone to. Not, not so much I was that much better but it was just the way the material was presented that she, it really impressed her as far as the people stayed right to the last, the last minute and actually, you know hollered for more.  At the end of the dance and I guess she had been going to Hoagies and had seen other dances and of course many of them were very, very good, but this was the first time she felt people had actually danced all night.  And so she called me and asked if she could see me because this Bob Kimball had approached her about possibly doing something in that field of education.  And that's how that series of albums came out and I think his words to her was "Well, whoever you get. I don't mind spending the money but I want it to be the best." And so that's where I was able to put the system I do use.  She took, she had made her doctorate in music and in rhythm, and the two of us worked together and successfully put out a series of four albums.  And as a by-product of that, we used some of the music to put an exercise album out which is used in the school and that was quite something.

 

BB-OK, Alright, what was this lady's name?

 

DL-Her name was Pat Phillips.

 

BB-Now we were just talking about Square Acres in West Bridgewater. Go ahead.

 

DL- Well the building itself was, was built by Howard Hoag and he had come from Kansas I believe.

 

BB- Right, Yeah

 

DL- And, ah he was a great promoter. Howard was able to advertise and started bringing people into this Square Acres. And I can remember the main hall at Square Acres had these cables and the cables themselves had to be at least an inch thick and they went across so that you didn't have your ordinary posts for a hall. It was approximately 48 feet wide and about 60 some odd feet long.  I don't know the exact domensions but that holds quite a big crowd, and every time as the Square Acres built up, he started a lot of teaching classes there and had different callers and some were experienced and some were inexperienced. Teaching people continually at Square Acres. Gradually built up quite a, quite a number of people. We would, I can remember. He would give a TV set, one of these Black and White TV sets, if people brought X number of squares. And so different Clubs started teaching their Classes there. And different callers of course would be hired to come in and teach, and teach the classes there. Then they would call that home. So you had a good, a good base of people to draw from once it got on the ground.

 

BB- Right! How many dance halls in Square Acres? Do you remember? Must of 3, 4 anyway.

 

DL- Well I'll just name quickly it in this particular area.  There was Johnson Barn.

 

BB-No, I was talking about Square Acres.

 

DL- At Square Acres, eventually, OK, they started with one hall, then they had in back of the stage, he made an extension and made a secondary hall. As it grew maybe 4 years down the line. They put a hall to the left of the one that was in back of the stage. So there was 3 halls. Then they had one downstairs that's 4 halls. I think they ended up eventually with 6 halls. All different stages of Square Dancing people who were just starting would go back to hall #5 and people who would, were already underway and had 10 lessons, they would probably be in hall #6. And somebody else was downstairs, eventually with the idea with the people who danced in the  #1 hall were polished square dancers.  They were dancing to the likes of the Who's Who of Square Dance Callers. And you'd have a different Caller every Saturday Night.

 

BB-Well, I think there at one time they were intimating you could walk in there almost at anytime and start to Square Dance.  Because there was a group forming every week or every 2 weeks or something like that. It really was something.

 

DL- Yup, It was really quite an operation.

 

BB-He had a big kitchen and lunch counter. He served the whole bowl of wax.

 

DL- You know Bob, thinking about Square Acres, I have to tell you a little story with Square Acres.

 

BB-Go ahead.

 

DL- it only takes a minute.  I remember one time on the 5th Saturday. Now, you realize a lot of clubs dance on the 1st and 3Td and a lot of clubs dance on the 2nd and 4U1. And I was scheduled to go into Square Acres on the 5th Saturday of September, and my wife and I left home and it was stormy day and we're thinking on the way up to Square Acres, I said, "Oh, my goodness, nobody gonna come out tonight." Simply because it was pouring rain out, on route 24, going from Fall River up to West Bridgewater. I had to slow down to about 25 miles an hour and in those days your windshield washer worked on one speed. You know windshield wipers, and you couldn't advance the speed so I had to go from what I could see. And it was a horrible night, as far as weather wise. It wasn’t cold but it was raining and everything else. I said, "Oh Boy! Square Acres is gonna be a mud pit."  In the parking lot probably won't matter because there won't be many there. When I got there I thought, "My God, what's going on here." The parking lot was absolutely jammed. The cop came over and asked me who I was and I said, "Well, I was the caller." He said, "Well I got orders to send you down a little dirt road." That went off to the right and all the way down maybe l/8 of a mile to pull up to the side door, which I had never went down before. There was a full hall of people. I guess what happened. Everyone came off the golf courses early. They couldn't work in the garden; the weather was too bad.  And nobody that had any plans said we might as well go dancing tonight. And they all said the same thing. We ended up at Square Acres that night. Oh, another thing, I left out. They were selling chances on a color TV at that time, and the drawing was that night. And I'm sure that brought quite a few people who bought tickets in. Well anyway, we ended up with 998 people total attendance at Square Acres that night.

 

BB- Wow!

 

DL-So when they made the final count, Doc Troseller, who use to work there called up a couple who wasn't there just to round it off at 1000 people. That was just an ordinary 5th Saturday, where none of the clubs were dancing and they were raffling off the TV set. Well needless to say it was, it was unbelievable. The people were in like sardines. They were, they had six halls at that time to distribute everybody.

 

BB-Yeah! You couldn't call in all six now.

 

DL- NO, NO, NO, NO! I used to actually, they sent me into the second hall in back of the stage.  I would go into the second hall and I remember one night I was calling Square Acres and # I hall was full. #2 hall was full and really didn't bother me to go from one hall to another. You know, even though they were probably at different, what we would call a different level today.  And Hoagie came up to me after I got done #2 hall and said, "I got so and so here and I like to have him guest call in #1." I said fine. So I figured I had a tip I could just rest. He said, "But I'd really like to do, if you'll do it. Is call for my beginners." So I walked all the way down to the hall I forgot the number now and I brought the guitar and when I got to the hall with the beginners. All the strings on my guitar you know, going from one hall to another it changes. Your strings go out of tune. And by the time I strummed the chord, by the time, I got the beginners, I love working with beginners. So it bothered me, but my guitar was completely out of tune. So luckily I had to switch to a record.

 

BB-Right. I just happened to think before we leave Square Acres, that the main hall at Square Acres is dedicated to the honor of, memory of Lawrence Loy.

 

DL-Oh yes, that right Laurence Loy.

 

BB-Loy Hall

 

DL-Loy's Hall

 

BB-And they had his picture hung up over the stage.  Usually the picture of caller that was calling that night. Advertising a week or so before hanging up over the stage. Many people don't remember who Lawrence Loy was.  And, of course I worked with him at the University of Massachusetts for several years earlier. And in the mid 50's. He unfortunately passed away and for the sake of the tape and I think we should mention, he was the one who was responsible for bringing Herb Greggerson into Brockton. And so I always said he was the one responsible for bringing Western Style Square Dancing and the class club idea to New England and I wanted to record that sometime or another. And it seemed like an opportune time to do it.

 

DL-Yeah, Absolutely!

 

BB-Ah, You remember Lawrence?

 

DL-Oh yes I, you know I never really knew him that well. But I knew who he was and I met him but never really got to know him that well.

 

BB-Oh yeah! Well, as I recall he was one of the first callers to put Square Dancing on a major label. His recording were 0 inch, 78 RPM on RCA Victory.

 

DL-I was just going to say, RCA Victory I think, I had a couple of those records.

 

BB- Yeah, So after they, after the Henry Ford recordings and a few other attempts along the line, some of the real early Square Dance recordings on RCA Victory. Lawrence Loy was the one that did it.  But he was Recreation Director for the State of Massachusetts and housed at the University of Massachusetts, where I was working after I graduated from college, but be that as it may. I did want to get that on tape.

 

DL- You know, you're talking about that there was also Bay Path Bam up in Boylston. It also had, so called, what we called National Callers or Traveling Callers and

 

BB-And still do.

 

DL- Yeah and still do and they also had pictures of all the people that called for them from one time to another.  And there’s another barn called Johnson Barn, which also did the same thing and Kramers Hayloft, which is the New England Foundation, was,  had the New England Foundation, also put all the pictures of all the Callers, you know, that traveled through and called in the area.  At one time we had quite a few callers and they would, the callers coming into New England used say they were always impressed with the dancing of the people in New England.  And I think this is very much from the traditional background that the people in New England had.

 

BB-Right, Now you are entirely right. There is no doubt about it, I've talked to many National Callers back over the years and they were always impressed by the fact with people really danced to the music.  This is one of the things I've missed since I've moved out to Alburque, but, then there was the Canoe Club.

 

DL-Yes, I forgot about the new club, Canoe Club. That was really, wasn't in existence as long as the others.

 

BB-No, Right and there was couple of lesser halls down little ones down in all, Waterbury, CT. outside Waterbury, CT. Wasn't that the one called Chicken Coop?

 

DL-Chicken Coop. How about the called Stepney Barn?

 

BB-Ah, Stepnry Barn. Al Who?

 

DL-Yeah, Right

 

BB-But well, that's really interesting and

 

DL- That's kind of brings us up to the, you know, present day. That the thing I think that we grew in square dancing, along with Square Dancing. I think at the most opportune time and I think those of us that have been in Square dancing for quite a number of years even with our roots back to traditional dancing. I think that we got, we got so much of an insight actually moving to the music and phrasing and when I dance I kind of pick and chose because I don't like to be cheated music wise. I don't like to say, hear someone say Side Face Grand Square off the phrase so I can’t move to the number one beat.  And if they cut it short because the people are rushing, some of the Callers make the mistake of jumping ahead with the next call and I'm not through with the Grand Square yet. And I want to dance that Grand Square. It's a beautiful figure.

 

BB. Right, I understand that.

 

DL And just multiply this time how many basics you do where you really enjoy putting them together and work out to the phrase and I really feel the best dancing is the preplanned. When Callers will set down preplanned, it's OK to use split phrasing but put it with something that ads up the 16 or put it with something that's ads up to 8.

And you can do that with any call at least any call in Mainstream. That's as high as I ever call anyway.  I don't go into plus or any of the others. I often say and Bob you can uphold this to many, many years of knowing me that I call basic and Challenge and I leave all the stuff in between out.  But my challenge is to the Basics. If it isn't to the music, I'm not dancing.  I'm not providing dancing.

 

BB. Yup! You've been involved in several week long institutes and you mentioned a callers’ school earlier, what other things of this type have you done over the years?

 

DL - Well, Primarily, I don't, Callerlab developed curriculum to teach Callers, I don't, I hate to put this on the recorder but I don't agree with it. It's just too much to learn in too little time. And I think they realized that of course but my schools on calling, teaching timing, I deal with 3 things. I deal with the timing of the music of course first and foremost. How to use it.  The choreography as it applies to the music and timing is the glue that keeps the 2 things together. I have to realize that I'm providing the dancing. The music is what they dance to. I'm providing the material, but the way I put that material to the dancer is so you can start on the first beat of a song, which usually last 64 beats or 64 steps. And you don't stop moving until the 64th beat.  When you are through the whole thing should go, flow from one basic to another. It doesn't matter whether you're using Square Thru, Swing thru, Boys Run. All those things can be put together in such a way so that the people will always be dancing on #1 beat or the #5 beat. Occasionally, you can run two things together that will, will just put the square thru if you give them the first beat from home position. You start them off so they have the # 1 beat with a square thru and follow with Swing thru. When they're finished with the swing thru, they've used up exactly 16 steps. Now prior to the 16 beats you've already given them, boy's trade or boys run or any other call, and that is the first beat again. Oh this, this is how it works. You can do that, and just off the top of my head you can have a figure that really works out beautiful and split the phrase, years ago when we were recording as you well know, we didn't steal material from other callers. We borrowed but we would never make a record using another figure that another caller has already put on a record. And I'm thinking to myself today we don't have that creativity because Callers rather than develop there own figures, copy someone else's. A case in point, Heads Promenade 1/2 way, Side right and left thru, Sides square thru, dosado, 8 chain 4, swing #5 and Promenade. It's on at least 20 records I know of.  And it's still coming out. You, if callers would back up and say, "why is this figure so good?" All they have to do is add it up and it comes up t exactly 64 beats, providing they pre-cued it. Another figure in point is, Heads Promenade 1/2 way, in the middle square thru 4, Right and left thru the outside two, Veer left, Ferris wheel, square thru 3, swing the comer and Promenade. The dancers love it because it works out to 64 steps.

 

BB. You see the trouble now once you get to that square thru 3, then you gotta touch 1/4, and scoot back either once or twice in order to keep up with the dancers.

 

DL. Yeah, yup, funny part about it is, that particular figure, the second one I read off with the ferris wheel in it. That's got to be on a least 32-36 records.  And we would never think of doing that. If we couldn't write our own material, we wouldn't record. It's as simple as that.  It's like stealing creativity from someone else. Today I think callers are a little bit on lazy side. It's so much easier to grab something you know works. And throw it on a record and put it out. It's not what it used to be.  I think what we really need is to bet back to more creative writing more creative things within the basic's of square dancing.

 

BB. and make them fit the music.

 

DL. And make them fit the music. Yeah! Yeah!

 

BB. And don't do what I did on one of my records. I ended up with dive thru, pass thru, left swing thru, and nobody to do, nobody would do it.

 

DL. Well, you know it's just common sense if you stick with basics. Most everyone knows basics. If you can put it together put those basics together in a clever way and make it slightly different. A different feel to it, providing it's all timed out to 64 beats. People don't get tired of it. They know it's a little innovative. "Gee, that was cute, that was nice." You know, at least you're writing your own material. There shouldn't be any need for people to take a figure that's already written. And just to put it on a record and have the music be different. You know, but anyway, that just diverting away from what we're talking about.

 

BB. Sure, now I know that you have been involved in the contra dances for many, many years. Going way back, were you doing contra dances early? Or, how did this get into you're program.

 

DL. You asked me what direction we going in.  Well, I think we have to go back a few years to the greatest growth in square dancing.  And that undoubtedly was from the mid 50's to the mid 60's and at that time everybody was having good classes, because everybody was enthused with the activity with the meeting of people and enjoying the music. Our sound equipment was getting better; our microphones were getting better. Everything was getting better. Until levels came in. I don't remember exactly when levels came in, as I said, we had natural levels. We had first year dancers, and we had intermediates and we've had advanced, but all, after you had been dancing three years, you would, you'd fit in any group. I think one of the things we miss very much today is, say for instance we have if I say something we could teach in 16-­20 weeks and we would keep that particular level from now on and devise and interject all sorts of variety. One with the music, one with the formations we do, include ah quadrilles and get back to, you know, dancing to the music. I don't think people ever get tire of dancing to the music. I think what they really get of and some people will called it boredom, is they get tired of dancing off the music and just doing material and music playing in the background.  And I say that and people will laugh and say "what do you mean music playing in the background." I said, Well actually you are dancing to the caller's voice. He may be or she may be providing interesting Choreography but it's not being danced. It's being gone through with the music playing, as an excuse in the background so that they can call it square dancing, but it's not square dancing.  It isn't any type of dancing. It's playing with people in groups of eight.  But anyway what one of the things the activity really, really needs is a concentrated effect of teach, teaching callers you know, if per se, teaching our callers how to… Well, when we did traditional dances of course, we did simple contra dances.

 

BB. You did really?

 

DL. I was a good friend of Herbie Gaudeau. Herbie Gaudeau has passed away some time ago. But Herbie and I used, you know, to write back and forth. I was leaving for Toronto, Canada, one time. I forgot what year it was. Herbie had called me about a figure I had done at Square Acres, because he was dancing there when I called it. He couldn't remember the whole thing. He had scribbled it down and he had left something out and it wouldn't work out. And he called me on that, and while he was, when he told me the figure and I told him what it was. He said, "Oh, that's what I left out." I forgot what it was now. I said, "By the way Herbie, I'm going to Toronto. I'm doing a Caller's Session. I'm also calling a dance but I'm working with the callers up there. Do you have anything that I can use." I'm always looking for something so he told me this dance he had just written called Beckett Reel.  And so I went up and needless to say, when you do a caller session I always like to include as you do, contras. I always like to do at least one, a couple of quadrilles at least. You know, and make the program a diversified program. Along with the Modem Western, So I took the dance and I'm flying up to Canada and reading it over and I thought that looks great you  know.  It was easy to call and the set up was different.  I never see it before.  That was the one where do, you line up as couples with you partner and you slant you know, to the left. You do a right and left thru, and then you go straight across with right and left thru, if you remember that one.  I'm sure you do. Well, anyway that went over great and they wanted it again. And someone was recording it. Needless to say I'm like any other caller. I wrote the contra down and but, forgot to put the name. And Herbie Gaudeau had written it as, you know, I wasn't interested in the figure name. I knew who wrote it. And they asked me, "Well, Dick what'd you name that Contra." "It's not my contra." I said. "Gee, he told me. Herbie Gaudeau told me what the name was. I can't remember what he told me right now. Well, anyway, Bob when they asked you to do something a second time, you know it's a winner. And I got home after that, the rest of the session went very well. And I got home after that and I called Herbie up to tell him what a great contra it was. How much they enjoyed it and they wanted, as a matter of fact, I did it twice in the afternoon for the workshop and I did in the evening with all the dancers present. And they loved it. So I told him what a great dance it was and if he had any more like that I'd appreciate it. I said, "By the way, What did you name the dance?" He said, "Well I don't know if I told you over the phone. Come to think of it. I don't know if I did mention anything about Beckett Reel." I said, "That was it and I'm sorry Herbie I couldn't remember the name." And so, in the mean time I got a letter from Toronto, from the chairmen who had written me. They didn't know what to call it so they called Slauchwise Contra, written by Herbie Gaudeau. And shortly after that I wrote to them and gave them the right name, which I guess at the next meeting they told everyone there that the real name was Beckett Reel.  I don't know this for a fact but I assume they did. In the meantime it was so good that it came out on a record with Don Armstrong calling.

 

BB. Yeah, Donnegal

 

DL. He called it. He recorded to the tune of Donnegal and he called it "Slauch the Donnegal."  So to this day I still remind Don it really is, was the Beckett Reel. But he made it popular anyway.

 

BB. Oh, sure.

 

DL. Which is, which is.  Herbie never, he was tickled it was recorded.

 

BB. Right. I never really got to know Herbie that much. I met him a couple times. That's really too bad, I wished I did.  That's the principal reason we are doing this oral history project.  Because we are losing people of this talent.

 

DL. Well, another thing that comes to mine. I did put out a contra album. Modern Square, Modem Contra Dance Party, and all the material on that album was written by a very good friend of mine Roger Wynot.  Now Roger is no longer calling but he is very much alive. He still writing some material and I owe Roger a lot for the knowledge about contras. I worked with Roger on Weekends where he's done Waltz Contras and Waltz Quadrilles. And he's, you know, he's one of the those people like Herbie Gaudeau very innovative, very creative. They can make something out of practically nothing and the people would just love it. And so I'd like to mention his name also.

 

BB. Sure

 

DL. Very good influence

 

BB. What is your impression for the tendency in some parts of the country to use mainstream and plus terminology in Contra Dancing?

 

DL. Well, you know I think it goes back, if the dance is created correctly. The material that's in it really doesn't matter but my objection to it would be the people putting it together that I'm not sure they have the knowledge to be able to work it out to the phrasing. Once the phrasing, phrase dancing of a contra is destroyed. I think the contra itself is destroyed. You can, you know, Roger Wynot has put contras together with all the case and pointer of square thru, which you know, with the use of slide thru and then face in and all those things together can be called directionally once you do the square thru. You can just pass the person by and face in. You don't need to say the name, Slide thru.  Now if it makes the person feel and feel like they are dancing a higher level to hear the call slide thru, well then so be it, but you really don't need it.  And a lot of things in contras you don’t need because the people who dance contras are real dancers. The ones that feel the music and enjoy the music portion as well as the choreography and how it works out.

 

BB.! danced with a caller in Albuquerque a few months ago and he used 1/2 square thru and trade by. OK

 

DL. Yeah, I know, In a line it works of course it works. But do we need it. No, I don't think we need it.

 

BB. And at the Nationals in San Antonio this past summer we did a DoPaso in a contra and they did Wheel Across, which is not too bad, but OK well.

 

DL. But some of those things it's just like Turn Contra Corners. If you want to go to a DoPaso it's partner left, corner right. This one would be partner right first corner left, Partner right, second corner left.  So as far as the intricacy is concerned, the hand turns are there.

 

BB. Now you are getting into Challenge. Both laughing But one of the things I'm really looking forward to is the Contra Dance Weekend in York, PA. Which is coming up Thanksgiving Weekend and then

 

DL. Yeah, That's week trom next Thursday.  

 

BB. Many of the countries dignitaries are going to be there. I think, Brother Al is planning on coming up and possibly Bob Osgood from California.

 

DL. Glen and Flo Nickerson, Decko Deck

 

BB. The Buttenhoffd and .....

 

DL. We have so many people that I look forward to that because people really fee the music. The dancing there, I think is of a great caliber, quality wise. People move beautifully to the music, don't try to cheat them on Grand Square, you'll hear about. No it's great working with Don Armstrong and Bill Johnston. They're two real, what I call real professionals. You know, it seems though, the higher stature people they get in, the easier they are to work with. They’ve been through it all. They’ve been there, they done that.

 

BB. Yeah, Been there, done that. So

 

DL. And you know they make it so much, make you feel so welcome. I went 10 years ago.  This will be my 11th year at York working with them.  Another name Angus McMoran from Ottawa, Canada. Angus and Katherine McMoran. He was the Original Square Dance Caller at that particular weekend and now 11 years later, 21 years later I should say. This will be our 21 year, not our, this will be my 11th but the weekend has been going for 21 years.  My East Hill Farm Weekend, I do in Troy, New Hampshire, this will be our 30 year.

 

BB. There you go.

 

DL. I've been doing that for many years with Wayne Morse and caller from Connecticut. Now we have 2 or 3 others on staff.

B. Yeah, who are some the others.

 

DL. Lori Morin who has been calling about 10 years or so and she is very, very good and Sonja Mogel. Sonja and John Mogel have been around for 25-30,30 years at least and was in one of my caller classes way, way back when. And on rounds we have Joe and Jennie Frisella. Jennie is a cuer and Joe does a little calling. So we have staff, we have other callers that will come just to dance.  This our 30th year.

 

BE. What time of year is that.

 

DL. That's usually, we always have the first weekend of March and its always Easy Mainstream.  Any of my dances or Weekends or trips are easy mainstream.

 

DL. give the call so that the dancer can do the call to the music. And in order to do that he is going to have to learn to prompt.  Now this is what made contras so demanding is that you must learn to prompt a contra. But there's no difference really if your in a square you can prompt heads Right and Left thru the same way you can in a contra, say, you know, Right and Left across. And all of the different basics can be prompted so the dancer always has the heavy beat of music to move to. That's what makes it enjoyable, that and the fact that now that they are dancing on the music, they have a chance to experience so many different forms of music. It can be a, It can be a nice 6/8 piece of music. It can be a nice 2/4 or a nice smooth 4/4 time.  The timing doesn't change all through the whole system, If you learn to prompt squares. That in itself will enable your to learn how to prompt mixers. Going on to prompting contras, going on from that prompting round dances. Now the Round Dancing we do has to be prompted. That's a lot like the contra dancing is. You cannot, you have to discipline yourself to where you have to put the prompt right at the right place.  And I think this is the area we really have to work with our callers and our teachers. Teaching them how to use the music and it can be done. And split phrasing, I really feel that in order to do this you must preplan your material, so that you can mix different number of counts together, as long as they keep adding up to 8 or 16.

 

BB. Right, Well, I think, you know the thought I had is that split timing is one thing but clipped timing is something else.

 

DL. Your talking about a whole new ball game there.

 

BB. Right, and what we'd talking about is doing a singing call that has 72 beats of action and if it's done properly your trying to put it to a 64 beat tune, right.

 

DL. Impossible, especially when the caller uses the first 4 beats to give his call.  No matter what it is well this has happened, and I think even in the recording field there is too many records that come out that are missed timed. And until we start learning our job, which is to give the music to the dancer, I don't know that we'll get the crowds back again. But hey, Country Western has come in and Line Dancing and now there getting a lot of people with some of them have very little experience, but their drawing the crowds, its because, you know, if you look at it, everyone become an instant dancer the minute they step on the floor. Everything is taught, everything is walked through and the music is put on. What does that remind you of?

 

BB. Right, Our

 

DL. Square Dancing in the old days. Your number 4 couple and you never went to a square dance before in your life. And all of a sudden you became an instant square dancer. So, you know, we have to kinda go back, I not saying we should go back to that of taking people right in off the street. At least not call it our Modem Square Dancing.  But I do feel that we have a limit of the number of things we should cover comfortable in 16-20 weeks. And from that point on use our ingenuity, our creativeness, and keep the people interested for years to come.  There’s so much that you can do with the number of basic that you can teach in 16-20 weeks.  There's no need to go higher. There's no need to split people up into, you have friends that live next to each, 2 farmers that live next to each other. They go through Square Dancing, all of a sudden somebody comes up and says, "Hey you want to take Plus Lessons?" the guy says, "What's Plus Lessons?" "Well that's where you can really have a good time. And the first farmer says, "Hey I'm working 12 hours a day now. You know, I got all I can do to spare this one night a week.  And I'm very happy with doing what I'm doing. I love it. You know" His neighbor says, "Well, I guess I won't see you any more because I'm going to Plus Lessons. I'll be to good for you."  They don't come right out and say that, but this is what's happening.  And then of course, when you get to Plus Lessons, and you survive, if you survive, which incidentally, a lot of them don't and you dance Plus for awhile, all of a sudden comes saying well you people really aren't having a good time. You got to come up to A1.  And they give the people a chance to you know, look down their nose at the Plus dancers and say well now, were A1, you know.  And I always thought A1 was something you put on a steak, you know.  But anyway people are funny. They get this insecurity. Now instead of bringing these two farmers who lived next to each other, giving a place to go to join the rest of their lives of sociability and other friends there'll meet. God know what else. All of a sudden square dancing has done exactly the opposite of what it's intended to do. Instead of bringing people together, here you've separated two friends.  And eventually without their old friendships, eventually, they both go back to the farm and start playing Pinochle again.

 

BB. Well I've had the feeling in some of the others I've interviewed.  I have the feeling that this is almost impossible to do with our present day dancers. We can't

 

DL. Once you give them something and you make them work toward something's and they feel they've reached that something. Its kind of unfair to say all of sudden you well, you can't do that anymore.  I think it can be done, but I think it's got to be done over a period of time. I think if you drop a thing here and you drop a thing there and people if people are having a good time a funny thing happens. They really are not thinking about that. All they know when they walk out of that hall is they had a good time.  Now their challenge for the evening might have been a quadrille. The way you are demanding they dance it exactly right.  But it relates an experience and this is a true experience by the way Bob and you know I don't call Plus or anything and I really don't even use a full Mainstream. And I've survived all these years. But I went to a club in Penn, and I won't name names because it's not that important. But when I was starting to get hired. I was starting to get hired 2 and 3 years ahead of time. And when I was hired it was to call a Mainstream dance you know. It was from 8- I 0:30 and so that's what I signed the contact and everything was all set. Come about 6 months prior to the dance you know, they wrote to me and said we have your reservation, I believe it was the Ramada Inn or something like that and we'll expect you at the dance at 7:30. We have a short meeting prior to the dance and everything was fine you know. Nothing was mentioned, but what had happened, is that they had turned into a Plus Club.  And they said they had a big flyer in the lobby, and I didn't know this until I got to the lobby and I saw on a big wall and you have to picture this. Now they have a big picture of me saying "Dick Leger Calling". Right?  And then underneath the Calling they had Plus = = =His Guitar. Now can you get the picture of that?  Now if you read it all together you get. "Dick Leger Calling Plus With His Guitar."   And I don't call Plus.  And the President came out, maybe 20 minutes of 8 and I’m still waiting to set up my equipment. And the President said, "Well, Dick I meant to tell you that we've turned into a Plus Club. That's know problem is it? I said, "Yes, it's a big problem." He said, "Why, you call plus, right?" I said, Well, I can call plus I said, but through choice. I don't want to call plus. I don't want to even think about calling plus." Well he said, "Can you do something where they won't even know the different?" Well, I said, I'm going to call within Mainstream and we'll see if they know the different." Well, to make a long story short there was 12 squares on the floor and I got, they introduced me. They gave me a nice introduction. Never said anything about plus again that night and I opened up and had everybody dancing of course the guitar is always a novelty so they was a lot of experience dancing to the guitar. Then I did the second tip; incidentally they didn't have any rounds that night. I was surprised to see that. I really hoped they would have rounds, I really enjoy rounds. I teach rounds matter of fact. But, they didn't so gave them a short break and I went back up and started my second tip, then my third tip is the thing I call my crazy mixer. I get the whole crowd promenading in one big circle and I treat them like one big square.  And it's a pandemonium. I don't care if you dance plus or C7 or

Basic, It's just pandemonium. Everybody is going to ended up in stitches. You know. So consequently, I put a lot of stuff in it. I get them in lines marching and have face their partner and dosado and star thru and California twirl and promenade the other way. All stuff that's, that's all Basic but it stuff they are not use too. Well, come to find out, during the thing, because of what I'm doing, I what's going to happen. But part of the floor falls apart and whose in the middle of not knowing where he is going is the President. And I said we are going to have to take a little break here while we find this gentlemen somebody from the opposite sex to dance with. So anyway we got them back in lines and promenading. Well, then I went on, they ran for the 2-1/2 hours straight. They took a break about quarter of 10. I remember, for about 15-minutes. People had cookies and a donut and stuff like that. Then we started out about 10 o'clock again and everybody was there. And I called my next tip and then I thought well, gee, instead, we're not doing any rounds. I'm gonna start doing a little contra. So I took out and easy contra and something I call a foolproof contra. Even if they make a mistake they won't break down. I did that and it was a little heel and toe.  I don’t know if you remember that.

 

BB.Yes

 

DL. A little. "On The Way to Boston".  Anyway, the little heel toe and I had to teach it. That took about 5 minutes to get everybody and they loved it. And the music I used only goes through 5 times through. So that was my whole next tip. They wanted to do it again. So I did it again. Now it's getting to be about 20 after 10 and so forth and so on. I figure you know I got maybe 2 more tips until the end of the dance. The President of the club came up and said, "Well, you know you took the microphone from me" and over the Mic he said, "you know I haven't seen everybody leave tonight." And I'm thinking to myself, why is he saying that? Because he forgot to tell me their dances ends at 10:30 and usually by 10 o'clock a lot people start leaving.  But nobody had left. And nobody was leaving.   He said, "I've never seen you people stay this long before." And I, so I said, "you mean the dance ends at 10:30"? Of course it's 25 past 10 then. I said, "gee we just can't leave it end."

 

BB. Not then

 

DL. That wasn't what I planned to do for my last number even though they thoroughly enjoyed it. So I took the microphone and I, you know, I said, I thought I was hired until 11 0' clock. That's what my contact said and I understand now it's supposed to be over at 10:30. I said I really didn't expect to end. So they started applauding. So I said, well, look, why don't we do another, you know, another with the guitar? I did what I call my singing hoedown. Lasts about 15 minutes, you know, and I just do a whole series of singing calls and, you know, it's getting now to be about quarter of 11. Nobody left, Bob.  But do you something the president stood up and nobody left that hall. And I remember it to this day, so, you know, so much that it surprised me. They lined up in a big circle and not one couple. They all had to come up and thank me for the dance.

 

DL. And everybody that came up shook my hand and said what a good time they had. And about every 3rd or 4th couple would say, “By the way, what level ws this?”  And I would always look up at them and say, “What level do you think it was?”  You know, They'd say, "Well, it was sure more than Mainstream." "And I guess it must have had some plus in it?" I said, I guess that's the level it was. You know, they went on to shake the Presidents hand. The President is doing all he can do from bursting out laughing, cause not one couple knew what level that dance was.  And do you know what level it was? Basic.  It wasn't, I didn't sure hardly use 7 or 8 calls in the mainstream. But they didn't know because the variety was there. The fun was there. The enjoyment was there. And a young couple I remember was right near the end of that line and they came up and said, "we've had the best time we've ever had in our life. And we want to thank you and hope you'd gonna come back again." And I said, Well, I'm gonna try. And the girl said, "you know, I don't know what level this was, I really don't care."

 

DL. And I'm thinking to myself, what an appropriate thing for someone to say that's right near the end of the line. Because nobody else, you know, they wanted to know what level it was. I don't know whether, if they wanted to know to gage how good a time they had. Well maybe I didn't have you know, I told them. It was a basic dance. I'm sure some went out scratching their heads and said well maybe I didn't have as good a time as I thought I had. See what I mean?  It's all-psychology. Well, the President said, "Dick will you come back again next year?" And I said, "Will you advertise it as a mainstream dance?" He said, "I'm afraid if I do we won't get the same number of people."  I said, you know something, I've already heard from some people. I hadn't heard from the people, but there were people, one couple came from a group I use to call for in that particular city. That came and they took a chance, but they said, they had told me at the dance that there was a whole group that wanted to come down, but didn't want to come down because it was Plus.   So instead of having their twelve squares there, they probably would have had, well who knows maybe sixteen, eighteen squares there.  So what that President didn't know didn't understand was that well maybe the four couples might have stayed home because it was a mainstream dance they might have gotten six squares to come because it was a Mainstream Dance. You know what I mean because they danced to me before. But anyway.

 

BE. Well anyway Dick I want to really thank you very much for taking the time to show us your part of the square dance activity and that's been a very, very interesting life. I know you've had. You certainly made a, a profound influence on the activity. AndI wish you continued success and really look forward to seeing you down in York, Pennsylvania at this contra dance weekend. So

 

DL. Well, Bob I hope I can demonstrate down there exactly what I've been saying.

 

BB. Great, great!

 

DL. You let me know after the weekend, if I slip up.

 

BE. OK.  

 

DL. Remember we all make mistakes.

 

 BB. Oh yeah, OK

 

DL. Thank You

 

BB. First one this year.

 

DL. Right

 

BB. Thanks Dick.

 

 

 

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Written By: Bob Brundage
Date Posted: 11/29/2007
Number of Views: 1948

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