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Gardner Patton March 6, 2011

Bob Brundage: This is Bob, it's Sunday March 6, 2011, and I’m having the pleasure of talking with Gardner Patton back in Bridgewater, NJ. 
 
Gardner Patton: Yup.
 
BB: I’m very happy to have a chance to talk to Gardner because he has been so helpful with this oral history project we’ve been having for the Square Dance Foundation of New England. We’ll talk about that as time goes along. So Gardner, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your early background and we’ll take it from there.
 
GP: OK. Thanks, it’s very nice to be on the other end of the interview with you Bob … quite interesting. I was born in Boston, believe it or not, and then my family moved to Portland, Oregon when I was about seven, so I grew up in Portland, Oregon. Then later on, for college, I came back to the East coast to Providence, Rhode Island again. But there’s a few things that … in my early days that are fairly interesting that have to do with later on my … my … development in dancing but also as part of your project, your oral history project.
 
BB: Ah ha.
 
GP: It turns out that before I was born my mother was a secretary at Harvard University in the Physics Department. This was before the atom bomb was built so she had ideas about what her new son that she was going to have should be. She wanted me to be a physicist, of course, because she worked for all these people in the Physics Department.  She had an office over the cyclotron which was new in those days and atomic power was just coming in and they really hadn’t had an atomic bomb yet, so she got all excited about that. Then later on she felt that the secretarial skills that she had were very important, so as I grew up in Portland, instead of going out and playing baseball with the kids after school, she had me sitting taking typing lessons from her. So I got to be a pretty fast typer and that is why when your project came along and you said you needed somebody to transcribe your tapes, I felt I could probably do that because I had had that typing experience when I was young. So another thing happened in Portland that had to do with the dancing career. My father was a principal of the school that I went to, right in our neighborhood. He had very strong ideas about learning to dance. A lot of the kids in the neighborhood were going off to dancing schools where the girls would wear the white gloves and the guys would wear suits and you’d learn all about going over and asking the girls to dance politely, and seeing her back to her seat, and all that kind of thing. But my father said “no, you shouldn’t learn to dance that way, you should learn to dance in the schools”. 
 
BB: Ah ha.
 
GP: So he had seventh and eighth graders, on rainy days, would be able to come in and dance in the gym, supervised by the teachers of course …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and they learned a lot of the dancing and they did some square dancing and some long ways dancing there but I never did that because I was on the stage crew, which meant I got to run the noon movies.
 
BB: Ah ha.
 
GP: So during grade school I really didn’t get the dancing instruction that other people got either … I got it a little bit in the gym class but not the way others got it. 
 
BB: That’s interesting. 
 
GP: So that’s one of the interesting things that happened in my youth about dancing. 
 
BB: Yes. Well when was it that you moved to Bridgewater?
 
GP: Oh, it wasn’t until after college. 
 
BB: Oh I see.
 
GP: When I … well there’s a number of things that happened as I grew up that had to do with dancing. My first real experience with the dancing was in 1956. I was an exchange student to Finland on the American Field Service. In those days there weren’t airplanes [Ed. Note: there were but it was not the main method of travel] so you didn’t travel by airplane to get there you started from Portland and we traveled by train all across the country to New York City. Then we got on a boat in New York City and we … all the students took over this whole boat and we went off to … I guess we landed in Germany.  Of course there wasn’t much to do on the boat so they had folk dancing for the countries that we were going to be traveling to.
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: So we got a lot of folk dancing experience. This is where I think I really got started in the folk dancing.
 
BB: Well that’s interesting. 
 
GP: I should mention also that my father was a long ways dance caller so he would call contras. But he didn’t do it that much ... he was … did it a lot I think when they lived in New England but when he went out to Portland he would do it once in a while but not very often. I never really got a chance to dance to him or see him prompt the long ways dance.
 
BB: I see. That’s interesting. Well, do you call contra dances now at all?
 
GP: No, not really. I, I’m sort of hooked on square dancing and folk dancing. When I went to college … I went to Brown University …
 
BB: Oh yes.
 
GP: … so I was in Rhode Island and the first summer, after being a freshman, I worked up in Alaska for the … for that first summer and I was on Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. 
 
BB: Uh huh.
 
GP: And that was the same time when they took the vote to make Alaska a state, so I was there in the summer when that vote was taken ’58 and saw Alaska become a state. While I was there, in the evenings I didn’t have anything to do, so because of the folk dancing experience I went to the Y in Anchorage and they had folk dancing, but they also mixed in the square dances. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So I got square dancing there, and then I found out there were other groups on the Air Force base there so I was going square dancing almost every night of the week in Anchorage. 
 
BB: That’s interesting. Do you remember who the caller was?
 
GP: Hmp:
 
BB: Do you remember who the caller was?
 
GP: No, I don’t. I think it was just you know a local person at the … well at the Y it was just the recreation director at the Y.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And I don’t remember who the callers were on the Air Force base. 
 
BB: Yes, well of course there were a lot of service people that got into square dancing, especially overseas. 
 
GP: Oh yes.
 
BB: And a lot of them came back after WWII and started in the activity here. Predominately people like Cal Golden and people like that.
 
GP: Well it was interesting because I told John Kaltenthaler where I started dancing, on the Air Force base, and he said “Oh, you can belong to the group of overseas” … you know they have that group for the people who learned overseas. Alaska was considered overseas in those days I guess. (laughs)
 
BB: (laughs) There wasn’t much of a sea between here and there though.
 
GP: No, no.
 
BB: So, well that’s interesting.
 
GP: But, but I came back from there and that’s when I started calling. I started at the YMCA in Providence …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and Bob Kent was the caller, and I hadn’t remembered his name but …
 
BB: Yes I knew Bob.
 
GP: … you had gotten together with Mori … Lori Morin and she figured out that it was Bob.
 
BB: Yes, as a matter fact while I was waiting to talk to you this morning I emailed Lori and asked if she had remembered you. Did you also know Dick Leger there?
 
GP: I danced to Dick but I didn’t know him. In those days I … I really didn’t know very much about square dancing. So there is a lot of things that happened that I look back now and I say “Wow, I got to dance to Dick Leger, in his own hall”. And of course we’ve talked about Square Acres and going up to Square Acres where you could do rounds or squares at different levels.
 
BB: Yes. Oh you went to Square Acres a few times?
 
GP: Oh yes.
 
BB: We’re still waiting to talk to Don Sargeant who was a round dance cuer there. We’re waiting to interview him. But anyway, well.
 
GP: So I started calling and taught a class at the Y in Providence in ’58.
 
BB: Was that Bee Squares?
 
GP: I’m sorry?
 
BB: Was that the Bee Squares?
 
GP: No, no. The Bee Sharps …
 
BB: Oh Bee Sharps.
 
GP: … is, is down in New Jersey.
 
BB: Oh I see.
 
GP: But this was the group … Bob wasn’t interested at that point in teaching new people at the Y and I was. I didn’t have a car and I used to walk 1 ½ miles down to the Y from my dorm room and then teach the class and walk back. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So that was my first experience and I also did folk dancing while I was in college.
 
BB: Ah ha.
 
GP: That’s where I met my wife, Diana. There was a woman, Judy Schrier, who … I noticed on the web that she is still dancing …
 
BB: Is that right?
 
GP: … and she was leading the folk dance group and her husband was in the psychology lab. She would lead folk dancing and she would let us teach folk dances. So I knew some folk dances and so I was also teaching some of the folk dances at the folk dance group. 
 
BB: Yeah. Did you … you probably didn’t get that involved in folk dancing that you went to any of the folk dance camps like Michael Herman’s or anything like that?
 
GP: I didn’t go to the camps, I went to Michael Herman’s in New York a few times …
 
BB: Did you really? 
 
GP: When I lived in New Jersey.
 
BB: In Greenwich Village. Yes.
 
GP: Yup, yup. That was quite exciting.
 
BB: I’m sure. I did a square dance (laughs) … they wanted … I did a series of Modern Western square dance classes at his hall.
 
GP: Oh, wow.
 
BB: That was many years ago.
 
GP: Yeah, yeah. 
 
BB: I was also familiar with May Gad who was the Northeast director of the folk dancing people in, in the United States … with the Country Dance Society. But anyway. Well. Shall we talk about the Callers Council of New Jersey?
 
GP: (laughs) Well, what I was going to do before we get to that was talk a little bit about dancing in New Jersey. When I came here … I graduated from college in ‘61 and came right to New Jersey. Well, actually I went to North Carolina for 6 months for training first and did some dancing down there where I found out that they danced differently in the South than they did up here.
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: So that was quite enlightening. And when I got to New Jersey and I wanted to start calling again and the local caller was Lloyd Siewers. He sold me his Califone … his old Califone turntable and speakers.
 
BB: I went through two or three of them (laughs).
 
GP: Right, I bet. I still have mine I’m looking at it on the shelf right now.
 
BB: Is that right.
 
GP: Yeah. It’s got its tubes and I even have spare tubes for it. 
Every once in awhile I fire it up. But he sold me that, and pointed out some places to call, and then Dick Pasvolsky … I think you know him.
 
BB: Sure.
 
GP: He was calling in New Jersey, and when he would have too many dances to call he would call me up and I would do some of his dances for him. The interesting thing is that he and I, at that time, just talked on the phone and we didn’t meet until probably thirty some years later at the Caller’s Association.
 
BB: I’ll be darned. 
 
GP: So I just knew him by the phone. 
 
BB: So that’s when you started the Bee Sharps.
 
GP: Nope, no. (laughs) Well the first thing I had to do was, was … well I got married. I mentioned earlier that I met Diana at the folk dance group at Brown, and she was from New York and … actually above New York in Eastchester, New York. You might know that area.
 
BB: Yes, right.
 
GP: Anyway we got married in ’63 and so one thing that I needed to do was teach her to square dance. So we went out dancing a lot.  We did some folk dancing and some square dancing. She never had formal lessons at that point. So we got very frustrated later in the 60s because of people inventing new calls all the time, and so forth. So we actually got out of square dancing for awhile and did folk dancing. I headed up a folk dance group in Morristown, New Jersey for several years and finally that group folded and I inherited a box of folk dance records from them. But we sort of got out of dancing … I was still calling one nighters. We didn’t go dancing a lot. And then we got back into dancing again and my wife formally took lessons with me. Al Aderente was the caller when we took lessons and we made a lot of friends there … it was Hanover Squares.
 
BB: OK.
 
GP: They danced in Whippany, NJ … Hanover, NJ and so we really got into it at that point … then became presidents of Hanover Squares.   There’s a lot of things that are interesting during that time because we had as callers Jerry Schatzer … I don’t know whether you knew Jerry …
 
BB: Yes I did, yeah.
 
GP: … well he went out to California eventually but he was very young when he was calling for us. He actually … after Al Aderente quit … I guess we took lessons in ’72 and Al Aderente gave up closely … fairly close after that and Hal Holmes and Jerry Schatzer took over the classes in ’73 and we were Presidents in ’74. And another of the callers that was interesting was Will Larsen. 
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: He is from Connecticut. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And when he came down he had to be driven down by his parents because he wasn’t old enough to drive yet. 
 
BB: That’s right.
 
GP: So we had Will as a caller. That was quite interesting.
 
BB: Yeah and he must have introduced you to challenge then? (laughs)
 
GP: (laughs) No we didn’t get that far at that point.
 
BB: Yes. 
 
GP: Another thing about Jerry … we had the gas crisis … and so Jerry was coming down from Connecticut and we had a deal where he have enough gas to get down to New Jersey but we would have to provide him enough gas to get home again, or else he wouldn’t come down. 
 
BB: Yes. (laughs)
 
GP: So that was in ’73-’74 I guess. Somewhere around there. So we’re almost getting to Bee Sharps. Right around that time my job changed and so I moved to Bridgewater and Dick Jones had moved out into this area in 1970.
 
BB: Oh, I had forgotten that. That’s right.
 
GP: He and Ardy had started groups out here. He … actually he was a caller for six clubs as well as being a national caller at that point. But they had a very interesting arrangement … he had about three or four or five other callers calling with him. That was the time when the calls were exploding so there was A calls and AA calls and AAA calls (Bob laughs). A calls were 1 – 79 that we know now, and AA were 80-100, and AAA were 100-125 but what they would do is run a sort of multi cycle kind of thing. They would get a group and one of the callers would take them through the bottom level and then they would start with another group and other people could jump in at the higher levels. And they would trade calling around between the different callers so that if one had to go … like if Dick were away on a trip across the country, one of the other callers would jump in for him. Or if they needed a new group, one of those callers would start up, and they would all sort of be part of the same umbrella club in some cases. So Bee Sharps had many different classes going at the different levels as well as the Bee Sharps dances.
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: And it was caller run at that point. So Dick was sort of arranging all of that and so we started dancing with Dick and did that for awhile. In ’77 we went to the Atlantic City convention … the 26th annual convention and then we got back out of square dancing again for awhile and did some folk dancing in Bridgewater. Then Dick Jones died in ’82 and the Bee Sharps was taken over by Ralph Stapenell who was from England. You’ll have to get all the spellings later (laughs) … I guess I should stop and spell some of them but … So the Bee Sharps moved around to different places and we jumped back into Bee Sharps and I was still doing one night dances but I wasn’t really calling an awful lot.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: The interesting thing about Dick Jones was that after he had died, his records got passed on to one of his friends and later on when I had a chance, I bought Dick Jones’ records and microphones …
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: … and so forth. So I have those now. Of course, what you were alluding to was that I am now the class caller for Bee Sharps.
 
BB: That’s right.
 
GP: So I’ve basically taken over a Dick Jones legacy in a sense. And so I … for example I try to call a lot of the dances that he called and keep the history going within the club so that people remember Dick and what he started.
 
BB: OK, well … so. Along this time … I meant to have asked you earlier, do you call the Advanced level at all?
 
GP: No. In a sense I know a number of the Advanced calls because a lot of them are calls that we learned ages ago and they just dropped them from the Mainstream program and the Plus program and they become Advanced. My feeling is that at the higher levels dancing is a lot of stop and go.
 
BB: Sure it is.
 
GP: The caller calls something, the people go and then they stop, and when they stop the caller calls something else. There is not that flow in the dancing.
 
BB: Of course, the caller gives a call and people move around and he says “hey George you’re supposed … you belong over here” …
 
GP: Exactly.
 
BB: … and then he gives the next call. 
 
GP: Yup, yup. And there are very few callers who will do singing calls at the higher levels.
 
BB: Oh yes. I didn’t know any of them did.
 
GP: Yeah, well Betsy Gotta does.
 
BB: Oh yes.
 
GP: Of course she is one of the people around here. We’ll be talking more about her I think later.
 
BB: Right. Do you cue rounds at all?
 
GP: I do cue rounds.
 
BB: Well good for you.
 
GP: You know starting with the folk dancing I got so that I could essentially cue the folk dances or prompt the folk dances or whatever, so cueing rounds is not that different than cueing folk dances.
 
BB: Yes. It’s interesting, by the way, do you teach rounds at all in your beginner classes, square dance classes?
 
GP: No.
 
BB: I always did.
 
GP: Yes that’s … we always used to have the rounds, callers would teach the rounds. And I did that back in the ‘60s. But I haven’t done it these days. It’s interesting; in my class now I have angels that are just taking rounds. Roy Gotta is teaching a round dance class and there’s twelve couples from the Bee Sharps that are taking this round dance class. So I said “OK, what I’ll do in my class is cue rounds for the people who are learning the rounds so that they’ll get some extra practice” …
 
BB: Sure.
 
GP: … so I was doing that for several and the Presidents of the club came up and said “can we ask you not to cue rounds between tips for the class.” They said “we really ought to have the angels talking with the new dancers” …
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: … “and getting that bond, as opposed to the angels going out and doing something else between the tips”. They had a point.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So I mix rounds in once in awhile, simple ones or more complicated ones. 
 
BB: Did you ever think that you might have a ½ hour of rounds before the square dance class or something like that?
 
GP: Yes, actually that’s … usually what I say is “if anybody wants to come, I’m there ½ hour early and we can do whatever you want to request … if it’s teaching the squares that we did last week” … the new calls that they learned, I’ll do that. What I’ve got is, I’ve got some of the angels coming and so we do some of the rounds before the class starts. You know, if the students aren’t there wanting something, then we’ll do rounds. 
 
BB: So, outside of your Callers Council of New Jersey, do you belong to other organizations? I know you belong to Callerlab. 
 
GP: Yup, I’m a member of Callerlab. 
 
BB: You do attend some of the conventions?
 
GP: I’ve attended two of the conventions. 
 
BB: OK.
 
GP: I didn’t join Callerlab until I started calling the classes on a weekly basis. When I was calling one-night-stands I hadn’t joined Callerlab. 
 
BB: Yes. How about festivals, have you participated in festivals?
 
GP: Not really. I think the biggest thing that I ever called at was the Morris County Fair.
 
BB: (laughs)
 
GP: We had a group of dancers demonstrating at that fair but nothing bigger than that really. 
 
BB: Well that’s interesting.
 
GP: That’s certainly an interesting experience when you get up and you’re calling and the music echoes off the other end of the field …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … you hear yourself (laughs) way behind the music and so forth and it throws you off a little bit if you aren’t expecting it.
 
BB: I’ve been reminiscing about the biggest square dance I ever called for, that was in Omaha, Nebraska …
 
GP: Ah, ha.
 
BB: … at a place called Aksarben Collisium, 300 squares.
 
GP: Wow.
 
BB: What a sight. That was one of the biggest thrills of my life. 
 
GP: Yeah, I can’t imagine anything that big. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: That’s just … you know … how do you keep everybody together on something like that.
 
BB: This was back in ’58 so (laughs) dancing was not so complicated as it is today.
 
GP: Yup, that’s true. That’s the trouble that I’ve found, because I started off as a caller who memorized a dance that went with a record.
 
BB:   Sure.
 
GP: And then I got into patter and used modules that came out in Sets In Order, and so forth, and now days everything is sight calling. Most of the callers are doing sight calling with some backup modules. So I’ve had to work on my sight calling.
 
BB: Yes. Well, that’s something I’ve never learned, and as a matter of fact I’m glad I’m not a caller today (both laugh) but so … well how about your New Jersey callers?
 
GP: Well, I’ve … I’m a member of that and I’ve been the Corresponding Secretary and the First Vice President and right now I am nominated to be President. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: I think I’ll probably be President ‘cause there is nobody running against me. (Bob laughs) We’ll find out in a week or so. But, the, the … one of the things that, that we’ve done as a Caller’s Association is quite interesting. We’ve said that if we have more callers we’re going to have more dancers. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: Because callers go out and teach and go do one-night-stands and so forth and people become interested in dancing. So the Caller’s Association membership was going down as people died and retired from calling, so we found a group of dancers who wanted to be callers. We said we’ll run a class for callers. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: The interesting way that we did it was we had a session on Sunday afternoons … a series of Sunday afternoons in the fall. We started that way. The idea was that the caller would learn some techniques, be able to go home during the week and study the techniques. Maybe they would have a chance to try out the techniques on a group of people, and then come back the next week with the thought that they would have questions. Because a lot of times when you go to a caller’ school they cram everything into three days and you’re just … you get a little chance to practice but you don’t really have time to think.
 
BB: Uh huh.
 
GP: Some people don’t even have a chance to try the things they want to try. And so the idea was that by spreading the series of classes out it would give the callers, new callers, a chance to think about what they were learning. Yet it was still a series of classes where they built on each other so you got the experience of a caller’s school, but it was just spaced out. It’s sort of the way that Toastmasters teaches you to speak … and speaking … I was a member of Toastmasters from ’61 to 2003. So I am a big fan of the Toastmasters club as a way to learn to get up in front of groups and talk …
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: … do things like … it helped with the calling.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: But anyway, we did that so we had a good group of callers come out of that and they went off and some of them helped out in classes and got some experience. And then we had another series, I think it was four classes, the following year and those people … then we started workshops. We said “the (new) callers might not get a lot of experience calling in front of regular dancers, so what we’ll do is we’ll have workshops on a monthly basis where we just get the callers … members of the Callers Association and their significant others together” … we’d get about two squares together … “and let the new callers practice calling.“ They could do anything they wanted but the only thing that they had to do was before they started to call a square they had to say what their purpose was in doing the square. It could be sight resolution, or it could be using a specific call, or it could be trying out a new kind of music, and so as long as they said what they were doing we gave them 10 minutes. We had a little egg timer there and when it got to the end of the 10 minutes and the bell went off and you had to stop even if you were in the middle of a dance. That gave them a chance to check their timing and we, we would run 15 minute tips. They would call for ten minutes and then we had evaluation forms …
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: … and people would fill out evaluation forms with constructive feed back and, you know, maybe if they saw something the caller could do better they would suggest that, maybe how to do it … or if they thought the caller was doing something really well they would mention that. 
 
BB: Yes. So it wasn’t really a panel of judges in other words …
 
GP: Nooo. Absolutely not. The callers were at different levels. And they would … some of them were still having trouble using the record player, holding the microphone right, and so on and so forth.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: I should mention also that as a Callers’ Association we were very lucky because we had three Callerlab accredited coaches who were part of the Association. That’s Mike Jacobs, Betsy Gotta and John Kaltenthaler, so they turned up being the instructors for the course. John Kaltenthaler was at that point started to retire from calling so he took this on and coordinated everything so we got some really good callers giving us help during the lessons for the callers. And then those callers, John and  Betsy, and Mike also came to the workshops and would give some of the feedback at the workshops. 
 
BB: Well that’s great.
 
GP: It worked out really well. And these callers have gone out and are calling one-night-stands, some of them have started calling as regular callers around the area, some have taken over groups. We had … Mike Jacobs died in the meantime and he left a number of groups … he was calling all the way from a seniors group that could barely dance in the sense that their faculties were not that good … they couldn’t move fast … some couldn’t hear. So we had one caller take over that group and another caller took over his Advanced group that he was running ... 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … out of the caller’s school. The callers who came to the school weren’t just gonna call Mainstream of Plus, we had a couple … well three callers wanted to call Advanced and Challenge.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And so they were Advance and Challenge dancers and they learned to call Advanced and Challenge. 
 
BB: Well that’s interesting. How many callers do you have there now?
 
GP: Umm, gosh, …
 
BB: It’s pretty long …
 
GP: … its about 33. 
 
BB: I was gonna say it must be 25 or 30 anyway.
 
GP: Yeah. The interesting thing is that they’ve all been so successful.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: Oh, I forgot to mention one other thing that’s really important. The clubs and the Northern New Jersey Square Dance Association all saw these new callers coming up and wanted to support them. So one of the clubs, Lakeland Squares, which is a … was at the time a Mainstream club, they wanted to go Mainstream and Plus.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So they were having Plus lessons and then they switched to the Mainstream/Plus alternating format and their Mainstream dancers said “ah … we can’t dance Mainstream like we used to why should we even come … if we have to sit out half the dances?” So what they instituted was Mainstream between tips, because they didn’t have rounds between the tips. So what they would do is, they would have a Mainstream tip, then they would have an in between Mainstream tip with one of the new callers,  then they would have a Plus tip with the caller of the evening and then they would have another between tip Mainstream with one of the new callers. 
 
BB:  I see.
 
GP: And so the new callers got a chance to try out their Mainstream calling skills, the Mainstream dancers got a full night of Mainstream, the regular caller got the same money that they would have gotten and the same rest between tips that they would have gotten …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and it was a win, win, win situation all the way around.
 
 BB: It sounds like a great idea.
 
GP: And I think its, you know, it’s a model that could be used in other parts of the country in supporting the new callers, ‘cause the new caller has the support of the regular caller who is there …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and gets feedback from them. They don’t get any money but they get experience calling to real dancers.
 
BB: Sure.
 
GP: I think it’s just a super way to get new callers involved.
 
BB: Have you brought this up to Callerlab by any chance? They are always looking for new ideas.
 
GP: Yeah, I haven’t … I should probably write something for their Winning Ways.
 
BB: Yes you should.
 
GP: We’ve used that now for about almost 2 years I guess, and it’s interesting, one of the new callers now has … his son has started calling, so the other day he … the new caller, Paul Ingus, was the regular caller at this Lakeland squares dance and his son now is the in-between tips Mainstream caller. 
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: And it’s kind of interesting, and his son is thirteen, just turned thirteen. And he is a member of the Association now.
 
BB: That’s great.
 
GP: So we’re getting the young people in.
 
BB: Yes, well …
 
GP: Just like Will Larsen back in those days (laughs).
 
BB: I was 13 when I started too.
 
GP: Ahhh, ok, there you go. 
 
BB: But we didn’t have clubs in those days. This was in 1933. But well.
 
GP: We had a dance for the new dancers … the Caller’s Association ran a dance for the new callers … or the new dancers in New Jersey last week and we had a section of the program, well … I should say first that one of the things we do at the Caller’s Association run dances is we try to have a lot of callers call the dances. So we had nine callers calling at the evening. And we had one portion of the dance set aside for callers who started calling in their teens. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So we had this new caller Stephen Ingus, and myself ‘cause I started at nineteen and Betsy Gotta who started at 14. And so that’s a wide range (laughs) of people who started calling in their teens.
 
BB: Right, right. Well, I think were just about down to the first side of this tape, why don’t you take a second to breathe and I’ll take a minute to turn the tape over.
 
GP: Sounds good.
 
[tape clicks off and then we start the second side]
 
BB: Ok were back in business and so we’ve got another ¾ hour to talk.
 
GP: (laughs) Gee I’ve got more notes than that. (laughs)
 
BB: Ok. Well tell us all the notes that you have.
 
GP: Well I’m trying to think if I’ve said about the Callers Association.
 
BB: Yes, right.
 
GP: Actually it’s kind of neat having people like Betsy and John Kaltenthaler …
 
BB: Sure it is.
 
GP: … to have all that expertise in the club and to be able … or in the Callers Association and be able to ask them when you have questions about how to do things, and so forth. 
 
BB: Right. Of course you have the advantage of a lot more population within a short distance. 
 
GP: That’s true.
 
BB: Here in Albuquerque for example we’ve got, you know, almost half the population of New Mexico lives in Albuquerque, but outside of that you’ve got to drive 50 miles to get to the next big population. So you have a concentration of potential customers of course …
 
GP: Right, here in the New York area we certainly do but … one of the things for example as President of the Association … the Caller’s Association, I’m … we are very under representative … under represented in other parts of the state.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: In Central Jersey for example they are very sparse … and the callers there are not part of our association. A couple of them are but there’s other callers that aren’t for example. And down in South Jersey it’s even worse. There’s one caller, Joe Landi, from way down south and he’s continued his membership, but there’s some other callers around and they aren’t represented.   We’re sort of concentrated up here in Northern New Jersey. 
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: And actually were, were sort of at the Southern … in Bridgewater, the southern part … there’s people down around Trenton. Mike Jacobs had a group down around Trenton ‘cause he lived down that way but other than that it’s hard … people call me … well I should mention I run a couple of web sites …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and we’ll talk about that later, but one of them is for the Square Dance Council of New Jersey. So when people want to know where there’s square dancing in New Jersey I get emails. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And a lot of times I’m … I tell them “I can’t help you”, you know we just don’t have clubs and callers in those parts of New Jersey. And they say “oh, darn, we’d like to start a club and we need to get going”, and I just can’t help them. So that’s another one of my goals is to maybe see if we can’t get some interest in calling in some of the other parts of the state and get clubs going there. I have to tell them “go over to Philadelphia” and I hate to do that. 
 
BB: Yes, yeah. Well, well talking about your computer skills, your … I know when you first got hold of me by email I was amazed by some of the things that you’d told me and in fact you’ve helped me out a great deal yourself with some of my little irritating problems with my computer, and I appreciate that. But where did you accumulate all these computer skills? You’ve got web pages coming out of your ears …
 
GP: (laughs) Well that was my work and my hobby …
 
BB: I see it was your work. 
 
GP: … for a long time. When I was in college I, of course, took physics. I was going to become a physicist because of my mom’s influence and it turns out that at Brown … Watson had been an alumnus of Brown and he gave Brown a computer. I was taking applied mathematics at the time and having a heck of a time doing mathematics on a calculator. I thought there had to be a better way and they had this computer. So I took a computer course.
 
BB: OK.
 
GP: This was back in ’60 – ’61 … I guess it might have been even before that in ’59. And anyway I took the computer course and when I got out of college there was a large interest at that point in people who had computer skills. So I had offers from IBM, and Western Electric at Bell Laboratories, and took a job with Western Electric at Bell Laboratories.
 
BB: I see. 
 
GP: Which put me in a position … well initially I was working on missile guidance systems because those were years when missiles were important and that was going to be the defense of the country. Missiles going up to shoot down the other missiles and so forth, so anything that could guide a missile was important to national defense. 
 
BB: Sure.
 
GP: So that’s what I did right out of college. I was working for Western Electric on that. A lot of people don’t realize it but at the time Bell Laboratories was at the forefront of computer programming and computers. IBM had started making computers but they were using Bell Laboratories operating systems. Now days we have Windows on our computers, but in those days Bellsys 1 and 2 were the operating systems that one would use on an IBM computer.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: So I took computing courses at Bell Laboratories taught by their people, so they were people who were very tied to computing at that point. I took with some of the people who were actually defining computing in those days. And that was really a heady time. The other benefit was that computers had to be air conditioned, because if you had a computer card with some code … and most people don’t even know what a computer card is these days … but we used to type programs on computer cards and run the computer cards into the computer to actually run a computer program.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: The equipment was so finicky and the cards were processed so quickly that if the cards were in a non-air conditioned room and then moved into an air conditioned room, and the computer room had to be air conditioned, that the cards would warp and you couldn’t read the cards in. So all the programmer’s offices had to be air conditioned.
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: So we got the only air conditioned offices. The big bosses were in non-air conditioned offices and the computer programmers had air conditioning (Bob laughs) which was interesting. Anyway I was in on that and after we got out of the missile guidance business we worked on computer operating systems. People who know about computer systems know that UNIX was one of the early systems. They were developing UNIX at the Bell Laboratories Murray Hill location and we were developing a competitor to UNIX at Whippany. So we were actually competing with the people who built UNIX and of course UNIX won and UNIX became the operating system on all kinds of computers all over the world. But we were close. Then after working on that I worked on telephone computer software. All the telephone lines going between telephone offices had to be inventoried and so we wrote software to convert paper records over to computerized records and then keep track of the computerized records. I worked on that for many years and that’s what gave me my interest in computers and where my skills came from there.
 
BB: I understand you’re a webmaster with a few different groups, is that right?
 
GP: Yeah, yeah I’ve got about 10 different web sites.
 
BB: Ten, wow. (laughs)
 
GP: The story on that is interesting too because after I worked on the telephone inventory software I went to the research laboratory … the name of the company by then had changed to Bellcore and then later to Telcordia. But they had a research arm and I had always wanted to work in research so I was working in research for software testing and I would periodically go down and talk to people at other Telcordia locations. One day I went down and this guy showed me something that was called Mosaic from the University of Illinois and the National Center for Super Computing Applications had paid for the development of this software and Marc Andreessen had started and developed this … he was one of the two developers. It just blew me away. I had never seen anything like that. It turns out they were giving away the software free. It turns out this was the first web browser, the first real web browser that eventually became Netscape, that eventually became Internet Explorer, and eventually became what we use today the Mozilla and Firefox. It was the granddaddy of all that. And so the next day I went back to my computer and I put up a server and a web browser and the darned thing worked right out of the box. (Bob laughs) And so for the next couple of months I went all around Telcordia telling everybody you’ve got to see this new thing, it’s called the internet, the web, and you can put up pages and you can see things and get all this information. In those days the researchers all had individual projects that they were working on and I said “gee I’ve found this real neat project I can work on” and about three months later I found out that everyone else in the research area, just about, was working on this browser stuff, Mosaic. They were making search engines. This was before Google was around.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So I basically started with web based stuff on the ground floor. Then I did research in that for probably ten years, and new means of communicating. So now I’ve taken that into the square dancing and I run … well I run four square dance web sites. I run the Square Dance [Council] of New Jersey web site
[ http://squaredancenj.org/ ], I run the Callers Council of New Jersey web site [ http://ccnjcallers.com/ ], I run my own web site on newsquaremusic [ http://newsquaremusic.com/ ] and I also run a web site for Hear-2-DanceSM [ http://hear-2-dance.com/ ], which is a system that I developed for people who are having trouble hearing the caller and have had to think about dropping out of dancing because they can’t understand what the caller is saying. That’s another thing I could talk about I suppose.
 
BB: Well. Yes I … well doesn’t … I think here in the square dance hall here in Albuquerque … don’t we have a system whereby people can get a headset that they can put on that’s connected to the computer and they hear directly?
 
GP: There’s some systems that have been around for ages for deaf people. They make them … it’s mainly for … they make them for students in classrooms. So you have deaf students who go from classroom to classroom and they … each classroom broadcasts wirelessly on a different frequency. So you need some fairly complicated gear … you need the transmitters transmitting on different frequencies and the students have to be able to switch to the different frequencies as they move around from classroom to classroom and because of that the equipment is expensive. So when the people came to … we had some people in Bee Sharps who were having trouble and so at one of the executive committee meetings we brought this up and we got a committee together to look into the situation to see what we could do. We looked at these systems that were out there and they were all very expensive. They were so expensive that the individual people didn’t really want to buy them just to use them for square dancing. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And I know a number of clubs have the equipment, the transmitter and then they loan out the receivers that the people wear. And some people have bought their own, and some people have bought their own transmitters. But the thing was that now that they had Ipods, if people wanted to have their music on something like that and then transmit it through their house … or maybe they are traveling in their car and wanted to transmit it to their car radio, they have some electronics that you can connect that will transmit it on an FM frequency. It turns out that the C. Crane company out in California had designed a transmitting unit which could transmit around a good size hall, that distance, so it wasn’t just between the transmitter hung on a radio and the radio in your car. You could have a radio anywhere within a hall and still use this transmitter and the transmitter was very inexpensive. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And then the receiver, instead of being one of these special receivers that could only do the deaf frequencies, could just be any FM receiver. So a walkman receiver could be used. So what basically … we put together a system that had one of these transmitters from C. Crane, and now Bill Heyman has come up with a similar transmitter except he sells it at a much higher price from his web site.
 
BB: That’s Bill.
 
GP: So basically the Hear-2-Dance System is something where the dancer buys a radio, a walkman radio that can be used as a radio any time you want it, but it can also be used for square dancing. The club buys the transmitter which is also relatively inexpensive, and they only have that part, and you put the two of them together in a hall and you have a system that can be used where the dancers can hear the caller because it’s being transmitted directly through the radio and then they can either use ear phones, which a lot of the people do … they take out their hearing aids and they will put in earphones.
 
BB: Yes.
]
GP: Or you can wear a neck … they have a yoke which goes around your neck [under your shirt or blouse] which plugs into the radio and the yoke transmits to you earph … hearing aids, so you can get it that way. 
 
BB: I’ll be darned. That’s …
 
GP: So, you know, a number of people have continued dancing who wouldn’t have without that system and the whole thing is really quite inexpensive.
 
BB: Well that’s really, really interesting. Yes. Well, is this known about around the square dance world?
 
GP: Um, a number of people do. Certainly there is a web site for it, its hear-2-dance.com  H-E-A-R dash 2 dash dance dot com. 
 
BB: Uh huh. 
 
GP: And the system is described there. We even have a streaming video of the system in use.
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: We have … Tom Miller is calling to a group of dancers and then the audio is turned off but the dancers are using the system. It shows the dancers keep dancing and you can’t hear the audio, and then the music is turned back on and the dancers are right at the right place in the music and the dance and so on.
 
BB: Heh. 
 
GP: So it’s an interesting thing to look at if you haven’t looked at it.
 
BB: Well. That’s interesting. There for awhile we were getting a little away from square dancing and I’m glad you brought us back ‘cause this is an interesting part of the … a new part of the activity for us old timers.
 
GP: Well, this is one of the things I wanted to talk about. You know, you always ask people about the future of square dancing …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and a lot of people say ohhhh, it’s not going to be like it was in the old days. People are dropping out and so on and so forth, but they are not talking … you know, they don’t look at the advantages that the technology is providing for square dancing these days. So I think that it’s important for people to think about that and the positive things that are happening.
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: We basically … you know I was listening to the Jonesy Jones’ interview recently …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and he is talking about when he got a Nascal amplifier and a yoke microphone and he first started using that instead of a megaphone.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And he is saying “people came up from the back saying gee I can hear you really well now and you are doing some really great things”. Well, that kind of thing is a paradigm shift in those days which changed square dancing from where you had to … the dancers sort of memorized the calls and the music played and the dancers did the dance and the callers sort of prompted them once in awhile but most of the people knew it, to where you could have patter calls and hash where the caller could make up the call on the fly and the dancers would do it and then you got into sight calling. And that was a, I call it, a paradigm shift of where we were to where we went to in those days. Now we are in another paradigm shift I think where … I can remember when … at the callers association meeting where Randy Page, he was a member of the callers’ association, he was president, and he came in and he held up his IPOD and he said “look, I can hold all the music for a whole night of dancing on this little thing, and I just plug it into my amplifier”… and I mean the advantages that we have now because of some of this … for example, when I go out now I have all my music on the computer.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: I play round dance music between the tips just because it’s nice music not because the people are round dancing. But I have 3,857 tunes that I carry around, …
 
BB: Is that right?
 
GP: … 10 gigabytes of music. I have 250 singers, 206 patter and 2,560 rounds.
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: So I can give people just from my computer quite a range of dances. 
 
BB: I’m sure.
 
GP: For example. I went to … we wanted to try to get some dancing going in a senior citizens center. We said “ok, we’ve got these senior citizens, they’re retired, they’re sitting around, they could go out in the afternoon and they could dance”. In Somerset County, which is the county I’m in … the Office on Ageing runs senior citizens centers and they said “we sponsor your square dance class why don’t you come and do some dances for our senior citizens”. So I said “Ok”. So we got the hall and we advertised, and we put up flyers, and we got the … we got the paper … the main paper in the state. They came out from Newark. They sent two reporters out, a photographer and a reporter and so I came in and got all set up and I think we had six dancers (Bob laughs), most of them women. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So we said “gee, can the reporters dance and we’ll get some dancing going”? “Nope, reporters don’t dance, we only report what happens”. So they didn’t want to dance. So there I was with six dancers, supposed to be doing square dancing, and it turns out what I ended up doing was line dancing.
 
BB: Sure.
 
GP: So because I had all those dances on my computer I could switch the program from the square dance program that I had planned to do to a line dance program.
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: Which I guess I didn’t mention before that I also (laughs) teach line dancing.
 
BB: Well that’s …
 
GP: Not a lot but I can do it.
 
BB: So we actually ran that group for six weeks, we didn’t get many more takers, and we did line dancing the whole time instead of square dancing.
 
BB: Yup. Well that was an interesting concept so we’re looking at, we’re looking at the potential for the future.
 
GP: Well yeah. Along with this same business with the computer I can change the pitch and the speed at will.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And so when I started my class in 2002 I was basically calling from my computer and I was sort of chuckling at all of the stuff that was coming out because there would be the regular pitch and then there would be the high pitch and the low pitch. You’d get these three different things. Here I was I could make it any pitch I wanted, I could make it any speed I wanted and I didn’t need the speed control on the record players and I didn’t need the CD speed control. I had my hands on as many records as I could basically keep, and now I think the callers are pretty much all changing over to computers. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: Most of them are, the ones that are continuing. There are some people retiring but they’re starting to switch over. That’s the other thing I did … it’s interesting, I knew that carrying around a Califone was really heavy and really a problem.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So I looked around for a new system and I came up with a Yamaha StagePass 300, which is a system that is used for musicians and people who are planning meetings. It is a fairly portable system. It’s basically two speakers and a mixer which has input for four microphones and two … like if you had a keyboard or something. I use it to put the computer in. So there is two places where that can be put in. And then it has 300 watts of output, 150 watts on each channel. And I started using that and John Kaltenthaler says “oh, you better not use that because you’re not standard”. I wasn’t standard, in fact I started getting stereo. I would get as much stereo music as I could and I would play stereo.
 
BB: Uh huh.
 
GP: Because the system could play stereo and most of the square dance music is mono. Although if you look at it there are … there is one company, I forget which one it is, that was doing stereo fairly early. But it turns out that I had problems with that StagePass also because it has reverb. I could put reverb on and make myself sound real good but in a big hall where you had lots of bouncing around it made me not very understandable. I had to take reverb off (laughs). But certainly carrying that around and carrying a computer around is better than carrying a Califone around and 78 records …
 
BB:  Well it’s …
 
GP: … things like that, that we used to do.
 
BB: Yeah, well. Today is a long ways from the Califone, that’s for sure.
 
GP: That’s for sure. The other thing that I think is neat, now that we have the web, like we used to … you know, how do you … what do you give to dancers to help them learn. You know, we had the books that Bob Osgood had created for Sets In Order, and we used to give those out, and I still give them out by the way.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: But you know people now days want to go to the web to find out. So, for example, Saddle Brook Squares has a web site [ http://www.saddlebrookesquares.com/lessons.htm ] where they have videos of all the moves through Plus. So now I tell all my dancers “just go to the web, pull up the Saddle Brook Squares lesson plan and look at the ones you want to look at”. Then if they don’t like looking at real dancers who are in the Saddle Brook Squares videos, they can go to the Taminations. Tam Twirlers is a group that has put up something called Taminations at httP://TamTwirlers.org and they have animations of all of the calls up through C3A. 
 
BB: Is that right.
 
GP: Yup. And not only do they have the standard applications but they have the calls from, from different positions and formations. And that is a tremendous … you know if you have a question about how to do a call or anything like that you just go right to that web site and it’s all there for you. 
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: And of course the ceder.net site … you’ve talked to Vic, you did an interview with Vic.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And you know we talked about the little black books …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and how Al’s little black book is now up on the SDFNE web site, well Ceder’s site is the little black book of today.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: Because you just go there and put in the call that you want and he, he lists out modules that have that call in them and they are rated from easy, you know, all the way down through, you know, hard. So you don’t need a little black book anymore, you don’t have to copy stuff down at dances, you just go to Ceder’s web site.
 
BB: Right, right.
 
GP: And he has 14,032 records indexed and 9,786 cue sheets for 9,786 of those records. (Bob laughs) So for example if you go to buy a record … lets say you buy a used record, there’s a lot of used records out there today …
 
BB: Sure.
 
GP: … the records … you can get them for about $.50 a piece if you buy a lot of 10 … if you go to Ebay, Perry’s down in Kentucky they have 3 or 4 record auctions going all the time and for about $.50 at the lowest to $1.00 at the most you can get these used records. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: Well actually he has new records, but you can get used records too, and if you get the used records without the cue sheet you just to ceder.net (Bob laughs) and pull up the cue sheet and you’ve got it.
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: And you don’t have to listen to the caller call it and copy it down.
 
BB: Right, right. Well, so with all this information this leads us up to the little project that I’ve been working on since 1996, and when was it that you contacted me, do you remember? 
 
GP: Back in 2007.
 
BB: OK.
 
GP: And you said that there is a few recordings that need to be transcribed.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: (laughs) So I started on a few and then it seems like every time I’d get one done Johnny Wedge would find another one.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: It seems like there was a magic file cabinet. Johnny said he was going through this file cabinet and that he found some of these things. And every time I would finish he would apparently go back to the file cabinet and find some more. (both laugh) And they went on and on. And it’s amazing what you’ve done. I mean, I wrote you some notes at the beginning about … you know, I thought what you had done was amazing and that it was going to be quite a legacy and I’m convinced today even more so that it is. Now that we’ve gone through and gotten pretty much everything transcribed. Although there are still some out there that aren’t. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: There is about fifteen of them lurking in somebody’s file cabinet somewhere.
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: That we still need to … need to work on. And of course you’re still interviewing.
 
BB: Yes. I have at least one more that I … actually two more that I’d like to do. So, can you explain exactly … when I send you a tape you make a CD of it don’t you or a .mp3 ?
 
GP: Well yeah. It’s interesting. The first tapes Paul Channel was taking and recording CDs of them. The later tapes, when I … when you would send me a tape I would make a .mp3 out of it. So I would record it directly into my computer and make a .mp3 file out of it. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And then I would transcribe from the .mp3 file using Winamp as the player. I hooked up the keys so I had some computer keys to turn on the recording or pause it or backspace it.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: So it made it fairly easy to transcribe. I could do everything right on the keyboard. 
 
BB: Huh.
 
GP: So that’s what I would use and then I would take the transcription that I had in Microsoft Word, and you had Microsoft Works I think, and so I would reformat it so you could read it in your software, and you would read it and correct it and send it back. Then we would send it up to Johnny and Johnny, in turn, had to format it to go on the web. So he had some processing that he did that he worked out with Patty Greene.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And so he would process it so that it would … he would take the Word document and create html from that and … you know, see this is interesting again … I mean you never saw behind the covers but the files that are the transcripts are really very big files, actually they are not now because they are in .pdf format but for awhile they were in html, and html is Hypertext Markup Language that was used back at the University of Illinois when those people had Mosaic that I was talking about. It’s actually a very inefficient format for transmitting text over the internet because there is a lot more characters in the text than there are characters that you see on the page.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: If you ever want to see exactly what’s sent, if you take a html page and you right click on it and say “view source” you’ll see this bunch of weird stuff that gets sent over the line. Because the internet became faster and faster they could send this stuff over the line and that’s the only reason that we could actually put this stuff up and have it seen. And then originally we were just doing the transcripts and then they got to the point that they could send the .mp3 files and the computers were fast enough to process those and so then you could actually read the text while you were listening to the, to the trans … to the interview. 
 
BB: Right, right.
 
GP: And this is, this is why what you did is so important because your body of text is I think the only one … and I’ve done a lot of searching … the only one where there’s interviews of people and the interviews have been transcribed. So many people and so many transcriptions. And because they have been transcribed they can be indexed so that you can find them on Google. And if you find them on Google then you can listen to the person. And it’s just so exciting to do that. I mean, NPR has a lot of interviews and they have some software where you can actually say some words and it’ll go into their audio archives and find out all the audio interviews that they’ve ever done that have these words in them. But that’s not available to the average person. Whereas your stuff is out there, it’s not in some library somewhere …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … where you have to go and you have to set up a tape recorder and you have to listen. It’s out there for everybody to listen to, it’s just so great. I think it’s unique in the world. 
 
BB: Well.
 
GP: I don’t know that there is anything else like it.
 
BB: Well great, thank you very much. Well you’ve been a big part of that. 
 
GP: I get excited about it. (laughs)
 
BB: That’s great. So …
 
GP: And there’s a lot of other interesting things I mean … for example the library up in New Hampshire, I think they have the Ralph Page Northern Junket …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … for example. And what those are, are scanned in images.
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: And they have the technology now to take those scanned in images and actually do word recognition from them and so that those kinds of things could be indexed. And so you wouldn’t have to … if you wanted a certain dance you wouldn’t … you know you would be able to find it on Google and then find the exact page in the Ralph Page archives where that dance is first described …
 
BB: I’ll be darned.
 
GP: … by him. Something like that. I’m working on a project now for the Northern New Jersey Square Dance Association to input all of their local … you know we have a magazine that comes out periodically saying where all the dances are and describing what’s going on at all the clubs   and things like that. And were going to scan all of those in and make those searchable, so that we have the whole record of the history of square dancing in New Jersey, or at least modern square dancing in New Jersey ... 
 
BB: Yes, that’s great.
 
GP: … from the ‘60s. I mean, that kind of stuff is so important and I’m trying, trying to try to get the people with Sets In Order to do it too. Get Sets In Order scanned in.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: I mean if we had all of Sets In Order scanned in, that would be such a boon to the history of square dancing.
 
BB: Oh sure.
 
GP: And add to the history that we have now.
 
BB: Well.
 
GP: It’s just so exciting.
 
BB: It’s more than Bob Osgood every envisioned I’m sure.
 
GP: Right. He envisioned … he has microfilm of all the issues. So he went that far.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: So that people can go back through the microfilm … but I don’t think he envisioned … I’m not sure when he died but I don’t think he was around when the internet was around.
 
BB: Oh I think he was, but …
 
GP: You think so. I mean the internet … what did we say ninty … three. I don’t know when he died.
 
BB: Well I’m not sure either.
[Ed note: Bob Osgood died in October 2003 and Mosaic made its debut in 1993]
 
 
GP: Anyway we’ve gone a long ways since then. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And the kinds of things that are happening in the future … even …  I’ve been letting my mind wander a little bit about … you know we’re talking about square dancing in the future …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and the … in the old days we used to record records for the school children.
 
BB: Sure.
 
GP: And I know some of your interviews were with some of the people who pulled that stuff together for the Lloyd Shaw foundation. And they would teach sessions for teachers in how to use the materials …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … for teaching the school children. I haven’t heard anybody talk about how to do that using the computer technology that we have now.
 
BB: Ah ha.
 
GP: I’m thinking along the lines of, what if we taught the computer to call square dancing. (Bob laughs) And it’s not that far fetched because we now have all the modules on line through ceder …
 
[ tape has come to the end again]
 
BB: Ok we’ve got the tape going again and so … let’s if you can remember where we were before …
 
GP: We were talking about a computer program that would call to kids. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: I was saying …
 
BB: Maybe the day of the traveling caller is over.
 
GP: No, no I don’t think so. The point is we don’t have a program for getting into the schools with square dancing now.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: Older callers don’t have the music the kids like, the records are old, schools don’t have record players any more. We need to upgrade. So if we have a computer program where … and you could get some computer music, then you could play the computer program and the computer music and the kids would dance to the music and you could make the dances progressively harder and challenge the students and we talked about competition and we didn’t want the students competing with each other, but you could actually have the students competing with the program. Is the caller going to call something that I can’t do, kind of thing. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And they would get the teamwork … the trick is we need to: 1) make the program available and; 2) make music available. And the problem is that kids now days, and people, are expecting to download music for $1.00 a song.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And in the square dance industry our costs … our amounts that we have to pay are going up.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: It’s $7.00 a record, and you know Elmer Sheffield when he does a special one is charging more now days.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And if we could have square dance music that was available at $1.00 and teachers could get music they liked and they had a free program that could call to their students, and then we had people who could show them how to do this, I bet we could get square dancing back in the schools. ‘Cause the kids still need to exercise, they still need that kind of social interaction, the boys and the girls and so forth.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: We just … you know, it’s a paradigm shift. We shouldn’t be doing it the old way. They don’t have record players. We should be doing it a new way. How can we make use of the technology? 
 
BB: Right, right. Well, that’s an interesting concept that’s for sure.
 
GP: So, you know, I think we need to have people looking at that kind of thing, and again I haven’t mentioned that at Callerlab but perhaps I should.
 
BB: Yes, it would be a good … be something for Callerlab to talk about in one of their conventions. 
 
GP: One of the things that I’ve been doing is I’ve been … I got an idea … there’s a guy up in Boston, C. Scott Ananian, and he’s the maintainer of SD which is a square dance program that’s free that runs on the UNIX system that I mentioned earlier.
 
BB: Uh huh.
 
GP: I mentioned the UNIX system earlier. And so he’s maintaining SD but he has a concept called Square Dance Revol … Revolution. And the concept is that a caller will call to dancers who are on a computer. So on the computer screen you see animated dancers and the caller … the music will play from the computer and the caller will call along with the music that’s playing on the computer, watching the dancers dance. The computer will rate the caller as to the smoothness of the call and the complexity of the material and whether the dancers … you know if the dancers would have trouble with any particular call the program would point that out to the caller and so forth. (Bob chuckles) And so I thought that was a really good idea. Because he is the maintainer of SD he started with SD as the … his focus, so he wasn’t in the … in the user interface to the caller, he was more interested in the program that would actually track what the caller was saying and make sure that the caller was doing proper calls and then display it on the screen. So I decided that I would try a voice recognition program, that I could play music in the background, that would listen to my voice and it would move dancers on the screen, except that I didn’t have smooth movement I had just … if you said Swing Thru it would show you the beginning position and the end position of a Swing Thru. And we’re getting there; we’re not quite there because the computer is not real good at distinguishing voices, for example. it’s the same kind of mistakes that dancers make. If you say Swing Thru and lot of them start swinging.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: Especially the new dancers. You know you do Square Thru 4,  
Swing Thru and they’ll just Swing their corner instead of Swing Thru. The computer program is pretty much the same way. It hears Swing and it starts the dancers swinging before it processes the Thru. So we have a little work to do on that yet but I suspect that within 10 years we’ll probably have a computer that can listen to a caller calling and show dancers dancing on the screen and callers will be able to practice not with real people but with computer animated people. 
 
BB: I’ll be darned. (laughs) That’s out of my realm of thinking. 
 
GP: Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s mind blowing. I mean, right now I think … I think it was Clark Baker who once tried calling via Skype. In other words he was sitting in one place in front of his computer watching the dancers in a completely different part of the country dancing. And he would call and they would dance and he could call that way. So that’s not quite calling to animated characters on a screen but it’s certainly long distance calling.
 
BB: Yes. So that would go over airwaves, not the phone lines? 
 
GP: No it would go over phone … well you would call … ok the calling to the computer you would sit in front of a computer that had a microphone.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And the computer would hear what you’re calling and make the dancers do what you said they should be doing. 
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: And that’s not too far off. As I say I’ve go it where I can do it in sort of real time if I use calls that aren’t ambiguous to the computer.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: But we’ve got a way … there’s good programs out there doing that. Callerama for example. [It] wouldn’t take much to put a voice recognition front end on that and I’ve talked with the fellow from Germany that is doing … you know that has the program, but I don’t think he’s ready to do the voice recognition. But most computers these days … if you have Vista or System 7 you have voice recognition on your computer. Most people don’t realize that, unless they have some access problems. If you can’t move your fingers for example, you can set your computer up so you can just talk to it. And it works really well.
 
BB: Ugh huh. Well …
 
GP: The other thing is that Cheyenne records … I don’t know if you know Chuck and Debbie Veldhuizen …
 
BB: No.
 
GP: … but they run Cheyenne records and they have square dance lessons on-line.   So if you get 8 people together you can go on-line on your computer and start off with lesson one and he teaches you square dancing … instead of having the records you now get it over the internet. 
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: So that’s sort of an old technology, where we used to do it with records, now you can do it over the internet and you can get it for free.
 
BB: Ah ha.
 
GP: At squaredanceland.com. 
 
BB: OK
 
GP: That’s what the web site is for that one. I thought that was kind of interesting. 
 
BB: Yes, well. Tell us a little more … bit more about newsquaremusic. 
 
GP: (laughs) Well that gets me into the … into the record or non record business. I started off and I felt I needed some patter music, and the patter music was short and I thought I would make it longer so I used some of the software that’s out there … Audacity is a program that most callers are using these days to do that. I found out that I could record the music from the records and I could cut and paste and make it longer so that now all of my patter records are twice as long.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And then I found out that I could take the records, and if I wanted to add to them, I could add my own music to them, using a program like Audacity. I wasn’t using Audacity at that time; I was using a program called Kristal which is no longer available. Audacity does just as well. I took the music and I recorded me playing an instrument at the same time and then I merged those two together and came out with essentially new music. So I’ve done that to a number of, of different records and then I said “well I can play my own music and so I have a synthesizer and my son is a musician, he plays the guitar and the bass, and so we take synthesizer music, guitar and bass music and then I also have some software that I can program … on the screen I can write the notes and create a tune through a synthesizer on the computer. And then I merge all those together and can come up with some songs. So I did all of that and then I went to Bill Heyman and said “I’ve got this new music, will you put it up on the Hanhurst site”? And he said “yup, there’s only one thing, you have to promise that all the music you create in the future for square dancing will go through my site.”
 
BB: Ah ha.
 
GP: And I said “Hmmm”, ‘cause I knew that the music was moving toward having it available over the internet at $1.00 a copy and I thought “Hmmm I don’t want to give up my rights to the music and say that I have to give all my music out through Hanhurst and have them be the distributor” so that killed my record producing career at that point. I never followed up on that, although I am thinking of doing that in the future because now Amazon which sells all kinds of music for $1.00 a song has a way that individuals, who create their own music, can put the music up on their web site and sell it for $1.00 a song. They do all of the, all of the money transactions back and forth, the credit card stuff, and then they pay the person who puts it up. The only catch is that if you do a cover of a song, like you do a popular song, you have to pay the Harry Fox Agency for each time a copy of that song is made.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: And Amazon doesn’t do that. So you basically have to keep track of how many times your song is sold and then you have to go pay Harry Fox Company for the number of songs that have been copied. But you know it’s like $.02 a song. You’re making many cents a song even though they’re selling it at $.99. So you can make some money but you’ll never get rich. If you have to pay musicians it’s about $400. a tune these days to get the very basic musicians to lay down a track for you, if you go through Nashville.
 
BB: Yeah.
 
GP: I was going to do that one time ‘cause Elmer Sheffield … I love Elmer Sheffield’s calling and I love his music. Somehow his stuff and I really relate and so I … he had given a talk at Callerlab about how someone goes about recording and he said that if anybody wanted to record just give him a call and tell him what you wanted to do and he’d see about it. So I called him up after … or I didn’t call him up I saw him at the Callerlab meeting and said I wanted to do it and gave him a tape of what I wanted to do and didn’t hear back for awhile. Pretty soon I got an email from him and he said that his lead guitarist had passed away and so he didn’t know what he was going to do and he wasn’t gonna be able to do recording for other people for awhile. So that ended my recording that way. I haven’t gotten my recording career off to a very good start at this point.
 
BB: (laughs) Well how does ASCAP and BMI fit into this situation.
 
GP: There paid by the Harry Fox Agency.
 
BB: Oh I see.
 
GP: They …. Lets see … no I’m sorry, the Harry Fox Agency is when you create the music like a record. Like if you create a record you have to pay Harry Fox Agency for the record. The BMI/ASCAP is for performing. Because we’re licensed through Callerlab we can perform the BMI/ASCAP music. 
 
BB: I see, OK. 
 
GP: The BMI/ASCAP gets paid through the Callerlab fee that’s part … well our dues … what we pay Callerlab is made up of dues and BMI/ASCAP. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And so the BMI/ASCAP part that comes from Callerlab is what pays them. 
 
BB: OK, well. Of course we’ve got some fairly new recording companies over the years. I know when I was working at the Lloyd Shaw archives here in Albuquerque I counted up the number of record producers and I found over 300.
 
GP: Oh yeah.
 
BB: At that time and there had been … this was probably 10 or 15 years ago that I did that. But …
 
GP: Yeah, it amazes me how many record companies there were. 
 
BB: Yeah.
 
GP: And now days there is really only Tom Dillander, pretty much, who is creating the records themselves.
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: In the square dance industry at least.
 
BB: Yes, right.
 
GP: You know, … in fact I was surfing the net … there is another group over in Europe who have a whole bunch of different companies, about 8 of them I think. Gramaphone is one of them and they … you can get their records through Dillander … and their music through Dillander also but they have a web site that’s … and they have music that you couldn’t get I don’t think through Dillander. Very modern music.  [Ed note: www.another-beat.net/ ]
 
BB: I see. Well that’s interesting.
 
GP: I think I have their … on my newsquaremusic.com web page I have a link to their site probably. There’s a lot of good links on my web page if you’re interested. Like round dance cue sheets if you’re interested in doing the round dance dances and so forth because you can get the music on Amazon for a lot of them …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and then you can get the cues on the web site.
 
BB: Uh huh. Well let’s get back and talk about Gardner Patton again. How many years have you been calling and doing all of these modern things today with your computer and so forth? Do you have any regrets, anything you wish you’d done differently over your career?
 
GP: As far as the career goes I’d said that my father, Miner Patton, called long ways, contra dances.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And I never really got to go out … once I went when I was probably in grade school, to a dance that he called. And at the time I didn’t understand what he was doing. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And I think I would have liked to do that more with him. Since I was living on the East coast and he continued living in Portland and then he moved to Sun City, Arizona, I never really got to see him call and he never got to see me call. That’s probably one thing that would be different. My sister, on the other hand, has heard me call. And she, she is a Scandinavian folk dancer. She has an apartment in Seattle … she lives in Idaho but she has an apartment in Seattle and she commutes to Seattle to go Scandinavian dancing.
 
BB: I’ll be darned. (both laugh) Well …
 
GP: Speaking of that, I once … when she … she and her husband, he’s a nuclear engineer, and they were working in Japan and we went over to visit them and I got to do some square dancing in Japan. That was quite an interesting experience. It also … I learned some things there because the dance was in a place called Tsukuba City, [he spells it] T S U K U B A. It’s a university town so they have a lot of students and young people there. Their dance was very interesting because they had a … a program for the dance at … you know, at 7:15 this person was going to call and this is what they were going to call and at 7:30 this person was going to call and they were going to do this. They had several callers, maybe 5 or 6 callers and they … through the evening they did all different levels of dancing, they taught different levels but it was all perfectly timed by this schedule. (Bob laughs) So people were coming in and going out all evening. And I said “Wow, what a neat way to do it”. They get the hall and then they start at one level and they can work through the other levels. So I started using that in some of my classes, I would have … you know I didn’t … well I … we actually did have multiple callers because two of the new callers have been calling along with me, Wes Thielke and Joe Kwiatek, and so they call a tip each night and we figure out which tip they are going to call but I don’t do it by … down to the minute. The Japanese dancers were down to the minute but it really works, so we have multi cycle in a sense of the dancers who are farther along can come earlier and help out the new dancers and then later on in the evening they have there own class and their own dance kind of thing. (Bob laughs) But the Japanese folks were doing everything all in one evening. Regular dance, classes, the whole thing, and it was all perfectly timed and choreographed. 
 
BB: How long a program was it then? 
 
GP: Oh I think it must have been three hours.
 
BB: Yeah. 
 
GP: And you know, I got to call even. Somehow they squeezed me onto their schedule, I don’t know how they did it but that was quite an experience.  
 
BB: I can imagine. So, well. And of course they … people there are … probably speak Japanese obviously but square dancing is always in English, right?
 
GP: Right, right. We didn’t … there were a few people who spoke enough English that we could communicate between the dances.
 
BB: Yes, right.
 
GP: A lot of people … and because it was a university town the people were more up on the English language.
 
BB: Right, well.
 
GP: I would have liked to dance in a few other places in Japan but we didn’t get a chance to. 
 
BB: Right. That reminds me of a dance I went to in Tucson one time. I visited there after a National Convention and … they had a different caller for every call. They invited me to call, so I did and got a big hand and they said “well would you like to call another” and I said “well yah, I guess I know another”. The master of ceremonies was Mike Michelle who put out Western Jubilee records, and he said “Bob, you don’t know what you were saying because every other caller on the program that’s all they know is one call”. 
 
GP: Ah, my goodness.
 
BB: And it was a habit in Tucson in those days … around the Southwest I should say, that these guys that knew one call, they would go to a dance and they would get in free. All they had to know was one figure. (both laugh) The whole program was that way outside of when Mike called and so forth.
 
GP: Wow.
 
BB: An interesting …
 
GP: That sort of reminds me of what Jonesy was saying about how he started off by learning two calls that this other guy had given him and people would come up to him with calls on the back of matchbooks and pretty soon he had 20.
 
BB: That’s right. (laughs) Yeah, he was a character that’s for sure.
 
GP: Yeah, that interview was very interesting.
 
BB: Yeah. 
 
GP: One thing we didn’t say about your interviews, we never got down to … you know you did … we have 110 interviews, there is probably more now probably like … 112, 91 hours of audio and 2100 pages of transcription. 
 
BB: Right, right.
 
GP: When you see it that way that’s a big thing.
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: And I’d like … you know … and Jim Mayo has put up the, the people calling, the callers calling on the SDFNE site. I think that’s great. And now if we can just get Anna to put up some of her costumes. 
 
BB: Uh huh.
 
GP: Pictures of the costumes with 3D maybe. We’ve got to get working with her on that.
 
BB: (laughs)
 
GP: Get that SDFNE site going.
 
BB: Yup, right.
 
GP: But Patty Greene did a great job on that, making it fast. We’ve got to give a lot of kudos to her … originally it came up very slow and she worked on that and worked on that and it’s really a spiffy site now. 
 
BB: She is the webmaster we should mention that. Of course she was living in New England and then she moved down to, what was it, North or South Carolina?
 
GP: Right, right. So you didn’t ask me about my mentors.
 
BB: I’m sorry?
 
GP: (laughs) I say you didn’t ask me about the mentors. 
 
BB: Oh that’s …
 
GP: You probably figured Betsy Gotta, Mike Jacobs, John Kaltenthaler, Bob Kent and I talked about Elmer Sheffield being my favorite caller for his consistency in music and stuff. 
 
BB: I never knew Elmer, he is one of the few people of national fame that I didn’t get to know back years ago but …. Gardner do you have time for any other hobbies?
 
GP: Just computing. (laughs)
 
BB: And figures?
 
GP: Computing and dancing. 
 
BB: Yup.
 
GP: That’s, that’s my hobbies and my work. It was nice to be able … to be able to work in something that you liked and had it as a hobby too.
 
BB: Sure. Well, so you’ve obviously retired from your job. 
 
GP: Yup.
 
BB: How long ago was that?
 
GP: 2003.
 
BB: Yup, ok.
 
GP: I retired to square dancing …
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: … from computers. I say you never should retire from something; you should always retire to something. 
 
BB: Yeah.
 
G{: It makes it easier.
 
BB: Well it looks like I’ve run out of notes … oh I see one here I was going to ask you about, and that’s the ABC program.
 
GP: Oh, ok. Yeah, certainly we’ve used it in this area and the person who has used it probably to best advantage is Barbara Kanter. She was … she is on Staten Island, and so Staten Island is sort of between New York and New Jersey in a way. You know it’s really New York City but it sort of sits by itself and the dancing had stopped out there …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and she wanted to get it started. So she picked up on the ABC program and because of that we also were teaching it to the new callers. And so a lot of the work we did initially with them was with ABC type dances and they would learn some of that. And she started holding … actually holding the dances and then she invited … she was a new caller at that point, she hadn’t called, she had danced for many years and she had been editor of the Grand Square for many years which is the … our association booklet that tells you where all the dances are. But she started up a new career in square dancing and she got herself some equipment and she invited the new callers to join her and they were calling these ABC dances and they called it in the summer. 
 
BB: Uh, huh.
 
GP: And she now has a club going out on Staten Island and she just had another graduation of some more people recently and so it really got going. The place that I think … that I know of that it’s going most now is out in Minnesota. Dick Rueter is a caller out in Minnesota and they have a TV program and he calls on that program and he does ABC dances out there. 
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: And it has been very successful for them. They have started up a couple of new clubs in Minnesota with the ABC program. 
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: And graduating people from it. And the other thing that their doing is the blast classes. That’s where you learn the first 50 calls in a weekend … or more if you can get them in. And now Barbara Kanter back here is organizing a blast class for the Northern New Jersey Square Dance Association and it is going to be held in the fall. 
 
BB: Fast Track is what we call it here. 
 
GP: Yeah. And that seems to work if you have people in certain situations. I mean, we have people who are … have danced in the past and now they are empty nesters and want to get back, and I’ve had a lot of people in my classes who have come through that way and some of them are content with … to go through the classes and learn again …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … but like I know one person who was dancing up at the challenge level but it’s been a number of years and they just want to get back in and dance, you know, Plus. So a blast class at the Plus level would be the perfect kind of thing. But we have to get the word out to those kind of people. And again, through the internet we can get that information out.
 
BB: Yeah, well.
 
GP: So that’s … you know, we’re still doing it, we haven’t given up on it, and it’s been good for us.
 
BB: Do you … what’s the average age of your dancers? Is this any kind of a problem with you?
 
GP: Yes. The dancers are getting older and so that’s why I’m concerned about getting youth back into it. That’s why I mentioned the school program as one way to get that back. I tried it at a local community college and I was going to run a class there but they couldn’t find a time when they had a room open big enough that we could get in there and teach the dancing. 
 
BB: Yeah.
 
GP: But the … one of the new callers I mentioned earlier, Paul Ingus, the father of Stephen Ingus. Paul is a home school father.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: So he’s gotten … he started … I think he’s held two classes for the home school students now. And he just graduated eight people in the last month. And they were at this new dancer dance that we had last week. There were a lot of … I guess this one girl was 8, and then there were several other young people under 18.
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: Just dancing in with the rest of the people and everybody was having a ball. And I think that the home school … if you can crack the home school market, they have to have physical education programs as part of their schooling …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … and a square dance program is applicable there. They can get credit for that.
 
BB: Yes, I understand that.
 
GP: So there gonna be there every week, you don’t have to worry about them not showing up. They just bring so much energy. I mean, I’ve had a number of … one year I had four daughters all in one home school family and again it was a young girl up through high school. And they just brought so much energy, you could see it on the other dancers faces, the angels, and the new people coming in. It just brought such great energy to the group. We created a dangle. If you danced in a square with all four daughters at one time you got a dangle. (Bob laughs) Suzie Q Creations managed to make that for me.
 
BB: Of course there is another aspect of this too as far as getting younger people in. Fellows like Cal Campbell in California, or Colorado I should say, he … they had a very ambitious and successful square dance club in there … when college. Their idea is to try to get people at the college level to … interested in square dancing and hope that they will carry on as they get on in life. 
GP: Yup, yup. I think this is … and that’s why I went to the Community College to try see what the options were, because that had been successful. I mean, if you read back through your histories a lot of the callers started off in college. I mean, Dick Jones, Cal, as you mentioned, and their experiences and so forth. And I don’t know what would get the college folks interested. I know the college folks are interested in ballroom dancing, some of them.
 
BB: Yeah, well.
 
GP: So …
 
BB: When I was in college I had a … I was doing some square dancing … I went to the University of Maine, and I was doing some square dance work around Bangor and around that area and I had an 8 watt amplifier. (laughs) A little blue box with a handle on the top and a speaker that didn’t match, it didn’t have a back in it. And a Califone … no this was before the Califone actually. I had a fraternity brother who played piano.
 
GP: Ah ha.
 
BB: So the two of us went out doing these dances. We got $5.00. 
 
GP: Now was this for college folks?
 
BB: No.
 
GP: Or when you were in college you did this but it wasn’t for college students.
 
BB: No.
 
GP: Ok.
 
BB: But we had a square dance barn, but anyway I got $3.00 and the piano player got $2.00. 
 
GP: Big money.
 
BB: Big money. This was in 1940. (laughs)
 
GP: Sure. (laughs)
 
BB: So just in passing.
 
GP: Yeah, if we could get a way to get college folks back into dancing that would do the trick too.  Because they are having children later and so …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: I mean like, I have three sons, and one of them did folk dancing with me … with his … he has now married the woman he was dancing with when he was in college. So I got him out to folk dancing but never got him out to square dancing.
 
BB: Yes. You know one thing that bothered me all my life is the fact that people today and back over the years are being brought up without any great rhythm training. That’s one of the reasons I … when I started teaching square dance classes for modern western … that’s why I taught round dances because it’s a good rhythm trainer. Do you have any thoughts along that line?
 
GP: I think the contras are the way to go for that.
 
BB: Yeah. Well I was talking about just in normal every day life.
 
GP: Normal music training. 
 
BB: Modern dancing today … a lot of it has pretty good rhythm but the kids aren’t dancing they’re just wiggling this …
 
GP: Just jumping up and down.
 
BB: … and shaking that, and so forth, and that’s it. But I guess there is nothing we can do about that. (laughs)
 
GP: I’ll be happy if they square dance. (laughs)
 
BB: Yes. That’s right.
 
GP: I’m not going to push them too far. (laughs) Like I say, some college groups are going back into the ballroom dancing …
 
BB: Well that’s good.
 
GP: … and that’s about as close as their getting. I don’t think they’re doing round dancing. 
 
BB: Right.
 
GP: There may still be some folk dancing out there. 
 
BB: Well I think we’re getting probably down to the end of our discussion here Gardner unless you can think of something else you’d like to include. 
 
GP: Well I’d just like to say that I really think that Dick Jones was … did a really great job on square dancing and getting square dancing going. He’s sort of been my idol. If some of the songs that he did, like Running Bear … did you …
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: … ever do Running Bear? And just the way that it is put together. You know where half the people are half sashayed and the other people aren’t and it’s so perfectly timed. Then his False Hearted Girl. I don’t know whether you know the False Hearted Girl figure but basically he starts off  … “and now for three and a half minutes of sheer mayhem”. 
(Bob laughs) You don’t promenade home until the end. 
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: You start off and do a Circle Left and Circle Right Single File and the Ladies Back Track. You do a Turn her by the right, Corner by the left, go by the right all the way around and then the men Star left in the middle pick up your girl with an arm around and Star Promenade but don’t stop at home. Then back out, four Ladies Chain, Chain … Star back for a Do pa so. And the thing that he did was he put the … in the break the second half of the break and the second half of the figure were identical …
 
BB: I see.
 
GP: … so that you never knew if you were dancing in the opener the break or the closer or whether you were dancing in the figure. 
 
BB: I see. (laughs)
 
GP: So the people … you throw a Do pa so in and then Swing your Corner and Allemande Left New Corner and by the time you got through you hadn’t been home you didn’t know where you were. (Bob laughs) Just … but the way the dance is crafted is so beautiful, you just don’t see that kind of thing anymore. 
 
BB: Right, right.
 
GP: You know you see the standard figure and nobody takes time work anything out anymore. 
 
BB: Yes.
 
GP: I think that’s some of the things that we’re missing.
 
BB: Yeah. No, he had a great voice and as you say his timing was impeccable.
 
GP: And he could really, you know, work a crowd. 
 
BB: You’re right.
 
GP: He did I’ve Got Rhythm but he did it We’ve Got Rhythm. He didn’t say I’ve got rhythm, he said we’ve got rhythm.
 
BB: Yup.
 
GP: He took a Jerry Schatzer number Freda Comes, Freda Goes, and that was one of his signature numbers that I’ll always remember, and I call all of those, except I’ve had to take False Hearted Girl and make it easier for people to dance these days. (Bob laughs) Because they … people can’t do the Do-pa-so and then Swing the corner and then Allemande Left New Corner. They get dizzy. 
 
BB: Right, right.
 
GP: So I have … took out the Do-pa-so’s which dumms it down a little but it is still a great dance. 
 
BB: Right. Well Gardner …
 
GP: OK, I think we’ve come to the end.
 
BB: Yes I think we have. So I hope you’ll stay on the line when we’re through and I’ll talk to you more about what happens from here on. 
 
GP: OK. Thanks a lot Bob.
 
BB: Well thank you for …
 
GP: It was a pleasure being interviewed.
 
BB: Well thank you it’s been very, very interesting. We’ll be talking to you again. 
 
GP: OK.
 
BB: So bye for now.
 
GP: Bye.
 
BB: Bye.
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Written By: Bob Brundage
Date Posted: 5/7/2011
Number of Views: 1534

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