SDFNE 1960's Era Recordings
Jim Mayo undertook a project to use the
Square Dance Foundation of New England's
audio archives and locate representative samples of square dance
calling from the time period when Modern Western square dancing was
taking off, but before the call Swing Thru was invented.
For each caller he has collected a representative patter tip and
singing call. The quality of each recording varies and, in some
cases, equalization has been attempted to make the calls more
Five of these callers were members of the group of ten assembled by
Bob Osgood to establish
The five were Arnie Kronenberger, Bob Van Antwerp, Ed Gilmore,
Marshall Flippo and Joe Lewis. Here are Jim's descriptions of the 36
recordings he collected from 1953-1962. Each comes with a "listen"
introduced the "Modern" form of square dancing to New England after
Colorado Institute in 1949. The figure is a
based on Wheel Chain followed by a
Whirlwind type of action.
The singing call is Ragtime Piano with a Grand Sashay break and a 4
Ladies Chain figure.
in 1960 at Dance-A-Cade. Arnie was a very popular caller in the early
days of MWSD. He was a sales rep for an awards manufacturer. He
designed the CALLERLAB
that is still in use. This figure is a classic presentation of the
Ends Turn In
The material also includes the call
which was very common at that time.
The singing call is Lazy River; the
version on the
Sets In Order
was an early recording caller from California. For many years Bill was
the leader of a demonstration group whose performances at the National
Square Dance Convention were very popular. Bill also was among the
first to put a music stand up to hold the choreography that he
read. His choreography was frequently challenging and the Cross Trails
near the end of this selection are an example of that.
The singing call is, again, the Helsel version of Lazy River.
Bob Van Antwerp
Bob Van Antwerp,
who died in the Spring of 2005, was a recreation director for the town
of Long Beach CA.
This choreography is based on variations of the
The singing call is Bambino Mine. The figure is a complicated star
was a school teacher who became a very popular caller in the
1960's.The figure open's with the kind of "Gotcha" action that was
common at that time. The routine is a complicated single-line-of-four
pattern that was clearly a challenge. It also shows the way in which
we used a few calls with some ordinary-language directions to add
interest to our dances.
The singing call
False Hearted Girl
was a feature "signature" call for Dick.
was a full-time caller for 40 years who retired in the
late 1990's. Earl joined with Irwin Gross, a dancer who designed the
to form a company that made that speaker the standard, at least in the
East where the old Town Halls that we often used presented a
particularly difficult acoustic situation.
Earl had an unusual ability to use many words in delivering his patter
commands without losing a near-flawless timing. The choreography is a
Route pattern based on Square Thru. Note that it uses the call in
ways that might cause trouble on most of today's SD floors.
Listen to patter.
Listen to singer.
was one of the first to offer
for would-be callers. Because of these schools, his influence on the
course of MWSD was huge even though few callers would ever be able to
duplicate the timing and choreographic judgement that he tried to
The weathervane pattern in this dance was probably his own creation
and is repeated in the singing call.
The singing call, Tipparary, is based on the weathervane pattern.
was the most prominent caller in Western Canada in this time period
(1962). We're not sure where this dance was held but it is likely
that it was in Ottawa. In the patter Earle uses an Ocean Wave
formation, the only one we have encountered in this whole series of
tapes. It is interesting to hear how he accomplishes what will, a year
later, be given the name Swing Thru.
Earle's singing call is Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend.
George Campbell was from Florida and was one of the earliest of
"challenge" callers. This choreography uses a wide range of material
in a single tip including
(which today we would call As Couples California Twirl), used in Goal
Post and Route patterns.
George's singing call is Bambino Mine.
Gloria Rios Roth
Gloria Rios Roth
was a contemporary of
and was also from western Massachusetts. She owned a summer camp and
ran a square dance program in the camp facilities at which many of the
popular traveling callers of the early 1960's called. Gloria also
taught callers and was the first woman to earn CALLERLAB accreditation
Gloria's singing call is Makin' Whoopee.
was one of a group of callers from Northern Ohio who traveled
extensively. Under the influence of Willard Orlich they were
choreographic experimenters. Jack was also a folk singer of
considerable talent and entertained at after-parties with his
guitar. This choreography is a very common triple zero use of the call
Wheel & Deal.
Jack's singing call is Swanee.
was the first chairman of
He worked for MIT and was primarily
a local, club caller who traveled to festivals and calling dates only
occasionally. The figure is one that Jim wrote which has two couples
doing an 8-hand Square Thru in the center while the other two couples
do a Square Thru on the outside around them.
The singing call Big Daddy was the record that established the call
Wheel & Deal as a permanent part of the SD vocabulary.
was a prominent leader in the Dallas TX area. Joe was an outstandingly
successful one-night-party caller and modified an accordian to provide
nearly the sound of a full orchestra as his accompaniement. Joe was
also brought to Australia by a department store chain there where his
visit set off a huge square dance activity in the early 1950's.
Joe's singing call is
accompanied by himself on the accordian.
was known as the "Hash Master." He was not part of the community of
square dance leaders that
organized and recognized in his "Hall of Fame." Les was loner who
always believed himself to be the originator of "Sight Calling."
The choreography is a mixture of Wheel & Deal and
(which today we would call "As Couples, Trade.")
The singing call Gadabout is unusual because Les seldom did singing
calls at all. Many believed he avoided them because he did them
poorly but this recording proves otherwise. Note that all of the
callers, even the "Hash Master", used the same figure four times
through in their singing calls. The idea of "hashing" the singing call
had not occurred in the early 1960's.
is probably the most prominent traveling caller the MWSD activity has
ever known. This 1961 dance would have been early in his calling
career and represents a rare appearance in New England. Marshall has
traveled calling square dances for more than 50 years. The Texas
accent that can be heard clearly in this recording was copied by
hundreds of callers as they learned.
The singing call is Stealing Kisses.
Paul Hunt, a caller from Long Island, NY is calling this dance in
1957. This is the earliest dance in this set and the choreography is
clearly memorized even though, for that time, it was certainly not
simple. In fact, most dancers today, even if they were familiar with
the Cross Trail call, might find this routine challenging the first
time through at least.
Paul's singing call is Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet. It's interesting
to note from his introductory remarks that callers were willing to
change the rules (for a promenade) occasionally to make a different
Ray Smith of Dallas TX. Ray was one of the earliest traveling callers
and this recording was made in 1953 at
in Massachusetts where, as the announcer declares Ray introduced the
western style of square dancing for the first time. The figure is an
unusual variation of a well-known traditional pattern known as
Right Lady High, Left Lady Low.
(Music starts at 2:08)
Ray's singing call is Kansas City My Home Town and he introduces it
with a lengthy walk-through and I'm still not sure I understand the
routine. (Music starts at 2:40)
is a New England caller who traveled widely in NE but rarely outside
that region. He was club caller for several clubs in the Springfield
MA area and was an early leader in
and later served
on the BOG and as Vice Chairman. The choreography is another example
of the Goal Post pattern.
The singing call is Last Night At the Square Dance.
Glossary of Terms
- Route pattern
- Choreography based on a Facing Lines formation. For example, from
facing lines, Pass Thru, On To The Next, Pass Thru, On To The Next,
Square Thru 3, On To The Next, Pass Thru, etc. At each occurence of
facing lines, one could insert any of the following calls: Pass Thru,
Square Thru 3, Square Thru 5.
- On To The Next
- Today we would call this Bend The Line. In the 1960's this action was also called "Move Along".
- Whirlwind type of action
- The Whirlwind dance routine was built around the combination (from
a Box formation) Dive Thru, Square Thru 4 while the others Divide and
Star Thru (or, before Star Thru, Box the Gnat and face the center)
- Box formation
- Today we would call this an 8 Chain Thru formation -- the
formation obtained after a Heads Square Thru 4.
- Weathervane pattern
- Ed Gilmore is the only caller I know who turned a 4-couple
Two-face Line as a unit. He also used that action for Two-couple
Two-Faced lines in his singing call Tipparary.
- Goal Post pattern
- Half the dancers act as goal posts for the active dancers. A
typical sequence would start Heads Pass Thru, Separate Around 1 and
come into the middle and Pass Thru; Split 2 around 1 and come down the
middle with a Square Thru 3; Separate Around 1 and come into the
middle and Square Thru 4, etc.
- A call or sequence of calls that leaves all dancers back where
they started. From normal facing couples, Pass Thru, Chase Right, Boys Run is a Zero.
Note: The full subject of Zeros, including True Zeros, Technical
Zeros, Geographic Zeros, etc. is beyond the scope of this
- Double Zero
- A call or sequence of calls that, when done twice in a row,
leaves all dancers back where they started (e.g., Right And Left
- Triple Zero
- A call or sequence of calls that, when done three times in a row,
leaves all dancers back where they started. From facing lines, the
sequence Pass Thru, Wheel and Deal, Double Pass Thru, First Couple Go
Left, Next Couple Go Right is a Triple Zero.