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Once Again the Federation Challenges clubs to attend Dance-O-Rama

Saturday May 7, 2016, marks the date for the 58th Dance-O-Rama to be held at Perinton Recreation Center on Turk Hill Road. Last year was the first club challenge, won by Copy Cats, which I still find amazing. This challenge is very simple. After everyone registers, we divide the number of club attendees into the reported number of members in the club, so if your club has 25 members and 24 attend Dance-O-Rama, then you have a 96% attendance rate. As we said: It’s pretty simple.

This year’s Dance-O-Rama has even more to offer than last year. Of course we have a mainstream hall; we also have a plus hall; and we will offer an A2 segment and a line dance segment, and finally a round dance party. With more to offer, we will be dancing in three rooms this year, and we have lined up a great calling and cueing staff. Callers will be Dave Eno, Brad Deibert, Mike Callahan and Ron Brown. Our cuers will be Mark Thone and Jerry Carmen.

As in years past, we will be having our great basket raffle, with proceeds going the Dance Retention fund. We will have three 50/50 winners this year. Where can you go for $10.00 per person and have such a great time for 8 hours of fun and friendship with a little exercise along the way? Mark your calendars for May 7, 2016, and plan to come for at least some of the day. Or, better yet, plan on staying all day. See you there!

Warren Olson

Introducing a New Area-Wide Dance Event Next Fall

Mark your calendar now for a new all-clubs event on Saturday, September 24, 2016. Two separate initiatives have converged to develop the “Fall Friendship Ball” dance-and-dinner event. Hopefully, this “welcome back” dance will become a regular feature in the fall schedule, replacing the popular Promenader Dance that has occupied that late September spot for so many years.

Dancing will tenatively run from 2PM to around 5PM, followed by a catered buffet dinner at 6pm in the same venue. The early timing should enable dancers from a wider area to enjoy this event. Courtesy of the RAF and a staff of top-notch callers from our area who are volunteering their time, the dance will be free of charge. The dinner will be offered at a subsidized price estimated at $12 per person. Watch for a flyer to be posted soon.

This event will be a great way to kick off the new season. It will give established dancers a chance to renew their dancing acquaintances and to welcome the summer’s Plus class graduates. It will give returning “second-season” dancers — regardless of whether or not they attended Plus classes — a chance to ease into another year of dancing in a festive and welcoming setting. The format will feature “announced” tips to provide a mix of Mainstream and Plus dancing.

American Legion Post 256, in Canandaigua, was chosen as the venue (454 North Main Street). The hall is inexpensive and there is plenty of room for dancing and for an on-site catered meal. Hopefully the early timing will make up for the extra distance, and the Canandaigua location should make it more accessible to our many Finger Lakes area clubs. Hopefully, this will foster inter-club friendships over a wider area and in a more conducive setting than the former RAF Cabin Parties.

The dance will also serve a fund-raising purpose. According to RAF president Warren Olson, “There will be no charge for the dance, but we will encourage people to purchase 50/50 tickets, and we will put out a jar for voluntary donations to the RAF’s Dancer Recruitment and Retention Fund.” In this way the new event will carry on a tradition from last year’s Promenader Dance of supporting club efforts to bring in — and keep — new dancers.

Let’s all plan to come out for the Fall Friendship Ball, where we’ll dance and dine with old friends and new!

Peter Emmel (Click HERE to read the Editor's Message and see how this idea developed.)

Catching Up With Chip Kellog and Sue Yara

[Roving Reporter]

Who are Chip Kellogg and Sue Yara? One clue is that they are both wearing the Daphne-Norma Leadership Award pin, so you know they’ve been active and respected in the square dancing community. Another clue is that if you are a dancer living within a couple hundred miles of Rochester, there is at least a 99% chance that the badge you are wearing was made by Sue — as indicated by the CS Engraving sticker on the back. If you’ve been dancing in our area for long enough, there’s a good chance you’ve danced in a square with Chip and Sue. And if you’ve been dancing even longer, then you recall Chip’s unique calling style.

Chip retired from calling some years ago, after serious health issues that he successfully addressed through life-style changes and the magic of modern medications. Sue has recently announced her own retirement after many years of providing most of our various badges and commemorative presentations. It seeed like a good time to check in on these two and re-visit their many years of service to our square dancing community.

Irma and I visited Chip and Sue at their farm in Walworth, just inside Wayne County. Heading East on 441, then north at the big bend and just two houses up, I found Chip “doing the chores” — a term familiar to anyone on a farm with animals to care for. I don’t know this first hand, but I suspect that Sue also does her share of those chores, though at the time of our visit she happily entertained us until Chip came in, farmer boots and all.

Let’s start with Chip. Back in the early 70’s, when Irma and I were relative “newbie” dancers with the Wayne Westerners, Chip was usually our caller. The word amongst us newbies was that Chip was a tough “take-no-prisoners” caller. He insisted that we should know all calls from every position…which most of us did not!

Nevertheless, Chip was a very popular caller, and we often found him calling in Newark, Canandaigua and other places. Of course, Chip was in fact a great caller and teacher, and was recognized, together with Sue, with the Daphne-Norma Leadership Award … which, as many of you know, is not bestowed lightly.

Sue has earned her accolades, as well as our love and respect from her many years of providing our Rochester area clubs and the RAF with all of our engraving needs — badges, dangles, awards, pins, and whatever else we’ve needed.

I took the accompanying photo of Chip and Sue as they were being recognized by the Copy Cats, another of Chip’s long-term “gigs,” … and I believe that they have been similarly recognized at many other clubs over the years, especially at clubs with long histories, such as the Village Squares and the Country Twirlers.

On behalf of all of us in the dancing community, we offer our thanks, prayers, and best wishes for yet many more enjoyable years in retirement. We’d be proud to again find Chip and Sue at DOR, when our historic leadership is traditionally recognized.

Grand Squares Celebrating 55 Years on April 28, 2016

The decade of the 60’s saw many newsworthy events capturing the headlines locally. Most have been forgotten. But at least one category remains today. It may have decreased in popularity but its list of faithful participants still remains. As a spin-off of the old barn dances of Americana, a new rage of casual but patterned dancing called Western Square Dancing was born. Although not the first group in the area, Lima Grand Squares, which held its first dance in March, 1961, ranks as one of the oldest. Its founders were four couples from the Lima area, but membership soon grew to include other local couples as well as dancers from as far away as Victor, Geneseo, Batavia, and Wellsville. Drawn together by a love of dancing, socializing, and having fun, participants first met for a weekly session of lessons. After “graduation” dancers became full club members and were also welcomed at other clubs in the area as well as clubs throughout the USA. The club met in the basement of the Lima Town Hall and so became known as the Lima Grand Squares. All walks of life were represented, from students to professors, from housewives and farmers to mechanics and realtors.

Since the basement proved too warm for summer dancing, it was decided to hold dances from June to September at a barn in East Bloomfield. When seeking a design for the club badge, members affectionately chose a picture of this structure for the club’s identifying symbol and it remains so today. Their dance schedule included dinners, barbecues, socials, themed dances, and costume parties as well as the square dancing and Lima Grand Squares soon became known as the friendliest club around. They even chartered a bus occasionally to take them to visit other local clubs.

Don Stumbo was Lima Grand Squares’ first caller and he remained in that role for 14 years. Other callers included Gary Bradt, Dick Casper, Will Herzog, Jerry Carmen, and Gary Bubel. Since 2005, we have been privileged to have as our caller, Mike Callahan, who himself has recently celebrated 55 years of square dance calling.

Due to a gradual decline in local members, the club first changed its name to Grand Squares of Lima and then to just the Grand Squares. They continued to use the Lima Town Hall as their dance site for many years. In the late 1990’s they danced for a few years at Lima Elementary School, moving in 2001 to Roth Middle School in Henrietta.

We can’t claim to have any of the original members still dancing, but we do have several present dancers who have memories of the way things were many years ago. We plan to celebrate these memories by inviting past members and present dancers to join us on Thursday evening, April 28, at Roth Middle School for our Anniversary Gathering.

For more information contact the Stahls at 585-533-9241 or

(Download PDF flyer HERE)

Carol Ann Stahl

Celebrating Jerry Carmen’s 50 years of Square Dance Calling on Saturday, May 14th

Fifty years ago, when he was a student at the University of Massachusetts, Jerry Carmen joined the Heymakers, an on-campus square dance club. Later, when the club’s caller graduated, a few of the its members tried their hand at calling to take his place. Naturally, Jerry soon became the club caller and the rest is history.

After graduating from UMass, Jerry brought his mechanical engineering degree—and his bride Betty—to Rochester and a job at Eastman Kodak’s Elmgrove plant, where he remained through its spin-off to ITT. At ITT, Jerry’s title changed from Senior Research Scientist to ‘Space Engineer.’ What a fitting title for a caller!

Jerry’s first professional job as a club caller was with KOLLARS ’N’ KUFFS, a Batavia club for teenagers. Jerry soon became the caller for EKCO SQUARES, LIMA GRAND SQUARES, SPINNING WHEELS, SWINGING SINGLES, WEB SPINNERS, JERRY’S GEMS, AND JERRY’S FUN SHOP.

In 1989 the VILLAGE SQUARES faced a financial crisis and Jerry came to their rescue. He continues to be the club’s beloved caller and still seems to get pleasure out of watching us break down when he throws in one of his occasional tricky, some might say sneaky, calls.

Jerry began cueing for round dancers in the 70’s at SPINNING WHEELS and SWINGING SINGLES. He and Betty Carmen learned to cue at the same time. Jerry now also cues at Village Squares and currently has a Monday night round dance class at the Penfield American Legion. He will be a cuer at this year’s DOR and frequently is guest cuer at other area clubs. He also leads line dancers in Henrietta, Gates, and Chili.

To celebrate Jerry’s Golden Anniversary, the VILLAGE SQUARES are hosting a FREE dance at Washington Irving (now Archangel) School in Chili on Saturday, May 14, from 7–10pm. Ron Brown, Greg Marling, and Gil Porter will be calling square dances, Will Herzog will lead line dances, and Bob Schlenker is returning from Florida in time to cue rounds.

Everyone is invited to celebrate Jerry’s 50th year of square dance calling—free of charge. If you or your friends have ever enjoyed dancing with Jerry, you should come to the Archangel School on May 14 and help us thank Jerry for his 50 years of dedication to the activity we all love.

Sally Emmel

In Memoriam: Harriet Austin, January 24, 2016

Harriet was born July 4, 1920 in Perry, NY and died January 24, 2016. She is survived by her daughter Kim (Sam) DeLuca, step grandsons Anthony DeLuca and Michael DeLuca, several other relatives and her beloved dog, Chi-Chi.

She was a dancer her whole life and a very lively one at that. Her parents had 2 dance halls in the southern tier when she was growing up and she started dancing at age 9 and didn’t stop until about age 90. She was a member of Silver Squares Dance Club with her long time dance partner, Leo Gaesser, for over 20 years. Harriet was always early to the club’s dances and helped wherever needed. She was a very gracious lady and got along with everyone. She and Leo also danced at many dances throughout the area. They also did ballroom dancing at the Greece Community Center.

She will be sorely missed by the Silver Squares members and especially Leo who will be turning 100 on April 8th.

Submitted by Sharon Meyer with information from Ruth Uhrenholt


In Memoriam: Bob Everts, January 21, 2016

Bob passed away January 21, 2016 at the age of 72 in the presence of his family and friends. He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Joanne, daughters Deborah, Kelly, and Sheryl and several grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as 3 sisters, 2 brothers and 1 brother-in-law plus many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Bob was a US Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War. He retired from Eastman Kodak after 25 years and then worked for Nothnagle for 15 years. He was active with Spiritus Christi Church and volunteered for many organizations. He was involved with square dancing at Cloverleaf Squares where he and Joanne met. He was President of the club in 1997 and in 1999 was appointed by Bill Owen, the then current President, to head up a new Vision Committee to work on solutions to suggestions given by the membership such as attire for dancers, changing dues, dance scheduling & getting a nominating committee for getting new officers every year. When the National Singles Convention (DAR) was going to be held in Rochester in 2006, he and Joanne were treasurers for that event. They were avid round dancers and danced in the early years with Bill Saintey and Brian Adams and most recently with Mark and Marlene Thone on Monday nights for many years.

Bob and Joanne liked spending time in Las Vegas every year and they both enjoyed horseback riding and usually spent time at a dude ranch in the mountains twice a year. They visited the Grand Canyon recently and went out on the glass walkway. Their last trip was a memorable trip to Alaska.

Submitted by Sharon Meyer with information from Mary Lou Altman, Marlene Thone, and Joanne Everts

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