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Square Dancers Support Our Military Personnel

Last Fall, members of the Copy Cats enjoyed a great night of dancing and banner stealing with the Batavia Silver Stars. The dance was held at the Batavia VA Medical Center. Not only were the Batavia Silver Stars great hosts but we learned that they are helping our United States military personnel through a program called Troopons®. Troopons® is a program which enhances the well-being of overseas and domestic military families by sending them food, non-food, baby, and pet manufacturer coupons to make their hard-earned dollars go farther. The Silver Stars have been involved in this program for more than five years and have collected approximately $2 million in coupons.

The Copy Cats Square Dance Club began collecting coupons here in Monroe County in May of 2016. Each week, our members and guests bring their manufacturers coupons from magazines and the Sunday Democrat and Chronicle. Volunteers cut, sort, count and package the coupons for mailing. To date, we have sent over $120,000 in coupons. Donna LaDonna is organizing the mailing of coupons. If you have any questions, please contact Donna for more information (dmld67@rochester.rr.com or phone 585-223-7219).

Monetary support for the mailings is also accepted.

In America, we can do anything! Let’s all pitch in to help these amazing men, women and families reduce their grocery bills and free up some of their pay for other necessities or niceties.

Submitted by: Donna LaDonna

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Bob and Alice Hager Receive 2017 Daphne Norma Leadership Award

On May 6, at Dance-O-Rama 2017, George and Carol Ann Stahl, the 2016 Daphne-Norma Leadership Award recipients, passed on this prestigious award to Bob and Alice Hager. Bob and Alice have been presidents of Belles ’N’ Beaus since 2003, where their encouragement and friendliness keep members and guests coming back to dance with them. At Christmas they host a special holiday party for club members and later in the year Bob is found industriously grilling hot dogs at their winter picnic. It’s their dedication that keeps their club active.

Ann Herne was present, among the other past recipients of this prestigious honor, to offer congratulations to Bob and Alice on behalf of herself and Mike.

George and Carol Ann have also been outstanding ambassadors for square dancing during this past year. In addition to being presidents of their own club, The Grand Squares, they have attended 57 other dances and have visited every club in the Federation. They typify the commitment and dedication of Daphne-Norma winners.

Following is the text of the introduction that Carol Ann Stahl presented at the Dance-O-Rama 2017 award ceremony:

“We’d like to welcome everyone to the 59th Dance-O-Rama and especially recognize this year’s graduates. You can be proud of the skills you have learned over the past few months. May you have many happy hours using them in the future.

Tonight we also present the Daphne-Norma award which doesn’t have as long a history as square dancing, but is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. It was established by Frank Salvaggio and John Fink in honor of their wives, Norma and Daphne, to recognize and show appreciation for outstanding leadership within the square dance community.

Last May, George and I were given this award. At first George was not happy with the responsibilities that came with the presentation. How would we be good will ambassadors while he was working full time on the night shift. But slowly the idea of taking an extra night’s vacation once in a while to visit other clubs became something to look forward to, especially a Monday or Friday since it made a long weekend. So he is proud of the fact that we attended 57 dances over the course of the year. I don’t think some clubs knew what the Daphne-Norma Award was, but they do now. I’m a little sad to see the year end but I don’t miss scouring the Sunday paper to see who has candy on sale this week.

Before we announce this year’s recipient we’d like to call forward all those past winners who have been able to join us tonight. We thank them for all they have done in the past and for what many are still doing to keep square dancing alive and strong.

I had the privilege of speaking to several of the past recipients even if they could not attend. One stood out and she remains today a good will ambassador. Gerry Bolton with her husband were the first recipients of this award in 1977. She is currently 91 years old and resides at the Fairport Baptist Home. Although she no longer dances she says she gets around very well for her age. Her doctor keeps telling her that her continued good health is probably due to the many years she spent square dancing. So everyone — keep on dancing. I also talked to Nora Slomcenski who won in 1996 and currently resides in Tennesee. She can’t be here, but sends a big “Yellow Rock” to everyone.

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for. Thank you to everyone who took the time to send us a nomination. If we didn’t choose your nominee, we keep all we receive for future consideration, so they are not lost. The couple chosen has had several nominations in the past and received several more this year.

They have been Presidents of their club since 2003, a big factor in the leadership area. Their encouragement, patience and friendliness are evident at each of their dances and certainly keep people coming back. They dance at the mainstream level thus providing a chance to dance and socialize for a group of dancers who probably would have difficulty dancing elsewhere. They have been known to arrange transportation for members or even to personally pick them up. They have tried to make dance nights special by having themed dances such as Elvis night and a winter picnic complete with grilled hot dogs, and host a special Christmas party for members. And if someone is ill or hospitalized they are right there with a card or visit.

They have frequently helped organize demos with audience participation at schools, churches and nursing homes to spread the idea that square dancing is fun.

They have been active in Scouting and in their Church as well as other civic organizations, and help organize a yearly Thanksgiving food basket for a needy family.

We are honored to present this year’s award to Bob and Alice Hager, from the Belles ’N’ Beaus.

These special pins — yours to keep and wear proudly.

This engraved plaque is yours to keep, and this engraved tray is yours to enjoy and show your club and family, but only until it’s time to pass it on at this time next year.

This lovely candy dish, which has traveled more miles than an Olympic runner, is for the treats you will bring with you to area dances you attend in the coming year.

Congratulations!”

Submitted by: Sally Emmel
Photos by: Jim Gotta & Jet Thomas

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Shirley Dickerson Has Turned 90 Years Old!

Square dancer Shirley Dickerson has turned 90 years old! Her current club, Shamrock Squares, celebrated with her during their dance on May 16th. She started square dancing in 1980 and has been a member of Boots and Slippers, Country Twirlers, and Cloverleaf Squares. She also angels at the advanced workshop held by Sid Marshall in East Rochester. She has attended many national conventions and festivals as well. Shirley is a Rochester native and has two children, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Her son calls her every day and she remains in contact with her best friend of 90 years (her friend reminds her that she is several months older than Shirley).

Submitted by Carl Webster

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How To Be A Good Angel

The monthly magazine American Squaredance carries a regular column called “Callerlab Viewpoints.” In the September, 2015, issue (Volume 70, Number 9 — September, 2015) the author presented excellent advice on how experienced dancers can help newer dancers by being “Good Angels.” The article was included in the fall, 2015, Promenader, but with the summer season of Plus classes getting started, it seems appropriate to present it again.

All experienced dancers should read this article, even if they aren’t specifically angeling a class. Here it is in its entirety (with minor changes to adapt it to our area):

Callerlab Viewpoints, by Mike Seastrom

The following has been edited from “Square Dance Nebraska — Ideas.” A special thanks to Mike Bramlett for sharing some great information on the subject of how to be a good angel.

Is your halo on straight? It is important that as many club members as possible come to the class as “angels.” What are “angels”? They are the wonderful people who volunteer their time to ensure that new dancers have the best possible learning experience.

“Angels” provide new dancers with their first real look at a club. How “angels” behave and treat new dancers, other “angels,” and visitors will affect class members’ decisions regarding whether or not to join your club.

“Angels” are also role models. No matter what the instructor and club try to communicate to the students regarding etiquette, attitudes, or styling, class members inevitably take their cues from what they see “angels” doing. So it is important that “angels” be extra careful to be good role models.

Smile, be enthusiastic, and enjoy the dancing. Be friendly, courteous and gentle. This is sometimes easier to say than do, especially if it has been a long day. Let’s be honest; some of us have personal agenda, perhaps disagreements with club policies, or less than cordial relationships with specific club members. These issues are out of place at new dancer events and must be put aside.

Although most of us do the right things instinctively, the majority of the time it can’t hurt to reiterate certain points. The following advice for “angels” has been extracted from several sources, including articles in square dance publications and handouts prepared for other clubs.

“Angels” Are Not Teachers

This is perhaps the most common misconception that can cause problems. The primary teaching function of an “angel” is to teach by example and be in the right place at the right time. One important thing you can do is establish hand holds after every move. Not only does this help students maintain their orientation in the square, but it’s also a very good habit for every dancer to develop.

It is always tempting to explain something your square is not getting, and the new dancers will often ask you to do this — but you must resist. It diverts the student’s attention from the teacher and one of the most important things for a new dancer to learn is to listen to the teacher/caller. Sometimes you can clarify a simple point for students between tips; this is fine, but not while the caller is at the microphone.

Another difficult point is just how much help you should give in getting dancers into the right place. Dancers, after all, must learn to do the moves on their own. To gently guide someone through a maneuver, if they have a momentary lapse of memory, might be okay and sometimes one can help by indicating nonverbally where a person should go. Just remember that we accomplish little by pushing or pulling a dancer through an action when he or she doesn’t know what was supposed to have been done.

It is better to let a square break down rather than to use force getting people into the right place. A broken down square is an indication to the instructor that dancers are having problems. Be sure the teacher is aware of problems. Raise your hand if necessary and ask the teacher to explain something if your square is having trouble.

But be careful not to embarrass any dancer by the way you ask for help. It is much better to say that “the square is not getting a certain move” rather than saying “Steve is not getting a certain move.”

Encourage students. Let them know that all new dancers make mistakes and that things get better with practice. Also, “angels” make mistakes too. It is good to admit to them cheerfully, as it makes the students less tense about their own mistakes.

Club Styling

Club styling is always a major source of contention. It is important new dancers learn the calls with standard CALLERLAB styling; that is, without the added flourishes that are done in certain areas. The teacher will introduce these regional differences at appropriate times after the calls are mastered. “Angels” must use only the styling which has been taught to the class.

This is not always easy. How many remember to Swing Your Partner without a Twirl at the end? It is really very important not to introduce more confusion into a new dancer’s learning experience. Some students are going to want you to teach them how it’s done before they have mastered the call, but you should resist the temptation.

Some Random Additional Advice

• Square Up With Everyone, not just a few friends. Seek out the new dancer who is having difficulty and ask them to dance with you. Make sure than new dancers are not sitting out because “angels” are dancing.

• End Conversations Promptly when the teacher begins a tip. If you are not dancing, keep your conversations far away from the dance area.

• Cheerfully Lend A Hand if you are asked to help set up or clean up, help with refreshments, or take attendance.

• Watch For security problems, accidents and dangerous situations like spills or debris on the floor.

• NotifyThe Instructor if there are problems with the sound.

• Don’t Complain about the hall, the floor, the caller or anyone attending the class.

• Don’t Criticize students or other “angels.”

Remember:

• Your name badge.

• You are an example to the new dancers and an ambassador for your club.

• Have fun! “Angels” are a key part of whether a new dancer continues dancing or joins your club.

(For American Squaredance subscription information, send email to: AmericanSquareDance@gmail.com)

Submitted by: Peter Emmel

Cloverleafs Prom Night

Cloverleafs had their last (for now) Prom Night Sunday, May 22. Members went all out handing out corsages for the women to wear and bow ties for the men.

Our caller, Mike Callahan, wore his Sunday best suit.

Submitted by: Sharon Meyer

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Cloverleaf Squares Graduate Six New Dancers

The 2017 graduates from Cloverleaf Squares, seen with Mike Callahan in the accompanying photo, are Rose Newhart, Vickie Pietropaoli, Judi Schoonmaker, Al Celecki, Nancy Wright and Jodie Klupacs.

Submitted by: Sharon Meyer

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Where’s The Dance?

Where’s The Dance?

WheresTheDance.com (WTD) is a global online reference site for dance clubs to post and share their schedules. Nearly all Rochester Area Federation (RAF) clubs are listed; several were charter members of the web site. Today only four of our clubs have current dance schedules posted on the WTD site — and a few of those are out-of-date.

See the accompanying screenshots for a view of the schedule page and a look at the search entries that I used to get there. Three RAF club dances are listed in the 5/24–6/2 time window shown.

One reason that so few of our clubs post their schedules at WTD is that their input scheme is so cumbersome. Since most of our dancers come from nearby, and all club schedules are posted on the RAF/Promenader website, it seems like an unnecessary bother to struggle through re-entry of dance information on a different site.

However, Leon Smith, an A-level dancer and active member of the Promenader volunteer staff, has offered to assist our clubs by posting and maintaining their dance schedules up to date on WTD.

He will use the information you already provide for the RAF/Promenader calendar pages. Your club would still retain official responsibility for your WTD listing, but within a week or so of your quarterly Promenader submission Leon would take care of posting your new schedule data to the WTD calendar.

He would also make arrangements with Sidney Marshall (RAF/Promenader Webmaster) to sync with any updates that come through between quarterly Promenader submission dates.

This is a GREAT offer by Leon, and clubs should take him up on it!

Your listings on WTD are seen by dancers all over the world. They can lead to interesting visitors from foreign lands who are traveling in our area — when they find themselves with an evening free and are looking for a square dance.

If your club might be interested in listing your dances at Where’sTheDance, you should contact Leon: LeonSmith@aol.com

ADDITIONAL NOTE FOR ALL CLUBS: When foreign visitors contact your club or show up at one of your dances, please ask how they found you and send me a note (promenader@rochester.rr.com). I’d like to know how effective the WTD site (and our own RAF web site) are at helping dancers from far away to find our local dances.

Submitted by: Peter Emmel

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Basket Raffle Winners at DOR 2017

A highlight of the Rochester area square dance year is the raffle of gift baskets at the annual Dance-O-Rama festival. Proceeds from this raffle are the main source of funding for the Rochester Area Federation’s support of club recruitment efforts to bring in new dancers.

Our clubs out-did themselves yet again, raising over $900 for the dancer recruitment fund! Thanks go to all who prepared baskets and, of course, all those who bid for them.

Here are the winners of the 2017 Baskets.

BasketWinnerClub
Batavia Silver StarsGeorge DormerVillage Squares
Belles & BeausDon SchlickerSilver Squares
Cayuga Cut-UpsKendra JacobsCopy Cats/Cloverleaf Squares
Champagne Whirl-A-WaysDiane CampChampagne Whirl-A-Ways
Cloverleaf SquaresP. MurphyFriendship Squares
Copy CatsGary AgostiCopy Cats
Grand SquaresJoyce McNuttBatavia Silver Stars
Shirts & SkirtsHenry CapronCloverleaf Squares
Waterwheel SquaresSharon WoodwardCloverleaf Squares
Dalton GangChris KellyShirts & Skirts
Village SquaresJerry TreuthartCopy Cats

Thanks also to Donna LaDonna, Sharon Meyer, Barb Green, and the others who organized this year’s raffle.

Submitted by: Peter Emmel

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Changing of the Guard at RAF

At the May meeting of the Rochester Area Federation of Western Round and Square Dance Clubs, the RAF leadership welcomed a new slate of officers. Outgoing president Warren Olson opened the meeting, but later passed the gavel — literally — to incoming RAF president, Jim Gotta.

The other new RAF officers are Henry Capron (Cloverleaf Squares), succeeding Jim Gotta as vice president, Stu Jones (Belles ’N’ Beaus) succeeding Mary Ann Lane (Village Squares) who is retiring after 20 years as treasurer, and Carl Webster (Shamrock Squares) who takes over from acting Secretary Doreen Olson (Copy Cats), who in turn succeeded John Benesch (also Copy Cats). Also, Carol Ann Stahl (Grand Squares), will succeed Sharon Meyer as RAF insurance coordinator. Sharon will continue to assist Carol Ann with the insurance.

The new team takes over leadership of a Federation that has a lot of positive momentum. Finances are strong and a forward-looking program is in place to support recruitment efforts of member clubs and to promote inter-club relations.

Here is a list of active RAF programs:

  • Reimbursement For New Dancer Advertising Expenses (up to $60 per club per calendar year).
  • Grant program For New Dancer Recruitment And Dancer Retention Efforts (up to $125 per event).
  • Promotional “Learn To Square Dance” yard signs with club/class contact information.
  • Free Dance — Fall Friendship Ball.
  • Willingness to consider underwriting potential losses by member clubs hiring (expensive) out-of-town callers.
  • Annual Dance-O-Rama in May to welcome new graduates and cap off the dance season with an all-day festival of dancing, and a gift basket raffle to fund some of the above programs.
  • Support for the RAF website and Promenader, the official newsletter of the Federation.
RAF meetings are held each month except June, July, August and December. Every club is encouraged to send a representative to these meetings, to keep open communications between clubs and the Federation leadership. Inter-club communication and cooperation is even more essential than ever, given the on-going stresses from a declining dancer population and reductions in the pool of callers and cuers.

If your club does not send a representative to these meetings, then you should consider doing so. It’s the best way to make your concerns known to the people who care most about the vitality of square and round dance clubs in our area.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Warren, Jim, Mary Ann, Doreen and Sharon, and to the many others who make things work at the RAF, including Sidney Marshall (webmaster), Peter Emmel (Promenader editor), Sally Baechle (USDA rep), and the club representatives who attend meetings and whose input helps shape RAF programs.

Submitted by: Peter Emmel

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Mainstream Graduates Welcomed at Dance-O-Rama 2017

One of the many Dance-O-Rama highlights is the annual parade of graduates. These are our new dancing friends who have completed the past season of Mainstream Square Dancing classes at clubs in our Federation.

Many established dancers already know the new dancers — from serving as class angels or from the season’s many “class/club” dances. But the annual parade is their official welcome into the Rochester-area dancing community.

The June Promenader issue is our opportunity to congratulate this year’s graduates by name.

2017 Square Dance Graduates:

Batavia Silver Stars

  • Shirley Dunham
  • Karen Sterman
  • Ron Struzik


Cloverleaf Squares
  • Al Celecki
  • Jodi Klupacs
  • Rose Newhart
  • Vickie Pietropaoli
  • Judi Schoonmaker
  • Nancy Wright


Copy Cats
  • Tami Adams-King
  • Gary Agosti
  • Ellen Agosti
  • Jeff Becher
  • Melanie Becher
  • Joseph Carlino
  • Teresa Carter
  • Lauren Furino
  • Ray Hart
  • Wally King
  • Andy Mitchell
  • Deborah Mitchell
  • Troy Shirley
  • Mary Claire Wise


Fulton Shirts ’N’ Skirts
  • Peg Kramer
  • Shirley Lenio
  • John Perry
  • Rose Reichert
  • Alice Ryan
  • Tom Scibetta
  • Dorothy Scibetta
  • Terri Yamrose


Silver Squares
  • John Corman
  • Barb Corman
  • Barr Ingle
  • Tim Kelley
  • Ed Orlando
  • Susan Orlando
  • Richard Waydens

Submitted by: Peter Emmel

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Dance-O-Rama 2017

Jim Gotta and the rest of the Dance-O-Rama committee and other volunteers did it again! They put on an excellent festival for dancers from Rochester and the surrounding area. The festivities took place throughout the afternoon and evening of May 6, 2017, in three halls at the Perinton Recreation Center. This year, about 80 dancers also enjoyed an on-site dinner catered by Otto Tomatto.

Total attendance was 240 dancers, including 38 new graduates from five area clubs. The “all-local” calling staff of Ron Brown, Gary Bubel, Dave Eno and Gil Porter, along with cuers Alice Bubel and Lisa Treichler, provided a consistently high level of entertainment.

Gift baskets were contributed by area clubs and raffled off to the lucky holders of 11 winning tickets (see companion article for list), raising over $900 for the Federation’s dancer recruitment fund.

The annual awards ceremonies recognized outstanding contributions of several individuals who have generously given their time and energy to the dancing community. Mary Ann Lane was honored for her long-time service as treasurer for the Rochester Area Federation, and Belles ’N’ Beaus presidents Bob and Alice Hager were presented with the 2017 Daphne-Norma Leadership Award. (See accompanying articles for further details.) The annual Club Challenge participation award went to the Village Squares this year, for the highest percentage attendance at Dance-O-Rama.

The most important thing that happens at Dance-O-Rama is the official welcoming of new dancers who have graduated from classes at area clubs. The annual graduates’ parade and the “welcome” tip that follows the parade are highlights of the evening program. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm — not to mention the dancing skills — on display this year. We hope that all will keep dancing over the summer, with the many clubs hosting dances and offering lessons at the Plus level.

We also encourage graduates to re-convene with all area dancers at the “Fall Friendship Ball” on September 23. The dance starts at 2pm and is free of charge. A catered dinner follows the dance. Dinner reservations are $20 per person. To make your reservation, use the coupon you’ll find in the flyer (Click HERE).

Submitted by: Peter Emmel

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Amateur Caller Night 2017

On May 24, 2017, the Village Squares held their “occasional” Amateur Caller Night — the first since 2014. Over six squares of dancers came to dance and cheer for five brave amateurs, all of whom did an outstanding job.

Amateur Night is a lot of fun for all, and to spice it up a little there‘s a competitive twist. After all the amateurs have performed, dancers turn in a ballot showing who they think did the best. The amateur with the most votes takes home the prize frog! A two-inch dangle with the winner‘s name on it will be added to the frog‘s necklace, and as MC Peter Emmel explained, the frog must be openly displayed in the winner‘s home until the next VS Amateur Caller Night, when it will move to a new recipient.

This event has a long history. It was the launch pad for several of our area callers and cuers, including Ron Brown, Sidney Marshall, Chuck Meyer, Eileen Webster and Jim Gotta. The infamous frog entered the picture in 1989. Names on the necklace are: Gerry Schwartz (Village Squares), Tom Turcotte (Triggers & Boots N Slippers), MJ Ebenhack (Tecumseh Squares), Ken Georger (Country Twirlers), Bob Atkins (Village Squares), Chuck Meyer (Cloverleaf Squares), Gordon White (Copy Cats), Colleen Vogt (Cloverleaf Squares) and Kendra Canada (Copy Cats).

The 2017 amateurs, in order of appearance, were:

  • Carl Webster (Shamrock Squares) cueing “I will Think of You”
  • Henry Capron (Cloverleaf Squares) singing call “He‘ll Have To Go”
  • Debbie Schlenker (Cloverleaf Squares & Village Squares) singing call “Because”
  • Peter Emmel (Village Squares) singing call “Sally Is a Good Ol‘ Girl”
  • David Yates (Copy Cats & Village Squares) singing Call “My Song”


Professionals Gil Porter, Sidney Marshall, Eileen Webster and Jim Gotta kept the crowd moving between performances. When all the votes were counted, it was a close race, with Debbie Schlenker taking home the prize frog.

Thanks to all who participated — both behind and in front of the microphone — and stay tuned for the return of the frog in another two or three years.

Submitted by: Peter Emmel
Photo Credits: Susan Thomas, Sally Emmel, Peter Emmel

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Mary Ann Lane Recognized for 20 Years as RAF Treasurer

At Dance-O-Rama, 2017, Mary Ann Lane received a framed certificate recognizing her 20 years of service as treasurer for the Rochester Area Federation. A long-time member of the Kuntry Kuzzins, in Newark, and more recently of the Village Squares, Mary Ann has been a faithful friend of the dancing community for many years.

Submitted by: Peter Emmel
Photos by: Jim Gotta

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Breakdown Recovery — Tips for New and Experienced Dancers

Breakdowns!

Breakdowns are inevitable, but milling around waiting for a broken down square to re-form is not. We should all practice getting our square quickly back in action after a breakdown.

The most efficient way I know is to form up in normal facing lines of four, at the sides position, then watch the rest of the floor and start up the next time the rest of the floor is in facing lines of four — at either heads or sides position.

Taking shortcuts to this procedure almost always results in an immediate second breakdown.

Until everyone in your square is consciously in lines and alert for the restart, you won’t be able to restart in sync and you’ll be broken down again on the next call. If two couples are lined up one way and the others are lined up the other way, there’s no way to re-start without an immediate crash.

So, next time your square breaks down, get everyone into lines at the sides position and get their attention focused on restarting when the rest of the floor is in lines — not just when you hear a call that can be done from lines. If you start up when the rest of the floor is in, say, facing couples, then your square won’t be able to do the call that comes after the “false” startup.

You can be ready for a restart even quicker if you aren’t fussy about getting everyone back with their original partner. Just form up in “normal” recovery lines, with the nearest man on the left and the nearest woman on the right. You can resume at the next “lines of four” and keep dancing. The couples can be sorted out after the tip — while you are congratulating everyone on their great recovery!

Sometimes it’s okay to keep dancing and let those who are out of place catch up, but that only works if one or maybe two are out of place, and if the others can keep dancing without getting confused while the “stragglers” catch up. When things get beyond that, there’s no point in a few heroically dancing on. It’s better to stop and form up in recovery lines so everyone can restart in sync.

Submitted by: Peter Emmel

In Memoriam: John Benesch, April 16, 2017

Penfield: Benesch, John Jr. went home to his risen Savior on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 at the age of 78. Born in Romania on April 26, 1938, he came to Rochester in 1949 where he lived the rest of his life. Predeceased by his parents, John Sr. and Wilhelmina. He is survived by his beloved wife of 40 years, Claire (Vogel) Benesch; his children, David (Hillary) Benesch, Katherine (John Brian) Housand; grandchildren, Lydia and Anna Housand, Molly, Samuel and Carolyn Benesch; his sister, Mary Benesch. He will also be missed by a multitude of friends whom he cultivated during his life on earth. We wish to thank those friends who have supported us during this difficult time. We also wish to thank the caring staff and volunteers at Shepherd Home in Penfield who so lovingly cared for him during his final journey.

John and Claire, were active square dancers and members of the Copy Cats club in Penfield, where they danced regularly for many years. John always remembered your name and was always ready with a positive comment. He contributed to square dancing in other ways as well, serving for several years as secretary of the Rochester Area Federation of Round and Square Dance Clubs. RAF president, Warren Olson, noted that at John’s memorial gathering he learned that John “was a family man first and foremost, sometimes to the detriment of his job as an engineer at Xerox.” As Clair explains, “to reduce time away from his family, John moved from a Xerox assignment that involved extensive time out of the country in favor of a less-traveled role in Rochester.”

Friends remember John’s many special interests, including skiing, trivia and above all baseball. He and David Yates coached their sons in the Penfield Little League, on a team called “The Button Brothers.” David has “no idea who the Button Brothers were. Perhaps the New Era Cap company had an overstock of baseball caps with that name and the Penfield Little League bought them at a discount.” David also believes that John was working on a book about baseball. John was an avid bridge player and an accomplished tennis player. He was also very active in his church in many capacities.

Online Obituary link

Submitted by: Peter Emmel

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In Memoriam: Deborah Lynn Bennett, April 6, 2017

Survived by her parents Douglass and Helen, sisters; Cheryl and (Ed) Ranalletti, Beth and (Jeff) Austin, and Barbara D’Anunzio, nine nieces and nephews, nine great nieces and nephews, many aunts, uncles and cousins. Debbie, was a lifelong Episcopalian and member of the Church of the Epiphany where she sang in the youth and adult choirs.

Debbie had many gifts: one she especially treasured was her gift of sign language — a gift she shared with others and within her church community.

Employed at Global Sutherland in Henrietta, she loved her position as a consultant for Intuit, and her skills earned her a Platinum Award Plaque last spring.

An avid reader, her hobbies included crocheting, needlepoint, knitting, and writing spontaneous prayers and poems.

Debbie was a trusted friend of the Deaf community and often placed herself in the position of being a bridge between deaf and hearing cultures. She believed in the educational and healing power of theater to bring Deaf awareness to mainstream society. Dangerous Signs (an ASL poetry performance group) will be holding a front row seat for her in their hearts, minds and performances.

In lieu of flowers her family requests donations be made to Dangerous Signs.

Debbie was a member of the Cloverleaf Squares for a few years, though in the last couple of years, she came only to socialize since she wasn’t able to dance. She enjoyed crafts and usually had yarn with her to work on her latest project. She also enjoyed writing, especially poetry. She loved her dog Bandit, who was her constant companion.

Submitted by: Sharon Meyer

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Three Dalton Gang Members Gone Since February

The Dalton Gang Square Dance Club has lost three Club Members since February of 2017. Gerry Thompson passed away on February 16. Then on May 4th, Randy Mueckl passed away suddenly at age 57. Twila Leach was the third member to pass on May 6, 2017.

Gerry Thompson and Twila Leach were among the founding members of The Dalton Gang. All will be sadly missed.

Gerry Thompson

Dalton: Age 83, died Feb. 16, 2017. Born Jun. 30, 1933, in the Town of Portage to the late Byron & Elizabeth Thompson. He is predeceased by his daughter, Joyce. Survived by his wife, Alice; daughter, Carol (Tom) Cunningham of Silver Springs; 3 grandsons, Peter (Melissa), Thomas (Amy) & Michael; 1 granddaughter, Sarah; 4 great-grandchildren, Brenden, Nathan, Ivy & Pyper; his brother, Arnold Thompson of Nunda; 2 sisters, Mary Ransom of Mt. Morris, Donna Haggerty of Bonita Springs, FL; his brother-in-law, Robert (Christine) Phelps of Groveland; nieces & nephews.

A Memorial Service was held Sat., Feb. 25th at 2 PM at the Dalton United Methodist Church, with Pastor Linda Glance & Pastor Lauren Turner officiating. Interment, Hunt Hollow Cemetery, Town of Portage. Memorial donations may be made to the Hunt Hollow Cemetery or the Dalton United Methodist Church. Arrangements: Mann Funeral Home, Nunda, NY.

Online obituary & condolence link

Randy Mueckl

Short Tract: Randall John Mueckl, of 5327 Sonnleitner Road, died Thursday (May 4, 2017) in his home.

He was born on March 17, 1959, in Kenmore, a son of the late Joe Mueckl and Sofia Hackett. He married Brenda Beardsley, who predeceased him on May 27, 2016.

Randy was a member of the Short Tract United Methodist Church, a volunteer at the Short Tract Fire Department and the owner of Pine Crest Farm Construction Company.

He enjoyed making bio-fuel, maple syrup, water skiing, bowling, square dancing, snowmobiling, cutting wood and he loved to tinker.

Surviving are his children, Joe (Kristy) Wendt, Jacob (Crystal) Mueckl, Jordan Mueckl all of Short Tract; four grandchildren; his sisters, Yvonne Swimline of Hunt, Dawn (Bob) Bennett of Short Tract; and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was held at 1 p.m. on Saturday (May 20, 2017) in the Short Tract Fire Hall, with Pastor Gary Wickard officiating, followed by a Masonic Service performed by members of the Nunda Station Lodge No. 682 F&AM.

Make out memorials, if desired, to Short Tract United Methodist Church or the Short tract Fire Department.

Funeral arrangements by Kopler-Williams Funeral Home, 21 N. Genesee St., Fillmore.

Online condolences may be made at www.koplerwilliamsfuneralhome.com.

Online obituary link

Twila Leach

West Sparta: Twila A. Leach, age 86, of 4044 Rock Spring Hill Road, died Saturday, May 6, 2017 at Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville, N.Y.

She was born the daughter of Ambrose and Twila (Strader) Bettinger on March 23, 1931 in North Girard, Pa. She married Leon Leach on June 19, 1948. She was a member of the West Sparta Methodist Church. She enjoyed sewing, photography and square dancing.

She is survived by her loving husband of 68 years, Leon; four children, Twila (Raymond) Eble of Pennsylvania, Steven (Jackie) Leach of Attica, Teresa (Paul) Lewandowski of Florida and Darlene (Stephen) Kelley of Mt. Morris; 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

No prior calling. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 3 at the West Sparta Methodist Church, 4287 Redmond Road, West Sparta. Dawn Merritt.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Arrangements by the JOHN W. MARTIN FUNERAL HOME, 37 Chapel Street, (Route 408), Mount Morris. Sign the online registry at www.johnwmartinfuneralhome.com.

Online obituary link

Submitted by: Terry Pratt