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Johnny Preston Calling for Boo Bull Clubs

On August 15, 2017, the Boo Bull Square Dance Clubs featured national caller Johnny Preston at their air-conditioned hall in Henrietta. An A1/A2 dance was held in the afternoon, followed by an evening Plus dance. As you can see from the photos, a great time was had by all — incluuding Johnny.

Born in California, Johnny began calling in 1976 while attending Wayne State University in Michigan. He is a full-time caller who travels across the United States and is often featured at festivals and resorts throughout the world.

Johnny was also featured as a square dance caller in a national television ad for Ameritrade. Johnny is internationally known for his enthusiastic style and wonderful singing voice. Calling Basic to C-1, Johnny is always a crowd pleaser at dances. Dancers don‘t want to miss a dance when Johnny comes to town!

Johnny is the founder of Hoedowns for Humanity, a foundation created to raise friends and funds for local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity at the same time raising awareness of the square dance activity throughout the country.

Photos courtesy of Carl Webster

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ALS Rochester Walk for Jerry

Honor the memory of Jerry Carmen by participating in the ALS Rochester Walk on Saturday, September 16, at Ontario Beach Park. Registration begins at 9:30 AM; Walk begins at 11:00 AM. Click HERE to consult the flyer for information on joining our team “Promenading for Jerry” and making a contribution.

Submitted by Donna LaDonna

Square Dance Do’s and Don’ts

Square Dance Do’s

DO be aware at all times that square dancing is a “courtesy” recreation rather than one of competition.

DO keep smiling even if you are angry with yourself for “goofing.” The other seven people in the square might think that you are frowning at them.

DO recognize your corner and remember who he or she is. Next to your partner this dancer is the most important to you of all in your square.

DO be quiet and attentive to the caller during instructions even though you know what he is explaining. Perhaps someone else in your square needs to be briefed.

DO leave sharp jewelry at home. It can cut fingers or catch on clothes and inflict injury.

DO wear proper square dance attire - long sleeves for men - ladies wear full skirts, petti-pants and low-heeled shoes suitable for square dancing.

DO remember to treat all ladies as you would want other men to treat your wife or girlfriend. The ladies always seem to treat other men a little gentler than their partners.

DO wear name badges at all times. It might surprise some of the oldsters to learn that they are not as well-known as they thought. Many dancers are not aware of the origin of the name badge. When western style dancing began to flourish, someone suggested that everyone should be identified by means of a name badge so that dancers would be on a first name basis to further friendly fellowship and recreation. Some clubs decided to add their club name and the city or area where it was located. They also created original designs for their badges. THE RUDE SQUARE DANCER IS THE ONE WITHOUT A BADGE, because this places other dancers in the embarrassing position of not being able to address you by name. DON’T BE RUDE.

DO admit it when you “goof.” Next time it could be someone else’s turn, so you needn’t feel bad about it. When you “goof,” do it gracefully and recover as best you can in order to keep your square from breaking down.

DO remember your position when you square up — heads, sides, what couple number and, in some instances, whether you are in a boy or girl position.

DO end each dance with a flourish, applause and sincere THANKS to all in your square.

Square Dance Don’ts

DON’T be a “competitive” dancer. Instead cooperate with the other seven people in your set to make a good square.

DON’T be over-exuberant. Your yell might drown out the next call for everyone around you. If you want to make noise, do it at the right time -- during an extended call like right or left grand or promenade, or best of all after the final call.

DON’T be a “know-it-all.” Let the caller be the instructor, unless someone asks you for help at the close of a tip.

DON’T cut in or out of a square unless you know how. And if you are cut out, leave gracefully.

DON’T be guilty of “horseplay” unless you are positive your square and the club will not be offended.

DON’T take that extra swing with your partner. It might make her late for the left allemande with her waiting corner.

DON’T forget: It is the lady who determines whether or not she wishes to twirl. If her hand is held high, she would like to twirl. If it is low, she does not wish to twirl.

DON’T forget to trade a dance, especially with the guests. And don’t overlook the caller’s wife. She might like to dance. ASK HER.

DON’T sit like a “bump on a log” when another couple is needed to complete a square. If you want to sit out a tip, leave the floor — go to the rest room or where you can not be seen. This prevents embarrassment to you and to the three couples wishing to square up.

DON’T complain about the caller, the hall, the sound or the tacky floor. Seek to find the good things about the dance and express them. Your attitude will contribute to your enjoyment as well as to the enjoyment of others around you.

DON’T pre-arrange sets of four couples before square up. You insult the ability of other dancers and reflect a snobbish image contrary to the democratic ideals square dancers wish to exemplify. If you wish to dance with friends, you and another couple could stand in opposite positions in the set and allow two other couples to join you.

DON’T insist on dancing your way when visiting other areas. If these people dance palms up on the Alamo, go along with it. If they do or do not stir the bucket, DO AS THE ROMANS DO — EAT ROMAN CANDLES — but keep your opinions to yourself.

DON’T try to help the caller when filling in with a new class by explaining or pushing or pulling. Dance as though it is your first night also.

DON’T “PARTAKE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES BEFORE, OR DURING, THE DANCE.” Some people object; others may not wish to be close to you with alcohol on your breath. Children are often present, and many clubs dance in churches or schools. Drinking may even adversely affect your dancing ability. This is a cardinal rule of square dancing.

DON’T be “breath offensive.” Ask a friend for gum or mints if you forget yours.

DON’T forget to use a deodorant after your pre-dance bath or shower. You may become quite warm when you are dancing.

DON’T be a “ROUGH HANDLER.” Use light, easy handholds; that is, don’t grab or squeeze tight on box-the-gnats, grand right and lefts, circling, etc. Many dancers suffer from arthritis that makes a tight grip very painful.

Why do we …

NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AT DANCES? Alcohol inhibits our ability to listen and perform. Alcohol reduces our reaction time making us a poorer dancer. In addition, square dancing is a wholesome, family-oriented activity.

BELONG TO A CLUB? Clubs are needed to organize dances and establish a means to enjoy the fellowship of square dancing. To survive they need an active membership where everyone helps. Volunteer, don’t wait to be asked.

STAY NON-COMPETITIVE? In square dancing we want everyone to have fun. This works best when there are no winners and losers.

OVERLOOK MISTAKES BY OTHERS? We all make mistakes … Everyone is trying to do it right. Encourage them.

WEAR NAME BADGES? Badges enable us to be on a first name basis which furthers friendly fellowship.

WELCOME NEW DANCERS? New dancers are the lifeblood of our activity. Only with their enthusiasm and ideas can dancing continue to flourish.

Adapted from The Central Florida Square and Round Dancers Association:

Our Most Sincere Thank You

Receiving the DAPHNE-NORMA LEADERSHIP AWARD was a totally wonderful surprise! We listened to the award being announced and when some of our unique ‘theme’ nights were mentioned we both looked at each other and said “that’s us!” We were in shock and so humbled. This leadership award would not have been possible without all the hard work and commitment over the years by our very dedicated Board of Directors who have supported us and worked so diligently and enthusiastically to keep our club going strong and growing. We are honored and truly value this award. Be on the lookout for us as we visit your dances throughout the year and we will bring along the famous candy dish to celebrate.

Leadership Award

The DAPHNE-NORMA LEADERSHIP AWARD has been presented annually at dance-O-Rama since 1977, with the exception of 1997. It recognizes dancers from the Rochester area square and round dance community who have contributed in an outstanding way to the well-being of square and round dancing, and who have demonstrated this leadership for an extended period of time. Leadership styles vary greatly as each person is different, but going that extra mile for the sake of other dancers, and of dancing itself, is something we can all celebrate.

Next Year’s Nomination (2018)

As you read this today, please take a moment to nominate someone whom you believe is deserving of the DAPHNE-NORMA LEADERSHIP AWARD, recognizing their continuing leadership efforts in the square dance community.

Send your nomination for 2018 to the 2017 recipients:

Bob & Alice Hager
306 Cherry Creek Lane
Rochester NY 14626
(or email:

(Link to 2017 nomination information)

Insurance Reminder

Current insurance for Square Dancers expires on December 31, and the forms to insure dancers and dancing sites for 2018 need to be submitted by mid-October. As soon as the current rates and forms are available, I will email them to the president and the person in charge of insurance for each club. For efficient transfer of this information, if there has been a change of contact from last year, please email me with the current name and address. (Forms will also be available on the RAF website.) Thank you in advance for your help in this important matter.

Carol Ann Stahl, Insurance Coordinator

Letter to the Editor

Many people have suggested finding a new place for larger dances.

It isn’t as easy as it sounds. In the past George Ahn and Mary Lou Altman checked out many places that were suggested. They looked at size of the room, whether it was air conditioned, if it had a kitchen nearby, what nights of the week it could be rented, the cost of rental, is adequate parking available and can we bring food in. They narrowed it down, mainly due to the cost.

Until you have done this yourself, you wouldn’t believe how much places rent for. As an example, several of us went to Artisan Works as that was mentioned and there was a demo done there last year. A room the size we would need would rent for $5,000. Of course that is way over budget.

When Copy Cats had the Tim Mariner dance a couple years ago, the hall at St. John Fisher cost $1,000. The hall at Assumption Church rented for $180 which is more typical of what some places charge.

You also have to be aware of sound. With high ceilings or cement, the sound doesn’t carry as well to some parts of the room, so you can’t hear it very well.

It would be nice to have a committee that could check out places on both the east and west sides of the city. We need suggestions from everyone. Maybe you went to an event and thought to yourself that would be a nice place to have a dance.

Unless someone is willing to go the extra mile and ask the important questions, the rest of us would not know of this place. No place is off limits. Ask, Ask, Ask. Please give your suggestions to one of the Federation officers or your Federation Rep, and if you’re willing to investigate locations, please let them know that as well.

Sharon Meyer

In Memoriam: Jerry Carmen, August 8, 2017

Jerry Carmen, 78, Spencerport, died Tuesday, August 8, 2017. He was born December 13, 1938, in Holyoke, MA, the son of Irving and Virginia Margaret (Norris) Carmen. He was of the Jewish faith.

He grew up in Chicopee, MA, graduating from Chicopee High School in 1957. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as a Still Photographer. In 1966, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Western New England College. He worked at Eastman Kodak Company and ITT Corporation, retiring in 2006 after 40 years of service. Jerry moonlighted as a square dance caller during his working years and in 1989 founded the popular square dance calling group, the Hip Boot Boys. During his retirement years he continued his passion for square dancing, as well as round dance and line dance instruction, and choreographed a number of round dances.

Jerry also enjoyed collecting antiques, stamps, and coins; repairing, and refinishing furniture; artwork in the form of watercolors, pen and pencil drawings, stenciling, and sign painting; and watch and clock repair. He had a facility for foreign languages, being fluent in French, German, and Hebrew. He was a member of CallerLab, the Caller’s Co-operative of Rochester, and the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.

He met Elisabeth (Betty) Louise Primmer through the University of Massachusetts Heymakers Square Dance Club. They were engaged in 1963, wed June 18, 1966, in Williamstown, MA, then moved to Spencerport.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, and a brother, Morris Carmen.

Surviving are his wife, Betty Carmen of the home; four children, Debby Henrikson (Don) of Thompsontown, PA, Dan Carmen (Jen) of North Chili, Dennis Carmen of Albany, and Diana Papa (Brad) of Greece; two grandsons, Zachary and Joshua Carmen of North Chili; a sister, Sadie St. John (Leonard) of Holyoke MA; five brothers, Paul Carmen (Lorenda) and Larry Carmen (Anne) of Chicopee, MA, Harvey Carmen (Sherry) of Tullahoma, TN, David Carmen (Nancy) of Granby, MA, Sam Carmen (Min Cha) of Waldorf, MD; a sister-in-law, Rosa Carmen; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Association Upstate New York Chapter, 135 Old Cove Rd, Ste 213, Liverpool, NY 13090; or Paralyzed Veterans of America, 801 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20006; or St. John’s Cemetery, 55 Martha St, Spencerport, NY 14559.

Jerry’s Family


In Memoriam: Mike Herne, June 24, 2017

Michael B. Herne, of Victor, NY, passed away on June 24, 2017, at age 75. He is survived by his wife, Ann Kingsley-Herne; children, Kim Staffieri, Kelly Hoffmann, Josette Campana, Jenn Jackson, Christopher Engert, Nathaniel Herne; 11 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; many siblings, nieces, nephews and friends.

As an active square dance caller in the greater Rochester area, Mike called regularly for clubs such as the Belles ‘N‘ Beaus, Dalton Gang and Victor Swing-A-Longs. He had a wonderful singing voice and a seemingly endless repertoire of “groaner” jokes.

He and his wife stepped in to shoulder the task of Subscription Editors for the Promenader when the previous holder of this responsibility (Dorothy Woodams) died suddenly in a car crash.

In 2010, Mike and Ann Herne received the Daphne-Norma Leadership award for their contributions to square and round dancing in the Rochester area.

Mike's Funeral Service was held on Thursday, June 29, in the Victor United Methodist Church. Interment was held privately. Funeral arrangements by

Adapted from original obituary published by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on June 27, 2017


In Memoriam: Marilyn Andraszek, July 6, 2017

Marilyn was a former Cloverleafs member who loved square dancing. She even convinced her son to start lessons and he did dance for a while. She loved dressing up for Halloween and one year no one could figure out who it was until the unveiling. She was game for most everything and loved to travel. Her family was very important to her.

She is survived by her son Michael, two daughters, Debra Callaghan and Lori VanScotar, 4 grandchildren, two sisters, one brother and many nieces and nephews and friends.

Contributions may be made to Journey Home, 994 Long Pond Rd, Rochester 14626 or Gilda‘s Club Rochester, 255 Alexander St., Rochester 14607.

Sharon Meyer