President’s Letter May 7, 2017
Fifty-nine Dance-O-Ramas are now under our belt, and I am sitting here reflecting on the state of square dancing in Rochester, New York. Jim Gotta and the Dance-O-Rama committee have done a great job putting together a great afternoon of dancing and friendship. This year they added a buffet dinner catered by Otto Tomatto’s, at which about 80 people enjoyed a fine feast and did not even get wet or have to wait in line. The committee followed up by serving ice cream — a nice treat even though it wasn’t a warm summer night. I have to believe that square dancing is alive and well. While I do not yet have the results from yesterday’s dance, I feel very positive. Bolstering our dancing numbers, we have many new graduates who have put their time into learning square dancing. As I traveled through the hall yesterday I saw a Plus room filled with dancers, with more waiting their turn or resting. The Mainstream hall always seemed to have a good crowd with die-hards dancing until we had to close the doors.
The square dance community honored a very deserving couple, awarding the Norma Daphne award to Bob and Alice Hager, long time presidents of Belles ‘N‘ Beaus, for the work they have done promoting square dancing along with other community services. Congratulations Bob & Alice — we look forward to seeing you and the Candy Dish next year as you visit other clubs.
As Gary Bubel said at the end of dancing, “Some of us are getting older than we are supposed to.” That holds true for dancers and callers alike.
We have been fortunate to graduate quite a few dancers in the last couple of years; however this year we have a couple of callers on the injured reserve — Jerry Carmen and more recently Mike Herne. We do currently have two new callers — Jim Gotta and Rachel Bicheler. We should be concerned, as learning to square dance takes time and so does learning to call. There is an investment in equipment followed by an investment of time and patience. We will soon see at Village Squares some promising amateur callers as they vie for the FROG. Maybe we will see our next aspiring caller.
As I am writing and reflecting on my two years as president, we have accomplished at lot. We established a new dancers retention and recruitment fund, designed to aid clubs in recruiting and retaining new members. We established the Fall Friendship Ball in September to welcome back seasoned dancers and to welcome new dancers. This dance offers both Mainstream and Plus, and includes a great buffet dinner after dancing. We are fortunate to be able to set up a dance this June with two great national callers, Ken Bower and Gary Shoemake. This, too, will be a new-dancer-friendly dance. We as the Federation are here not only to offer clubs insurance, but to assist clubs in developing dance opportunities.
As I now pass the gavel (oh yes we actually do have a gavel), I would like to welcome the new officers of the Federation. Jim Gotta is our incoming President, Henry Capron our Vice President, Carl Webster our Secretary and Stu Jones our new Treasurer. I am thankful for all the assistance I have received from Terry Pratt our current Past President, Jim Gotta current Vice President and Dance-O-Rama Chairman, Doreen Olson Secretary, and Mary Ann Lane long-time Treasurer. I would also like to thank Sharon Meyer. She is always there and I can count on her to answer any questions I might have had. (Trust me there were many questions and she certainly knows the answers.) This has been a great two years and I look forward to meeting more dancers this coming year. See you in a square.