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  • MEC and COBS: Camping and Bread

    Posted on May 8th, 2017 admin No comments

    A meeting of the Edmonton & District Callers & Instructors Association (EDCIA) and the Community Dance Capital Dance Association (CDCDA) on Sunday ended around 4:00.  The venue, Queen Mary Park Community League, happened to be a few blocks north of Oliver Square in Edmonton.   Oliver Square happens to be the home of

    1. The new Mountain Equipment Coop store, which happened to be having its grand opening that day
    2. COBS Bread, a well-known bakery chain from BC
    https://meccms.imgix.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/17_CM_0006_StoreEdmondton_Store_OPEN_Post_Phase_Hybris_5x2_FA.jpg?v=1493682555&w=1000&h=400&auto=format&q=40&bg=0FFF

    Concept design of the new MEC store in Edmonton. It actually looks pretty much like this! Image from MEC.

    First, we toured MEC.  It's huge.   I'm not sure, though, that there are more different items than in the old store.  There are certainly racks and racks of each item.   Great fun to walk around and look, as MEC specializes in good-quality gear.  So much has changed since I was backpacking  and camping with my sons in Scouts twenty or so years back .  Equipment is lighter, more compact, more technical.   There seem to be a lot more choices.

    I wound up buying three little gel-snacks (Clif  Shot Energy Gels, @ $1.50) a Swedish Trangia mini-stove with cookset (4000-918, $48; a bargain compared to $116 plus shipping at Amazon.ca!), and a nifty little MSR folding spatula ($6.95).  The gels are for my MS Bike this June, and the other items are for future planned bike touring.  But they'll be handy just to throw in the truck with a pack of freeze-dried food to have for emergencies.  Maybe we'll carry it in the RV to be tossed into the daypack for hot soup or tea on a cool hike.

    The Trangia alcohol stove has been around for at least 40 years, I think.  We built tin-can alcohol burners with the Scouts, so certainly this is old and low-tech.  What is new (to me, at least) is the little cookset, which is light and compact.  The 15 cm aluminum frypan is non-stick coated.  The burner and pot handle fit inside the 0.8 L bowl and the frypan clips on top to hold everything together.  The stove is said to boil 750 mL of water in about 6 to 10 minutes.   Didn't get fuel, but looking forward to testing this out; it will bring back memories.

    Trangia mini-cookset and alcohol stove.

    Trangia mini-cookset and alcohol stove. Image from amazon.ca

    There are offshore versions of the Trangia for about half the cost -- such as this one from TVCMall for $15 CAD plus $5 S/H -- and they would probably serve.  I could have purchased one of those, plus an inexpensive cook set such as the NewStyle 8-piece, which might even have room for the stove, for about $20 from amazon.ca or even less from a place like Banggood or GearBest.  This is cheaper than the Trangia Mini from MEC, and would include more items, two bowls, a spoon, and cup, a pot-scrubber and a rice ladle.   Every camper needs a rice ladle!  Benefit of buying from MEC was that the item was on the shelf and I could examine it before purchase, and at least some of my money stays in Canada.

    The Newstyle 8-piece cookset from Amazon.ca

    The Newstyle 8-piece cookset from Amazon.ca

    Our second stop was COBS Bread, just across the parking lot from MEC.   Delightful place.   We bought fresh-baked filled croissants: one ham and cheese for me, one spinach cheese.  They were warm, flaky, and tasty and a wonderful ending to our visit to Oliver Square.

  • Square Dance Attire: Trapped in Time

    Posted on May 1st, 2017 admin No comments

    We call it “Modern Western Square Dance”, but you might not think it so "modern" to see us.    "Appropriate Square Dance Attire" for ladies requires huge skirts and voluminous crinolines.

    The crinoline began in the early 1850s as a cage or device of hoops and straps, made of wood, metal, horsehair, whalebone, or some combination of these materials, designed to expand the skirt and so make the waist appear more narrow.

    Several modifications were made to the design of the crinoline before [it] began to fall out of fashion in the 1870s....”

    Fashions circa 1850-1870

    Fashions circa 1850-1870

    Ridiculing Crinolines. Women had such a love for their crinolines that they appear to have been willing to accept men’s ridicule and to withstanding the perils encountered when wearing them.

    Men complained that women encased in their huge contraptions were unapproachable; therefore they could not escort them or offer them their arm. [One source] refers to the analogy of women in their crinolines as being like a majestic ship, sailing proudly ahead, while her male escort trailed along behind.... From the point of view of men, crinolines distorted the feminine shape. In Germany, many males swore that they would not marry a girl who wore such an apparatus. Some men went as far as comparing women’s iron hoops to weapons of armory....

    When women wore their crinolines they encountered problems such as walking through doors with someone else or sitting on a sofa with another woman. When sitting down their crinolines would be tilted up in the air, revealing too much [exposure of a lady's bloomers was scandalous!]. When walking around a room accidents could happen to the ladies such as knocking over an occasional table laden with bric-a-brac, or they could inadvertently become combustible if they came too close to a fire. Due to the enormous size of their skirts fire victims could not be saved by rolling them a rug. Getting into a carriage was almost impossible and women also had to be careful when approaching a carriage otherwise they could get their hoops entangled in the wheels....

    Wearing a crinoline on a windy day was quite a feat. To begin with there was the embarrassment of skirts lifting up high in the air exposing more than what was considered proper for a lady. Fortunately for milady,...lacy pantaloons were now in vogue. In windy weather the gals that were light as a feather risked being blown off their feet, or even over a cliff. With luck, maybe their crinoline might have acted as a parachute. By the 1870s, the exaggerated skirts lost their appeal and women began to wear closely fitted garments, doing away with the crinoline.

    Source: http://www.fashionintime.org/history-womens-hooped-petticoats/3/

    Page from a 1952 catalog advertising nylon “Bouffants to set your skirts afloat.”

    Page from a 1952 catalog advertising nylon “Bouffants to set your skirts afloat.”

    From the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, the crinoline resurfaced as fashionable wear, but it was more of a stiffened or starched petticoat worn under a “swing skirt”. “Give your skirt a whirl and a twirl” urged the crinoline ads of the day. These lighter, softer, and more practical versions provided the waist-narrowing effect of the wide skirt while avoiding most (though not all) of the difficulties of the hooped versions [along with some modern issues such as getting them caught in a car door].  A fad for a mere half-decade, the fashion vanished with the poodle skirt.

    Catalog page showing the 1950s precursor of square dance skirts.  Polka dots and floral prints were also  popular, as were fancy accessories such as bows, lace, ruffles, and flounces.  The square dance movement at least dded a great deal of color to the style.

    Catalog page showing the 1950s precursor of square dance skirts. Polka dots and floral prints were also popular, as were fancy accessories such as bows, lace, ruffles, and flounces. The square dance movement at least dded a great deal of color to the style.

    Yet somehow, like a pig mired in mud, the crinoline and swing skirt became inextricably stuck in the square dance movement. It is clear that for the ladies, “appropriate square dance attire” is an outright imitation of late 1950 styles, based in turn on those of a century earlier. Our dress code follows fashions over a century and a half old. Yet we dare to call ourselves “Modern Square Dance”. Au contraire, we should bill ourselves as “Vintage Square Dance” and put on demos in museums and historical societies.

    It would seem likely that insisting on styles from 1850/1950 has square dancing trapped in the past.

  • National Square Dance Day – Nov 29, 2016

    Posted on November 28th, 2016 admin No comments

    NATIONAL SQUARE DANCE DAY

    TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 29, 2016

    Square Dancing has its roots in traditional English, Irish and Scottish folk dance. Square dances were first documented in 17th century England. Today, square dancing is mainly associated with a romanticized image of the Old West, and cowboys wooing Southern belles during dances organized in saloons.

     

    Right hand star

    Right hand star

    To celebrate this new annual event, which is being celebrated in both the USA and Canada, how about the Square Dance Clubs that do not dance on Tuesday evening organize a group of their dancers and go visiting one of the Clubs that host a square dance on Tuesday - November 29.

    This a wonderful opportunity to gather and celebrate square dancing, have some fun, meet new dancers, and maybe even steal a mascot.  And it's also a wonderful opportunity for the general public to see some modern square dancing, so be sure to invite some non-dancing friends to stop by, meet the dancers, join in the fun or take part in the after-party.

    For information about square dancing in your area, google "square dance (your city)" without the quote marks or parentheses.  This should get local club contact information.  You can also try http://wheresthedance.com/clubs.php

     

  • The Challenge of Becoming a Caller

    Posted on November 21st, 2016 admin 1 comment

    STRUGGLING UP THE CLIFF

    The Challenge of Becoming a Caller

    Opinion by Tom Gray

    The editor of Alberta Chatter, a square dance newsletter, invited me to submit an article on the process of learning to call. The result is based on personal experience, discussion with other new callers in caller schools, and posts on the Facebook groups Callers in Training and Newbie Callers.

    Why become a caller? In my case, it looked like fun, a challenge, something new, something I thought I might be good at because I enjoy teaching and singing. I had noted the camaraderie among callers and wanted to be part of that. Some have admired a particular caller. Others have had to take over when a club suddenly needed a caller and no one else was available (or willing). Occasionally, someone is persuaded to give it a try at a “goof night” and find that they enjoy it. However you get started up the cliff, climbing requires a considerable investment in money, time, and effort.

    THEY WEAR A LOT OF HATS (Besides being callers, they are teachers, listeners, counselors,
    chaperones, emcees, referees, mechanics, politicians, promoters, artists, etc.) ~ Corben Geiss


    Cost of Equipment and Music

    Learning to call can be costly. I've spent some $3000 or more on equipment and music -- and I'm just getting started. Even used equipment can be expensive. And after your main purchase of a sound system (amp and speakers), there are the extras -- microphones $100+ each, Hilton mic cable $1microphone10 US, ADC sound cards, misc. patch cords etc. gear case $80+, wireless mic $500+ etc. With all this gear, clearly a caller also doubles as a sound technician. Care and maintenance of equipment also factors in.

    Music is a second major outlay in money and time. New records and MP3 files run about $7 USD plus S/H, plus time spent in selecting, reviewing, and ordering. Callers typically have hundreds of songs; do the math. Old records are $1 or free, but going thru them and listening is time-consuming. Listen to the called side adds more time. Learning what's good for your singing voice, style, and personality takes time; listening to new music and deciding if it suits you takes even more time. Converting vinyl to digital takes 5 to 15 min per song (transfer plus cleanup). It all adds up.

    Memberships and dues also add up -- Callerlab membership $105 USD/yr; SoCan membership $67.20 CAD/yr; other professional organizations - about $60+/yr. Depends on what you join. Caller Schools run $500 or more each, a little less for workshops; add travel and accommodation. Add in mileage, wear and tear on vehicle and time away from spouse and family.

    “Many years ago when I first started calling, an experienced caller told me to NEVER listen to the called side. I forget his reasons but I ignored the advice. I want to hear how the song starts. I want to hear how the song is handled. I want to hear the timing. There are so many songs with which I am unfamiliar, I need to hear the song sung through.” -- Nick & MaryAnne Turner, BC


    Learning to Speak/Sing -- Vocal skills

    Good diction is Dancers clip 2a plus - you need clear enunciation. You also need to learn precise delivery in time to the music, and how to to set the sound system to best enhance your voice. Speech lessons come in handy (I did two years of Toastmasters to learn public speaking skills, for example). While “a half-decent singing voice” is generally considered to be of value, of greater benefit is having a sense of rhythm and a sense of timing. Singing lessons can help (many callers sing or have sung in community and church choirs; many take private lessons). However, it's my observation that the best callers are excellent performers (if not excellent singers).

    Overheard after I did a guest tip:
    Dancer 1 - “He's a good singer.”
    Dancer 2 - “Yes, but a good singer is not necessarily a good caller, and a good caller is not necessarily a good singer.”


    Time Commitment -- Practice, Practice, Practice

    Dancers probably do not realize how much time and work goes into learning to call. Working out or checking choreography, rehearsing, and practicing with dolls and calling software takes hours each week. Initially, it took me 6 hours to prep for a two-hour gig (such as a wedding dance or church group), because I want to give them both their money's worth and my very best effort. Fortunately, it takes less time now, and I've had some great times calling those “one night stands”. Besides, they're the only way I make money calling! I have spent hundreds of hours practicing in my garage, my basement, my office, my car -- practicing singing calls, timing on patter etc. And this time is largely wasted because it's done without live dancers. You get a live square, you call something you've practiced for hours, the dancers do something you don't expect (but maybe could have, with more experience), and … now what? You can't practice for that unless you've got dancers to practice with.

    “As a new caller, I am finding that there is a lot (and I mean a lot!) of prep time that goes into calling a class night. By prep time I mean hours spent during the week working on easy singing call figures, selecting what calls and how to teach them, etc.” (Denise Carbonell, USA)


    Technique, Delivery & Performance

    Some newbies can step up to a mic and deliver a dynamite dance (Brad Slepicka for example, who wowed with his debut at age 14) but most of us learn more slowly. Proper use of calls, what's correct and when to use them, plus timing, flow, dancer movement for good choreography, all come bit by bit. We learn technical aspects of formation, arrangement, sequence, relationship, quadrants, symmetry; when to “stack” calls and when not to; how to resolve a square (get everybody back home or to an Allemande Left). Entire caller schools are devoted to the theory and practice of calling.

    When you step onstage, it helps to be an extrovert, a bit of a show off. If you're not, it's a steeper uphill climb. The top callers are also excellent entertainers, who deliver with style and personality. “Have fun – enjoy life and smile when you call. You can hear the smile on the microphone.” ~ advice from Mel Wilkerson, Australia. Easy for you to say, Mel!

    Public speaking is a breeze compared to calling. I'm always nervous for my single tip. My first few times up at the mic, my shirt was soaked with perspiration! It has become a little easier over the years, but still happens occasionally. With one tip at a time, I have no chance to get over my nervousness and start enjoying being up there. I get only one shot at it. There's no second chance.


    Mastery of Memory

    Starting to call at 20 must in many ways be easier than starting at 60. My mind was sharper at twenty! Certainly my memory was better back then. I'm finding if difficult to memorize material, in part because of the difference being onstage makes. Somehow holding a mic wipes the memory clean! Apparently, this is a well-known phenomenon. I CAN memorize songs or choreo that I've called on stage over and over. With only one tip here and there, progress has been slow.

    “My mind still goes blank when I get up in front of everybody.” ~ Mark Hart, Apple Valley, California


    Learning to Teach

    To teach anything, you need an understanding of the material, knowledge of how learning takes place, and a great deal of patience and persistence. The newbie caller also has to overcome dancer attitude. “These new callers don't know how to teach. You can't let them loose on new dancers, they'll ruin them.” (These are actual comments made by dancers who somehow forget that every one of their favorite callers was a beginner “back when”). Another common situation is being ambushed -- the Club caller says, “I want you to teach XXX tonight.” No chance to prepare or review. Caller thinks he's being a good mentor and coach for throwing the newbie into the deep end. Forgets he's been doing it for decades and can probably do it in his sleep... but the new caller might need some prep time.

     

     The best way to learn a subject is to teach a class in it. You don't have to be an expert -- you just have to know more than your students, and keep two jumps ahead. “For thousands of years, people have known that the best way to understand a concept is to explain it to someone else. 'While we teach, we learn,' said the Roman philosopher Seneca.” ~ Annie Murphy Paul, The Protégé Effect.


    Support from Local Clubs

    Many beginners feel that clubs could better support new callers. “We give the new caller one tip a week” is a common format. Consider this: how long would it take you to learn to square dance if you were allowed to dance only one tip a week? Oh, and how do you think a new caller feels when there are four squares in the hall and only one square (or fewer) get up for the newbie's tip?  The best way to encourage a new caller is to get up and dance.

     

    “When I started about 8 years ago, I went to a callers school but because I was only getting about one tip a week I was frustrated because I wanted to get better but couldn't.” ~ Patrick Gene Matthews, Cedar City, Utah

    Clubs are also reluctant to hire beginners. My own club has twice passed me over when looking for a replacement. Each time, they said I lacked experience, which is true, but they were unwilling to give me the opportunity to gain the experience I need. Nobody seemed to see the irony of that.

    James Herpin, from Fort Charles, Louisiana, reports, “I also have been trying to get started in calling. I have been calling about 6 or 7 years but have received few offers from local clubs, including the club I used to belong to. They hired a caller from 80 miles away who charges $50 more than I did.”

    In areas with lots of excellent, experienced callers, clubs seem never to hire a new caller to do a guest spot or demo, either. Inevitably, they will pass over a newbie for a more experienced caller. You can't blame the clubs for that: they want the best they can get. In such areas, it can be almost impossible for new callers to get a toehold, and the cliff begins to look insurmountable.

    “The point being that if you don't help those starting out, they may not be there when you need them.” ~ John Anthony, Havertown, Pennsylvania


    View From the Clifftop

    Not sure what it looks like; I'm not there yet. A glimpse came in Yuma when someone came by after my tip and said, “I really enjoyed your calling, and I want you to come and call at USA West in Helena this summer.” Repeat business, word of mouth referrals, and great one-night-stands also provide a glimpse of success. A new caller clings to these peeks at the vast horizon of calling.


    For permission to reprint, please contact the author

    TomGrayCaller@shaw.ca

  • And Now Going With Wireless Mics

    Posted on November 5th, 2014 admin No comments

    A while back I spoke about the desire to look professional, at least by having good quality equipment.

    When I was calling the "hoedown in a cow pasture" for Trek 2014,   one of the Trek staff had a pair of good-quality wireless mics that proved very useful for teaching.  I could walk out in the middle of the group and continue to teach or call.  Because there were two mics, I was able to use one and one of the hoedown organizers had the other for announcements and information.

    Other callers, among them my mentors Jerry Jestin, Murray Few, Wayne Russell and many others, also use wireless mics, often in preference to their Hilton corded microphones.  The advantage of the latter, when used with Hilton Audio sound equipment, is that the instructor can turn down the music volume from the mic holder, instead of having to return to the stage to adjust the music.    A wireless mic lets the caller more easily "stride the stage" and move among the dancers.

    Wireless mic set

    Wireless mic set

    Although I have a wireless headset mic that I bought at my second caller school in 2010, it's not all that comfortable and isn't really a great mic.  I use it when I need to dance and call at the same time.

    At any rate, when I rented my Bose L1 Compact from Long & McQuade Music in Edmonton, I also checked out their selection of wireless mics and spoke to the salesman about the pros and cons of UHF vs VHF, benefits and hazards (interference, for one) of wireless mics.   Then I went to kijiji and ebay to see what I could find.  Nothing on kijiji, but lots of choices on ebay.  I chose what looked like a good unit from an importer in BC,  a two-mic UHF set with 200 channels, for $168 CAD delivery included.  The same unit, two weeks later, is now priced at $222 CAD.  Similar units at Long & McQuade were over $500.

    Tried it out in the garage and liked it; used it at my lesson on Tuesday and liked it.  I had to really dial down the bass frequencies and cut a bit of mid-range to suit the students with hearing aids (otherwise, I like it with the bass and a bit of reverb, think it sounds great!)    Only problem is that I'm used to holding my old mic in one hand and the cord in the other.  With the wireless mic, I really have to fight not to put my free hand in my pocket!20141105_192558

    Next, since it was clear that the cardboard box it came in wouldn't survive more than a week of use, I started searching online for a case for the system.   Looked at a bunch of really pricey road boxes.  Ouch.  Then I  noticed someone selling a big old VHS video camera with a case, and it occurred to me that I had such a case sitting under my workbench in the garage.    Aha!

    A  little foam trimming with a sharp utility knife and voilà, the packing fit and now I have a 20141105_192451plastic case for the mic set that is sturdy and -- in my opinion -- looks  professional.

    Sometimes things just work out.

  • On Looking Professional

    Posted on October 20th, 2014 admin No comments

    My square dance sound system was a freebie, donated by a retired caller, and I was grateful to receive it four years ago when I was just starting out.  It's an old Hilton Micro 75A turntable/amp, with a stacked speaker, manufactured around 1980.

    The Hilton is still in fair shape (after I added a new needle, blew out the dust, replaced a weak capacitor, serviced the turntable, cleaned the crackly potentiometers....  Free usually comes with a price!)

    The speaker cabinet had clearly seen better days.  The corners are chipped, and somebody saw fit to install the mesh over the speakers with hot glue.  Works okay after I rewired the out-of-phase speakers, but looks like hell.   I bought some metal box ends to cover the bashed corners, which shaped it up somewhat.

    This was a great unit to learn on, and served me well for the first year.   I continued to use it as an amp even after I converted my 45 rpm records to MP3 a year later.   But even so, I'm thinking that the old equipment looks a bit crude.  It was good technology in its day, with  solid-state digital circuitry, but it's almost forty years old.  Modern equipment is lighter and more efficient.

    Sure, a good caller with old equipment is still a good caller, and a bad caller with good equipment is still a bad caller, but an old caller with old equipment just looks dated.   There is something to be said for at least looking professional.

    A couple of callers in our area have moved to the Bose L1 Compact.  A single unit is supposed to provide sound for 100 to 150 people.   The L1C includes a woofer, a two-channel amp with presets for microphone and line/guitar, gives out a tremendous volume of sound (though my son, who is in the home theatre business, argues that Bose speakers are weak in the mid-range),  covers almost 180 degrees from a single speaker column, and is resistant to feedback even when the caller and mic stand right in front of the speakers.    And it weighs about 15 kg in two small packages.

    So I'm going to buy a little mixer and rent a couple of the Bose L1 units to use at the Trek 2014 Reunion Hoedown I'm calling on  October 25.

     

  • Calling, Calling, Calling

    Posted on October 19th, 2014 admin No comments

    Wow!  It’s been busy!    Last week we had 18 registered for the Intro to Square Dance in Devon.   Of those, 15 came (we heard from the other three, who unfortunately couldn't make it).   Of that 15, I think 12 have signed up for lessons.   Check out the Meetup page or my Schedule for more information about the lessons.

    Then today, another new caller, Alan Ellis, and I took part in a Callers Without Clubs dance at SEESA from 1:00 to 4:00.  It was a good dance and a good practice that gave me a better awareness of my strengths and weaknesses and what I need to work on to improve.

  • Summer Oldstice

    Posted on August 10th, 2014 admin No comments

    Got to call a street dance at the Summer Oldstice on June 21, sponsored by Uptowne Olds.   It was windy and cold at first, but the day warmed up and it turned out to be a great day for an outdoor dance.

    Through some mixup,  the "angels" (experienced square dancers and volunteers) we expected weren't present, but we went ahead anyway.   Different people came to dance at different times during the hour, and we had some older folks, a bunch of pre-teen girls, some teen girls.  Overall, I think about 40 different people took part, which I think is pretty good.

    The highlight for me was when a group of special-needs folks were watching and I invited them to dance.  So we had a square with three wheel chairs and a few others from the group.  It was wonderful to see how much they enjoyed the dancing, laughing and waving their hands.

    <IMG: An Oldstice-Fashion Square Dance  Olds Albertan Tuesday Jun 24 2014 page 1>

    PS We later ran into someone from the Olds Calico Capers square dance club, and apparently they hadn't even heard about the event until they read about it in the local paper.  We've discussed the issue with the organizer and hope to be back next year with a stronger program.

  • CALLING AT TREK 2014

    Posted on July 20th, 2014 admin 2 comments

    Had a great time calling at Trek 2014 out east of Cherry Grove, AB.

    Dawn in a borrowed bonnet

    Dawn in a borrowed bonnet

    The trek -- a simulated re-enactment of the Mormon hand-cart migrations to Utah in the mid 1850s -- saw an estimated 190 youth and 50 adults in an approximation of period clothing building hand-cart kits, loading up their sleeping bags and gear, and hauling them some 25 km over rough terrain.

    We pulled the rig in on Thursday afternoon, in time to go and watch the group playing various "pioneer" games such as tug-of-war, cow-patty toss, log-sawing, and the like.  Fun to watch, and despite having trekked some 15 km the day before, up and down hills and through swamps, the kids seemed to have a lot of energy.

    Wow, a cow-patty frisbee!  (Painted polyurethane foam)

    Wow, a cow-patty frisbee! (Painted polyurethane foam)

    The hoe-down was Thursday night, about mid-way into their trek.  Not sure if all the participants danced, but they sure spread out in the field.  I had chosen dances and music of the period to add to the authenticity of the experience.  I called some old-time circle dances, a contra, and a reel, which saw enthusiastic and lively participation.

    Mounted mobbers arrive at dusk.  "Git offa our land!  Move, varmints!"

    Mounted mobbers arrive at dusk. "Git offa our land! Move, varmints!"

    I was just starting Cumberland Squares, with plans to move into some old-time square dances, when a group of masked horsemen ("mobbers") broke up the dance and drove the campers off the land--something that also happened in the historical migration.  One dancer complained, "But we're having a hoe-down!"  No matter -- clear out!

    The group was packed up and moving fast within a surprisingly short time.   Although I had not been directed by the mobbers to clear out, with the dancers gone there was no point to my staying; I packed up and left too.

    In preparing for the dance, I learned a lot about the trek migrations, the early history of the Mormon church, and about songs and dances of the 1800s.  And calling for all those folks in an open field was a unique experience!

    A big thank you to all those who helped with setting up equipment and dance formations; thanks especially to the Bonnie Doon Stake for organizing the Trek and for hiring me to call the hoedown.

    Followup:  Trek II, the Hoedown Continues

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