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Items from "Northern squares": 243

Shoo-Fly (clip) - Mac McKenrick

Singing square, called to the familiar children's song; not to be confused with the "Shoo-Fly Swing," a figure sometimes found at the end of big circle dances.

Crooked Stovepipe - Tod Whittemore

The caller is Tod Whittemore; musicians are Randy Miller, fiddle; Peter Siegel, mandolin; and Bob McQuillen, piano. Danced during a Retrospective session at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, January 15, 2011. Ralph adapted this from a traditional French-Canadian dance and tune, and it is often the first square learned by New England callers. You…

Gents and Corners - Tony Parkes

Danced during a Retrospective session at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, January 15, 2011. The caller is Tony Parkes; musicians are Randy Miller, fiddle; Peter Siegel, mandolin; and Bob McQuillen, piano. The tune is Dusty Bob's Jig. Tony found this figure, called "Heads and Sides" and attributed to Ralph, in a copy of American Square Dance…

The Route - Bob Dalsemer

Recorded at Dare To Be Square, Seattle, 2009

Texas Star - Bob Dalsemer

Recorded at Dare To Be Square, Seattle, in 2009. For a more complete view of dances from the weekend, see the audio and video files posted here.

Singing Calls - a short history

History of Singing Squaresby Tony ParkesThe earliest description of a singing square I've found so far (in fairly shallow digging) appears in the first edition (1925) of Good Morning, prepared by Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Lovett for Henry Ford. It is Plain Quadrille No. 13, Figure 4, page 65, "Girl I Left Behind Me." It is first described in the same…

Just Because - Walter Lenk

Caller Walter Lenk, backed up by Tony Parkes, leads dancers through the singing square Just Because. Recorded at the Saturday night Grand Dance, January 1988, at the first Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend in Durham, NH. This version of the dance was popularized in New England by caller Duke Miller. The musicians are RP Hale, hammered dulcimer;…

Glenn F. Pease - Old-Time Barn Dance Caller

Glenn F. Pease: Old-Time Barn Dance Caller

From just after WW II to the early 1970s, one of the places to be on a summer Saturday night in a small corner of west-central New Hampshire was at a square dance where changes were called by Glenn Pease of Orford, NH. Glenn was a farmer, selectman and Grange member who was born and lived all his life…

Do-Si-Do and Face the Sides - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes is the caller in this excerpt of a Ted Sannella composition, "Do-Si-Do and Face the Sides." The dance, at the Kingston, New Hampshire town hall on the evening of November 18, 2005, was a tribute to Ted Sannella, marking the tenth anniversary of Sannella's death. The musicians are Old New England: Bob McQuillen, piano; Jane Orzechowski,…

Nellie Bly - George Hodgson

Veteran dance caller George Hodgson leads the classic singing square in this 2004 appearance at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend. Dancers at that event over the years became familiar with George's version of the dance-- on the chorus, when George sings "Hi Nellie," the dancers respond with an enthusiastic "Hi, George!"Music by Wild Card: Terry…

Marching Through Georgia - Dudley Laufman

Better known for his barn dances and as a contra dance caller, Dudley Laufman also includes some traditional squares in his repertoire. Here, joined by his wife Jacqueline-- "Two Fiddles" -- he leads dancers in Marching Through Georgia, a singing square dance. In Dudley's characteristic fashion, instead of walking through the entire dance…

Fred Breunig - Listen to the Mockingbird - singing square

An excerpt of the calls for this old square dance, led by Fred Breunig and recorded at the 2004 Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend.

Music by Wild Card: Terry Traub (Piano), Vince O'Donnell (Fiddle), Robin Kynoch (Whistle) and Jon Weinberg (Hammered Dulcimer)

Auctioneer - Ralph Sweet

This is the opening of Ralph Sweet calling his version of Marshall Flippo's classic singing square, Auctioneer. Ralph is calling a basic goal post pattern; compare other versions of the dance and read a full description here. The musicians are the band Swallowtail. Recorded January 15, 2000, at the annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, Durham,…

Grandma Slid Down the Mountain - Tod Whittemore

Caller Tod Whittemore with his yodeling square dance, "Grandma Slid Down the Mountain." As Tod says in his introduction, "This is a dance by Ted Sannella... but he never called it exactly like this." (Tod based his dance on Ted Sannella's Presque Isle Eight, which in turn borrowed from Maine caller Rod Linnell's dance, Presque Isle Eighth.) Tod had…

Ted Sannella - photographs

After Ralph Page's death, Ted Sannella was widely regarded as the dean of New England callers. In addition to being one of the most prolific choreographers of squares, contras, and dances in other formations, Ted chaired the Ralph Page Memorial Committee and served on the Governing Board of Country Dance and Song Society. This website includes…

Frank Fortune

Frank Fortune with the Myron Colby Orchestra, Bradford, NH

Frank Fortune and the Bradford (NH) Barn Dance

Back in the 1930s and 1940s in many of the villages of New England were held dances referred to as "Barn Dances" or "Round and Square Dances" or "Eastern Barn Dance Style Square Dances". As people did not travel the distances for recreation that we do today many towns had a local group of musicians who supplied the music for these dances, as well…

Two Three Hand Stars (clip) - Frank Kaltman

The tune is Big John McNeil.

Frank Kaltman founded the influential magazine American Squares and (with Dan Wolfert) created the Folkraft record label after World War II.

Farmer's Daughter (clip) - Ed Bossing

Ed Bossing was director of the Rocky Mount Folk and Square Dance Summer School in Denver, and was employed regularly by the Chicago public school system. He authored the Handbook of Square Dancing, and he and his wife spent a sabbatical year (1952) traveling around the country leading workshops.This dance was also collected by Bob Dalsemer in…

Half Way Round (clip) - Rod Linnell

Maine caller with his composition, a singing call set to the RCA VIctor recording of "Back Up and Push." Linnell's version is published in