Square Dance Caller
I was born to a middle-class family in North Eastern, PA. I had a childhood littered with friends, family and school. I now have some really great stories. (Ask me how I learned to ride a bike.) Family was and is very important and we had huge family gatherings several times per month.
High school brought a move to the Amish country of Lancaster PA, with a short stint on an actual Amish farm. I started my performing career as the trombone player in The Music Man. Professionally, I was a tour guide through the Lancaster countryside. For some reason the grandmothers all loved me, but none of the HS girls ever gave me a second look. (Ah well)
Next up - college. I attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania (yes, really in PA). Spring break, 1981 I attended a square dance with my parents. They said "Doesn't this look like fun?" I said "Sure, but I like that guy, the caller. He gets to tell everyone where to go!!" But first I had to learn to dance. Now, one thing you should know about me is: I'm impatient. So, they gave me the Callerlab MS book and said "OK, we're going to a student dance tomorrow. You study this and you can dance." I studied overnight, then went and made EVERY mistake possible, including apologizing to my partner, the caller's wife, after each call. Now impatience is just one of my good traits. I'm also obstinate. I went back home and studied more, but now with a frame of reference. Three more dances that week and I was totally hooked. OK, Now on to calling ...
While at college, I was befriended by local caller named, Norm Shaffor. The next 3 years, 4-6 nights/week, we would ride together into Pittsburgh. We'd talk calling the whole way there. At the dance, he'd let me call a tip. Then he'd critique me the whole way home. The honest immediate and direct feedback was very motivating.
Late 1984, I moved to the Washington DC area and decided to give up square dancing. Before quitting, I went to one more dance. There, I met a group of singles my age. Instead of quitting, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the cult. Within a year I was the club caller for 2 clubs. I worked my way up to calling Challenge by 1986 (did I mention impatience?) Soon after, a DC Lambda Squares member heard me call, and asked if I'd like to audition to be the DCLS club caller. I'm proud to still be with DCLS, more than 34 years later.
I called my first fly-in for Baltimore’s Chesapeake squares. This included an hour of die-hard hot hash lying on my back with my eyes closed (we were all young and stupid). My first IAGSDC convention was in NYC in 1989. 1990 brought “married with children.” I continued to call, but my focus was more at home. A blur of coaching soccer games, theater plays, concerts and calling dances and fly-ins.
In the early 2000’s I became the club caller for Baltimore’s Chesapeake Squares and continued calling for DCLS as well. I also began teaching Crash Course weekends (A complete program in a weekend). These were done at MS, Plus, A and C1. In addition, I was also fortunate enough to begin mentoring calling students.
I now regularly call about 118 weekends per year and about 200-250 nights per year. I call regularly for 5 local clubs. I'm proud to have been on staff for 11 IAGSDC conventions
By day, I am a mild-mannered project manager for a tech firm in Baltimore. On the homefront, I'm very proud of my 2 beautiful daughters, Erin and Callie. When I'm not calling, you can find me dancing or hanging out with the lovely Kathy Zottmann and our dog Rosie. I also spend 1-2 nights/week playing board games (TM, R4tG, Azul, Copenhagen, 6 Nimmt, Lanterns, Puerto Rico, WingSpan, etc) and hanging out with friends.
I spent most of the time during Covid, calling virtual dances and playing board games online with friends.
I hope to see you on the dance floor sometime soon.
Calling Beginners thru C3B
One Night Stands