THE TEAM

Ottawa Square Dance Convention 2023 inc. is headed by a team of lifelong square dancers from across North America and they are working tirelessly to bring you the best 40th anniversary convention.

You’ve been waiting for it and here it is: the team that is going to make this the best convention ever! Click on their names to read more about each person.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns or if you want to participate, either as organizer, supporter or sponsor.

Callers

Barry Clasper

Barry lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife Pam. They started dancing in 1973 and immediately got hooked. Barry started calling in 1984 when a local C2 tape group asked for help with some things they couldn’t find on teaching tapes. He figured if he was going to write material to help them, he might as well call it. Since then he has expanded in both directions and now calls from Basic through C4.

As a dancer, Barry loves choreography that is smooth and flowing yet also provides some mental stimulation and the occasional surprise. When calling, he strives to create this effect through smooth danceable choreography flavoured with a bit of unusual positioning to create a dance experience containing both physical and mental elements.

Barry changed careers in September 2007. He retired from IBM after 30 years and is now a full-time caller and able to travel more than he has in the past. He’s called at weekends and conventions in 8 provinces, DC, and 27 states, as well as Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, England, the Czech Republic, Taipei, Beijing and New Zealand. He’s also a staff caller with the Academy for Advanced and Challenge Enthusiasts (AACE).

Barry is a member of CALLERLAB and the Gay Callers Association. Within CALLERLAB he is a past Chairman of the Board (2013-2015), has served on the Executive Committee (2011-2017) and has been a member of the Board of Governors since 2009. He has written articles for Zip Coder, The Call Sheet and American Square Dance Magazine. Barry and Pam were honoured with the Golden Boot award in 2018 for their exceptional contributions to our activity.

Bill Eyler

Bill shows his joy of camaraderie through dancing in his lively, colorful calling style. Bill began teaching and calling in 1984, and has developed his own trademark style with specialty squares dances like true ‘Hexagons’ and with older traditional style moves mixed in with modern choreography. He calls square dance for beginners through the Challenge 2 programs, and he has added couples country western dancing, line dancing, and waltz to his repertoire, feeling that dance brings people together in its own special way.

Bill has called at hundreds of club nights, festivals, fly-ins and events, including over 20 conventions in the US and Canada. In addition to calling, each year Bill moderates a session during the IAGSDC Convention for those that might be interested in the art of calling. He was the caller coordinator or scheduler for the 1992 Albuquerque “Diamonds in the Desert” Convention and the 2017 Palm Springs “Swing and Mix” Convention. He is a GCA member, has been a featured coach at several GCA Caller Schools, and a technical assistant for many more. He received the Golden Boot Award in 1994 for his exceptional contributions to our beloved activity.

Bill called Albuquerque, New Mexico his home for over 35 years, but in 2016 he and his husband Danny pulled up stakes after he retired from the University of New Mexico and moved to the Palm Springs area. He is now one of the resident callers for Boots In Squares, the LGBT square dance club in Palm Springs.

Brian Crawford

In 1991, Brian and his wife Amy joined Mississippi Squares Dance Club (named for the Mississippi River that flows through Carleton Place and nearby Mississippi Lake) in Carleton Place, Ontario as new Basic dancers. In 1995, after learning Plus, Brian attended his first calling workshop, and over the next few years he received mentoring from Mel Wilkerson, the Mississippi Squares caller at the time.

In 1998, Brian co-founded the Town and Kountry Kickers in Stittsville with another local caller. In 1999, his co-founder took over as full-time caller for the Kickers, and Brian started calling for the Mississippi Squares. Over the years, Brian has also called for the Dynamite Tay Dancers in Perth, the Bytown Squares and Shadowcasters in Ottawa, and the Swinging Saints in Brockville. By the early 2000s Brian was calling five nights a week, but work commitments made that unsustainable. Now he does lots of guest calling across Ontario, Quebec, and the United States, but the Mississippi Squares is his only permanent gig. Brian hosts a worksop each spring that helps dancers from across eastern Ontario develop their skills. He has called many square dance conventions across Canada, and he has donated his time calling for many, many fundraiser events.

Brian and Amy served on the Mississippi Squares club executive for three years. Brian has served as Chair of the Ottawa Callers Association and as a Representative to Eastern Ontario Square and Round Dance Association. By day, Brian is regional manager for Benson Auto Parts in Carleton Place. He has been in the auto parts industry for more than 30 years.

Chris Phillips

In December 1976, Chris went to his first “Square Dance Hoedown” at a Miami bar, thinking it would be a real hoot to watch. That opened a door that would change his life forever. Within minutes he found himself in a square at a Beginner Dance with a DJ who played “Sets in Order” records. Chris soon became an instructor for his square (Set 3), teaching from a square dance Encyclopedia, and eventually for all the squares.

In 1979, Chris went to his first dance with a live caller at the Trails End dance hall in Hollywood, Florida. He entered the hall thinking that dancing to a “live caller” wouldn’t hold a candle to records, but before the evening was over, he made plans to take up calling himself. Chris and many other Set 3 dancers, by then called the Miami Mustangs, became regulars at the Trail’s End where the caller, Jack Lasry, chuckled at their stylings, calling them the “Square from Oz.” In the early 1980’s, the Miami Mustangs became the South Florida Mustangs, and Chris became an established caller.

In 1983, Chris opened a bar called the Crossfire, which became home to the South Florida Mustangs and the birthplace of the IAGSDC. In 1985, Chris began calling for Jack Lasry and out-of-state dances in Denver, New York, Portland, and Seattle. By 1989, he was calling for several local clubs five nights a week.

In 1989 Chris remodelled the Crossfire into a stand-alone dance hall, and in November 1990 the Round Up Circle-C was opened. It was a popular and successful hall for many clubs. In year 2000 an offer was made on the property and Chris, wary of the brutal schedule and insurance costs, sold the location. This allowed Chris more time to travel, and he has called nationwide and in Canada, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

To this day, Chris calls for the South Florida Mustangs in Fort Lauderdale. He is a GCA member and a founding member of the IAGSDC. He has called for many IAGSDC Conventions, starting with the very first in 1984. The South Florida Mustangs received the Golden Boot Award in 1985, with a plaque that reads: “In recognition of special achievement for being the first gay square dance club in the United States. For generations to come, gay men and women will be able to enjoy another aspect of their wholeness due to your courage, creativity, excellence and pioneering spirit.” How true it is.

Deborah Carroll-Jones

Deborah began square dancing with a church group in 1979 and immediately fell in love with the activity. In 1982, she began calling, promoting and teaching square dancing. In 1995, she became the third woman in the world to become an Accredited Caller Coach. In those days there were not many women callers, so Deborah worked hard to earn recognition for herself, and she has spent her whole career supporting and mentoring other callers who happen to be women.

Deborah is also known for her fantastic singing voice and for always keeping the fun in the dance, regardless of the level. She has recorded for Rockin’ M Records, Global, Chaparral, HiHat and Chic Recordings.

Today, Deborah is the Club Caller for the Texas Reelers in Richardson, TX. She also calls regularly for other Mainstream and Plus Clubs, as well as an occasional Advanced dance. She has called many festivals and taught caller’s schools and clinics in the United States and overseas in such countries as New Zealand, Japan, Sweden and Germany. She is the only woman caller to have ever called in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Deborah is a GCA member and has called at 11 IAGSDC Conventions. She joined CALLERLAB in 1985 and has served on many committees, including the Women In Calling Committee (Chairperson from 1998 – 2013), the Board of Governors (three terms), and the Executive Committee (Vice Chairman). In April 2017, Deborah was awarded CALLERLAB’s highest award, the Milestone.

Deborah lives in Arlington, Texas – having relocated there from her native state of California – with her husband Jon Jones, who is also a caller and an Accredited Caller Coach. When their busy calling schedule allows, they occupy their spare time doing as little as possible.

Don Moger

Don and Avena live in Montreal and call for clubs that dance Mainstream thru C2. Don started dancing in 1975, and began his calling career by teaching a group of teens to square dance in the same year. About a year later when a well known caller relocated to the U.S., Don’s calling jumped from one to five nights a week. In 1988 a dream came true when he opened a square dance hall, which he operated and called at seven nights a week for many years. In June 2004 he retired from his job as a Technical Advisor in a lithography company after 36 years, which allowed him even more time to travel and call square dances, an activity he loves so much.

In addition to his club activities, Don has called at events throughout Canada, many U.S. states, and England, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, France, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Norway. He has also appeared on four television shows to promote Square Dancing. Don is a member of GCA and CALLERLAB, and he has held executive positions on MASDA, CVCA, and MACA. He is delighted to be calling his third IAGSDC Convention in Ottawa 2023.

Kris Jensen

Kris started square dancing in 1990 (dragged to classes by her new sweetie, Turtle-Bear) and calling in 1991. Bill Eyler provided information, inspiration and invaluable mentoring, and the Wilde Bunch provided support and mike time.

Before the pandemic, Kris called Basic through C2 weekly. She’s called for several conventions and multiple fly-ins. She’s a past president of the GCA and the New Mexico Central District Callers Association, has been vice-chair of several CALLERLAB committees, edited the GCA Call Sheet for several years, and coached and organized several GCA caller schools. Kris was honored with the Golden Boot in 1997 and selected for the New Mexico Square Dance Hall of Fame in 2018. She has also regularly called contras in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Kris and Turtle-Bear, who met country-western dancing, got married at the Puddletown Squares fly-in in 2013, and have continued to dance via Zoom through the pandemic. In her non-square dancing (is there such a thing?), pre-retirement life, Kris co-owned a software company.

Sandie Bryant

Saundra Bryant was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, where she still lives with her husband Albert and her daughter Alexandra.

She first started square dancing when she was eight years old in Girl Scouts, with the world famous square dance caller Swersie Norris as troop leader. After going to college, Sandie returned to square dancing in 1978. She went to a beginners class Swersie was teaching and didn’t think she’d remember the calls, but to everyone’s surprise, she wound up directing traffic in the square. So Swersie gave her the entire Mainstream and Plus list to study, and by October Sandie had gone from non-dancer to C4 in one year! In 1980, she called her first National Convention in Memphis and proceeded to establish herself as one of the premiere callers in the country.

Around 1988, Sandie began calling for Chi-Town Squares, which was about a year old. In 1989, she called for the first Crossfire fly-in, and she has called at every one since. In recognition of her many years of generous and loving support, her incomparable calling at social dances and classes, her volunteerism at demonstration dances, and her presence at each and every Crossfire fly-in, Chi-Town Squares bestowed a Lifetime Membership upon Sandie in 2002.

Sandie is internationally known, having called in Japan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and Mexico. She is a GCA memer. She has called at 23 IAGSDC conventions beginning in Seattle in 1993, and she received the Golden Boot Award in 2012 for her exceptional contributions to our activity.

Tim Crawford

Tim lives in Burlington, Ontario with his wife Cynthia. He started square dancing at the age of 8 in a teen club with over 10 squares… because his parents made him. He started calling at the age of 10 because he enjoyed the music and wanted to impress the girls in his club.

That was 50 years ago. By now, he has been the regular caller for three clubs through the level of C2, he has recorded 5 singing calls with Chaparral and Hi Hat, and he is delighted to have had the opportunity to call all over the world, including festivals coast to coast in Canada, most US States, Europe and Japan. He has called for 7 IAGSDC Conventions, from Weave the Rose in 1998 to Maple Leafs Regroup in 2016. The Ottawa Convention in 2023 will be his 8th.

For Tim, calling is an incredible opportunity to meet wonderful people, get to know them, work with them, and always try new things. He enjoys the travel associated with calling and the pure enjoyment people get from square dancing.

Tim is a CALLERLAB member and has served on the Board of Governors for 10 years, including 7 years on the executive board. He was Chairman of the Board from 2004-2006.  He currently chairs the Applications Review Committee. He has also served in various Canadian caller associations.

At his day job, Tim is the president of an insurance brokerage, and he also flies seaplanes!

Vic Ceder

Vic Ceder, native of Santa Barbara, CA, has lived Los Olivos, CA, since 1987. Vic began square dancing in 1973 at age 13 where he met his future wife, Debbie in 1975. They have a 24-year-old daughter, Caitlyn, who also square dances.

Vic started calling in 1981 and his calling career has taken him to at least 29 US states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Germany, and Sweden. Vic’s calling highlights have included several state, national and international conventions including the National Square Dance Convention (NSDC), the National Advanced and Challenge Convention (NACC), the Academy for Advanced and Challenge Enthusiasts (AACE), the Canadian Challenge Convention, the International Association for Gay Square Dance Clubs Convention (IAGSDC), and the International Plus Advanced and Challenge Convention (iPAC). Vic has also served as a caller coach at several caller’s schools.

Vic is a computer programmer and he has written a comprehensive calling program (CSDS) and a computer squares program (SQROT). Vic and Debbie have also written a series of square dance definition books for the A1 through C3 programs. They maintain one of the most comprehensive websites on square dancing at https://www.ceder.net.

Vic and Debbie are both GCA members. They were awarded CALLERLAB’s highest honor, the Milestone Award, in 2017. Debbie and Vic also do East Coast Swing and Contra Dancing. Vic’s hobbies include beekeeping and ragtime piano.

Wendy VanderMeulen

Wendy started dancing in 1983 in Cobourg, Ontario. Over the years, she was urged to try calling many times because of her lovely singing voice, so in 2000 she participated in a new callers clinic, and as they say, the rest is history. She started her own club, Wendy’s Elegant Eights, in January 2001. She became the club caller for the Meri Squares (Basic) in 2002, the Charmin’ Promenaders (Plus) in 2012, and the Ottawa Date Squares in January 2020. She also calls for Saturday Squares, a once-a-month group that meets to improve their skills and be challenged with “tougher” choreography in the Mainstream and Plus programs. Wendy has called in 6 US States and 3 Canadian Provinces, including many US and Canadian Nationals.

Wendy began recording singing calls in 2015, and she feels honoured to have recorded five with Sharpshooter and one with Hipster Productions. Wendy also loves doing Party Nights, introducing people to Modern Square Dancing and giving them a fun time. She has conducted numerous party nights and workshops in the Ottawa and Montreal areas for company dinners, church socials, wedding parties, retirement parties, group picnics, Christmas parties, and so much more.

She is a member of CALLERLAB, where she serves on the Women in Calling Committee, Mainstream Committee, Plus Committee, and Application Review Committee. Since February 2016, she has been the Chair of the Public Relations Committee. She is also a member of the Ottawa Area Callers’ Association (OACA) and the New England Caller/Teacher Association (NECTA).
She wouldn’t do it if she didn’t love it!

Executive Board

Joel joined the Ottawa Date Squares in 2016, relocating form Atlanta, Georgia where he had been dancing with the Hotlanta Squares. He has helped organize many events over the years including Veer North to the Capital, the bi-annual fly-in held by the Ottawa Date Squares. He is also the events coordinator for the Ottawa Bears a local gay social committee. He works for Open Text, a Canadian technology company with employees around the world, and holds a Masters degree in Public Administration and a Bachelors in Human Resources Management. His hobbies include gardening and travel.

Pam started dancing in September 1973 and she now dances all programs, Basic to C4.
She has attended 20 IAGSDC Conventions starting in 2000 at Crack the Crab in Baltimore and was honoured to receive the Golden Boot award in 2018.
Pam is the president of All Join Hands Canada, she is an honorary member of the GCA and is known as the “GCA Den Mother”. She received the Trillium Merit Award from the Ontario Square & Round Dance Federation in 2017 for her contribution to square dancing. Besides square dancing, she does a lot of knitting and crocheting as well as some counted cross stitch and other crafts.
Pam worked for CBC TV/News for 25 years. She holds a degree in Mathematics and a diploma in Library Techniques.

Roger joined the Ottawa Date Squares in 2000 and dances at A level. He currently dances with the Cornwall Swinging B’s, a local straight club.
Over the years, Roger has served on multiple boards and committees including the Swinging Bs and the Eastern Ontario Square and Round Dance Association.
Retired from the teaching profession, he was secretary-treasurer for his local teacher’s union for 13 years.
Roger is an Ottawa University Graduate with a Master’s degree in Educational Administration.
He is very active at his local Seniors’ Centre, chairperson of the Board of Directors.
He speaks 3 languages.

Steve has been a member of Toronto Triangle Squares (TTS) for 25 years and dances up to C1. He relocated to Ottawa in July 2019.

Steve has served on the TTS Board over the years in the positions of Secretary and Publicity. He has worked on the committee for the Scoot Across the Border Fly-in for over 9 years. Steve was on the Fun Badge committee for both the 2002 and 2016 Toronto conventions.
He works as a Registered Massage Therapist and has an extensive volunteer resume in other LGBTQ community groups.

Bill started square dancing in September 1996. He attended his first convention at Los Angeles in 1999 (Lights, Camera, Linear Action), and has rarely missed the chance to reunite with the square dance family since then.
In his time away from square dancing, Bill works in the non-profit housing sector and hangs out with the Ottawa Bears.

Josh Yoder Volunteer Coordinator

Josh joined Independence Squares in Philadelphia in 2010 and first attended convention in 2011 for Gone with the Windmill in Atlanta, GA. He became a member of Toronto’s Triangle Squares as well in 2017 and his first convention volunteer experience was in 2016 with Maple Leafs Regroup in Toronto. In 2019 Josh served as tour coordinator for the 2019 Philadelphia Belle’s Run convention and he is delighted to be part of Ottawa 2023. Josh lives in Philadelphia with his husband Gene and is a 7th grade history teacher and adjunct professor of history at Widener University outside the city. His hobbies include caring for the goats of the Philly Goat Project and being a member of the NYC Ghostbusters, a cosplay group that raises money for local charities in NYC.

Brian started square dancing with the Ottawa Date Squares briefly in 2001, and rejoined the club in 2018.
He is currently also the secretary on the board of the Ottawa Bears.
Originally from New Brunswick, he studied in Northern Ontario (translation) and loves foreign languages, especially Russian. His work experience in IT at BNR / Nortel / CSC has provided him with good problem-solving skills and attention to detail, which will help with managing the registrations for the 2023 convention in Ottawa.
He’s looking forward to receiving your Ottawa 2023 Registrations and helping make the process as smooth as possible.

Marge Coahran

Marge joined the Toronto Triangle Squares as a new square dancer in September 2014. She loved her first IAGSDC convention and her first GCA caller school, both of which were at Maple Leafs Regroup in Toronto, 2016. She has attended every IAGSDC convention since then (physical and virtual), as well as multiple caller schools (GCA and otherwise). Marge has chaired Toronto’s fly-in committee since 2017, and feels privileged to have helped teach the club’s MS and Plus classes since 2019. She has been on the GCA Board as IAGSDC Representative since 2020. At her day job, Marge is a technical project manager at a not-for-profit company that creates secure data environments for health research. In recent months she has also found some time for reading and basic yoga.