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Jerry Story June 10, 2008

Bob Brundage - Well, hi again. This is Bob Brundage and today is June the 10th, 2008 and today we’re talking with Jerry Story out in Waynesville, North Carolina and I understand Jerry just got back from a trip to Japan. So, Jerry, why don’t you tell us about your trip as long as it’s fresh in your mind.

 

Jerry Story - Sure. How are you doing Bob - nice to talk to you. I was in Japan two weeks ago. I went to Osaka first and did a weekend just south of Kyoto in a little town called Marlyama and it was very interesting. It was really a super weekend. One thing that I find a little strange was that it was mostly women danced. There was about 200 at that weekend and 150 out of the 200 were women so, I think it was a little hard to figure out the …. sort out the sets, you know, with the girls dancing together but we got along OK and it was a great weekend. And from there I went to Tokyo and we just did some public appearances during the week. I went to different dances that were going on. They had a lot of dances during the day for retired people in Japan. So, I visited several spots in Tokyo and then we went on up to Sendai and did some more appearances up there in different clubs there that danced during the day and a couple that danced at night but then the weekend started Friday in Sendai up north and it’s a beautiful city - I call it my favorite city - and there we had about 400 dancers and about 300 of the 400 were the same as in Marlyama, they were women. So, it’s a hobby that’s caught on with a lot of the women. I guess the husbands are out golfing maybe - laughs - but we had a good …. a really, really good time. All together we were there a total of twelve days.

 

BB - Right. Well, do you have any trouble with non-speaking ….non-English speaking ….

 

JS - You can’t talk to them very much. They understand the calls but that’s most of the rapport that you have with the dancers from the stage to the dance floor and that’s where most of your interaction takes place to talk one on one. But we do have a translator that goes with us so, if I want to carry on a conversation with someone, my translator will be there to help any time I need him, but, sometimes it’s fun just to try to talk in sign language (laughs).

 

BB - Yeah, right. OK. Well, let’s go back and find out a little bit about what your life was like growing up…. where you were …. I think you were born ….where was it? You tell me.

 

JS - I was a Iowa boy. I was originally from Fairfield, Iowa. That’s where I grew up and when I was five years old I picked up a guitar in a flea market and started pickin’ around on it so, my mom and dad bought me the guitar for five dollars and, a year later, I had saved my money from doing chores and went out and bought me a Gibson Natural guitar. So, I was teaching myself how to play it and by the time I was twelve I had my own band and thirty-five guitar students that I was teaching guitar to.

 

BB - There you go.

 

JS - I did the band and the guitar roughly for - hmm I guess until I was about seventeen. I started calling when I was fifteen. I did everything for two years and it was just too much. It was affecting my school. Along about that time my dad said, “Son, you’ve kind of got to make a choice here what you want to do” and I think I made the right decision.

 

BB - Yeah, I guess you did. So, well, I started about that same age and then …. so then, was your family a musical family?

 

JS - Well, not really. My mom was a good singer. She taught me how to sing harmony and better parts and she helped me while I was learning the guitar and I learned to play a little bit of piano and kept me …. I always liked to sing harmony. I would hear those harmony notes stuck out in  my mind, to me as a child, more than the lead did and that was always the toughest part for me to learn. It wasn’t until I really hooked up with Tony Oxendine, thirty years ago, when we started doing a lot of singing together …. and he’s a marvelous singer as well ….and he really helped me learn to sing the lead. That was the hardest … sounds strange but some people I guess just have different ears and I preferred the harmony but after singing with Tony for thirty years I’ve finally got the lead figured out.

 

BB – (chuckles) There you go. So, well. Now I understand you married your high school sweetheart, right?

 

JS - I did. Thirty-two years we’ve been together.

 

BB - Right. And ….

 

JS - Two boys and three grandsons later.

 

BB - There you go. So, she started square dancing with you?

 

JS - She was in my second class. The very first class that I taught was her farther and three couples that he knew. Her dad and mom knew three couples and how that happened - he had his own pest control business and he was treating our neighbors house next door for termites and he’d come over and give a sales pitch on my mom, telling her he was putting a barrier up over there for the termites once they got there they’d turn around and head back toward her house you see. Well, she didn’t buy the termites job but my mom sold him square dance lessons - him and three other couples came to our basement for about, oh, fifteen, ten, fifteen weeks there. We learned all the basics and the extended basic was what we called them back then you know? Then we started a little club and we …. the next class had two squares in it and then the next class was all of their children from these four couples and a few other adults. So, and then another year after that  we’d teach a class - sometimes we’d teach two classes - three classes a year and we built up a club there in Fairfield called the Shuffling Shoes. We had that club going until I oh, guess when I left and got married in ‘70... about ’75 I guess - ’76 and that was about the end of that. It was a fun time.

 

BB - I guess. I’m looking at your bio that I picked up off the computer and you had an interesting time in Saudi Arabia. Can you tell us about that?

 

JS - I think the Nationals were in Atlantic City back in ‘70... ‘’76 or ‘77, I don’t know … ‘78 - somewhere along the mid ‘70’s  the Nationals were in Atlantic City and a fellow came up to me and he goes, “Was that you up on the balcony calling a little bit ago?” and before he could give me a chance to answer, no, it wasn’t, he went on to say how great he thought that caller was that just called on the balcony and he wanted him to come to Saudi Arabia and do a dance. Well, I had no idea who was up on the balcony calling and I thought that sounded interesting so I kind of went along with him and said, “Yep, that was me.” (Laughs) And I went to Saudi Arabia in 1978 and what an experience that was. I went back ten times … nine times after that. I was there ten times total. I went over there in October and I’d stay a week and do nothing but teach and they taped everything. I’d teach all week and by the end of the week I’d gone through the entire Mainstream program. Then they took these …. and then we had the festival at the end. We started out with five squares the first year and we built it up to over fifty squares by teaching and then they took these tapes and teach people … they set up in Dahaban and Jiddah and Bahrah and every other remote place where people were starved for recreation. They used these teaching tapes and we built the festival up to fifty squares. So that was kind of cool. In Riyadh, where we were, they had all the different compounds. The British had a compound. They were there doing something. The Germans were there building the roads and Brown and Root Construction was doing a lot of the infrastructure from Houston and the Swedes were there putting in the telephone system - the Erickson Phone Company was there and I would also make visits to all these compounds and that’s how we got square dancing started in all of them. I went out and made guest appearances during the daytime and visited with all the children and we’d get the children up and dance and do that sort of thing. It was only square dancing and after it all came to an end, the projects all started coming to an end and when the Swedes came home and the Germans went home they took all these teaching tapes with them. So, Lord only knows how far and wide these teaching tapes were but, at that time in the mid ‘80s, Sweden, where they had no square dancing - they had one caller calling from old time square dancing called Peter Myhr and Anne Glimtoft and her husband took these teaching tapes home to Sweden and they started the same thing there that they did in Saudi Arabia ….

 

BB - Right

 

JS - …. just getting their friends together and using these teaching tapes to learn to square dance. And out of those groups of people that appeared to learn to dance from those tapes came four or five of the - well, maybe more than that major callers - Robert Bjork, Stefan Sidholm, Jack Borgstrom, Ingvar Pettersson - those four were the first ones to be in the classes. So, in 19 …. I think in 1985 they had been using these tapes for several years and in 1985 they had the first square dance festival. So, of course, they had all learned to dance from my tapes so, they invited me to come over and do the festival and they had 100 squares. It’s what they had done in such a short period of time. It was hard to believe. I think, in just two years …. two years they had 100 squares of dancers on the dance floor.

 

BB - I’ll be darned.

 

JS - That’s what enthusiasm and the brand newness of it did and I yearned to have that back in America. That could very well be days of yore, huh?

 

BB - Sure. Right. Well, somewhere along about this time you moved to Mission, Texas,

 

JS - That’s right.

 

BB - Yeah, and you had an interesting program at El Valle Del Sol RV Park.

 

JS - That’s right. We’ve been there for 25 years. The reason we really went down there was because I was traveling 365 days a year and I was gone all the time and my wife was raising our twin boys and it was really, really tough and I was looking for a way to get off the road some. So, I thought that would be …. was something that might be of interest so we proceeded at our very young ages to go to a retirement area and call for retired people. I was twenty-seven and Kristy was twenty-four and our boys were two and six. And we Packed up and moved from Iowa down to Texas and the rest is history. We’ve been there twenty-five years. We had a wonderful program and we’re still there. We plan on going back a few more years..

 

BB - I see. Well then, how did you get associated with your Pride RV Park Resort?

 

JS - Our kids graduated from school and went off to college and off to the military … the Air force … and we were empty nesters looking for something different. We first bought a motor home and we thought we’d just not book very much for a couple of years and go see what retirement life was like. We did that and bought a big motor home and toured around and enjoyed it a lot. It was absolutely wonderful but I was too young, we were too young. We still had more to do in life I guess. So, we talked it over and decided that we would pursue something else and we always wanted to have a camp ground or resort that we could bring, rather than have us going to the dancers, bring the dancers to us. So, in name, adjust to our plan, I guess you would say. So, we got some friends together - up here, that we know in Charlotte, and flew in and we drove over to …. I always wanted to come over around the Maggie Valley area. I always heard about the Maggie Valley, North Carolina, never seen it, so we took us over there and we stayed for about a week and every day we’d get up and look around …. looked around. We’re going to start from scratch and build a resort and then we stumbled across Pride Resort, where we are now, which was an old time share campground where they sold real expensive … seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve thousand dollar memberships and after they make their millions of dollars they say, “Enjoy your park” and they leave, then there’s no money to keep up the park and the members have to root hog and die for themselves and the Pride RV Park was in distress so we bought when there had been no money put in it for six or seven years. So, we bought that and blew some life back into it …. a lot of money …. and to make it well worth it we had to really start all over and put in new electric … all the infrastructure, water, sewer, electric … and we built a new dance hall.  We’ve got a beautiful square dance hall with a hardwood floor, a floating hardwood floor and box windows all the way around it, big stage, a pretty building. We use that for wedding receptions now and all of the square dance functions are there. We do a lot of corporate banquets and we just hosted a Prevost Rally. We had 75 rigs in here and the, the average price of each rig was right around two million dollars. We had close to close to two hundred million dollars worth of rigs sitting in this park…. (both laugh) ….. that whole week. It was quite interesting.

 

BB - Then you’re in that with Tony Oxendine?   

 

JS - Tony Oxendine and the Everett Curlee family.  There’s three partners.

 

BB - I see, OK. So, are you living there now, is that it?

 

JS - Yeah, I’m here now and I was … I just went over the ….they have a square dance week going on here. Another caller is here and a round dance cuer. They started the week last night and they did the workshop this morning and I just got in but they had a little trouble with the sound. So, when she called ….just a minute ago, I was over at the hall so, when you called I couldn’t answer the phone (Bob had tried to call his cell phone). I was checking out some sound over there.

 

BB - I see. OK. Well. I see that you are also co-owner of Royal Records.

 

JS - Tony and I started Royal Records thirty years ago. That’s been a lot of fun - still is. We still record. We’re not pressing records any more. We leave that up to Tom Dillander. Tom, you know, if he wants to press them he can after we run our Platinum series. We have around 150, what we call our Platinum members. They subscribe to our Platinum program and they receive every … all of the stuff that we record throughout the year all at once on a CD. Today everybody takes and box it over to their computer or, if they’re not using computers they use a little ?? unit and use the CD. With that dollar we stayed in business starting that. If it hadn’t been for that we probably would have been out of business. That’s going to allow us to stay in business for a few more years as long as we keep producing good music.

 

BB - Who are some of the people who are recording with you?

 

JS - Well. Tony of course, and then Larry Letson has been recording with us for years but he cut back on his calling. He’s working up in Lafayette, Indiana now, still doing a little bit of calling but he pretty much got out of it. Then Randy Dougherty, of course, has been recording with us for years. Tim Marriner recorded some with us. Patty Greene. She does all my web work and she records some stuff for us and, let’s see. I guess that’s it.

 

BB - Yeah. OK. Well. You certainly have had an interesting square dance experience over the years.

 

JS - It’s kind of consumed my life, I think. It’s been our life. Everything revolves around square dancing.

 

BB - Right. Well, it’s like the Brundage family. So, tell me about some of the festivals and Nationals, etc. that you’ve been associated with.

 

JS - You know, here in America I’ve had a great run. I think

we did 18…. for 18 years and … it was a great weekend we did in Louisville, Kentucky. It started out with about fourteen callers and then I think we ended up with still with about, I don’t know…. nine or ten on the … and some of them quit. And then, when square dancing started to shrink and we had an operating budget going into that of about …. somewhere around twenty-eight to thirty thousand dollars. With the hall rental and all the other expenses that go along with it when the crowds start shrinking you’re looking at all that outlay no matter how many people come and you’re looking at the possibility of having to write a check at the end of …. Laughs…. at the end of the weekend we thought it might be time to fold it up. So, we folded that one up. I don’t know, five years ago I guess. It was a sad thing. That was a great festival. And for the Nationals of course, I’ve always supported the Nationals of course. That’s the greatest show on earth there. This year it will be out in Wichita coming up in June and we’ve got the GFI Caller’s School right before that in Wichita and that’s a great thing. That’s free if there are any callers that want to partake in that and you take the other festivals - there’s the Sunshine Festival down in Florida, a great festival that I do every year. The winter festival out in California with Bob Baier and Kip Garvey. We’ve been doing that festival for years and years and years. Bakersfield Fiesta. That’s still going good there. They have 3000 dancers attend that festival. It’s down from it’s heyday of course. They used to have 4 or 5000 but counting 2500 or 3000 people at a festival is doing pretty good still.

 

BB - Right. How about Callerlab Jerry?

 

JS - Callerlab is going good. I’m on the Board of Governors of Callerlab and I’ve been enjoying that. We were in LA this year. We’re going to be in Kansas City next year and we’re doing a lot of good work. We’re …. the big project now is writing the definitions so they are precise and correct and that’s been quite a chore to do it. We’ve been working on that for about five years but it’s finally now coming to fruition. We’re glad to see that happening. When you get … when you get thirty guys in a room it hard to get everybody to agree on everything, you know?

 

BB – Yes, right. OK, one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you especially is because you and Nasser Shukayr did some work trying to get a program called ABC started. Can you expound on that a little bit for me?

 

JS - Sure. The beauty of the ABC program number one is that  …. you can come and dance every week. You don’t have to take lessons and you can miss a week and you can come this week, miss two weeks, come back a week. It’s like opening day every week. The way it works so that it doesn’t get boring for people we’ve got twelve base calls which get taught every week and then, on the A night there’s four specific calls for the A program and on the B night there’s four different calls specifically for the B program. The C night there’s four specific calls. So, in essence you’ve got three dances and you rotate those dances. Every week you do a different dance but you start from scratch every week so new people can come every week. Then, as soon as people have had all three, and we keep track on a card. When they check in they have a card that has A B C on it and my wife, Kristy will sign her name on A when they’re taking the A lesson or the A dance or B when they attend the B dance and the C … when they’ve all three of them then they stay over and dance the ABC dance which is a combination of all 24 or 25 calls. It’s a different approach but it really, really works good.  Of course, working in one area where we explicitly do that and let the natural triple-up effect start happening into modern western square dancing. That’s working fantastic. Where it’s working but not working very well they’re just … but it’s working better, it’s places where they are using it to muster up a class right away to take them on into modern western square dancing. What we’ve done there is more of the same things that we have done repeatedly that has been bringing us down. The way we market square dancing today doesn’t work. Our product doesn’t fir society yet we keep dragging people in, beating the living daylights out of them for almost a year to learn how to dance Mainstream and we lose half of them along the way and then, after they learn Mainstream we tell them now you’ve got to go out and learn Plus so you can really get out and dance. So, if you started out with two squares in class you ended up with one and then when they found out they had to go take more lessons to learn Plus you lost half of those so you ended up with two couples and those two couples are the most avid and they’re probably liking it so much they’re going to go on to Advanced and Challenge anyway so what in the world have we really accomplished?

 

BB - Right.

 

JS - Not much.

 

BB - Right

 

JS - All we’ve done is create more of a negative transfer to our recruitment days and we don’t need that. What we need to do is have people dancing. Get ‘em dancing. Let ‘em dance and there’s all kinds of choreography that you can … and all you need is to memorize a few routines. It’s so simple. The ABC program is so simple and people don’t get bored because you don’t change the choreography as much as you change the music. You let ‘em dance to different tempos and rhythms and that’s the fun of it and it goes back to a lot of the social idea that needs to be brought back into the activity too. I guess you’d say, Bob it’s probably the best grass roots effort going on out there today I would venture a guess.

 

BB - Right. Right. Well, are very many people utilizing the program do you know?

 

JS - Not as many as we would like. We’re finding out that we’re …. we’re working on a criteria for a callers school specifically targeted at ABC but what we’re finding out  - we don’t have a clientele that knows how to deal with twenty-five calls.

 

BB - You’ve got that right.

 

JS - Over the years they’ve been so spoiled by having these big Plus calls - Relay the Duecy and all those zeroes that don’t do anything. It does the calling for us, so to speak. It’s really, really hurt the quality of our callers all over the world and, I guess, if the levels hurt us in any way, there is your biggest hurt right there. It hurt the callers because all of these tools that they have gives them too many calls and we’ve lost the art of entertaining people with a lesser vocabulary. That’s what ABC also does. It brings that back but the callers that we have today, they can’t deal with it. They can’t deal with it so, we have to re-train those that are interested and help them be able … and, number one, they don’t have to sight call. You know, you just memorize this …. read this routine. It’s a singing call figure and you don’t deviate from it. Go show the dancers …. go show the dancers this routine that we’re going to put to this music and don’t go changing it. You spend the highest part of your time showing them that routine - verbatim.  You don’t go free wheeling calling hash like we know it today. It’s different. You don’t need to sight call, which I think sight calling is one of our ruinations too. But, that coupled with the Plus list, you know, really, really done by a lot of our callers today. Anyway, this gets back to the basics, to the point where we’re proving our point that callers can’t deal with 25 calls. Bob, I would venture to guess we have a serious problem.

 

BB - Right.

 

JS - And that’s where we are in square dancing today.

 

BB - Right. Are any of the overseas callers using ABC at all?

 

JS - I think some of them are. I think there’s an ABC group in Denmark. I’m not sure where ….you see, the biggest problem that we’re having is that the modern western square dancing won’t leave them alone. They need to leave them alone and the only good modern western square dancing will get plenty of dancers coming out of that but they aught to leave them alone and then they …. and they’ve got to quit robbing, you know, the top, just the top. Let the pond build up and then a natural effect will start happening. I don’t know …. I don’t know if I’m not asking too much. Sometimes I think that ABC does that for us a little bit too much because the twenty-five years it took us to get into the dilemma that we’re in people are looking for an instant fix and there’s just not one.

 

BB - Right.

 

JS - We can either wait …. we can either wait until modern western square dancing burns completely out and then  go do something like ABC or we could do it simultaneously on two different tracks that …. we can’t let modern western square dancing use ABC as their marketing…. as their recruitment base. You know, they need to … they need to let that group build up and then whatever comes out of that will be …. will be great and if nothing comes out of that then we’ll see which one wins.

 

BB - Right. Jerry, we’re just about to the end of this tape. Let me take a second to turn the tape over. Hold on. (Clicks) OK. All right. Well, getting along, what do you find appealing about calling square dances? What do you ….

 

JS - Oh, I … to me it’s the …. I look at myself as a master puppeteer. I … it’s a game to me. You know, I just …. I love … I love taking the people and moving them around like puppets on a string. That’s what they appear to be on the dance floor. And to take them through all these patterns and to bring them back …. to get them all … straighten them out with no strings tangled up  (laughs) it’s a kick, you know. It really is a kick. I just enjoy the art of calling and that’s something that we’re working very hard to put back in square dancing, especially on callers schools that we do and we do …. really dedicated to caller education in callers schools and enjoy that part of the activity a lot too..

 

BB - Right. Well, I was going to ask you about caller’s schools if …. you say you’re running one just before Callerlab?

 

JS - Yeah. We do one just before just before the Nationals. It’s sponsored by Grand Square Incorporated out of Charlotte. It’s free to anybody who wants to attend. And we do one here at Pride Resort the last week of October going into the first weekend of November and that’s a great school because we’ve got facilities here for people to stay. We’ve got twenty cabins and RV spaces and we’ve got the new Pride Center and we’ve got the pavilion where we used to dance and we’ve got our dining hall too if we need to move the tables back. We can actually run three different levels of experience if we need to. Last year we didn’t need to. We just ran two halls but I think this year it looks like we’re going to have to really a Dukes mixture of brand new guys and people who have been calling just three or four years and then guys who have been calling fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years. So, we might have to split it up. The problem when we split it up is we don’t have enough dancers to dance for them. We have to depend on the local dancers around here to come out and help us make squares. When you split it up like that you’re asking for three squares every day to come out so we have people to call to you see. We have a really dedicated group of dancers locally here that are simply wonderful. They dance with us every Tuesday night.  We have a Mainstream dance here at the Pride Center and they are very, very supportive.

 

BB - Do you try to involve the principles of ABC at your caller schools?

 

JS - We talk about it but that’s about as far as it goes. It’s in the curriculum with teaching and one night stands. We try to touch on it in both of those lectures. I usually just explain it pretty much like I did to you only a little more in depth and tell them more of the logistics of how to run an ABC club for those that are interested.

 

BB - Right.     

 

JS - It could … we really … the people that come to callers school, they’re not wanting that. They learned to square dance. They want to pass on what they learned how to do to their friends and they’re going to keep … they’re going to keep  doing pretty much what they do and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I can’t change that. That’s why we’re … that’s why we’re going a different way. We’re writing material … curriculum for an ABC callers school bit I’m not going to present it to the callers that we have today. They’re not interested. I’m going to go out …. I’m going to go after PE teachers and dancers of ABC. As new dancers of ABC come in it’s so easy for them to do an ABC program because it’s almost like square dance karaoke, I mean, of which we’re working on that as well. I’ve  got … I’ve got a trademark on it called ’The Karaoke Kaller’ - Caller with a ’K’ and all it is is one of our ABC routines. A very simple …. A very simple routine and it’s got the plug in that scrolls the words across. You know, Circle Left and sing - American Pie - (sings) Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie - Allemande Left Your Corner - and it’s scrolling across the page. So, basically, what we’re trying to do, Bob is make square dancing simple enough again so that everybody can do it. And I …. I think I’m on the right track.

 

BB - Yes, I do …

 

JS - I think before I was trying to change square dancing and that can’t be changed. But I can …. I think I can get a new type of square dancing started if I can get my team focused in this direction - like contras. Take a look at contras, Bob.

 

BB - Yes,

 

JS - Halls are full …. Halls are full all over this country, I’m seeing, with contras. Why is that?

 

BB - Right. Well ….

 

JS - It’s simple. They can do it. They don’t have to take lessons. They’re giving the people what they want.

 

BB - Right. It’s repetitive and the music is good and the timing is good.

 

JS - Everything is good and there you go. It’s back to the basics and, you know, sometimes when modern western square dancers hear my lectures on the subject they’re … it kind of gets their hackles up, you know. I can see the hair on the back of their necks start standing up a little bit and start pursing up their lips a little bit but, once they have sat and listened to the entire lecture and understand that we’re not taking anything from them. We’re not …if anything we’re going to help them. I’m sorry that we can’t help you right now save your dying club. I apologize to you for that but …. and once they understand that, you know, that right away …. their first reaction - I see it all the time when I do a lecture - the Presidents of some of these associations and clubs out there and they’re looking for a quick fix. They don’t like what I’m saying because they don’t see or hear anything yet that’s going to help their dying club…..

 

BB - Right. Right. 

 

JS - …. and they’re looking at it in the wrong …. The wrong vein. I’m …. it’s not my job in this life to save a dying Plus club. I feel my responsibility is to the wider picture …. for the bigger picture which is square dancing at a grass roots level and if we can …. If we can focus on that, that will take care of anything else but if you focus only on the Mainstream or the Plus program today well, we know that that doesn’t work, obviously. If it worked, we would have more dancers than we have and we’re not putting new dancers in. So, there you go.

 

BB - How long before you’re going to be ready to present an ABC callers school?

 

JS - I would say that …. coming up probably …. by the year’s end. By this fall, I think.

 

BB - do you really?

 

JS - I… I …. I’m ready now but I don’t know whether any body else can catch up and that’s always been the hardest thing for me to do is …. but, patience is a virtue. I’ve got to get some more people on board and we’ve got a great team now that’s working on the curriculum that are a lot smarter than I am. I can do it but I would have a hard time putting it into real eloquent words that people can understand. And we’ve got a good team that’s working on that right now and when that document is done it will certainly be available for anybody that would like to use it. We also have the ABC DVD. That was like my big project the year before last. I bought a real nice high definition video camera. Boy, that’s a good camera and we went down …we did …. I filmed all my ABC sessions at the Peppermint Palace and I also went down and cut a deal with the nightclub down in South Padre Island. It a beautiful setting at Eddie’s Back Yard, who is Back Yard and palm trees and the ocean, the bay there and we had the dancing right there on the ….so we could shoot the dancers, you could see the palm trees and the ocean in the background. It looked like an infomercial. (Bob laughs) So, that’s getting a lot of play and those are available at Palomino. Tom Dillander is selling those and they’re great because the dancers take off and they can take a …. there’s four different dance ….DVD’s. A lot of dancing on them and they can take that and pit it in their TV or DVD player at home, go down into the basement, push the coffee table back or go out in the garage and get their non-square dancing friends over and all they’ve got to do is put it in. It comes up on the TV screen or they can hook up some speakers if they need to and they can have their square dance party any time they want …

 

BB - There you go.     

 

JS - …. with this …. with this DVD. It’s pretty awesome. It really is. That’s probably one of the most exciting things I’ve done in a long time.

 

BB - Right. That’s great. Can you tell us some of the others that are working on this curriculum you’re talking about?

 

JS - Yeah. Nick Turner. He’s up in Canada. Calvin Campbell. Don Yosten out of Erie, Pennsylvania, Rick Hampton out of     California and Dave Hass from up in New England.

 

BB - Yes. Connecticut. Right.

 

JS - That’s the team that’s working on it. I think that’s a pretty wide range of experience there.

 

BB - I guess it is. It really is. Well …

 

JS - I’m tickled that they’re working on it. I’m so busy they … I need to be a little bit more involved with it myself but I keep up with all the mail and I did give my opinions as they come in so … but they’re doing a fabulous job with it. They really are.

 

BB - Well, that’s great. Well, we certainly hope we’ll hear more about it because it’s something square dancing really needs.

 

JS - It really does. It’s part of …. It’s the part of our activity that’s been missing for a long, long time.

 

BB - Yeah. What do you think will happen to square dancing, modern western as we know it today. Do you think it will survive?

 

JS - Ummm. I think it will always be around in some form or another. I think it will pretty much continue the trend that it’s on right now. The people who try to get into it … we’ll lose more than we keep and those that we do keep will go on up to the higher levels. That’s the ….that’s the trend that I’m seeing now. I don’t see that really changing that much. I think it will almost die out. I just don’t see any new callers coming in. I was the youngest caller going four years ago and today I’m still the youngest …one of the youngest callers. That should tell you the whole story, shouldn’t it?

 

BB – (laughs) Yeah, you got that…. OK. Well, anything else you’d like to put on this tape to preserve for posterity?

 

JS - Well, I’ll tell you what Bob, square dancing has been our life and I know it’s been your life too and it’s been a great, great life and we just love the activity so much. We’re going to continue trying to leave it as good as we found it. Right now, that doesn’t seem like an easy job but I think …. I think things are going to be OK. I mean, square dancing will survive one way or the other. We appreciate people like you and all the dedicated people in the activity and, if people hear this and they’re not involved, get involved and do something for the activity. Put something back into it. If everybody would just do a little bit it will make a big, big difference. You don’t have to do much just everybody do a little bit  and square dancing will take care of itself.

 

BB - Yes. That’s a good thought. Well, I think we’ve fairly well covered everything I wanted to cover so …

 

JS - Well, I’m glad we finally got it done. Boy, we’ve been … we’ve been dealing with this for several months.

 

BB – (laughs) Well, I caught you when you were overseas to start but anyway … I had gotten in … I hadn’t gotten persistently after you because I was involved with four or five other interviews. I recently talked to Ed Foote and Wade Driver ….

 

JS - Oh did you? That’s great.

 

BB - …and Vic Ceder and I’ve been trying to get a hold of Tom Dillander but I can’t seem to make contact with him either. But, be that as it may. Well, let’s call this a day and let me thank you whole heartedly for all this information and I hope you’ll keep us up to date on this ABC thing because, in my estimation, I think that will be the boon to square dancing in the future.

 

JS - I think you’re right.

 

BB - So, lots of luck with that and so, I’ll be talking to you again sometime and thank you again, very much.

 

JS - Appreciate it Bob. God bless.

 

BB - Thank you Jerry and we’ll be talking to you. Bye bye.

 

JS - Bye bye.

 

        Tape clicks off - End of interview with Jerry Story.

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Written By: Bob Brundage
Date Posted: 6/23/2008
Number of Views: 2066

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