Calling Ideas for April 29, 2012
Duke Ellington's BirthdayEdward Kennedy Ellington, one of the twentieth century's finest composers, was born on this day in 1899 in Washington, D.C.
Unfortunately, most of Duke's compositions don't lend themselves to square dance music. However, one of my all time favorite records (I use it mainly for patter, but it's also a great singing call), It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got that Swing) was composed by Duke Ellington. Shakedown's version is great, with lots of varied instrumentation.
Lonnie Donegan's BirthdayLonnie was a folk singer, musician: guitar, banjo: Gambling Man, Cumberland Gap, Lost John, Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour [On the Bedpost Overnight]; died Nov 3, 2002
This is a no-brainer: break out "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor". Dancers love to sing along.
Carl Gardner's BirthdayCarl was the lead singer (tenor) and founder of the Coasters, a humorous singing group popular in the Fifties and early Sixties.
"Yakety Yak", "Charlie Brown", "Along Came Jones", and "Love Potion #9" are all Coaster hits that have singing call versions.
Duane Allen's BirthdayDuane Allen is the lead singer for The Oak Ridge Boys, one of country-western music's leading groups.
If you do line dances, it might be a good day to break out that moldy-oldy, Elvira. It's also been made into a singing call. Other singers include Y'All Come Back Saloon, Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometime, American Made (which, btw, was a hit record on this day in 1983).
The Fourth week of April is:
TV-Turnoff WeekFrom this site: Millions of children and adults around the world will turn off their televisions and discover that life without TV may just be more rewarding, fun, and relaxing.
This seems like a good opportunity to promote square dancing as an alternative family activity. Maybe square dancers could offer some special family dances during this week to provide a fun activity to fill those hours that are normally spent vegging in front of the TV. Maybe the clubs running multi-cycle programs could make sure there's a new session starting during TV-Turnoff Week and make an effort to get folks hooked on dancing.
Square dancing and the folks who do it have always been pretty firmly embedded in mainstream American culture. Turning off the TV is almost seen as counter-cultural, so the people promoting it are a little "out of the mainstream". But you know what? Group dancing has become a little "out of the mainstream" too. (Politics on) The corporate powers that control so much of the media have a vested interest in keeping us as passive consumers, mindlessly watching TV (especially the ads) and consuming the stuff that's pushed in the ads. Square dancing is almost subversive; there's little consumption involved (especially if we get rid of special clothing), and when you're dancing, you're not watching mass media idiocy. (Politics off).