A BRIEF HISTORY
In November of 1958 the “Shirts and Skirts’ Dance Club was formed. They danced in the old Brechin United Church Hall. The beginner classes became too large for one club so another was formed in 1962 called the “Dogwood Dancers”. In September of 1965 both clubs amalgamated and were called the “Amalgam-Eighters”. After many years the club moved to the Lantzville Costin Hall and danced there on the first and third Saturdays of the month up to 2013. We then switched to the second and fourth Fridays of the month as the Diamond Squares and Circle 8’s had retired their clubs so that time slot was vacant.
When the Brechin Shirts and Skirts and the Dogwood Dancers amalgamated in 1965, the name Amalgam-Eighters was chose for the new club.
Jim and Ada Heard had been calling for the Brechin Shirts and Skirts and the Dogwood Dancers and continued calling for the Amalgam-Eighters until they retired from calling in May 1968. They came out of retirement in September 1976 and called until May 1984.
From September 1968 to May 1976 Doug and Elsie Anderson took over calling duties for the club.
Mike and Lena Groenendyk called and cued from September 1984 to May 1993.
Marino and Rebecca Danesin then took over calling and cueing from September 1993 on the third Saturday of each month until 2010. Guest callers were hired for the first Saturday of the month until Bob and Veronica Wright joined us in 1996 until 2010.
The club danced at Brechin United Church hall until 1996 (except for 1974-1975 season at Princess Anne School). In 1996 the club moved to the Costin Hall in Lantzville and continues to dance there.
From 2010 we were pleased to have caller Garry Dodds and Pat Zeeman join us on the first Saturdays and Ray and Deb Schmidt and Al Jonsson and Lorna Corbet alternate calling/cueing on the third Saturdays for a year. Then Al Jonsson and Lynette McLeod took over the third Saturdays from 2011 to 2013. For the 2013 to 2014 season we changed our dance nights to the second and fourth Friday evenings with Garry and Pat alternating with Al and Lynette. For 2014 Debbie Schmidt took the place of Garry and Pat alternating with Al and Lynette.
Rebecca and Marino DANESIN, Duncan BC
Rebecca grew up in Surrey and after graduation took some courses at Malaspina College. She then was employed by the Ministry of Heath in Port Alberni were her parents retired and learned to square dance. She was encouraged to join her parent’s square dancing.
Marino is an Island fellow born in Cobble Hill and he met Rebecca at a bowling alley in Port Alberni through his brother’s girlfriend. Marino was attending Malaspina College at the time and when Rebecca moved to Duncan, Marino knew something important was missing in his life.
Marino and Rebecca were married in 1982 and began round dancing and square dancing in Duncan. Rebecca filled in for the round dancing instructor when he became ill and that started Marino thinking about calling. She started a beginner class in 1986 and then took over the class in 1987 and Marino learned to call and started beginner classes in 1990.
There were two clubs in Duncan who already had callers so Marino began calling for the Amalgam-Eighters in 1991 with Mike Groenendyk and then with Bob and Veronica.
Rebecca continued to teach round dancing after the club in Duncan closed in 1995 for a few more years. Rebecca and Marino have a very busy life with a daughter born about the time Marino started calling with the Amalgam-Eighters and then three boys were added to their family in 2002. They plan to join with us dancing from time to time and we look forward to having their company.
Bob and Veronica WRIGHT, Nanaimo, BC
CALLERLAB and ROUNDALAB members, Bob and Veronica learned to square dance on retiring to Vancouver Island in 1991, after having worked a combined total of 67 years for the federal government (Department of National Defense).
Bob caught the calling bug and was soon calling and teaching Square Dancing for the Amalgam-Eighters in Nanaimo (1994 – 2010), sharing calling duties with the Danesins; the Sand Dollars in Parksville (1996-2003), and the Circle and Squares Plus Club in Nanaimo (2003-2008), sharing calling duties with Wolf Clar. Veronica cued Round Dances for all three Clubs.
Bob has served as Secretary and Vice-President of the UVICTA, while Veronica has been Round Dance Coordinator for the same organization.
In addition to attending Festivals and Conventions in Canada, Bob and Veronica have traveled to Whitehorse, Yukon for the Alaska State Square Dance convention in 1998, Boise, Idaho for the US West Square Dance convention, and several time to Lolo, Montana where they learned to dance the Plus program.
They attended three of Martin Mallard’s week-long caller schools, two in Saskatoon and one in Victoria, as well as several shorter (weekend) schools presented by other caller/coaches.
As caller/cuer couple for Amalgam-Eighters, over a few years, they taught summer dance lessons for new graduates, brush-ups, and a summer of Plus at St. Mary’s Church in Nanoose. For several years they taught beginner lessons from Sept. to April at St. Michael’s Church hall in Wellington and at Pleasant Valley hall. They were also very committed to presenting dances three or four times a season at nursing homes in Nanaimo to the delight of the seniors and staff. Their community service also included dancing with Brownies at Costin Hall, and dancing with teen recreation classes at Dover High School in Nanaimo.
Bob and Veronica always encouraged Club members to participate in Goofer’s Night and were very helpful in providing tapes and music for those who wanted to try calling.
Sadly both Bob and Veronica have now passed on but are remembered fondly by all who danced with them.
Deb and Ray Schmidt
Deb Schmidt started as our full time caller/ cuer in the 2017/2018 season. Deb shared the duties with Al and Lynette the previous year. Deb called/cued for our club (mainstream ) and for Circle & Squares ( plus ). Deb was lucky enough to work with Wolf Clar, but her main teacher is, and always will be her husband Ray! In Deb’s own words she and Ray just love calling and cueing. They’re a great team and work well together. Deb had been cueing for 10 years before taking up calling.
Ray, who also called for the Sand Dollars in Parksville, was the main teacher for square dance lessons for our club. Deb and Ray have been Square dancing since 2004. In October of 2022 Ray and Deb are relocating to Castlegar to enjoy a well deserved retirement crom their day jobs. We expect we will be hearing of a new dance club forming in Casatlegar!!!