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    Club President Bill Shields (right) accepts the certificate from the Eastern Ontario Square And Round Dance Association President, Dave Western (centre), while caller Francois Desmarais prepares to start calling again. (Submitted photo)

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    (Submitted photo)

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    Pictured is the banner (right) designed and created by an original member, Alf Allwright, when the club first began, and is the replica of the original on the left, created by current member Wendy Shields. Standing in front is Betty Hildebrandt who suggested the name Swinging Swallows for the club. (Submitted photo)



Swinging Swallows - Thanks for the memories

By Gloria Bateman

Posted on Wednesday January 176, 2018

On September 30, 2017, the Swinging Swallows Square Dance Club celebrated our 30th Anniversary, and what a party!  The hall at Wesley United Church was beautifully decorated, the tables situated around the perimeter of the room with wonderful white birch/candle/sunflower center pieces placed on (club colour) blue tablecloths.  Our Caller, Francois Desmarais, was at his best and kept us dancing all afternoon and evening.  Ron and Charlene Gardner, from the Bay Waves Club in Constance B ay, attended ant Ron called a few tips for us.  Gerry and Jim Sawtell came out and, though not well enough after her surgery to dance, Gerry managed to cue a few rounds.  Swallows members, Carmen and Bob Durand, from Chalk River, led the crowd in a line dance and Caller Francois taught and cued a contra dance for us.  We had visitors from Ottawa, Barry’s Bay, Killaloe and Constance Bay.  What a wonderful time! 

We rested while we enjoyed the pot-luck supper…always tasty and varied.  After dinner was cleared away EOSARDA President Dave Western presented the Swallows with a congratulatory certificate and then Gerry Sawtell did the same on behalf of the Ontario Federation and the Canadian Society.  Her words were thoughtful, thankful and hopeful for the future of square dancing. 

Swallows member Wendy Shields had designed and created souvenir shoe bags that were available for purchase at cost and were beautifully done.  She was awarded a special ‘dangle’, “Sew Neat” in recognition of the sewing she has done for the Club (including our banners: replicating the original club banner and making two large banners for the Christmas parade float, one displayed behind the men in the picture).  Sylvie Pepin received dangle for numerous translations of singing calls from CD to the written word (so we can sort ourselves out when using the CDs), and I, Gloria Bateman, am proud to say I received one that reads “Ideas and Action”.  After these presentations we squared up again and danced until our feet hurt.

Many people helped to put the party together, but it wouldn’t have been anything at all without the dancers who came out for the fun of it!

Many folks will remember that for some 20 years, beginning in the early 1970s, Pembroke was the site of the largest concentration in Canada of swallows and martins.  From early June to mid-August, every evening, birds descended by the thousands into a small stand of willows at the confluence of the Muskrat and Ottawa Rivers, just two blocks from Pembroke’s main street.  Thus, the name of our club, the Swinging Swallows.  Unfortunately, the swallows disappeared in the early ‘90s, but the Swinging Swallows continue to dance.

In honour of our 30th Anniversary a history of the club “A Swinging Swallows Tale” was written and will soon be posted on our website www.getupanddance.ca.  Have a look!

Dancers and folks that are curious to see what modern square dancing actually is, are welcome to visit our roost any Thursday evening (check to be sure).  We love company!