On a Wednesday 13 years ago this past week, I moved out to Knoxville to take my first job after college. That weekend was the Knoxville Dance Weekend. That meant that I had the chance to unpack enough to live, and then go spend most of the weekend dancing with about 400 of my nearest and dearest friends at the UT University Center. Sometime over the next year, Nick Boulet somehow got me started calling -- I don't really remember whether I asked him about it or he suggested it to me. What I do know is that he had me standing on a chair in his living room walking a dance through to invisible dancers, and a few weeks later I called my first contra dance on a night he was calling at the Laurel Theater. I continued calling 1-2 dances an evening when Nick or Vicki Herndon or Tim Klein were calling an evening of dancing and were nice enough to let me call a couple of dances among theirs. I also had a chance to call for sleep deprived dancers late at night at the Laurel the last year before I left Knoxville and on a couple of return trips after I had moved, plus calling a dance in the main hall during the (now no longer happening) Sunday Afternoon open calling session. (I even got my first away gig when Hannah Pertallion introduced me to her dad John who booked the Boone, NC contra dance, and he took a chance on this guy he had only heard call a dance or two and booked me to call for the dance at the Apple Barn.
Now 13 years later, Tim Klein and Donna Calhoun gave me the chance to be an honorary local caller to call during the Friday night and Sunday afternoon sessions at this year's Cabin Fever. What fun it was to get to call for this wonderful bunch of dancers -- many of whom were around for those first dances I called at the Laurel. This time, though, I got to call with wonderful musicians like The Latter Day Lizards. Not only that, but I got to call the singing square The Auctioneer with these musicians who have done so many of these singing squares with masters of the art like Nils Fredland and Ralph Sweet. It was a blast!
Friday, I called:
(no walkthru) The Wild Woman from North Carolina - Bill Olson
Naughty Neighbors by Mike Richardson
Then, after Donna's set of contras, I called The Auctioneer
On Sunday I called two more dances, this time with The Hillbillies from Mars
Song in the Night - Gene Hubert
Galena - Jo Mortland