NTSDC - Club Info

Northern Twisters

Square Dance Club

Dancing in Prince George, BC since 1957!

Join us for Fun, Friendship, and Fitness set to Music!

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Club Info

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A SHORT HISTORY: 1957- 2015 

    Around the time when square dancing was becoming popular in Northern B.C. and any outlying areas of the province, a group of 45 people calling themselves The Happy Gang started to meet regularly in the Civic Center in Prince George. The year was 1957 and why did they meet? Why, to square dance of course! Square dancing met the requirements of many young couples as a form of recreation. It was cheap, and more importantly, IT WAS FUN! Callers and teachers for the club in 1957 and the succeeding four years were Wilson Miller, Mort Fromson and Lloyd Larsen.

In 1961, the group changed its name to the Northern Twisters, the name that has stayed. With Chuck Gabriele as President and an active membership, things went with a “SWING." Clare Anderson, Mac MacLeod, Sid Thornton and Valerie Brown all helped with the calling and teaching in the early days.
By 1963, Jim Harrison, arrived here from Haney. Jim was a qualified instructor and a proficient Caller. Jim became the regular Caller for the club and the teacher for the New Dancers and children’s classes that were started. In 1965-1966, we had twelve squares of New Dancers and a children’s class of 200, as well as a Round Dance class. Part way through 1966, Ken Laidman took over the calling from Jim. Then in the fall of 1968, Danny Morrison, a newcomer to town, became our regular club Caller. By this time the regular club night was Tuesday and New Dancers night was Thursday. Every fourth or fifth Saturday we had a party night, and on an annual basis, held a Bunny Hop and a Spring Jamboree.

During Centennial year (1967), many of our members made pioneer type clothing and paid visits, clad in our Centennial outfits, to other Square Dance clubs. Visits were made to other clubs in Prince George, other places in B. C., other parts of Canada and the U.S.A. During this time other clubs were being formed in the area and many of the Northern Twister members were dancing with one or even two clubs: the Spruce Dollars with Doug Munro as Caller, the Star Wheelers with Wayne Scott. Soon all the clubs in the area were getting together on some Saturday nights and dancing to a panel of callers. Also at this time, a committee with reps from each club formed to coordinate local dancing activities and events.

In 1968 the club began the publication of an annual membership booklet that carried the constitution, club activities and Region 5 member responsibilities, as well as a list of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all its paid-up members. This practice, started by Bernice Roberts, is still carried on. The first publication listed the following club members, (some are still dancing) Anne Bellamy, Bill Fatum, Rose Gray, Kay Greensill, Stan Henry, Tom & Phyllis Pidcock ,and Muriel Stewart. Diann & Mell Horan started “Pony Express," a square dance publication that was distributed widely in Canada & the U.S.A. When the magazine folded, we lost touch with surrounding clubs.

In 1970 the club decided to limit its special events to two main dances with outside callers and a Spring Jamboree. Tom and Phyllis Pidcock were president couple that year. When a dance in late January was suggested, Phyllis, a Scot, presented the idea that we commemorate Robbie Burns’ birthday, and we have done so ever since. Phyllis gave the “Address to the Haggis” each year until she retired in 1985. Shortly after, the club members decided to commemorate the first snowflake of the year by having a Snowflake dance in November, a tradition that has continued to the present day. In addition, New Dancers host both a Halloween and a Christmas dance.

Many of our members have become traveling dancers and have danced with clubs in many parts of Canada, the U.S.A., the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Closer to home, our dancers have entertained Senior Citizens and other local organizations, have organized impromptu dances for out-of-town visitors, and have placed a float in the May Day parade. Members have danced for a variety of local charities including: the C. K. P. G. Telethon, Romp & Stomp (24 Hour Run) for Cancer, Canada Day at the park, and the Canadian Folk Society Festival.

Many of our dancers attend National Conventions and, during the First National in Edmonton in 1978, sixteen couples from our Club participated. Since then there have always been several couples representing the Northern Twisters at each National and of course the B. C. Festivals. Any of our members have spent happy times at the B. C. Square Dance Jamboree in Penticton in August, the South Cariboo Jamboree in June, and many other jamborees and special events throughout the Cariboo and the Province.

In 1972 our Club Caller of many years, Danny Morrison, retired and we were fortunate to have Ed England available to step into his shoes. During the next few years his wife Norma started cueing Rounds - a definite asset to the club.

In 1978 at our Spring Jamboree held in May, we added a special event, a Square Dance around Mr. Pee Gee (Prince George symbol of local industry).This event continues to take place just after our Saturday afternoon workshop, earning those attending a badge plus a dangle of each current year danced. Callers have been Ed England, Bob Clayton( 11 Years), Ab McQuillin, Bill Fatum, Gys Koops, Verne Thompson, Ken Wilkinson, Maurice Mingay and Larry Mann. In 1978 Bruce Thiel hand-crafted our Guest “register” for the Club to used at special dances. This “register” was remade by Eugene Nesbit in 1990.

In 1980-1981 Bruce and Wendy Thiel taught round dancing from 7:30 till 8:00 till Main Stream dancing started.

In 1981-82 the new dancer club caller was Ab McQuillan. In 1986 we decided to give Honorary Membership to dancers having twenty-five consecutive years paid up membership with the club. Clare and Rose Anderson were honored at this time.

In 1987, the Northern Twisters celebrated 30 years of dancing at their Spring Jamboree. The Caller was Bob Fyfe from Smith, Alberta, who took the club on a trip down Memory Lane. All of the old members who could be located were given a personal invitation to attend our Spring Jamboree. 125 invitations were sent). Sooters took group pictures, and for the first time, the Northern Twisters decided to schedule a Plus Dance in conjunction with the Jamboree on Sunday May 3 1987. Ed and Norma England were Intermediate Club Caller and Cuer and Bill Fatum was New Dancers Club Caller. During the Jamboree two couples who had been very active members of the Northern Twisters were given Honorary Membership: Cec and Anne Bellamy & Stan and Gladys Henry.

A large number of the club ladies wore either purple dresses or purple skirts and white blouses, while the men wore purple or white shirts and matching ties for this memorable occasion. Purple and white have since become our club colors. Dancers came from all over B. C. to attend this event.

In 1989 Bob and Muriel Stewart, Art and Kay Greensill and Herb and Bernice Roberts qualified for and were given Honorary Membership. In 1990 Tom and Phyllis Pidcock became Honorary Members also. In 1990 Gys Koops became Club Caller for New Dancers and Ed England remained the Club Caller for the Intermediates. Gys had been Assistant Club Caller under Ed England for a couple of years.

Also in 1990, the Whyte’s & Paulson’s made the Club Doll to be taken to the 1990 National Convention. In addition Paulson’s made a Club History “stand up board” for the Convention. Terry Whyte made the Club a new Banner of Purple and White. We still have the original Banner that is Black like our name badges. Also, the Whyte’s made a large sign, which is still displayed at the Columbus Community Hall on Domano Blvd., that says this is the” home of the Northern Twisters Square Dance Club.” Sign was taken down in 2001-2002 dance season. We are now dancing at Knox United Church.

In 1990 Joyce Whyte and Pat Paulson decided the Club needed a Mascot. They purchased Mr. Pee Gee Jr. who is “too young to travel by himself”, so a couple of years later Ellen Jameson found him a Square Dance partner. Both travel with Bill & Ellen Jameson to all Square Dance events.
Eugene Nesbit, being a woodcrafter, started to make gifts as door prizes and for Callers as a personal memento from the club.

In the fall of 1992, the Northern Twisters started a PLUS group with Verne & Sue Thompson as the Caller and Cuer. In 1993 Ed and Norma England retired, after 21 years of calling for Ed and 9 years of cueing for Norma. The Caller at our Jamboree was Phil Hansen from Red Deer, Alberta, whom the Club “had arrested” for harassing the female dancers. Also Ed and Norma England were given Lifetime Memberships, which means they are given club membership and are entitled to Free admission to all club functions and special events. Bill Fatum became an Honorary Member (25 years of consecutive paid membership.)

In the fall of 1993, Verne and Sue Thompson became the Mainstream club Caller and Cuer. Early in the 1995 Dance Season Plus sponsorship by the club ceased - not enough dancers to cover the costs. Festival ‘95 was held in Prince George, hosted by Region #5. Dancers attended from all over B. C., Alta., Sask., Ont. and the U.S.A. We had Rounds, Mainstream. Plus, A1, A2, Contra, Line Dancing and Clogging. A total of 1142 dancers were registered.

In the l996-1997 Dance Season, Gys Koops is New Dancers Caller with Maurice Mingay assisting on Thursdays, Club is dancing at Knox United Church for the New Dance Class Verne Thompson is Mainstream Caller with Bill Andreaschuk assisting, and Sue Thompson is Cuer with Jan Andreaschuk assisting on Tuesdays. Square dancing at Domano Boulevard. At our Spring Fling in May 1997 our Club celebrated 40 years of square dancing with Ray Brendzy calling to 17 squares. We gave our Honorary Members a Lifetime Membership to the club. Tom and DaphneTruefitt were given Honorary Membership. Brian and Helen Hilborn presented a certificate of congratulations for 40 years of square dancing from the Cariboo and Northern Interior Dancers Association. Jim and Mary Harrison attended and were also given Lifetime Membership. Jim was club caller in 1963.

In the 1997-1998 Dance Season we lost one of our Lifetime Members Cecil Bellamy who had been square dancing since he was a teenager. Ann Bellamy is still an active member in the club. Main Stream dancing still at the Columbus Community Centre Starting this season at 7:30 to 9:30.The club decided to teach the New Dancers two nights a week instead of one and put them through the program faster. First group of 10 dancers graduated in December. In January we had 21 people sign up for the classes with Gys Koops calling, they graduated in April. Dancing was on Mondays and Thursday at Knox United Church. At our Spring Jamboree in May, Irene Rigler received her Honorary Membership. We also lost Bill and Jan Andreaschuk who moved back to the Kootenay’s. Our club member Larry Mann has started a Teen Square Dance Club.

In the 1998-1999 Dance Season President Couple are Don Hollis and Marita Hauost to which we owe so much for all they do. We had 15 New Dancers taught by Gys Koops. New Dancers is still Monday and Thursday at Knox United Church. In Feb we took a bus trip to Williams Lake Mini Jamboree for their pie and homemade ice- cream

In the 1999-2000 Dance Season Nick and Mary Anne Turner started writing the Cariboo Connection, a comprehensive collection of square dance activities in region five. Pat Paulson was made official Club Historian and given a dangle to wear with her badge. We had 7 New Dancers graduate this year. New Dancers are still dancing at Knox United Church on Monday and Thursday.

In the 2000-2001 Dance Season the big event was Convention 2000 in Vancouver which several of our dancers attended. Verne and Sue Thompson our Club Caller and Cuer took part. Marvin and Mabel McKinnon celebrated their 50 th Anniversary. Our President couple Don Hollis and Marita Hauost took a holiday much deserved to the Hola De Cabarite en Republican Dominicana. Mary McQuillin received her Honorary Membership badge for dancing 25 years for the club. We have 8 New Dancers this year.

In the 200l-2002 Dance Season we changed Mainstream and Rounds to Wednesday and are dancing at Knox United Church this year. We did not have enough New Dancers for the club to give lessons this year. As all over the square dance world numbers are down. We’ve been dancing at the Knox United Church to keep costs down. Our Club continues to dance as part of the entertainment at the Huble Farm each summer one weekend, always have a good turn-out with Gys and Larry calling.

In the 2002-2003 Dance Season we changed the dancing to Mondays at St. Michael’s Anglican Church at the corner of 5 th and Victoria for mainstream and rounds .We have 6 New Dancers this year dancing on a Thursday night. This is a much better floor and a level access from the street.

In the 2003-2004 Dance Season we changed the dancing to Tuesday’s at St. Michael’s Anglican Church at the corner of 5 th and Victoria for mainstream and rounds. Thursday Night is New Dancers (we have 11 new dancers) also held here are SNOWFLAKE AND ROBBIE BURNS our special dances will be held here also. Our Spring Fling Dance with Jerry will be held up at the Senior Centre on the Hart Highway. They will be doing the breakfast. On a sad note - Our club caller for 21 years ED ENGLAND passed away May 29/04.

In the 2004-2005 Dance Season we changed dancing back to Monday’s. Verne and Sue have moved to Creston. Gys Koops and Larry Mann are our club callers and Gary Dean is our Club cuer. New Dancers and Main Stream are both on Mondays New Dancers starting at 6:30 and Main Stream starting at 7:30. We have 8 New Dancers this year. We graduated three. At the Spring Fling Jamboree Gary and Barb Dean and Ab McQuillan were given Honorary Membership. On a sad note- we lost Marita Hausot in the summer.

Season 2005 – 2006 We graduated four new dancers. We also welcomed back Paul and Cheryl Straub and Bruce and Wendy Thiel and Don and Melita Higgins. Changed New Dancers time to 7:00 to 8:30 pm and Mainstream 8:00 to 10:00 pm on Mondays. Coming up in the year 2006-2007 will be the clubs 50 th Anniversary. We are dancing 3 to 4 squares a night on Mondays..

Season 2006-2007 We have 4 new dancers. We are dancing 2 to 3 squares for Main Stream. We are looking forward to celebrate Northern Twisters 50 th Anniversary. Carrie Van De Vosse (our President) has had a special 50th Committee formed chaired by Don Hollis for this occasion. On a sad note: we lost Herb Roberts a lifetime member of the club in November. Mike & Lorraine Pohynayko have been dancing 50 years they joined a club down south in 1957. Also our Life Time Members Tom and Phyllis Pidcock have also been dancing over 50 years. GYS AND LYNN KOOPS were presented with their 25 year pin.

Season 2007-2008 We have 13 new dancers.. Dancing 5 or 6 squares a night.

Loss a Lifetime Member MURIEL STEWART and Quesnel caller DAVE ROBERTSON. Caller for our 51st Jamboree was Verne Thompson and wife Sue as our cuer. Williams Lake celebrated their 50 th Jamboree in May Caller and Cuer for the Club are Nick Turner and wife Mary Ann.

B. C. Federation passed a motion to form a club (group) called “THE FOUR SCORE AND MORE CLUB” This group is restricted to active dancers (square or round) who have reached their eightieth birthday. They will each receive a badge from the B. C. Federation. Our members are Irene Rigler, Norma England, Marvin McKinnon, , Kay Greensill, Tom and Phyllis Pidcock.

Season2008-2009 We have 10 new Dancers. Dancing 4 or 5 squares a night. It was decided this year that for 25 Honorary Member that CLUB pays all but Special Dances, Insurance, Society and Federation Dues.. At our Snowflake Dance we gave Four Score and More Badges to Irene Rigler, Norma England, Marvin McKinnon. We graduated 8 of the new Dancers. All the New Dancers that graduated in 2007-2008 came back as Angels this year. At our Spring Fling Jamboree we gave Kay Greensill and Eugene Nesbit their Four Score and More Badges. LORNE AND PAT PAULSON was presented with their 25 year pin.

Season 2009-2010 We have 12 new Dancers and dancing 4 or 5 squares every Monday night. Region 5 will once again hold Festival 2011 in Prince George,

Season 2010-2011 We have 11 New Dancers and dancing 5 or 6 squares every Monday night. We gave Four Score and More Badge to Don Higgins at our Snow Flake Dance. Lorne Smith called our Spring Fling to 8 to 9 squares. Festival 2011 was cancelled due to lack of dancers and callers and cuers. Gys and Larry held a Summer Splendor Square Dance in July. Had a good turn out. Over a square from Vancouver.

Season 2011-2012 We have 9 New Dancers and dancing 4 or 5 squares every Monday night. A SAD Loss for Region 5. LARRY MANN passed away due to complications from surgery to deal with blocked arteries. Larry and Shelly have enjoyed teaching young people to square dance thro the years. Larry also called for Vanderhoof Drifting Squares. We have a young fellow Dillon Dawson interested in calling.

Season 2012-2013 We have 6 New Dancers and dancing 5 or 6 squares every Monday Night. We started the year dancing at St. Michaels Anglican Church Hall and then switch over to Knox United Church. At our Valentine Dance we presented EUGENE AND MYRTLE NESBIT with their 25 year pin so they are now HONORARY MEMBER of the club. We gave FOUR SCORE AND MORE BADGES to PAT SEXSMITH, MURIEL ROBINSON, and MYRTLE NESBIT. We have Don Hollis, Dillon Dawson , Maurice Mingay , Delores Young helping with Cuering and Calling.

Season 2013-2014 We have no new dancers this year. Getting 4 to 5 squares every Monday night.

MAURICE AND ADELE MINGAY received their 25 year HONORARY MEMBER. We lost Tom Truefitt who was a HONORARY MEMBER and Anne Bellamy who was a LIFETIME MEMBER

Season 2014-2015 We have 10 New Dancers and are dancing 4 to 5 squares each Monday night. WE lost EUGENE NESBIT who was HONORARY MEMBER. FOUR SCORE AND MORE BADGES were given to MAURICE MINGAY AND RAY LOUGHEED.

Koops (Club Caller) 964-4851

Much of this article is copied from the newspaper of 1966. Updated from 1986 by Pat Paulson.

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