Swan Valley Hoedowners Celebrate 60 Years

Submitted by:
Lloyd Gilchrist
On Saturday, December 1, 2012 the Kenville Hall was decorated in a teddy bear Christmas theme to help the Swan Valley Hoedowners celebrate sixty years of square dancing in the Swan Valley.

Click any picture for a larger version.

Despite iffy road conditions, dancers from as far away as Moose Jaw, Regina, Canora, and Neepawa arrived to help the local club salute this special anniversary. Callers Linda Gilchrist and Brad Slepicka provided a fun-filled dance program which began at 2:30 and continued till 8:00 p.m.

During a brief commemorative program, Hoedowners president Fay Perrin paid tribute to those dancers who pioneered the dancing and persevered to keep square dancing alive and well in the Swan Valley.

She also recognized those early members who were able to join in the festivities in Kenville. Those able to attend were Rosella Olmstead, Jean Shaw, Viola Innis, Mae Allen, and Lloyd Besselt.

Mel Edmunds presented two congratulatory certificates to the club, one from the Eastern Square Dance Association of Manitoba, and one from the Canadian Square and Round Dance Association.

Pat Yaskiw read a brief summary of a phone call she received from an original member of the 1952 square dancing movement in the Valley, Carrie Seiman,90, who now lives in Westbank B.C. She noticed an article in the Star and Times and decided to phone. One amusing anecdote she mentioned was how dedicated the square dancers were back then, that they practised whenever they could; so much so that they wore a pattern into the linoleum on their kitchen floor!

After this brief ceremony, the dancers were treated to a welcome change of pace…..a few old-time dances provided by three Valley Hoedowners members, Brad Slepicka on the fiddle, Harvey Bourgeois on the guitar, and Natalie Sopotyk on the keyboard.

Throughout the day, dancers had a chance to look through several picture albums which brought back some memories from years past.

The dancers broke at 5 p.m. for a well-deserved meal break—a real traditional Christmas feast including turkey, ham, perogies, cabbage rolls, salads, and all the other trimmings imaginable.

The meal was capped off with everyone enjoying a piece of the special anniversary cake and ice cream.

The day concluded with more square dances, some of which were dances set to familiar Christmas tunes. The final event was all dancers circling the hall and singing Silent Night.