Personal email from Tom 7/26/2014:
Just happen to come across a Internet post where you said to contact you, I am a big fan of your web site and have learned a lot of information since getting back into square dancing. I gave up calling some 20 plus years ago due to spending so much time away from my family and needed to spend more time at home but things didn't work out as I planned. Just recent (August of 2013) did I get back into square dancing as a dancer with my present partner. She saw a sign to take square dance lessons in Inman South Carolina with the Peach Blossom Squares. That just so happen to be a club that I called for over a period of several years.
I called dances in the South Carolina, North Carolina and several other states for a period of 25 years at the same time trying to raise a family and keep a full time job which isn't easy to do. Like most local club callers its takes long hours of studying and lots of sleepless nights just to do something that we all seem to love. Have to say my time calling will always be the high light of my life. Not only calling but making so many wonderful friends. When Susan and I started the lessons i found out that some of those that I taught were still with the PBS. It was like a big family reunion. No greater feeling than to connect with people that I had taught to dance and see them still enjoying it. Like myself most of them are senior citizens but they are still on the floor once the music starts up. One of my dearest friends is the President of the club and has been for the past ten years.
My style of calling was all position dancing and that was my true love. Seeing just what I could do with each and every call from every possible position but it had it's draw back. There were many dancers that put a tag on me as being the caller that wanted to break everyone down. The truth was i was the only caller trying to get them to see what could be done with the calls and enjoy it. Those that understood me and those that i taught loved me so I had a love, hate calling career.
Just to give you some information i meet Tony O when he was just a young teenager and sort of took him under my wing and we called several dances over the years while he was becoming the caller he is today. Not taking any credit for his career since every caller has to either make it or not make it on their own
I am proud to have been a part of his young life. Haven't seen or heard from him in years but I do keep up with him. I started dancing somewhere around 1964,1965. Not sure if that is correct but that is close. Mick Howard was the caller that taught me to dance. He has long passed away but was a great caller and friend. After dancing for about a year, Mick gave me a record and said learn this. I was a singing call but I don't remember what it was now. I took that record and practiced time and time again until I could do it along with my make shift mike which was a pencil. We were at a federation dance and Mick asked me to do the singing call. I was so scared that it was all i could do to get the needle on the record. After a few seconds I knew this was what I wanted to do, be a caller. After doing the song the place went wild and I had never felt anything like that.
Here I was married with a wife and one child and all i wanted to do was square dance and do a singing call every time I got the chance. Lot of the local callers weren't that happy. I was getting to much attentions when I went to their dances and everyone was wanting me to do a singing call. It got to the point where the local callers would not even ask me to do it anymore. So i said the heck with it. I will start my own club. Got four couples that agreed to work with me so that I could become a caller. Then the real work started. Calling a singing call was the easy part. I spent most of my time when I wasn't working, I was working on learning all the calls and what I could do with them.
No fancy programs back in those days like there is now. It was paper and pencil for me. I would draw out the square, number the dancers and move them around in my head and on the paper to get from static square to back to home position. I loved it and still do, except now I don't have to draw circles and little boxes. I didn't see that coming but glad its available now, thanks to Vic and many others.
Now the sad part. I come back to see square dancing almost dying out. Some of the clubs I once called for are no longer clubs. Thousands of dancers have given it up but the worst part is the level of dancing in this area is awful. They aren't teaching them to dance proper and cutting classes short in order to get more dancers. Its a mess. No one seems to be having fun at the mainstream level. Everyone is pushing the dancers to get into plus even before they every learn the mainstream.
The role that I am playing now is working with the PBS to improve the dance level and try my best to bring in new dancers and hopefully have a part in helping them learn to dance and have fun at the same time. The Club has a club caller and a caller that teaches the classes. while I was taking lessons with Susan there were times I had no idea what the caller was even teaching. She wasn't to happy to have me back with the PBS or being there as an angel but we have become to be good friends once she understood I was there to help her in anyway I could to become a better caller. She has been to two callers schools and calling for eight years but has never had a club of her own or doing any guest calling anywhere to the best of my knowledge.
There has been a big improvement since I got back with the PBS working with the two callers, the President and its members. Not taking any credit all I am wanting to do is help in any way that I can. I have no intentions of every calling again but I love doing the workshops and that is what I want to do as long as I can.
So now you know who Tom Godfrey is where he has been and where he is now. Forgot. I live in North Carolina but spend most of my time in South Carolina. What I may do once I get back to where I feel like I can do it, I would love to record some more music. I only recorded that one song while I was calling. It wasn't something that meant that much to me. I did it because I was asked to by Ted Frye and others.
BTW: I have had to back off with the all position teaching since most of those that I am working with don't or cant handle all position at this time.
Hope this wasn't to long and boring.