Ed Gilmore started calling in 1947 and attended the Lloyd Shaw summer seminar in Colorado the following year. Modern Western Square Dancing (MWSD) got it's start shortly after WWII. In the 1940's, the dances were taught as memorized routines. The callers called the dances the exact same way each time. The problem with that method was when couples were away for awhile they could not dance any of the new routines that had been taught. Gilmore, who was one of the early "pioneers" of the dance in the Southern California area, broke the dancing down into basic figures to simplify the dancing. In this way, perhaps Ed was the first to introduce "patter". It was no longer necessary for dancers to memorize the routines. In the Redlands/Riverside CA area, Ed taught over 4000 people to dance. The largest class was 764 people. Another class had 542 people attending.
Soon he was conducting callers schools on his own, as callers from all over sought his instruction. It is doubtful that anyone conducted more callers classes than Ed did over a period of two decades. Ed wrote extensive Callers Instruction Courses and numerous articles documenting his methods.
He recorded on Sets in Order, Balance and Decca and he had his own band called The Boom Chuck Boys. Although much of his time was spent on the road, calling at festivals and conducting caller classes, he always maintained a strong, home club program.
Ed was a founding father of the annual National Square Dance Convention and a recipient of the Silver Spur Award. Ed was present at Bob Osgood's three-day "think tank" in Glenwood Springs, Colorado with five other caller-leaders in 1961, as well as at the caller-seminars on the UCLA campus in 1964-65. As a member of the Square Dance Hall of Fame, he was invited in February 1971 to attend an "Honors Banquet" at the Asilomar Conference Grounds that concluded with the group signing of the eight point charter that would be the start of Callerlab.
In March 1971, Ed returned to Hibbing, Minnesota where on previous occasions he had trained many callers. Shortly upon his arrival he was taken to the hospital for observation, and though quite uncomfortable, he conducted what must have been the most unusual callers course of them all. Allowed only one or two visitors at a time, the entire enrollment of the course settled down in the reception room of the hospital, each member waiting his turn to talk with and be coached by Ed. When Ed passed away in June 1971, slightly more than three months after he shared in the creation of Callerlab, it brought to a close a very special era for square dancing. Ed was honored with the Callerlab Milestone Award posthumously in 1979. To learn more see The Ed Gilmore Interview.