Club Histories: Grenville Gremlins

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Over a period of two years (1969-1970 and 1970-1971) a group of aspiring square dancers danced in the North Grenville District High School, on Rideau Street in Kemptville. Their caller was Don Holmes from Winchester. While Don was learning to call, he called Basics to these dancers, improving his skills as a Square Dance Caller over these two years.

In September 1971 the group held a meeting and formed The Grenville Gremlins Square and Round Dance Club becoming a member of the Ottawa Square and Round Dance Association. (OSARDA), which became Eastern Ontario Square and Round Dance Association (EOSARDA) in 1979.

The founding group chose their name from the North Grenville District High School where the group had previously danced for two years and the name of the local baseball team called the “Gremlins” thereby naming their new Club “Grenville Gremlins”. A Local Druggist, David Harkness and his wife, Muriel, were elected as the first President Couple in September, 1971.

In September, 1971, the new Club chose to move to Leslie Hall, as David and Muriel Harkness were members of St. James Anglican Church and Leslie Hall was their Church hall.

Modern Square Dancing began at Leslie Hall in the fall of 1971 with Don Holmes teaching the Basics of Modern Square Dancing to an enthusiastic class of beginners. In April 1972, the first beginner class graduated. In addition, during the early years some dancers learned Round Dancing between Square Dance tips. However as the years went by Round Dancing faded and now takes place only when a guest Round Dance Cuer is visiting our Club.

Karl & Ellen Cryderman from Kemptville started dancing with the Grenville Gremlins in September 1971 and graduated with the first beginner class.

Jack & Doreen Pinder-Moss from Kemptville joined the Grenville Gremlins shortly afterwards and continued as active members until the end of the 2004-2005 dance season.

In September 1975, Eugene & Betty Scott, from South Mountain and Preston & Muriel Gilmer from Kemptville started their Basics class and graduated in the spring of 1976. Eugene passed away in 2005, but Betty, Muriel and Preston are still active dancers.

Starting in 1982 Grenville Gremlins sponsored the Applefest at Kemptville College. The Applefest attracted several hundred dancers who were treated to excellent dancing and fellowship topped with apple pie and ice cream at the end of the evening. Unfortunately changes at the College brought on the end to the Applefest dance in 1997.

Grenville Gremlins started their New Year’s Eve dance in 2000 with the first year at Leslie Hall. The first year response from dancers necessitated the New Year’s Eve dance to be moved to St.John’s United Church in Kemptville for the following years (except 2006) until the present.

For the past few years Grenville Gremlins have been the co-host club with Kim & Lil Hamilton (a local Caller / Cuer) of the North Grenville Community Hospice (renamed the Beth Donovan Hospice) dance in early September each year.

The Grenville Gremlins have enjoyed many years of fun and fellowship with many dancers who have come and gone and seven excellent callers:

Jan. 2006 - Present Andy Himberg-Larsen of Ottawa has been calling Basic, Mainstream and Plus
Sep. 2006 - Jan. 2006 Ivan Barron of Richmond called Basic, Mainstream and Plus
Sep. 1993 - Apr. 2005 Winston Mount of Addison called Basic, Mainstream and Plus
Jan. 1979 - Apr. 1993 Paul Adams of Orleans called Basic and Mainstream
Sep. 1975 - Dec. 1978 Don Reed of Kemptville called Basic & Reg Pollard of Brockville called Mainstream
Sep. 1974 - Apr. 1975 Reg Pollard of Brockville called Basic and Mainstream
Sep. 1972 - Apr. 1974 Don Holmes of Winchester called Basic and Mainstream
Sep. 1971 - Apr. 1972 Don Holmes of Winchester called Basic

In September 2011, the Grenville Gremlins will celebrate their official 40th Anniversary as a Square Dance Club. We always look forward to dancers who wish to experience the fun, music, friendship and health benefits of Modern Square Dancing on Monday evenings at Leslie Hall in Kemptville.

For more information please contact:
Tom & Ardele Mesman
President couple

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