Gerry & Bev O’Hara began their square dancing career in 1972 on graduation from Elm Tree Squares with Al Kingston as caller and teacher. They danced there until 1977 when they moved to Saint John. They graduated again in 1979 from the King Valley Squares with Art Capson as the caller. In 1979 the club needed a new caller so Gerry & Bev took a course in calling at the House of Roth in Nova Scotia, a school run by Gloria Roth.
In 1980 Gerry began calling for the King Valley Squares in the Fairvale Outing Association Building. Over the next three years he and Bev graduated twenty four couples before moving to Fredericton. Gerry taught class for the Elm Tree Squares from 1983 to 1987, as well as for the Oromocto Pioneers. Gerry & Bev graduated from Round Dancing in 1987 with a class led by Ken and Jean Cole. In 1998 Gerry & Bev were back in Halifax where they held classes for the Classy Classmates in Dartmouth from 1988 to 1991. From 1989 to 1992 Gerry called for a number of clubs in the Halifax area including Lake City Swingers and Stardusters. They became active in the Nova Scotia Association for Round & Square Dance Leaders and Gerry has called at the Nova Scotia Federation dances. In 1993 Gerry and Bev moved back to Fredericton and he started calling for the Oromocto Pioneers which he is still doing now. The Sunbury Swingers Club, which was started in Fredericton Junction, operated for two years and twenty four people graduated. Gerry also ran a Plus workshop at Estey’s Bridge and called for the Fredericton “A” Workshoppers. He travelled to Moncton frequently to call “A”. Bev has taken up cueing rounds and they are able to do dances together.
many workshops to help educate the newer callers. As well he has given sessions in square dancing in schools, churches and various other groups. He has made presentations to the Federation on behalf of the NBCA and at one time he and Bev were very active in the Federation. They have put the same amount of work into the MCCA where they have held all the offices as well as presented workshops. Bev has organized the sewing clinics at the Maritime convention for several years. She was on the Sewing Room committee for the 13th Canadian Square & Round Dance Convention in 2002. Bev is an accomplished seamstress and has made many beautiful outfits for her as well as for other dancers. Bev is also active in the Girl Guides of Canada.
Gerry has prepared the program for the MCCA Conventions many times and they have served as registration couple for several different years. Probably the most challenging programming job was for the 13th Canadian National Square & Round Dance Convention held in Saint John in 2002. This took well over a year to complete and they had to deal with callers from all around the world. To satisfy all of the callers was not easy and changes were constantly being made. The job was well done and everything went smoothly. Gerry and Bev were n charge of the registration for the 40thMaritime Callers and Cuers Convention that took place in Fredericton in November 2009.
Gerry and Bev are always donating their time by packing up their equipment and heading out to help promote square dancing. They have called at Pioneer Days and Canada Day celebrations in Oromocto, in a restaurant in Woodstock, on the PEI Ferry, at Ste Anne’s Court in Fredericton, at the Relay for Life for Cancer Research in Oromocto, at the nursing home in Mill Cove, in Bea Weber’s backyard in Fredericton, at Senior’s Days at the Oromocto Mall, at the Kirkpatrick family reunion in Hoyt, at Ida & Mel Ellis’ 50th wedding celebration in Lincoln and at the Horse Breeders Association in Maugerville to name a few. When the Oromocto Pioneers decided to start giving out “dangles” again, Gerry and Bev were ready to help. They called a dance at the President’s home on Friday the 13th so the club could earn their black cat dangle and they waded into French Lake and called a tip in the water so the club could earn their rubber ducky dangle.
Gerry has a great sense of humour and loves to tell jokes. He always makes sure that everyone has a great time. He has a special affinity for the new dancers. He watches over them like “an old mother hen” and does everything in his power to make sure that they have a wonderful time learning to square dance and that they keep coming back. The graduation ceremony that Gerry & Bev organize is warm, touching and very emotional. The new dancers feel a close welcoming bond with their new square dancing family and tears of joy are often seen. Gerry and Bev have graduated close to two hundred dancers in their calling and cueing career. In April 2005 Gerry & Bev celebrated their 25th year of calling at a surprise party in Fairvale. Approximately two hundred fifty dancers attended and this shows how well thought of Gerry and Bev are. Bev is constantly by Gerry’s side and makes sure that each evening flows smoothly. Bev always wears her traditional square dance clothing, even to regular dances, and this helps to contribute to the true feeling and meaning of square dancing.
Gerry & Bev work to promote square and round dancing on a constant basis. They are always volunteering their time to provide demonstration dances for the public. They support other callers, cuers and clubs by filling in for them and by attending their dances. They definitely go outside of their own area to support other clubs. They are involved with Conventions, Jamborees, Associations and the Federation. Gerry and Bev O’Hara are the ultimate good-will ambassadors for Square and Round Dancing.