This lady started her dancing life after graduating with the Royal Stars Square Dance Club in 1981 and would start what would be very busy and rewarding times in square dancing throughout the province of New Brunswick, the Maritimes, and New England.
This lady was, upon graduating from the class at Royal Stars, the second generation of dancers in her family with her mother and father still being quite active in the club and among some of the Charter members of the club. This lady along with her husband would, within a couple of years of graduating, go on to hold the position of Secretary Treasurer for the club then taking on the President roll in the club in which she held office for 3 years and helping in change the way the club looked at dancing and bringing in younger people under the age of 16 into dancing. As well she held the position of Pop Hauler, Decorating Committee, and Caller Hauler for a few special dances as well as being instrumental in providing many fun nights in which the dancers could earn dangles for their efforts. In 1987 she proposed the idea to caller at the time Bill Clarke to open up classes to the younger generation and would see where it could go. The first year seen the graduation of 2 persons under the age of 16 one being her own son who would make the third generation dancing within the club.
Meanwhile, she was instrumental in forming an evening of dancing at the end of the year that would coincide with the yearly celebration of Canada’s Participaction Week in which the Royal Stars would host one evening a year, in which they would bring together all forms of dancing be it squares, rounds and clogging for one evening of shared dancing and all monies raised would go to Charity. Many charities received some great benefits from the dances over the years. Even after the club folded she made sure that the dance kept going for a few more years. She, along with one other couple, was the only one ever to be recognized by the Government of Canada as Ambassadors for Participaction Week and were presented badges in that honour.
As time passed, she would also take an interest in the New Brunswick Federation for Dance Clubs. She went to a couple of meetings to represent the club and ending up holding the position of President for a 2 year term. Back in those days in the 1980’s they were trying to figure out a way of bringing the news of all clubs to the dance family of the province and was one of the many that were instrumental in the beginning of the Journal which is still in publication today with the immense help of the first editor Harold Weston. An idea that was not an easy sell back then but has flourished throughout the years.
In 1988 when she would see her own son graduate square dancing she started on a new adventure with him. She would see many stressful, tear filled, and fun filled nights of instruction from Bill Clarke in the effort to see if he could become a caller or not. Many a night she & her son would come out in tears and look at each other and ask if it was really worth it then the next week they would go back to Bill’s basement to work again to see if he could become a caller. One of the best things she could have ever done was support him in his effort through all the thick and thin to let him hone his skills as a square dance caller. The many tireless hours spent travelling to dances, to meetings, to let him become the caller that Bill thought he should be.
In 1991 this lady would see him have the chance to call for a club in Gagetown with the Gagetown Guys & Gals. As a result her time with Royal Stars lessened as she was then taking part in the club in Gagetown. Her time in Gagetown she took part in the lunch committee, she was President of the club for one year down there, she helped organize what would many would call the best attended 30thanniversary party a club has ever seen in which she contacted all previous members of the club to attend and most of them did. Included in attendance that night was the Only 3 caller’s ever to call for the club in its entirety, Les & Marion Knight, Bill & Phyllis Clarke and Terry Hebert. Close to 30 squares packed the gym at the Gagetown School that evening. Margaret was also know for helping the club with the huge lunch they used to provide for the special dance and helped out where ever she could. She would also prepare the 40th anniversary bash for the club which would also be the last year they would dance as a club.
Margaret took on positions in the Maritime Caller’s & Cuer’s Association as Treasurer for a 2 year term as well as providing some great laughter and fun throughout the training weekends held in June and helping out where ever needed during the conventions especially helping with the sale of 50/50 tickets. She also helped to bring the MCCA convention back to Fredericton in 2003 in which she and her would-be chair people for the convention in 2003 and 2006 which many thought to be some of the better conventions hosted.
In her earlier years of dancing she was instrumental in putting together some great bus trips which would see Royal Stars rent a bus to go to a dance for the night around the province or to go to Stanley for a sleigh ride or many fun evenings. She would also help in obtaining dancers to dance at York Manor Nursing Home, Pine Grove Nursing Home, Nashwaak Villa Nursing Home, putting a float in the Canada Day parade which travelled through the streets of downtown Fredericton, helped in organizing the Dance in the Streets in Fredericton which seen the closure of York Street by City Hall to allow for square dancing one evening in the summer, helped with demos with the University of NB students in the summer, dancing in Officer’s Square along with other demos in hospitals and events throughout the City to help promote the activity.
Her dedication to activities did not just stop at square dancing. This lady was instrumental in hosting many T.O.P.S. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Area Recognition Days in Fredericton at the Fredericton Motor Inn which would see planning take place for 6 months to provide a jam packed and fun filled weekend for over 1000 delegates. She also was also very dedicated to her church in which she held several positions among the Board of Directors for the Building, was an Elder in her church and as well was Treasurer of the Cemetery Committee till her passing.
Even after her diagnosis with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2007 she never gave up her dedication to square dancing by still travelling with her son to weekly classes in St Stephen and special dances throughout the province and Maritimes. Even up until the week before her passing she was in St Stephen to help out with the Fall Fair demo that would take place that Saturday morning where she was there to support everyone in their demo. She took the time out during her treatment to fly to London Ontario to attend the 16th Canadian National Square & Round Dance Convention for the week as well as she had attended the Convention in Montreal in 2006 & Saint John in 2002.
Margaret’s dedication to square dancing and the activity as a whole can be seen throughout the eyes of many and some of the building blocks of the communications we have today. Margaret’s philosophy on life and dancing was to have fun and friendship set to music in which she felt whole heartedly about. Her wish was to make sure that everyone who comes to explore about our activity would be received with open arms and get the chance to experience all that it had to offer something she believed in till her passing.
It is the feelings of the Federation of Dance Clubs of New Brunswick Inc that the Late Margaret Hebert be honoured this evening with the Distinguished Service Awards in NB her province which she held true to her heart and the dance activity within it.