“Ohno”, a voice cried out, “The banner has fallen down”. We all rushed to retrieve the 25 foot banner (made by my husband, Michael) before it got torn. But we’re made of hardy stock and have dealt with these awkward walls before – “Just stick some more of that blue gooey stuff on” someone suggested and low and behold this time it held up!! This was the evening of Friday the 20th of October and the main hall connected to the Victoria Park United Church in Toronto was a hive of activity as Fred, Eddie, Michael and I, and our long suffering friends prepared for the 4th Annual Let The Good Times Roll ….. workshop. It took some time but eventually the plain hall was transformed into what we hoped dancers would feel was a colourful welcoming dance venue. We could head home to get a little bit of a rest before the action started the next day.
Although the doors didn’t officially open until 11:30 smiling dancers started arriving earlier with coffee cups in one hand and breakfast in the other! Some dancers had come from long distances. Four dancers traveled in from Port Elgin on Friday and booked into the Radisson for two nights, just so they could join us. (Lovely hotel by the way so if anyone is interested for next year they should let me know -- I got a really good rate.) Anita McNab who is the event organizer of the excellent event 'The North Rocks for Charity' traveled down from Sudbury. Other dancers came from Belleville, Peterborough, Ottawa, Missisauga, Oakville, Ennismore, Port Hope, Brampton and from all around the city.. By the time Linda Francey took over the microphone the hall was full with over 100 dancers. Marline Maskell from the Coyote Cave had been going to teach for us but had leg problems and was hobbling around on crutches so we were very fortunate that Linda agreed to teach at the last minute. Linda is a busy, well known instructor who holds her own very well attended event, The Line Dance Craze Jamboree. Click here to check out the report and photos of this fun workshop. A very experienced instructor, Linda soon got the dancers moving, first with a nice beginner dance that she wrote herself, ‘South of Santa Fe’, followed by a new dance by Phil Dennington of ‘Bosa Nova’ fame, called ‘Cara Mia’ both of which the dancers seemed to really enjoy.
Next up was Wayne Kralik. Wayne taught at our first event and the dancers loved him so we were happy he could come back again this year. Wayne teaches clogging as well as line dancing full-time. He taught two of his own beginner dances ‘Never Promised You’, the lively Irish ‘Boys of Ballymore’ and also ‘Start to Sway’ to very responsive dancers. At that point we took an open dance break so that people could take the opportunity to have some fun with Jim and Linda Booth and at the same time learn some two step basics. They also could check out the wide array of raffle prizes beautifully packed by dancer Dale McNeil. We ended up making $400 which will go to a group called Legacy of Love. They pack containers of new and gently used baby items which are given out to new Mothers in St. Joseph's Rural Hospital in Ludzi, Malawi in Africa. If you're interested in learning more about this project or donating you can contact Gloria Bucci.
It was my turn to take to the floor, firstly with a nice little beginner dance by Hot Pepper called ‘Mister In-Between’. Great sing-along track! It was then time for the challenge of the day with my new dance ‘I’m Coming Home’ to the beautiful Lionel Richie song of the same name. It’s a tricky dance and unusual rhythm but the dancers were terrific and hung in there. Fred joined me next to present our new dance ‘On My Mind’ to 'Arizona on My Mind’ sung by Canadian country singer, Jake Mathews. It was a rather unorthodox teach but the dancers didn’t seem to mind in fact they joined in the banter with gusto!!! Luckily they caught onto the dance really well and the floor flowed. Another break and then it was Fred’s turn. He taught a smooth dance called ‘Around Me’ by DJ Dan and Wynette Miller to a lovely country ballad ‘Loving You Makes Me Strong’ by Rodney Crowell. Time to draw some door prizes. We are blessed with generous friends and I’d like to thank them for all the items donated for both the raffle and the door prizes. But the workshop wasn’t over yet, we always have a surprise guest teaching the ‘Blast From the Past’ and this year Barb Wallace from Whitby kindly took us down memory lane with ‘Hay’ by Ontario choreographer Duncan Taylor. Lots of smiles with this one – it was a great choice and well taught.
While we were dancing the Church workers were busy preparing our meal and by 5:15 the tables were laid and dancers were lining up for an excellent ham dinner, with enough left over for seconds! We had a short break after dinner to thank the instructors for helping make the event a success and our volunteers who had worked so hard. Time for everyone to hit the dancefloor yet again and the evening dance was a lot of fun. Fred is such an excellent DJ, he knows just how to mix the music so everyone gets their turn on the floor. What a cheerful bunch the dancers were, everywhere I went I saw smiles and heard lots of laughter, what better food for the soul! One dancer told me that she felt that the day had been more like a party than a workshop! All too soon though it was time to play the last song and start cleaning up. However, we’ve already got the hall booked for October 20th 2007. We are going to keep the numbers as they were this year so I’ve started a list with names of people who want to make sure they will be one of the dancers on the floor when the action starts next October!! Many many thanks from Fred, Eddie and me to everyone who came and helped make the day so much fun and to our volunteers who so generously give of their time and energy to help us. Luckily they’ve got a year to rest before the 5th Let The Good Times Roll ……07!!!
PS Fred and Eddie organized the 50/50 and one dancer walked away with 150 crisp dollar bills in her pocket and the other $150 is going to the East View Community Centre towards the kids programming.