Mainstream - Tuesdays 7:00-9:30 p.m., Experimental Farm Pavilion, Nappan
Caller: Faye Germon
The square dancing activity in Cumberland County had its beginnings with the Tantramar Twirlers of Amherst, a small but active group who first started with Don Hawkes, then later danced to records. In 1971 caller, Al Mills and his wife Norma, returned to his boyhood home in East Mapleton. With the help of the Tantramar Twirlers they tried to build up the activity in Amherst but with little success. A class of new members was started in Southampton but later moved to Nappan for lack of space. A class was also started in Brookdale. On May 14, 1974 these two classes graduated. They were joined by the Tantramar Twirlers to form a new mainstream level club, the Cumberland Twirlers. The club danced in the Pavilion at the Experimental Farm in Nappan where they continue to dance to this day.
As well as the weekly dances two special ones were initiated in the first year. Reflecting the agricultural nature of the area a special dance was held in sugar making time, The Maple Fling, and another during the blueberry harvest in September, the Blueberry Dance. A guest caller was engaged and people attended from across the Maritimes. Kerry Fletcher was one of the callers at our very first Blueberry Dance in 1974. At that time Kerry was involved with the Mountain Top Teens and just beginning his calling career.
January 1975, the first club banner was unveiled; two years later, a traveling banner was made. Additionally, in 1977 prairie skirts had become recognized as proper square dance attire; new club outfits were introduced reflecting the longer skirt in club colors, red & black (designed by member Audrey Boss). Over the years the club has graduated many dancers. At one time round dancing was introduced, but there was not enough interest to make it viable. For several years the club hosted a Plus workshop in a nearby school. In May 1994 caller, Al Mills retired. A two day celebration & dance was held in his honor. He was replaced by Ken Eagles, of Sackville, NB, February 1995. In 1998 dancers entertained at Ladies Auxiliary Joggins Fire Dept Senior Christmas party; this has been an annual event ever since.
On September 11, 1999 the Cumberland Twirlers celebrated its 25th Anniversary with caller Kerry Fletcher and a special appearance from retired club caller, Al Mills. In the year 2000 a new banner was unveiled and the original one retired and returned to the club's first caller, Al & Norma Mills. Personalized club jackets bearing Cumberland Twirlers crest were purchased in 2006; these make a very positive statement for the club when group attendance is called for (i.e. funerals, etc.).
May 2009 – 35th Anniversary / Reunion. All traceable previous graduates and/or members since 1974 were contacted; 85 attended, together with 100% current membership. Everyone enjoyed a sit down meal, followed by appropriate reminiscence by first club president, Harold Miller, dancing & entertainment. Al Mills, our first caller, was unable to attend due to health reasons.
After 15 years as club caller, Ken Eagles retired January 2010. A retirement party was held for him and Fran in May; it was well attended by 100 previous graduates and members of Cumberland Twirlers since 1995. Friends, family and special guests enjoyed an evening of square dancing under the calling skills of Chris Ayres, Ralph MacDonald, Doug Leaman, Kerry Fletcher, Ken MacLeod, Jack MacArthur and Faye Germon. Several other Callers/Cuers were in attendance as well.
Faye Germon of Moncton, NB assumed position of club caller in January 2010; a Plus class is held for 30 minutes prior to Mainstream each Tuesday. After 37 years, with expenses rising and attendance falling, the club reluctantly decided to discontinue the annual Blueberry Dance; the Blueberry Finalé was held in 2011. The Maple Fling, however, continues to be an April annual event. As well as seasonal dances Cumberland Twirlers provides entertainment at nursing homes, malls and at other community events. Club holds a Heart & Stroke benefit dance in February, and dancers donate gifts to needy children in the area at Christmas.
We extend an open invitation to all square dancers wishing to join us any Tuesday; contact information at top of page.