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GSI World Leaders   
Japan - Doc Hiraga
Doc Hiraga

Doc started modern square dancing and calling in 1959 in a university folk dance club when Ricky Holden came to Japan to teach. In 1966 thru 1972 Doc was calling at the Sendai Square Dance Club with Mac Ojima, Hiroshi Yaoko and others.
In 1992 he started calling again in the Thunder Squares in Gunma prefecture. Doc founded five clubs in the same area in the past ten years. He trained the callers, and they have already taken over his place at three clubs.
Doc has been a Callerlab Member since 2005, and attended 6 Callerlab conventions. He is involved in the International Committee and Promotion Task Team of the JSDA.
Doc worked as an English-Japanese interpreter at the GSI’s Caller School held in Japan in November 2009 hosted by Mac Ojima and co-sponsored by the JSDA. Doc is now calling at three clubs and many groups in the dance programs ranging from the Basic 40 (easy dance for the elderly) through C2.
Doc is also one of the GSI Japan representatives.


Japan Callers Schools - Mac O'Jima
Mac O'Jima
In 1963 at the age of 18 years old, he was introduced to the Square Dance in the World Folk Dance Club at the Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, when he was the 1st grade in the University. Among the thousands of the dances in the world, he was particularly interested in being a ‘CALLER’ of American Square Dancing. In those days, the Square Dances in Japan were the time for changes from ‘Old Time Dances of Couple-Visitors Style’ like ‘BIRD IN THE CAGE’ ‘LADY AROUND THE LADY’ ‘TEXAS STAR’, to the style like most present dances. They call it “Modern Square Dance”. When they saw “Modern Square Dance” for the first time, they were surprised at seeing the movement of ‘STAR THRU, PASS THRU, FIND YOUR CORNER, ALLEMANDE LEFT...’
                Of course, there was NO callers school or callers clinic in those days in Japan. His teacher for calling was the listening to the tape of American callers, Ed Gilmore, Arnie Kronenberger, Bob Van Antwerp, etc.
                In the 3rd grade of the University, he assumed the role of the Band-Master of the Square Dance band “Red Wings” in the club. He had played drums in the band, and also played banjo at another band “Golden Slippers” when he went out into the world after he graduated the University. In 1969, he made his first album, but this was made just for his memories, not for sale.
                He met his lovely wife Meg at a square dance, and they wed in 1970. And in 1981, he was selected as one of the callers on American Square Dance Magazine ‘Sets In Order premium LP album’. And in the same year, he called the first time to American Dancers at the Nationals in Seattle,Washington. It was a super time for Meg and him and it was also very significant for him to call at the nationals as he felt the need to study more on his calling technique by seeing American dancers. They had to stop their dances because of his Oriental accent.
                In 1984, he met Pat Barbour, when Pat took the first trip to Japan on a calling job. Since then, he’s been influenced by Pat’s personality and humanity. He was taught many things by Pat about how callers should learn not only the calling technique but how we should spend our life. One night in June of 1987, on the dance floor in a suburb of Houston, he had an unforgettable experience of calling job. To his singing calls, he could be given the great helps of harmony with the great callers. They were Pat Barbour,Tony Oxendine and Jerry Story. He felt that was the Real Harmony.í and also said this Great Sounds of Harmony on the night made him great changes on his calling later.
                In 1989, he released his first record “My Sweet Lady” from Rhythm Records. And In 1994, Pat Barbour and he established “ELITE RECORDS”, and he is Asian director of “Elite” now. He has released many records through “Elite”.
                He currently calls at the regular dances of three clubs in the Sendai area and sometimes travels to many square dance festivals around the world.
                He always says “Square Dancing is the Whole World Friendship thru Music.” Soon it will be 50th golden memorial year since he started calling.


Taiwan - Jennie Wang
Jennie Wang
Jennie has been square dancing since 1983. She was the 1st and 5th Chairwoman of the Square Dance Association of the Republic of China.
            She attended the Taipei Caller School in 1992, with caller coach Doc Casey.  Since then, she and Mary Wu formed the “Doc Squares” square dance club.
             Jennie also attended the Northeast Caller’s School in Manchester, USA in 2009. Now she is teaching square dancing to beginners and handicapped dancers. Jennie is also a round dance cuer.
            Jennie says “I love square dancing, round dancing & clogging—these hold a very important position in my life. The activities are fun and keep me young. My black-and-white life turned colorful and was thoroughly enriched when I started dancing. I have many close friends from all over the world—we even we have a sisters club in Japan: Kamakura Beach & Stars.”
            “I was so honored and lucky to be chosen as the leader of GSI Taiwan. I have a warm feeling for this square dancing family, and we will uphold the responsibility to follow up the old steps and tradition, pursue developing a new and good future for the square dance world and honor the directive of One World, One Dance”.
            Let’s join hands (old hands & beginners, too), heart-to-heart (love and toleration), and work together to overcome difficulties. "Promenade" to a better tomorrow!


United States  - Lee and Barbi Ashwill
Lee and Barbi Ashwill
Lee and Barbi Ashwill have been square dancing since 1978 and round dancing since 1980. They progressed through the offices of their local club, the Independence Wagon Wheelers before serving as Co-Chairman of the 1989 Oregon State Summer Festival and serving as the Chairman of the Oregon State 2002 Summer Festival.
                Lee and Barbi have each served as 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President, President and Immediate Past President of the Oregon Federation of Square and Round Dance Clubs. They have received Oregon’s two highest Square Dance honors; the Randall Award and being appointed as Oregon Goodwill Ambassadors.
                Lee and Barbi enjoyed being members of Bud Parrott’s round dance exhibition group, The Round Connection. When they were asked to become the Assistant General Chairman of the 43rd National Square Dance Convention‚, they soon discovered the amount of time they would spend traveling to attend meetings and to help promote the 43rd NSDC would not allow enough time for them to practice with the Round Connection, so they resigned from this exhibition group.. They felt it was not fair to the round dance group to try to continue performing when they had to miss so many practices. 
                In 2005 Lee and Barbi were the General Chairman of the 54th NSDC. They have served as Treasurer and Vice President of the National Executive Committee and are currently serving as President of the National Executive Committee. They are Advisors to the 61st NSDC to be held in Spokane, WA in 2012 and are assisting Kansas City, MO in putting together a bid to be presented at the 60th NSDC, here in Detroit, MI.
                Lee and Barbi have been married for 34 years. Between them they have four children (one son and three daughters) and 13 grandchildren. Lee was a personnel officer for the Oregon Army National Guard for 34 years and retired with over 40 years of Military service. Barbi worked for a law firm for 29 years, but left when Lee retired so she could travel with him.
                They are both active in volunteering at the Salem, OR hospital and with the Salem Hospital Auxiliary. Barbi just completed a two-year term as President of the Salem Hospital Auxiliary and is currently serving as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Lee is currently serving as Assistant Treasurer.
USA East - Ken Ritucci
Ken Ritucci began his calling career in 1975. Ken has a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education, English and also received a Masters degree in Theology in 2006 as well as a Post Masters Degree in Theology in 2007.
                Ken has taught beginner square dance classes since 1975 as well as workshops in all programs from Mainstream to C3A.
                Since 1983, Ken has been instructing callers how to learn the profession of calling. Ken is an Accredited CALLERLAB Caller-Coach, receiving his accreditation in 1991. He owns and operates his own Callers Schools, The Northeast Callers School held each October in Manchester, NH. and The NorCal Callers School held each August in San Jose, CA. In 2011 ken has started a new school, The Jubilee Callers School in Fultondale, AL.
                Ken is a member of CALLERLAB and is a member of the Board of Governors. Ken is currently the Chairman of the Plus Committee.
                Ken calls through the C3A Level and has traveled all over the United States, Canada and Europe calling for clubs and festivals. He continues to get recognized as a leader in the activity and a trainer of callers. Ken has trained literally hundreds of callers to call in our activity.
USA Central - Jack and Sherry Pladdys
Jack and Sherry Pladdys
Jack began calling in 1982 while serving as a member of the US Air Force. During an assignment at Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, he launched his calling career in his off duty time with two local clubs. Upon moving to Dayton, Ohio in 1983, Jack called regularly for an Advanced and three Plus clubs. It was in Ohio that Jack had the fortune of meeting Chuck & Bobbie Myers. Chuck became Jack’s “mentor” and helped him learn the craft of calling not only from the technical aspect but also from the importance of being a positive influence and striving to better the activity as a whole. Jack attributes his success and accomplishments 100% to the role modeling and teachings of Chuck & Bobbie.
                Jack moved to Utah in 1989 where he again worked regularly for an Advanced and three Plus clubs. Jack retired from the Air Force in 1992 and relocated to Ohio. He and Sherry were married July 14, 1995. Together they spend the week managing a very busy home program calling and teaching for A-Sharps, the Frontier Squares, the Henry Ford Squares, the Kitty Hawk Squares, the Skirts & Shirts, the Unicorners, the Venus & Mars Square Dance Club, and the Whirlaways. In addition, they staff several weekends and travel regularly in the eastern half of the United States. He has taught beginner lesson classes every year since he started calling in 1982. He is currently teaching four beginner classes, an A2 class, and a C1 class. Jack believes the existence of Square Dancing is solely dependant upon all callers staying passionate about the craft and activity and dedicated to always teaching new dancers every year.
                Jack works as the Logistics Manager for Pioneer Automotive Technologies of Springboro, Ohio. Collectively, Jack & Sherry have six children and nine grandchildren stretched out from Ohio to Florida to Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.
                Jack has traveled and called extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, the Middle East and Europe. He has been on staff of the World Convention in Austria, the Hawaiian State Convention, the International Singles Convention in Canada, Fontana resort in North Carolina, English Mountain resort in Tennessee, and is currently on staff at Pride Resort in North Carolina. Jack and Sherry also call for and administrate several weekends and festivals yearly.
                Jack recorded with Chicago Country Records. He is a member of the Miami Valley Callers Association, the Cincinnati Callers Association, and CALLERLAB. He has served terms as President of the Miami Valley Callers Association and the Northern Utah Callers Council. Jack has worked on education panels at CALLERLAB and National Conventions and has conducted many caller training seminars and clinics. He recently joined the Grand Square, Inc. Caller Education staff and aspires to obtain his caller coaching accreditation through CALLERLAB.
                Jack and Sherry reside in the small community of Indian Springs nestled between Hamilton and Middletown, Ohio just off Ohio State Route 4. Jack calls and very much enjoys teaching Basic through C1 Square Dancing. He also excels at presenting easy teach squares, lines for private “one-niter” parties.
USA West - Jet Roberts
Jet Roberts
Jet Roberts started calling in 1971 at the young age of eight years old. Three years later he was calling for three local clubs in the Sacramento, California area. He always dreamed of making calling his full time occupation and by age 19 he was established as a full time caller on the west coast.
                To date Jet has been featured in all the western states & has traveled as far east as New York & into the New England states. Since 1993 Jet has been featured in other countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Holland, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, and New Zealand & spent two years calling full time in Perth, Australia.
Jet calls levels from basic through A-2 & from the age of 10 he has never missed a year of teaching a beginner’s class & sometimes as many as three in a season. Jet believes that all callers should teach beginner classes as without them the activity will continue to decline.
                During the national convention in Detroit, MI. in 2011 Jet became the newest staff caller on Rhythm Records which is considered one of the top record labels of all time with an all-star staff. Check out their web site to get your exclusive membership & get some of yesterday & today’s finest square dance music on the market. http://www.rhythmrecords.biz/
                In the summer of 2004 Jet married Sylvia Bjork from Sweden. They had a beautiful wedding in her hometown of Orebro, Sweden with many friends from Europe & the USA in attendance. Jet & Sylvia are currently living in Antelope, California near Sacramento. Jet is the proud father of two girls, Lacey born in 1988 & Lindsey in 1991 from a previous marriage. On February 22, 2009 Sylvia gave birth to their daughter Stella. 
                Jet is known for his smooth & interesting choreography & his singing calls are always a pleasure to dance & listen to. If Jet Roberts comes to your area, don’t miss the opportunity to dance in a fun filled & lively atmosphere.
United Kingdom - Simon & Trudy Fielding
Simon & Trudy Fielding
Simon has been calling since 1996 and currently calls for four clubs in an area approximately 30 miles north of London. He currently calls Mainstream through C1 and is a regular on the Saturday Night circuit together with his wife Trudy. He has been on the GSI UK Committe since its inception in 2004 and in 2009 became the Joint Chairman of GSI UK alongside Trudy, and has been a part of the support calling staff for both the 2007 and 2009 GSI UK events.
                In March 2011 Simon had the honor of being elected President of the Square Dance Callers Club of Great Britain and is looking forward to being part of their 60th Anniversary celebrations in 2013.
                Trudy has also been calling since 1996 and like her husband Simon, calls for four clubs calling Mainstream through C1 and is now recognized as one of the UK’s leading female callers. Trudy and Simon also called at the Delta Dance in the Netherlands in 2009 and are looking forward to calling in Germany later in 2011. Like her husband Simon, she has been involved in GSI UK since 2004, calling at both the 2007 and 2009 events and is currently Joint Chairman along with Simon.
                In March 2011, Trudy was elected Vice President of the Square Dance Callers Club of Great Britain, becoming the first lady caller to hold that position.
Europe - Walt Burr
Walt Burr
Walt started Square dancing in 1976 when he joined a Mainstream class offered by the International Squares in Kaiserslautern, Germany. His calling career began only a few years later in 1980 when the Air Force stationed him back home in Macon, Georgia. For the next four years Walt and his mentor travelled around Georgia & Florida, but soon enough duty was calling again and Walt was going to various places with the military. This time also as a square dance caller.
                He travelled the world and called in 26 states and 10 overseas countries, including Germany, Sweden, France, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan and Canada. During this time of travelling he learned a lot about customs and traditions in each country and he also saw the different ways of dealing with our hobby in the changing environment.
                In 1995 Walt retired from the US military after 24 years. His last station was RAF Lakenheath in Great Britain. He stayed there working as a civilian and calling for several clubs in the following 15 years. In July 2010 he retired completely and moved to Germany.
                Currently Walt calls Basic - A2 for his own and other clubs in the Munich area. He is on the staff of A&S records and released two singing calls. “Young at Heart”(1992), “The Will to Love”(1997) and is working a his third “On my way” due to be released later this year
                Walt played a key role in starting the GSI-UK team and served as team leader from 2003 to 2009, leading the team through two very successful callers schools and festivals. In 2009 Walt became the GSI-Europe representative and he continues to hold that position.
                He and his long time partner Juli were married in April 2011and spend their very limited spare time with round dancing and travelling around Europe.
                Walt is an accredited member of ECTA and Callerlab, and he’s working on becoming a Callerlab Accredited Caller Coach.
Slovack and Czech Republic - Tomas Machalik
                I was born in 1977 and it took me almost twenty years to start calling. I am currently calling Basic (or any of its parts) through Advanced 2. I call for Crazy Dancers (Prague, Czech Republic) and Wild Bunch (Waldershof, Germany) on more or less regular basis and less frequently for some other clubs as well (we are even exploring the possibilities of square dancing over Skype!). Apart from calling, I try to be active in CSCTA, ECTA, CALLERLAB and GCA. I am serving as the CSCTA President and Square Dance Coordinator.
                I believe in caller cooperation, in exchanges of ideas and in providing variety to our dancers so I publish my ideas and articles to share with others. Electronic Tips for Callers is a web-based series of my articles (in English) related to Square Dance calling. Caller’s Info is a magazine (in Czech) published by CSCTA for its members. I also try to share my hitherto knowledge and experience with those who are interested in learning something new. I conduct caller seminars and I also published several dozens of articles and a book named I Want To Be a Caller! for beginner callers (unfortunately, it is currently available in Czech only).
                I work as a translator: I mostly localize software from English to Czech or Slovak. If time permits, I like to play guitar and bass guitar (and I often participate in afterparties at Special Dances).
                For more information as well as some links see my website at http://doug.square.cz/. I am looking forward to our cooperation within GSI in order to make the world of Square Dance even better!
Lars Olofsson
Lars Olafsson
Lars got in touch with Square Dance in the late 80’s and started to dance in 1988. He is known as the tall calm swede, but if you get to know Lars you will find there is a very entertaining side of him and he has a great sense of humor.    
                Lars met Hanna at the end of the 90’s and soon they become inseparable as he very much impressed upon her by being the “mensch” that he is (true human being) and being a great sport, always ready to help and support others.
                Lars took up calling 2008 and is developing his own style of calling which is very suitable for calling at club levels and that is where his calling-heart is.
                Being the computer-guy that Lars is, he has created many home pages, among others the home page of SAASDC (Swedish Association of Square Dance Clubs), SACT (Swedish Association of Callers and Teachers), the home page of Energy Squares which is the home club of Lars— and many others. He helps and teaches people to create and update their home pages.
                Lars was also a member of board of SAASDC for many years and the president of Energy Squares before he became a caller.
                Lars got awarded by SAASDC in 2009 for unselfishly devoting his time and his talent to the Square Dance activity.
                Lars is half of the Swedish GSI Team, of which the other half is Hanna Tenenbaum.
Habba Tenenbaum
Hanna Tenenbaum
Hanna started dancing 1995 in Malmoe Sweden. She was then, shortly after graduation, pursued by a caller in her club to start calling when he heard her sing on her way to the ladies room. She started calling 1997.
                Hanna has been deeply involved in Square Dance since then. She has been a board member of SACT, the Swedish Caller Association and is also a member of Callerlab and currently a member of the ARC committee (Application Review Committee ).
                Hanna is also arranging local caller schools and training and has helped many callers to develop themselves to become “good” callers. She treats every caller student as her “chick” and she is truly interested in their development.
                Her style of calling and her warm voice have made her popular amongst many dancers. She is also known as a caller that cares for every dancer. As a teacher she is greatly open hearted to every students needs and problems, her way of handling difficult situations is honorable not to mention her pedagogical style of teaching.
                Hanna has been calling in Sweden, Norway, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Germany and America.
It is Hanna's dream to start Square Dance in Poland.
                Hanna got awarded by SAASDC in 2009 for unselfishly devoting her time and her talent to the Square Dance activity and especially for her work as caller and caller coach for her club.
                Hanna is also a member of the GSI-team in Europe, and representative for GSI-Sweden, together with Lars Olofsson who met her in late 90 and fell for her warm personality and charisma.
Canada - Jerry Jestin
Jerry Jestin
While growing up in Canada, Jerry was around square dancing a lot. His parents have been dancing since the early 50's. Early in his life, Jerry played the piano and sang in many amateur shows. He and his sister Loretta learned to square dance from Frank Dorward. Frank knew Jerry could sing so he handed a record to Jerry and told him to practice. Jerry learned the singing call and has been calling ever since. His first dance was in 1967.
     Jerry has always liked performing. Sometimes he would call duets with his sister. After a time Jerry felt that he had gone as far as he could in Canada as a full time caller. He began looking south, across the border. In 1979, Jerry relocated to Texas, attending Texas A&M University while continuing to expand his calling career. He majored in Physical Education and Health.
     In 1980, while calling and attending school, he met and married Janice Lee Graham, whose father was a local caller in San Antonio. Jerry and Janice moved from College Station, Texas to the Dallas/Ft.Worth area where his home program was expanded to cover various levels of square and round dancing. Jerry transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington, to continue his education on a part time basis, where he found time to get some voice training.
     In 1984, Jerry and Janice became the Resident Square and Round Dance and Clogging instructors at a RV park in Yuma, Arizona. By 1985, they were working at two parks, offering a full program for all levels of the various dances. From 1990-1994, Jerry and Janice worked as the resident Caller/Cuer/Directors during the summers at Lionshead Resort outside of West Yellowstone, Montana. During the summer months they taught squares, rounds, and clogging and coordinated the hiring of guest callers and cuers. When Jerry is not in Yuma, he travels to other areas in the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada calling festivals and dances. In the spring and fall, he also worked on the family grain farm in Alberta until his father retired.
     Starting in the fall of 2007 Jerry went back to Texas A & M University to finish his degree while calling on the weekends. He continues calling in Yuma AZ from Jan. thru Mar. and back to University in the fall until he graduated in Dec. 2010 with his degree.
     In 2010 Jerry also completed and passed CALLERLAB Caller Coach Certification. Jerry has been on staff at many Callers Schools and Seminars across the world.
     Jerry has worked for several Square Dance record labels. First he recorded for Circle D Records, releasing "Come Monday". Next, while recording for Riverboat Records, he released two patter records and two singing calls, "Listen to the Music" and "Pictures". Next Jerry recorded for Jo-Pat/ESP Records. His releases included "Bummin Around", "I Don't Hurt Anymore", "It Ain't Necessarily So", "I'll Come A Runnin' to You", "Next Thing Smokin'", "That's My Story", "Honky Tonk Attitude", "Tall, Tall Trees", "Seminole Wind", "Shindig in the Barn", "Just Another Polka", and "Hightech Redneck". He has also made special appearances on Sting Records – "Cheatin' Heart" and on Global Records – "Come Monday" and "Bye, Bye Love". 
     Upon the closing of the JoPat Record label in January of 2003, Jerry began recording full time for Global Records. He has many hits with Global including, "I Saw Her Standing There", "Follow Me", "It's Cool To Be A Fool", “Good Friends”, and “Lookin Out My Back Door”. As times changed in the recording industry Global Records stopped producing music.
     Jerry then started recording for TNT records releasing “King Of The Road”, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”, and “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”. After that Jerry joined Gramophone Productions from Germany as a staff caller. His releases include “It Just Comes Natural”, If You’re Going Thru Hell’, “Deeper Than The Holler”, “Love Is On A Roll”, and “Hi Diddle Diddle”, “Beer For My Horses”, “Highway To Hell”, Just A Memory”, Make Her Fall In Love Song”, and “Hey There Delilah”. For listening and dancing, he also has various levels of dance cd’s available.
     Jerry and Janice have composed many round dances: "Way Too Sassy", "Memories Are Made of This", "Falling ", "Sugar Town", "Your Selfish Heart", "More", "Somebody Like You", "Steve McQueen", "Ivory Tower", "When You Dance", “Spanish Eyes”, “Wish I Didn’t Know”, “Steve McQueen”, “When You Dance”, “Catch A Falling Star”, “Kits Waltz”, “Waltzing By Piano”, “If You Think You’ve Got Trouble”, “Twang”, “Soul Sister”, “Rocking Round The Christmas Tree”, “It Won’t Seem Like Christmas Without You”, and “Bit By Bit”.
     Jerry and Janice are members of CALLERLAB and are licensed with BMI and ASCAP. Jerry is currently a board member of CALLERLAB.
     Jerry is well-known for his creative choreography, high-energy presentation, and use of a wide variety of music.


Germany - Tommy Schneeberger
 Biography coming soon


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