AQUA SQUARES SHORT HISTORY
In the latter part of 1971 the Benedict Pier of Benedict, MD contracted Ron Tourney to call square dances on Monday evenings. Thus Ron, and his wife Nina, started lessons for beginners in January, 1972. Members of the Pax Hoedowners, from Saint Mary’s County, and the Square Dealers, of Deale in Anne Arundel County, helped in the beginning. This beginning group decided that the club would be known as the Aqua Squares. Mr. Richard Smith of Lusby, MD donated his skills and produced the design and colors for the club badges and banners.
When the objective of a substantial increase in business by the Benedict Pier was not realized the club was asked to leave in the spring of 1972. The Huntington Methodist church became our new home, temporary home, one of many as we were to learn later.
On August 12, 1973 the Aqua Squares became members of WASCA (Washington Area Square Dancers Co-operative Association) and was assigned WASCA club number 249. In September 1977, the club adopted by-laws and elected officers:
In January 1974 Ron Tourney, through Calvert County Parks and Recreation, moved the club dance location to the Calvert High School Field House. Other locations followed, but the Aqua Squares have danced at the Calvert County Southern Community Center in Lusby for many years, still under the auspices of Calvert County Parks and Recreation.
In 1975, The Tourney’s had to give up the club management, but brought George and Nancy Whitten as club caller and Taw. After the 1977-1978 square dancing season the club’s caller, George Whitten, was transferred and moved out of the area. Gary Cogan was taking calling lessons and was asked to be the new caller. The club moved further south and danced in a multi-purpose room at Appeal Elementary School near Lusby. Gary’s first class graduated in 1979. He called for the club in 1979-1980. Several club callers have been associated with the Navy/Air Station at Patuxent River, located in Saint Mary’s County.
On the 15th February, 1979 the Aqua Squares celebrated its 8th Anniversary with a Valentine’s theme, there were 10 squares dancing! Gary Cogan and his family moved to Florida where he worked with the Space Shuttle. Fred House of San Diego was the new caller with his Taw DeLoy. In 1983, Ben Williams began calling for the Club. Ron and Nita Thompson came to the Club that year and Ron later became the Club caller from 1985 -1997. He was followed by Nick Cline and Bob Bash. Virgil Forbes was the club caller from 1999 to 2011. In the fall of 2011 Aqua Squares welcomed two callers – Bill Harrison and Gary Felton who share caller duties.
Though fewer in number than the club’s membership in the 1970’s, club members are still enthusiastic dancers. Recent classes have brought new life to the club. The club is known for its “southern Maryland hospitality” and welcomes visitors.