AQUA SQUARES SHORT HISTORY
In late 1971, the Benedict Pier in Benedict, MD, contracted Ron Tourney to call square dances on Monday evenings. Ron, and his wife Nina, started lessons for beginners in January, 1972. Initially, members of the Pax Hoedowners, from Saint Mary’s County, and the Square Dealers, of Deale in Anne Arundel County, helped organize the club. The group decided that the club would be known as Aqua Squares. Richard Smith of Lusby, MD, donated his skill to produce the design and colors for the club badge and banner. In 1972, when the objective of a substantial increase in business was not realized by the Benedict Pier, the club was asked to leave. The Huntington Methodist church became the club’s temporary home; one of many in the years that followed.
On August 12, 1973, Aqua Squares became a member 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.
Several club callers have been associated with the Navy/Air Station at Patuxent River, located in Saint Mary’s County, MD. In January 1974, through Calvert County Parks and Recreation, Ron Tourney moved the club dance location to the Calvert High School Field House. In 1975, the Tourney’s gave up the club management, but brought in George and Nancy Whitten as club caller and his wife. After the 1977-1978 square dancing season, George Whitten was transferred 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 in Lusby. Gary’s first class graduated in 1979. He called for the club from 1979 to 1980. Gary Cogan and his family moved to Florida where he worked with the Space Shuttle. Fred House of San Diego became the new caller with his wife, DeLoy. In 1983, Ben Williams began calling for the club. Ron and Nita Thompson came to the club that year, and Ron Thompson later became the club caller from 1985 to 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 new callers, Bill Harrison and Gary Felton, who are currently sharing the job of club caller. During the 2020-2021 pandemic year, Aqua Squares continued to dance virtually. Aqua Squares has danced at its current location at the Calvert County Southern Community Center in Lusby, MD, for many years, still under the auspices of Calvert County Parks and Recreation.
When Aqua Squares celebrated its 8th Anniversary in 1979, there were 10 squares dancing! In 2024, Aqua Squares welcomed in 10 new dancers and celebrated its 52nd year of dancing. The club sponsors beginning square dance lessons about every other year, which continues to bring new dancers into the club. Aqua Squares actively participates in First Nighters and demonstrations. Every year, the club celebrates the club anniversary, a costumed Halloween Party, a WASCA Theme Dance, an Ice Cream Social, a summer potluck picnic and other events. Aqua Squares is known for its “Southern Maryland Hospitality” and actively welcomes visitors, including single dancers.
Updated January 2024