Pittsburgh Area Callers and Cuers Association

Gold Rush Square Dance Productions 2015

PACCA News Room:

Square and Round Dance News

From Around the Tri-State Area. Is Off The Ground!

Over the past several years, the Square Dance music business has taken a huge hit following the tragic death of Tom Dillander,

former owner of

Tom’s passing came at a time of great transition for the SD music business and left the entire industry decimated with no specific direction for the future. As a result more and more labels have turned toward self promotion and distribution from their individual websites.

With continued concern over music piracy, many producers are trying to cut out the middleman or sell exclusive packages to compensate for their unprecedented losses. In addition, many labels are now producing specialized music like never before, experimenting with new rhythms, complex arrangements, female themed and keyed music, Extended Application Figures, and new music styles ranging from Pop, to Rock, to Alternative, to R&B, and Modern Country.

Now if all of this is news to you, or sounds like a foreign language, then you may start to see the need for a centralized distribution source for SD music, equipment, and information. This is the vision and ultimate goal of Paul Cote, the new owner of, who purchased the business in November 2015 from it’s former owner Pam Dillander.

Paul’s decision to purchase the business would be considered a risky one at best by many people right now due to our activity’s current state of decline. There is no doubt that Paul is rolling the dice, however, Paul is not alone!

While there are many callers riding the SD train right off the cliff into retirement, there are others who are riding the winds of change. It is no secret that change is coming, and it’s coming soon. The producers, and callers who recognize this are gearing up for what that change will bring.

One thing is for sure, if MWSD survives, it  will be very different than it is right now. Paul Cote is one of the callers who plans to ride those winds of change right back to the top of the mountain where the new world of MWSD will find itself after its much needed reformation. For the naysayers who cannot see it or wish to sit on the fence until they can, it is important to point out, that once the new SD train gathers momentum, it will be almost impossible to catch.

Looking toward the future, the re-launch of can only be viewed as another positive step toward saving MWSD, and Paul Cote should be applauded for his foresight and bravery. Please consider rewarding Paul’s efforts by supporting the new

Summer 2015

The Changing Face Of Square Dance Music

Pittsburgh is leading the way to offer callers more

music options than ever before.

For many years MWSD music has had a specific sound all its own. Because of this, Callers entering into our activity found themselves forced to facilitate this specific singing style in order to perform the singing calls that were available to them. Today all of that has changed and the door is now open for callers to shine brighter than ever before with new options that have never before been available.

To gain a better understanding of this, some explanation will be necessary. Most callers are not musicians or professional singers when they enter into the SD activity. Most of what they know about music and singing is often learned from other callers who's professional entertainment experience is also limited to SD calling. Experienced callers learn over time what songs work for them based mostly on trial and error and this can make it very difficult for them to advise new callers on how to effectively select music that is right for them.

When I first starting calling, I could not sing. I was a musician and played the guitar, but understood very little about music or music theory. I learned on my own, out of necessity, through a great deal of practice to perform square dance singing calls. It was not until years later that I would find out what an achievement that actually was.

In 1996, I started Gold Rush Records and set out to produce my first SD singing call. I had no guidebook on how to accomplish this, so I hired a local Jazz musician, told him what I wanted to do, and  played him some examples of SD music from that time. Understand that hiring a Jazz musician with a formal background in music to create a SD song back then would be like hiring a mathematician with a degree in advanced Physics to do your taxes.

After he knew what I wanted, the first words out of his mouth were ,“who on earth is going to sing this”. He went on to explain that the SD version of the song was actually in 16th notes which would make it very hard for most singers to sing. The original song was recorded in 8th notes and would be much easier for singers to sing, so he asked why we were not doing it like the original. My only answer for him, at the time, was that almost all SD music sounds like this.

Well times have changed! Over the past several years, SD record labels have discovered that the traditional Boom Chuck rhythm of the SD singing call is not the only option. Now callers have more music options than were ever thought possible thanks to labels like Gold Rush, Ego, Fine Tune, Acme, Crest, Chic, Blue Star, and others. Even the  big boys like Rhythm, and Royal are beginning to push the envelope with new music styles.

Three years ago, Gold Rush decided to start producing music specifically themed and keyed for women callers. This had never been attempted before by other labels and was a risky idea at the time. We are proud to say that the idea, which began with our own president Shawn Brown, and the recording efforts of our own Vice President Lisa Minton, was overwhelmingly successful, and has resulted in the other labels now following our lead.

This new world of SD music is going to change the way that callers choose their singing calls. In the past, callers had to learn to sing like a caller. Now, once  callers begin to understand their music options, they will be able to sing more naturally and focus more on calling. This new dynamic will ultimately provide dancers with a more entertaining experience overall, and help bring MWSD into the 21st century!