The Board of Directors

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Lee Kopman's name is synonymous with choreography. He invented more calls in popular usage than any other caller in the history of Square Dancing. During his life, he was considered by many to be the foremost advocate and spokesman for the Western Square Dance Community of Callers and Dancers. Lee’s legacy lives on.


Marty NorthrupCMarty Northrup:

Marvin Northrup first started square dancing September 1975 in upstate New York,  alongside his parents after years of Eastern style square dancing. Only a boy when he first began to dance, Marty quickly became fluent in the workings of squares and learned the basic techniques of calling. During the summer of 1976, he attended a 4-day crash course Caller's College at Madison College in Harrisonburg, VA. Using his natural vocal talent (he was invited to all-district choir in elementary and middle school) he chose to pursue calling part time. During the month of February 2017, Marty married yet another square dancer. Suzanne and Marty make their home in Charlotte, NC. No children from this marriage, just a couple of cats, Simba and Martha.

Unlike most of the Board of Directors, I had limited contact with Lee Kopman. With that being said, I am well aware of the impact that Lee Kopman had upon the western square dance activity. In addition to writing over 500 square dance calls, Lee always thought outside of the box. Once Lee began using concepts such as skip the first part and complete the call, left handed choreography, replace a part of a call with another then complete the call, and many more, the square dance world was forever changed.

All callers are drawn by a "calling" which once gets into your system, it never leaves. It would be hard to believe that any caller in the history of dance loved square dancing more. I attended the Callerlab convention a couple of years ago in Norfolk, VA. Lee did a seminar. With his effortless style he quickly captivated the audience. How fun it was to be seated only two seats from "The King" during another session. A presenter was demonstrating come choreography and I made a suggestion which was quickly shot down. Lee made another observation (which was a minor and insignificant modification) and the presenter knew better than debunk "The King" Wish he had because I am sure that it would not have ended well for the presenter.

Steve and Lee had scheduled a caller clinic in Knoxville. Lee stayed over and called a dance in the lower level of the SDI building. I was on cloud nine just attending the dance. When Lee spotted my Callerlab badge, he said, "If you have any questions about square dancing,, I may be able to answer them." I responded ok Mr. Kopman. He quickly responded, "call me Lee". Lee called at the plus level diamond chain thru. The crowd stopped as diamond chain thru is on the advanced level 2 list. He quickly walked us through the call and said, "tonight it is on the plus list."

It took me a few minutes and a question came to mind. I asked him why he wrote so many calls. He said that he did not want to get bored. He also told me that some of the calls came out of necessity as he got into a formation for which there was a better get out. As time was getting short during the break he told me how the call Chain Reaction came about. Lee told me that he and Steve had a weekend at a hotel. During a break they walked into the gift shop area and Lee saw the game Chain Reaction. He told Steve that would be a great name for a square dance call. He proceed to go back to his room and wrote the call.

As sure as I sit here and write this note, I am sure Lee is demonstrating some choreographic ideas in Heaven and God is in the front row taking notes.

Rest In Peace, Lee!

Dave KnappCSDave Knapp:

When Dave & Becky got married in 1974, Becky stated that some day she would like to square dance again (Becky learned when she lived with her family in the Philippines – her Dad was a Caller back then). Well, Dave’s answer was “yea, sure, some day when we have time and no kids” (they had six at the time, so it was not going to be any time soon). Becky seemed to accept this answer, so all was copasetic for a few years.

After starting a couple of businesses and making as many moves around the country, they settled in Simpsonville and started a business in Greenville. That business received mail every day, of course,  and often times the mailman was Gary Lutz. Gary, being an avid square dancer asked Dave & Becky to join in the fun by attending classes with the Pioneers. Well, the time was still not right (kids still at home, new business, etc.), so they put him off – for a while.

Then, one Friday they ran into Gary in a store and he had his square dance attire on. Well, that did it for Becky, she found a way to get Dave to class – they began lessons with the Pioneers in September of 1995 and graduated in March of 1996.

An interesting side note to the above is that Shelva, Gary’s Taw, was the Class Leader who helped us learn mainstream dancing to Lee Kopman’s tapes (more about Lee later).

They danced mainstream as much as they could during this time and also attended Dan Stangle’s Rubik’s Squares for a couple of years (being instrumental in helping to organize and lead the group).

They took plus lessons from Gene Spence at Landmark Hall in Greenville, SC. Actually, Becky attended all the lessons, but Dave was serving as Mayor Protem on Simpsonville City Council at the time and Plus lessons came right in the middle of the budget debates, so Dave only attended 3 & Plus lessons (ask Dave about Becky’s fingernail polish bottles and how they helped him learn Plus moves).

Dave & Becky credit Ace McGee with a lot of their appreciation for dancing, especially after taking 2 years of Ace’s Plus DBD. They, and a few others, traveled to Anderson, SC once every week to attend Ace’s DBD sessions.

After Plus, they learned A1 & A2 from Stan Russell (Greenville, SC). This took about one year but proved to be a steppingstone to participating in other facets of square dancing. By now, they were on their way to knowing most of the local square dance community which lead to starting a weekly email newsletter of square dance events in the area (the Upstate of South Carolina).

The newsletter morphed into the web site, which was viewed by over 750 people worldwide on a weekly basis. The web site was updated every Wednesday evening and contained information of interest to a wide verity of dancers – from local students to Challenge dancers looking for dances to attend, and other information contained in the various pages of the site.

Dave & Becky learned C1 and C2 from tapes (they are still struggling with C2 – folks say it’s quite complex to learn everything in C2). However, learning some of what the Challenge levels have to offer, has helped them with their most recent venture into a different facet of square dancing.

Somewhere during all of this, Rick & Sue Sylvester made the decision to join the Simpsonville Pioneers. Thus, began an instant friendship consisting of mutual trust and respect. This bond lead to the formation of an organization they called DSL Promotions (ask any of the four how it got started and why it is so successful, but don’t ask them what it stands for – they won’t say).

DSL Promotions put on specialized square dance events – all the way from arranging for special callers to teach local workshops, to a mainstream level Continuing Education Class, to an Advanced level Workshop, to self-contained weekends (which attracted as many as 200 dancers from around the country), to managing events for other square dance organizations.

The DSL weekend dances had a special appeal to them – not the least of which is the caller staff they assembled. They utilized the talents of such well-known callers as: Stan Russell, Steve Kopman (both called at DSL’s Journey To Junaluska), Jerry Story, Tim Marriner, Tom Miller, Tony Oxendine (all of Party At Pipestem fame), Randy Page (special events, including local workshops), Mike Sikorsky and last, but certainly not least, Lee Kopman (special guest caller at Junaluska).

DSL Promotions also acquired the assets of The Zip Coder – an International Square Dance publication that serves the Advanced and Challenge Square Dance Community. Dave & Becky continue to produce this missive on a quarterly basis.

Dave & Becky are active in other ways also. The have served on the Board of Directors for the Simpsonville (SC) Pioneers for eight years (serving as VP’s, Presidents and Directors), they print flyers, booklets, rack cards, etc. for many of the South Carolina square dance organizations. They were also active in the 56th NSDC, serving as panel moderators and the SC Internet Coordinators. They serve, or have served, on many Ad Hoc committees involving square dancing.

Additionally, Dave is currently the Chairman of the Simpsonville Storm Water Committee, Chairman of the Greenville Technical College Brashier Campus Advisory Committee, Secretary of the Simpsonville Rotary Club (previous President, VP and Sergeant at Arms), is the District 7750 Secretary for the Upstate of SC, is a member of three local Chambers of Commerce (serving as a board member and Director) and is involved in two networking organizations.

Dave & Becky have six children and five grandchildren. As you may have guessed, when their children want them to baby sit, they need an appointment at least three months in advance.

Mike HoganMike Hogan:

I began calling in 1976.  I’ve had the opportunity to call in 36 states and have been featured at several state conventions, festivals and weekends.  I live in Omaha, NE where I’ve called continuously for my home club for 41 years.  I also record for Blue Star and Hi Hat record labels.

I’m a member of a local and state caller’s association where I’ve held officer positions for over thirty years, currently serving the Nebraska Caller’s Association as President.  I’m an active member of CALLERLAB where I’ve served on many committees, including Chairman of the Marketing Committee, on the Board of Governors, and currently serve as Vice Chairman of CALLERLAB.

My professional career is in media, marketing and sales.  I started in the radio industry in 1991. Today, I am a Market President for iHeartMEDIA where I manage five radio stations.  I’m blessed that I can share my marketing experience with the square dance community.  I’ve conducted square dance marketing seminars in a dozen states, and at many national and CALLERLAB conventions.  I’m the primary author of the CALLERLAB Square Dance Marketing Manual.

The very first caller clinic I attended was in 1979, Lee Kopman was the presenter.  After a dance that evening Lee sat with me, just me, for two hours drinking coffee and talking choreography like we were old friends.  He was truly a positive influence on my calling skills early in my career.  I’m honored to continue his legacy by serving on the Lee Kopman Fund board!

 

SteveKopmanSSteve Kopman:

Steve’s earliest memory was calling at the NY Worlds Fair at 8 years old.  With a father (Lee Kopman) so passionate about the activity there was no doubt he was going to be a square dance caller.  Not long after Steve started his first club in his parents basement.  He’d teach 2 squares of friends 8-10 calls a week.  Thank goodness he was the son of the most prolific choreographer in the business.

Steve attended a local college (Adelphi University) so he could pursue his love of square dance calling.   He was calling 4 nights a week while attending the university and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in education in 4 years.

His last year in college he met the women of his dreams who would become his wife of 41 years, Debbie.  She was a deaf education teacher in NY and had recently graduated from the University of TN.  

Steve thought it might help his calling career if he moved away from his dad to make a name for himself and they settled on Knoxville, TN.  He worked full time for a swimming pool company while calling 26 weekends a year around the world.   He still maintained a great relationship with his dad, and it was nothing for them to call together one weekend in England, the next in Las Vegas and the following weekend in Bartlesville OK.  Lee and Steve spoke every day on the phone.   Not about sports or politics but choreo.   Lee would bounce ideas of new calls off Steve and they’d discuss fractionalizing the call or cleaning up the definition. Currently Steve still travels around the globe calling square dances while maintaining a full-time day job as regional sales manager for Citizens Bank. Steve and Debbie just became grandparents of a beautiful girl named Peyton Blake Hammer.  She and their mom and dad reside in Seattle, WA.

IMG_0729SLilith:

I am the wife of Lee Kopman. When we were married, I was marrying a Phys Ed. teacher. We knew nothing about Square Dancing. The love affair for Lee and Square Dancing began when someone asked him to do a "one nighter" for his church, He went back to the man who taught square dancing to the Phys Ed majors . That was it!!! He had fallen in love. He could hardly think of anything else. I shall never forget when he came home from his first callers school. He walked in and said, "I got it. I know how to sight call. I get it". He was so thrilled that he called another Long Island caller to tell him the fabulous news and tried to get him to understand what he now knew. That was the real beginning. He began writing choreography and also writing steps. He wrote every single day until he was too sick to do so. He would wake me in the morning and say, "A step came to me during the night". My response had to be, "What was it". Sometimes I teased him and didn’t ask what it was and he could hardly stand it. He told me anyway. The new steps came to him quite often. The names to call them took a little time . Some of the examples were really funny. Driving he saw a truck that said, Recycle Garbage. Hence, recycle. He found a game called Chain Reaction. Hence, chain reaction. Naming the calls was a dinner table family activity. We had a "dream" life. We traveled all over the world and these United States. We made dear, dear friends along the way. Some friends, like Carol Heimann became family. She visited us while Lee was really ill ,four times. She lives in Chicago. Our dear friend Hiroko, came to see us more than twice a year. At the end when we knew it was the end, she came in a moments notice. This was coming from Japan. Lee loved Square Dancing so much that whenever we got a diagnosis from our doctors, his only question was, "But, can I call"? It didn’t matter how ill he was. His only desire was to keep calling. It was truly the love of his life.

Phyllis SmithSPhyllis Smith:

I am the daughter of Lee Kopman. Square Dancing has literally been a part of my life from the time I was born. When I was growing up we often traveled as a family to square dance conventions where I met so many wonderful people. People always seemed to be mesmerized by me when I was in a square with them. They couldn’t believe they were dancing with Lee Kopman’s daughter! We truly were like the von Trapp family (referring to Sound of Music). My mom, Lilith, would design outfits for all of us with the same fabric. We were, and still are, such a special family. When I was little, my parents would take us to their weekly dances at the Rockville Center Recreation Hall where I would easily fall asleep on the chairs right next to the speakers, soothed by my dad’s voice.

I learned to dance at a young age, but didn’t take the same path as the rest of my family. My career in the broadcast TV/Radio and corporate media business spanned over 35 years. I had an exciting career that included Producer on the Today show in New York, CBS radio showhost, producer, movie critic and Reporter. I also wore many media hats at a company in Dallas, Texas called eWomenNetwork where my roles included producer/editor of marketing videos,
on-camera video coach and main stage producer for their annual conference.

Currently I am the Co-founder and CEO of Live Free Yoga, where we offer Yoga and other mindfilled programs for adolescents and adults who serve them. I am married to Don Smith, who was my cameraman on a Today show shoot 28 years ago. We are the proud parents of two wonderful children - Deanna, 27, who is a famous tattoo artist in Dallas and married to equally wonderful Colton James, and Collin, 25, who is getting his masters in counseling at the University of Houston Clear Lake.

RKleinNew2SRichard Klein (webmaster)

Richard and his wife Sandra (Sandy) learned to square dance in 1975 in the cafeteria of Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX where he worked as an electrical engineer for 40 years.  They actively danced up to the C-1 level until Sandy’s health made them stop dancing a couple of years ago.  Richard is also an active fixed wing aircraft flight instructor.  Until he retired from TI, he was a part owner of a V35B Beechcraft Bonanza he flew to square dance events in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado,  Kansas, Mississippi and North Carolina.  There are pictures on this website of N8169R preparing to fly Lee from Addison, TX to Paris, TX for the Texas Advanced and Challenge Convention.

Richard is the webmaster of http://www.acsquaredance.com, a website that grew out of a need that Ross Howell expressed at a dance in Dallas some 20 years ago.  Doing Lee’s website seemed to be a no-brainer, it was fun to develop.  Lee, Lillith, Don and Phyllis became good friends of Richard and Sandy.  Lee loved talking to us and was very interested in what we thought about things.  He even asked Richard what he thought about the presidential candidates during one of the presidential campaigns.  Richard told him and he nodded without a word after that ... they remained friends. Square dancing did come up occasionally ... no shock to anyone!  Richard was eager to develop this website to help foster new callers, a passion of Lee.

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