West Edmonton Promenaders says Thanks for the Memories!
Due to a variety of circumstances including the current pandemic situation, declining club membership in recent years, and other factors, the West Edmonton Promenaders (WEP) met on April 13, 2021 and elected to dissolve the club. It was a sad occasion, but necessary considering the ability to sustain the club.,
WEP was founded in 1987. It was the brainchild of Lu Bara and Joanne Kopchia who wanted to bring together a group of friends for something different and new. The club came to life thanks to the founding members who included Lu and Marvin Bara; Norma and Matti Halowski; Jan and Larry Plamondon; Joan and Mike Molden; Joanne and Tony Kopchia; Gina and Bruno Martinello; Wayne and Earline Cox; Ray and Louise St. Louis; Judy and Ken Kennedy; Doreen Williams; and Earl Murphy. They named the club the West Edmonton Promenaders and began dancing in the gym at St Martha’s School. The club eventually moved to the Westend Seniors Activity Centre, and finally to the Belmead Community League Hall.
Although most of the founding group had no experience with square dancing, they figured things out with the help of tremendous callers. The first caller couple was Norm and Lorretta Demeule from 1987 to 1989, followed by Henry and Helen Unrau in 1989, and then followed by Gary and Trish (Minns) Winter in 1998. Over the past years, WEP caller couples also included Murray and Barb Few, Lorne and Bernadette Anderson, and Alan and Carola Ellis.
A hallmark event of WEP was the annual 50’s Dance. The first WEP 50’s night was in March, 2002, and it continued for 18 years until March 2020. Everyone had fun dressing up in 50’s style and dancing to 50’s music. Hotdogs with orange and root beer floats were always on the menu.
WEP was proud to have contributed to our community as well as having a place for people to socialize and benefit from some fun exercise. WEP had an annual Food Bank Dance where food and monetary donations were collected, and the annual Toy Dance to benefit WIN House, the charity who has given women and children of all ages and cultures a safe place to flee from domestic violence for nearly five decades.
In the spirit of supporting our community, once WEP decided to dissolve the club and liquidate our assets, we voted to contribute remaining funds to both the Belmead Community League for their wonderful support of the community and other dance groups, as well as WIN House to continue their good work in providing safety, support, relief and resources for abuse victims.
We fondly remember the years of good times, and the many wonderful relationships that resulted from participation in the club. We are grateful for the talents and guidance of all the callers that have called for our club, including those that “subbed in” at various times over the years. WEP members look forward to continuing to dance with other clubs at CDCDA dances and wherever we find ourselves as we travel throughout the area and around the world!