Do-Si-Do Club of Watertown
Watertown Daily Times, 06 26 1954
Square Dancers United to Form Do-Si-Do Club in City
In the spring of 1950, five Watertown couples discovered that when each arrived at a square dance somewhere around the vicinity the others were also there. This led to friendship and plans to go to these dances together. One thing led to another, until Mrs. Ted Koerner, Jr. and Vic Fiegel decided it was high time Watertown had a club of its own.
Met in Basement
In May, the Ted Koerners, Les Kaerchers, Bill Dauers and Vic Fiegels started meeting in the Fiegel's basement, usually on the night square dancing was on TV. They bought the few records available in town and went to work - and work it was, with completely unfamiliar calls every few seconds until the familiar “Promenade your Partner”. Slowing down the records and finding an occasional dance duplicated on TV the group really got goin’.” Another couple added to the group was the Art Killians.
It was later decided that going to a Milwaukee dance would help the learning process. They attended a dance of ‘Doc’ New land’s (who is one of the present callers) and immediately found out how much they did not know - quote Helen Fiegel, “Were we green!” At any rate this dancing with “Doc” spoiled the other dancing and it was decided there just had to be something better for Watertown and more couples had to get the swing and have the fun of good square dancing. The next few months were spent contacting couples who might be interested, trying to locate a hall, and trying to find a Milwaukee caller who would come to Watertown and start from the bottom with a group who had only enthusiasm as an asset.
Obtained Elks Hall
Sept. 10, 1950 was finally selected as the date and 100 couples had said yes they’d come. Vic Fiegel, ruler in hand, spent two weeks measuring halls in town and finally obtained the Elk’s Hall. The next few days were spent alternately worrying about not having anyone show up and the original five footing the bill for everything - or on the other hand, being mobbed and not having enough room for the crowd.
The dance was a huge success and 44 couples signed up to belong to the club which Alice Dauer and Edna Kaercher dubbed the Do Ci Do Club when they were sending out the first postal cards to announce the dances. The name was later changed to the Do-Si-Do Club of Watertown, as the Si spelling is the one most commonly used by square dance publications.
At first, the club was more or less allowed to run itself by general opinion of what needed doing but it finally seemed necessary to get down to something more businesslike. Vic Fiegel was elected president and Bill Dauer, treasurer, for a series of five dances. However at the end of those five there was enough in the treasury - so a sixth dance was added to the series. Then a new group of volunteers took over the official duties.
Thus the club was run until the spring of 1951. It was decided to become a member of the SDAW (Square Dance Association of Wisconsin). This necessitated a set of by-laws and a complete set of officers. First officers of the club were: Ted Koerner Jr., president; William Frish, vice-president; James Wilson, secretary, and Ray Kaercher, treasurer. All officers are elected as couples instead of as individuals. Meetings during the winter months are held on the second and fourth Sundays in Moose Hall. During the summer the group meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays in Riverside Park.
As members of the SDAW our first state-wide Jamboree was held in June of 1953 at Turner Hall with a capacity crowd from every part of the state. At that time the club numbered only 18 member couples but earned the enviable reputation of having the SDAW ask when the club would again play host to the state group. This dance was set up for July 2 of this year but cancelled by Do-SiDo in deference to the centennial plans. Do-Si-Do members are taking an active part in the Centennial: Sister-of-the-Swish Chapter, street demonstration, centurama, old time and square dance at Turner Hall, and Squaring ‘Em Up for the Cavalcade. Also a TV show for one hour over the Madison Station June 19.
From its small beginning in the spring of 1950, has come this thriving club of 1954. May it survive and grow through the next century as Watertown itself has done in the last. Hats off to Watertown; may our children and grandchildren see its second hundred years - the first 100 are the hardest.
Officers and Members
The present officers and members of the Do-Si-Do Club are: President, Marion and Barbara Elliott; vice-president, Joe and Maxine Rhodes; secretary, Harold and Ann Smith; treasurer, Fred and Audamae Bucheger; historian, James and Esther Wilson.
Do-Si-Do becomes the "Octagon Squares."
10 01 1954
The square dance club of Watertown, formerly known as the Do-Si-Do, has changed its name to the "Octagon Squares." A spokesman for the club explained that there is a great deal of inter-city activity in square dancing with clubs attending the dances of neighboring cities and with all of them gathering together monthly at the State Square Dance Association jamborees. The association already has other clubs named Do-Si-Do, so local members wished, to avoid confusion, to have their club identified by something different and uniquely "Watertown" in nature.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin