The Guide to IAGSDC Convention Chapter 30
Remembering people who aren't here anymore
There are Convention traditions intended to comfort those who have lost square dancing friends and family. The first is a "Memorial Quilt", which is transported from Convention to Convention. The second is a "Memorial Tip" in which people are encouraged to use square dancing to remember loved ones.
Memorial Quilt Panels: The IAGSDC maintains a set of memorial quilt panels, which are displayed at every Convention. This provides both a sense of community history, and a means for our community to honor family and friends who are no longer with us.
Freeman Stamper first envisioned the Memorial Panels in 1994, and the first panel appeared that year at the "Stars & Squares Forever" IAGSDC convention, held in Washington, DC. Two more panels joined the first, along with special display frames, over the following couple of years. Gene Boemer painted the panels, and George Fox designed and constructed the frames.
As you pass by the quilt, you may see groups of people from different clubs holding memorial services. During these services, they pin onto the quilt the name badges of those members who have died over the past year. (If a dancer's name badge isn’t available, sometimes a new badge will be crafted just to pin onto the quilt.)
If you hear someone referring to a "quilt" or "pinning" ceremony at Convention, this is probably what they're talking about.
In 2001, thanks to the efforts of Brian Smith and John Mckinstry, a database was created of every name on all three panels. Since then, a notebook is provided near the quilt, which contains a list of all of the names on the panels.
If you pin a badge to the quilt, please write down that person's information in the Quilt Database Notebook. The database book is our community's "backup copy" in case anything happens to any of the IAGSDC quilt panels.
Sometimes, additional memorials or exhibits will be placed adjacent to the Memorial Panels to commemorate the recent passing of specific dancers.
Memorial Tips: Usually scheduled during the final dance session of each Convention. Some years these appear on the schedule as "Final Tip". (Occasionally the Memorial Tip is danced during Opening Ceremonies.) This is a special tip called to allow us to mourn those whom our community has lost in the past year.
The Memorial Tip is generally danced at Mainstream level, and is usually one or two singing calls with music appropriate to the occasion.
It is absolutely OK for dancers, callers, and/or onlookers to weep or cry during and/or after Memorial Tips, and when visiting the Memorial Quilt Panels.
Note: Convention committees may schedule the Memorial Tip to take place at the beginning of the weekend, during opening ceremonies or just after the Grand March. It's a little different every year.