Scot W Byars
09 Jul 1959 - 10 Dec 2022
With a background of round dancing, ballroom, tap, jazz, modern dance and ballet, Scot especially enjoys using his excellent singing voice n show tunes and jazz numbers. A popular caller in the Northern California circuit, he was a headliner at the "Star Thu" Kickoff dance in August, 1985. Learning to dance at the tender age of eight, he began calling when he was 12 and later attended the calling school run by Bill Peters. Scot was one of the first callers in his area to introduce a true Advanced and Challenge program to his dancers. In addition to having been club caller to several Bay Area clubs, he has also directed square dance and clogging exhibition groups.
- on the IAGSDC convention calling staff at
- Scot's caller profile on ceder.net
Square dancers celebrate career of beloved caller
Calaveras Twirlers gather to celebrate the career of longtime caller, Scot Byars.
On Saturday, Feb. 26, more than 150 square dancers convened at San Andreas Town Hall to celebrate the career of retiring caller Scot Byars the best way they know how--by pulling on their boots and dancing.
Byars is nationally renowned for his beautiful singing voice, according to the Calaveras Twirlers, a local square-dancing club with whom Byars has called for many years. In his 50-year career, Byars has recorded for Crown Records and called at square dance festivals at the state and national level. His interest in the art began when he was just 11 years old.
"Calaveras Twirlers was the last club to reluctantly let Byars retire after his health had declined. The club felt it important to invite other dancers for final accolades. Out-of-state dancers came from North Carolina, Oklahoma, Nevada and Oregon," the Twirlers wrote in a press release. "California dancers came from local clubs, Turlock through Jackson, many from the Bay Area, and one from as far away as San Diego. Altogether 26 clubs had representatives present to wish Byars and his wife Erin well in a new phase of life."
Calaveras Twirlers dance on Tuesday evenings at San Andreas Town Hall with their new caller, Ed Kuidis.
"Square dancing has the advantages of being more fun than work as a form of exercise, costing very little, and engaging the mind more. In 1986, the year that Calaveras Twirlers formed as a club, Congress named square dancing as our official national dance," the club wrote. 
Scot William Byars was born at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, California to Charles and Laura Byars. Raised in one unit of an Albany four-plex built by his father, Scot was a handful from an early age.
He became a square dancer and caller because his mother needed inexpensive babysitting. When he was six, Laura discovered she could leave him every Friday evening at a pre-teen square dance club for only fifty cents. Soon, he performed with the Spotlighters exhibition team, learning to clog and round dance, then studied to be a square dance caller.
By the time he was 11 he was calling for one square dance club, then another. In high school, he used his classically-trained singing voice in a number of musical productions. Although Scot dreamed of singing and dancing on stage, his mother discouraged it as an unreliable source of income. This led Scot to study computer science and math which--along with dance, his personal rebellion against his mother’s disdain for show business--was his double major in college. He also took up martial arts and earned a brown belt in White Tiger kung fu.
Scot married his first wife, Linda, in the late 70s and had two beautiful daughters, Crystal and Teresa. He left college to work as lead computer programmer at a records management company while continuing to call square dances in the evening. During this time, he seized the opportunity to create some of the machine-level coding for the Apple Lisa, the predecessor to the Macintosh.
Scot and Linda eventually went their separate ways. At the California State Singles Square Dance Convention in 1985 in Roseville, California Scot met Erin Holloway and they soon became inseparable, later marrying in Mendocino, California on July 5, 1986.
After 12 years spent in Southern California, in 2000 a job offer from Northwestern Technical College gave Scot and Erin the opportunity to return to Sacramento, made sweeter by Scot’s being awarded Teacher of the Year during his first year.
Three years later, NTC moved their computer classes to evenings, which forced a choice upon Scot: teach or call? His answer was to begin calling full time. Chauffeured by Erin, Scot called at state conventions, regional festivals, premiere weekends, and square/round dance cruises. At his peak, Scot was calling for many clubs in and around the Sacramento Valley Area, including Sun City Dancers, Lincoln Hills; Diamond Dancers, Galt; Calaveras Twirlers, San Andreas; Grand Squares, Rio Vista; Main Street Strollers, Placerville; Vaca Valley Ramblers, Vacaville.
As much as he loved calling and teaching square dancing, Scot loved teaching and mentoring newer callers. One of Scot’s proudest achievements in square dancing--which took many years--was attaining the difficult certification of CALLERLAB Accredited Caller Coach. He was an enthusiastic and patient teacher at many caller schools, some of them his own, some run by other callers.
Scot was also an early pioneer of “Blast Classes”, where a given level of square dancing was taught over one or two weekends. Scot was one of the first straight callers to call and teach for IAGSDC clubs (including Capital City Squares, Sacramento; Tinseltown Squares, Hollywood; and Boots in Squares, Palm Springs) and fly-ins, and was a strong supporter of the Gay Callers Association, working to integrate the LGBTQ calling and dancing community into the larger square dance community to keep the activity strong and healthy.
Scot gladly accepted any opportunity to call for young people, whether it was coaching the exhibition group Goldrush ,which he shared with Erin, or introducing hundreds of third graders (over the course of five non-stop hours) to dancing at an AgVenture.
In early 2021, Scot suffered several strokes. His health declined rapidly after that. He passed very peacefully on December 10, 2022, with Erin holding his hand.
He is survived by his wife, Erin and her large, loving family; his daughter Crystal (Michael) Reude and their children Joseph, Caleb, and Mackensie; daughter Teresa (Mike) Spears and their children Christopher, Elizabeth and Jacob; brother Charles “Chuck” (Michelle) Byars, niece Angela Byars; niece Melissa (Patrick) Maloney, their children and grandchildren.
— North Sacramento Funeral Home
On Saturday, December 10, 2022 Scot Byars traveled home to be with the Lord. After several strokes early in 2021, his health declined rapidly and he has been in a skilled nursing facility since April of this year (where he was everyone's favorite). The amount of joy and love Scot shared from the stage was boundless -- he truly loved each and every dancer on the floor, and they loved him right back!
I have attempted to personally phone everyone with whom we had a special connection, however, please understand if I was unable to contact you.
There will be no traditional funeral service but, sometime in the next few months, there will be a celebration dance the likes of which has never been seen! Please watch for more information.
For the next few days I will be re-posting videos of Scot doing what he loved best. This first video was a dream -- to be the mystery caller for the Pacific Northwest Teen Square Dance Festival (PNTSDF) in 2013. Thank you, Bryan Clark, for making that a reality.
— Erin Byars, 12 Dec 2022
Scot was an amazing friend and mentor who (along with Erin) strongly encouraged me to stick with square dance calling, and to develop my own personal on-mic style.
My calling style was hugely influenced by Scot over several caller schools and one on one conversations, in which he stressed that entertaining the dancers was just as important as nailing the technical aspects of calling.
Scot once told me that his goal in calling was to have every dancer leave the hall smiling. He loved what he did, and it showed in his work, each and every time he called, taught, or coached.
It was hard not to say anything about this yesterday, but I wanted Erin to be the one to break the news. As his wife, it was clearly her place to do so. But it was on my mind all day, prompting me to buy my very first special hat in Scot's memory.
My best friend is gone. I can't really express how much my heart hurts with this knowledge. I've had friends die before, good ones. I can think of several from my high school graduating class whose passing I've mourned. But none like this.
Say 'hi' to Nate for me, buddy. One of these days...
We can all be glad Scot is no longer in any pain and now doing what he loves best for all the dancers who have preceded him. The whole of the dance community is mourning the loss of one of the best callers and dance leaders
Oh Erin, my sincere condolences to you. It makes even more special for me that I was able to visit with Scot a few months ago.
So bummed about this. I will never forget all the amazing times we had together. I will always treasure the times we all got to call together. The harmonies were amazing.
Scot and Erin Byars took me under their wing and help me grow as a caller. I will always have very fond memories of the times we spent together. They took a chance on a young, unknown kid from Montana and brought him to California to call his first festival. I met so many lifelong friends that week and will never forget what they both have done for me. Scot was one heck of an entertainer. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Erin and his family.
He was a great friend, colleague, and mentor. He will be missed by me and many others. He and I were made from the same stuff and I really enjoyed the time I spent with you guys on and off the stage.
OMG, I'm so sorry to hear that, Erin! I have wonderful memories of Scot from 1995 when he was the teacher and (unofficial?) club caller for Boots in Squares... while I was in the Mainstream class. He will certainly be missed. Condolences and much comfort to you at this time!
No doubt every day you had with Scot was a blessing. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Erin Byars, I'm so sad to hear about Scot. He was a good friend and always a joy to work with. You just never knew what was going to happen next. I'm honored that I got to work with him many of times over the years. He was a person who loved square dancing and enjoyed entertaining the dancers.
His passion for calling was more than words can say. He was very proud of you and your cueing and it showed.
I know heaven has gain another great caller and that celebration I can only imagine. I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Fly High My Friend
Such a deep loss ... Jon and I send our prayers and condolences
He could be QUITE the showman, combined with that humongous voice gave flare and delight to legions of dancers for decades.
Scot Byars is the reason I have called in the gay community for the last 35+ years. Western Star Dancers in San Francisco accepted me on Scot's recommendation and opened that door. He was also voted regularly into the Top Ten Callers in the No. CA area by the dancers there. Yes - he was KNOWN.
Such sad news.
So many remarkable memories over the years. Thank you for sharing this.
Erin I am so sorry , Scot was a real joy.
I'm so sorry to hear of Scot's passing. I hadn't known about his recent health issues. I'm honored to have had a chance to work with him and he will be truly missed.
He was a very special caller, always fun to have at an event -- and I am glad I had the chance to share some of the crazy things he did at events in this area through various videos.
— Joe Dehn
Erin I am so very sorry to hear about Scot. He was truly an amazing man and Entertainer. My heart in so broken. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
I'm so sorry for your loss, Erin. Scot was a huge presence in our activity. He was fun, quirky and just an all-around great caller. He will be missed.
So very sorry to hear the news! You are in my thoughts Erin! I so enjoyed the times I had with Scot!! RIP..
Erin - alas, Scot is gone and Scot is still with us. Back in 2004, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, Scot was calling at the Family Fun Festival. My wife, Lisbet, our two youngest and I came over from Denmark, Europe, to see what this square dance thing was all about. We were not allowed just to watch, so Scot took us thru the first 26 calls in a workshop and declared us ready to participate in the evening dance. We did, and the world was never the same! A few days later, staying with Eva and Hubby, we went to the Adobe Squares' first dance evening - Scot again calling. We were hooked and have been ever after, sharing the joy of friendship, dance, exercise for brain and body with dancers from all over the Globe.
Our lives are split into two: Before and after the spell cast by Scot and the fellows from Adobe Squares, you included. We still have our Adobe badges and wear them proudly.
Scot may have returned home, but he certainly set his mark on a lot of us!
Love Lisbet and Per
— Per Hertz, Denmark
Scot was a very special person to me. He was the first to hand me a microphone ad let me try calling. Scot mentored me in my first years, and I will always appreciate the insight he gave me when I was starting out. He was a GREAT singer and it was always fun singing with him! We shared a lot of personal family experiences in our youth; Scot was an usher in my wedding 41 years ago. I will miss his smile, sense of fun, and joviality. RIP my friend.
Scot made square dancing fun for everyone. At the Golden State Roundups, he did his trademark Hour of Madness, complete with rubber chickens and silly hats, in addition to his excellent calling.
I learned from Scot starting in 2001 out in Natomas (area of Sacramento). He was a true dedicated, loving caller and whenever I made a mistake, he always made sure to apologize for me due to learning from him!!
Thanks for letting us know. I remember dancing to Scot.
Thanks for the news about Scot. The square dance world lost a great caller
I was lucky enough to get one of the phone calls from Erin. I have known Scot for over 50 years. I first learned to dance when Scot was first learning to call.
Scot as the mystery caller for the Pacific Northwest Teen Festival
New York, New York
Cobacabana at WASCA 2015
The More I See You / Hallelujah
Erin and Scot round dancing with a little history of them both before the dance starts
- ↑ IAGSDC Convention Program (San Francisco) , 1986
- ↑ Calavaras Enterprise (San Andreas, CA) Thu 3 Mar, 2022