Club 54 fonds. — 1957-1991. — 3 cm of textual records.
Club 54 was a social dance club organized in 1954, with the number 54 being used in their name and as an initial limit for their membership of 54 couples. The prime objective of the club was “for all members to enjoy the dances and mix.” Only married couples could join, and the fee was $10 per couple. New members had to be from Grande Prairie and had to be sponsored by a current member to be placed on a list and received into the club as places became available. Guests from out of town were welcome but the host or hostess was to let the dance committee know in advance.
Each dance was convened by two or more couples sharing responsibilities such as getting liquor permits, checking with caterers and ordering a menu, arranging a program of music and entertainment, and phoning the other members. The club planned eight Saturday night dances in the season and dress was to be formal or semi-formal. An executive was elected each spring, one of the first consisting of president J.C Mackie, vice-president M. Lewis, secretary N. Dawson, and treasurer G. Kerr.
During the 1960s, the dances were held in the York Hotel banquet room and later the Park Hotel. Sometimes they booked local orchestras, such as the “Versatiles”, “Brian Summers”, or the “Bachelors” for the entire season. Membership fluctuated between 32 and 50 and membership fees hovered around $50 per couple. As membership began to decline, members were asked to confirm by September 15 or risk losing their place to newcomers. In November 1966, the need to increase membership seemed to be a concern and a free drink was offered to those arriving before 9:00 p.m., with supper time of 12:30 a.m. still preferred. By the end of the decade the club was actively encouraging sponsorships to reach the membership goal.
For most of the 1970s, the club met in the downstairs ballroom of the Golden Star. Music was supplied by the “Authentics”, “The Swinging Doors”, or the “Prairie Rebels”. At the beginning of the decade the membership was limited to 40 couples. Membership fees fluctuated between $30 and $65 as the club struggled to balance attracting new members and covering the increasing costs. This was when they added a spring or fall BBQ to the yearly round.
The bands of the 80s were still the “Rebels” and the “Swinging Doors”, but there were many new bands: “Larry Kons”, “The Galka Sisters”, “Sugar and Spice”, “Linda Brown”, “Foggy Mountain”, “Five Guys named Moe”, “Prairie Pride”, and “Shady Junction”. The club celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 1984, but was still struggling to cover costs. They increased fees, held a raffle, raised membership levels, advertised in the local paper, and offered a “Snowbird Special” for couples who went south in the winter. By the 1988-89 season the membership was down to 35 couples, so they began to alternate live bands with disc jockeys such as Diamond Mobile Music and Ken Connors. According to a vote taken at the January 1989 dance, the majority of the members wanted to see the dances continue even if they had to use disc jockeys instead of live bands and had to pay an extra $25 per couple for the April and May dances.
By 1990, membership dues had increased to $160 percouple and $20 for each guest. The club had eight dances planned for the 1990-1991 season, but when only eight couples attended the September dance, the decision was made to announce the “Last Dance” for October 27, 1990. They closed out their bank account in February 1991, and donated the remaining funds to the United Way.
The records were preserved by Cliff and Lavern Stangland and donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by Herb and Anita Janzen in 2010.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of the minutes of Club 54 general and executive meetings, annual membership lists, correspondence and circular communications detailing where the dances will be held, the conveners in charge, which bands will be playing, menus for the evening, and other details. There are also occasional records of those in attendance, and one financial ledger dating from 1980-1991.
also includes 1 – 5″ floppy disc – contents unknown.