Jeff is an accomplished caller who calls Party Nights through A-2 and has called for dances and clubs in Canada, the United States and Europe. He has had the privilege of and very much enjoys calling with some of the world’s greatest callers and to some of the best dancers. Jeff is well known for his outstanding singing voice and the enthusiasm he puts into his singing calls!
Jeff started calling at party nights in his parents’ (Lloyd & Vivian Priest) clubs at the age of nine! At fourteen he changed his focus more to music, although he still participated in party nights and camp weekend specials and called a weekly teen club, over the next 5 years played in several bands as lead singer and/or drummer. At nineteen Jeff returned his full attention to the square dance movement. He started his own clubs in 1977 and became a full time, travelling caller in 1983. Jeff called for many clubs and festivals travelling about 40 weekends each year, covering over 100,000kms, in addition to maintaining a full home program from Basics to A-2.
With a desire to spend more time with his wife and 4 growing sons, Jeff returned to the daily workforce in 1989. He worked for BASF in several managerial capacities until 2006.
In 2007 Jeff bought a Franchise and started his own business. His company ( EmbroidMe) serviced the needs of individuals, small business as well as major corporations. He provided company logo wear and promotional products. The location was on the Hwy 24 in the heart of Cambridge Ontario. Due to the economic downturn the Franchise suffered many losses in Canada and the US Jeff closed this business in March 2010.
Jeff finds himself going full circle and once again has become a full time travelling caller.
Jeff is the current club caller for Grand Squares – Elora, Royal City Squares – Guelph, Kamoka Kickers – London and runs two daytime clubs A-1 in Cambridge & A-2 in Brampton. In addition to being a teach partner for his wife, Andrea, in their club Jubilee Rounds – St. Jacobs,
Jeff joined Toronto and District Square and Round Dance Association ( T & D ) in 1977. Since that time he and Andrea, have served ten terms on the executive in various capacities including Presidents for 98-99 & 99-2000 dance seasons. Jeff and Andrea continue to serve as program Chaircouple on the T & D Convention Committee and have held that position since 1994. They also assumed the duties of Convention Business Managers in 2001 and continue to perform that function for the committee.
During the mid 80’s Jeff and Andrea were instrumental in organizing a dance-a-thon for the Jerry Lewis MD Telethon held on Labour Day weekend. This dance was part of the Telethon for five years and Jeff and Andrea worked on the committee and participated in the dance for all five years.
Jeff has appeared on staff of T & D’s Annual International Convention seven times and has volunteered as a support caller, for this event, since 1977.
Jeff and Andrea became members of the South Western Ontario Square and Round Dance Association (SWOSDA) in 1992 when they moved to Brantford. They are active members and volunteer to call/cue at the monthly dances as much as their schedule allows. Recently they have become directors on the executive and have assumed the responsibility of booking callers and preparing the schedule for the monthly dances. They also held the position of program Chaircouple for the 2008 Canadian National held in London, Ontario and hosted by SWOSDA.
Jeff has had the pleasure of presenting various clinics of interest to both associations over the years, on items such as; creative choreography, singing call presentation, sight calling & digital music, just to name a few. Jeff is a great supporter of new callers and has, over the years, worked “one on one” with several individuals who had a desire to learn how to call. He was the staff instructor for the T & D Caller clinic in August 2006. He is very willing to share his knowledge with others to help the activity grow. He has also worked on three Caller Schools in the New England area in the Summers of 2004, 2005 and 2006 under the guidance of, CALLERLAB accredited coaches, (The Late) Mike Jacobs and Randy Page. He has had the pleasure of working along side some of the activities best caller coaches such as Jim Mayo, Tim Marriner, John Marshall, Tom Miller, Betsy Gotta & Randy Dougherty just to name a few.
Jeff joined CALLERLAB, the International Association of Square Dance Callers, in 1981 and currently serves on the Mainstream, Plus and Advanced committees and is also the chair of the international callers committee. Jeff has been involved in two digital music presentations at both the 2005 & 2006 CALLERLAB conventions.
Jeff and Andrea have been very honoured to be Staff Escorts for Hays Travel Inc. Their European Trip in June 2005 was fabulous and all who went had a wonderful time. They have also enjoyed escorting two trips to Portugal in 2000 and 2003. . Hay’s know Square Dancers and how to spoil them!
The Priests reside in Brantford, Ontario.
Two of their four sons square dance (one, Mike, has even tried his hand at calling and took a T & D Callers Clinic in 1999 and hopes to get more involved in the calling aspect when he is done university.). The boys hope they will find the joy and friendships that their parents have found in square dancing – either calling or dancing.
Those who dance to Jeff regularly understand how much he loves his work and know that they will have an extremely enjoyable experience every time they dance to him!