It’s all about the dancing.
That’s why former Glen Burnie Teen Center member Charles Kreider said the annual reunion is so important to the adults who once frequented the Glen Burnie Armory as teens from 1956 to 1965.
For the 17th time, members of the teen center met up to listen to the music they know and love. And to dance.
“We do it so we have a venue to dance,” said Kreider, who has worked to put together the reunions for the past few years. “It seems like [venues that play music from the '50s and '60s] are getting further away. It used to be that in the city you would have 10 or 15 places to go. Now most places play music for the younger folks. I guess we don’t drink enough and dance too much.”
But the teen center meant more to the members who paid 25 cents each week to hear the jukebox tunes and dance all night.
“It wasn’t just a dance. It was something more important to us. Some people would walk from Marley,” Kreider said. “It was important. We looked forward to it.”
And that’s evidenced by the turnout that they get each year. Barbara Moeller, who was a member of the teen center and began organizing the reunions in the ‘80s, said about 750 people attended that first party.
“We had so much success with that one that we had another one [later the same year],” she said.
Many teen centers in the area were an offshoot of WJZ-TV’s “Buddy Deane Show,” Kreider said. The Baltimore-based show, which was similar to “American Bandstand,” ran from 1957-1964 and was the basis for the John Waters cult-classic, “Hairspray.”
“A lot of us would dance on the Buddy Deane Show when we could after school,” Kreider said.
Pasadena resident Rich Covert, a regular dancer on the Buddy Deane Show, said he lived in Baltimore at the time and would catch a ride to Glen Burnie so he could go to the teen center parties.
“Teenagers at that time just wanted to dance. And the Glen Burnie Armory just afforded them the opportunity to do it,” he said.
Plus there was the social aspect, Tommy Healey of Glen Burnie said.
“A bunch of guys from Riviera Beach would go every Friday and hang with the Glen Burnie crowd,” Healey said. “Plus it was a good place to meet girls. And dance.”