Volume 20 #3
The Scottish Country Dancer
November/December 2003

Articles in This Issue
    Whirlwinds of Fall... Fort Worden 2003, A Successful Flight
    Piper of Ft. Vancouver Leads Ghost Stories While at Fort Worden...
    Vancouver Harvest Dance Calendar of Events
Whirlwinds of Fall...

These past two months have been very full, it seems. Shortly after the new class started at the Marshall Center in September, about a dozen dancers from the Vancouver area trekked up to the weekend workshop and Ball at Fort Worden, near Port Townsend, for a truly lovely weekend sharing breakfasts, dinners, dances, and walks. An article describing that event is reprinted here from the Puget Scot, followed by an entertaining "trip report" by one of the Vancouver attendees. And rounding out September, there was that wonderful concert by the Tannahill Weavers!

In mid-October, we prepared to take part in the annual Fort Vancouver Halloween "Ghost Stories" event, by developing and rehearsing a skit based on a ghostly Scottish tale. This was performed early in the very same evening as our Fall Dance!

And tying these activities together, much of the time between was filled with performances and demonstrations of dancing, by both the class and the performance team, at public libraries, air museums, historical farms, and meetings of civic organizations.

Doing anything special for the Holidays?

Piper of Ft. Vancouver Leads Ghost Stories
by Tom Halpenny
The 'villagers' enjoy some dancing

The Fort Vancouver Visitors Center greets visitors 364 days a year with historically accurate stories of life in the area. Fiction takes over for one night a year with "Ghost Stories"!

The Scottish Country Dancers participated for their first time as one of 14 performing groups that provided family entertainment to hundreds of people along Officers Row. Several food vendors satisfied appetites as patrons roamed the venues. The October 18 festivities began with a parade along Officers Row at 5:00 pm, past the reviewing stand at the roundabout, then on to the venues where performances continued for the next 4 hours. Like all of the previous years, the weather was perfect for this tenth year of Ghost Stories performances.

Dancers performed at the Gazebo, sharing the venue with the Ft. Vancouver Pipe Band. Pipers Annette Allen and Gail Gibbard played the starring roles in the skit titled "The Piper of Fort Vancouver".

The Piper could not be dissuaded!

Participating dancers, planners, costume designers, and family members were: Eunice Mackenzie, Susan Shaw, Sandy Mackenzie, Katherine Mackenzie, Katie Wells, Emily Wells, Alasdair Stuart, Duncan Stuart, Marge van Nus, Fred van Nus, Geri Stuart, Robert Stuart, Gayle Graham, Liza Halpenny, Tom Halpenny, Linda Mae Dennis, Martin Mackenzie, Colleen Wells, Vicki Adams, and Mary Stevens.

Geri Stuart wrote the script for the "Piper of Ft. Vancouver", adapted from "The Piper of the Cave of Kenavara". The Piper played such a stirring dance with audience participation at the Ft. Vancouver Gazebo that the dancers praised the piper profusely. The piper became so confident in her abilities that she decided to challenge the Little People themselves, who lived under a tree nearby. The dancers were shocked, and pleaded for the Piper not to go. It can be dangerous to challenge the Little Folk! But the piper could not be dissuaded, and marched with her black dog towards the home of the Little People. A door appeared and the Little People welcomed the piper and her dog inside. The dancers waited all night, and in the morning the door reappeared and out ran the howling dog who had turned white with fright. There was no trace of the piper. The Little People were so enchanted by the Piper's playing that they decided to keep her there forever. From that day forward, the soft sound of pipes could be heard as the piper's ghost wandered underground struggling to find the door out.

The troupe performed the skit every 15 minutes, and the show improved with each performance. Audiences enjoyed the dancing. Thanks to all who participated!

Vancouver Harvest Dance
The musical wind beneath our wings

It was quite an eclectic group of costumed farmers, Indians, socialites, fairies, and be-caped beasts -- though dancers all! -- which gathered for our Fall Harvest dance on the evening of Saturday, October 18. Though some of the dancers were initially delayed (having participated in Fort Vancouver's Ghost Stories event), there were from the beginning enough present for at least one complete set. And spurred on by the lively music of our musicians, Lisa Scott (piano) and Leslie Hirsch (fiddle), we made the most of it!

Jus' rode in on ol' Paint
The Fairy and a gentle Beast

The room and tables were festively decorated in a Harvest theme by Gail and Isaac Wilder, who were so organized that it required less than an hour for them and their helpers to complete the setup.

Many thanks to Isaac for chairing the Fall Dance committee; to the musicians, Lisa Scott and Leslie Hirsch, for an evening of rousing dance music; to Gail and Isaac for their coordinated dance decorations, to all the folks who helped in the setup and brought the delicious delicacies for the after-dance Tea; and to all our dance friends who came from all over the Vancouver/Kelso/Portland area to "harvest" the joys of dance!

Fort Worden 2003, A Successful Flight
by Peter Zarich, Committee Chairman

The annual Scottish workshop and dance weekend held at the Fort Worden State Park was a resounding success. An aeronautical decoration theme featuring kites and balloons to airplanes and spacecraft and devised by Judi McDougall, Tonna Kutner, and Elizabeth Miller set the backdrop to a weekend of wonderful music and dancing.

We welcomed back favorite musicians Muriel Johnstone and Calum MacKinnon and were introduced to a new fiddler, Laura Risk. The musicians played for the evening dances as well as for the classes.

The teachers, Ruth Jappy, and Bruce and Jo Hamilton, improved our Scottish Country dancing and taught fun alternatives such as English Country, Step, Quadrilles, and Shetland. The Friday evening dance included three dances honoring the teachers, each of whom has had a dance written for them.

While a majority of the participants were from Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver, BC, and places in between, it was fun to see contingents from Vancouver, WA; Reno, Nevada; and Santa Fe, NM, as well as representatives from Oregon, California, Alaska, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

The planning committee for the weekend consisted of Susan Brady, Registrar; Eileen Hsu, Teacher and Program Coordinator; Calum MacKinnon, Music Coordinator; Ross Morrison, Treasurer; Adeline Crinks, Edna MacKinnon, Judi McDougall, and Elizabeth Miller.

Next year will be the 30th Fort Worden weekend, which will be held on the 10th through the 12th of September, 2004. It should be an extra special occasion.

This article is from the November/December 2003 issue of the Puget Scot, the newsletter of the Seattle Branch, Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

While at Fort Worden...
by Tom Halpenny

Laura Risk was practicing the fiddle on her house's front porch as we arrived, as if to welcome dancers to the Fort Worden weekend on a beautiful September afternoon on the Olympic Peninsula. Laura joined pianist Muriel Johnstone and fiddler Calum MacKinnon at the Friday evening Ceilidh to kick off the weekend festivities. Bruce Hamilton, Jo Hamilton, and Ruth Jappy taught classes all day Saturday, followed by the evening ball with a "Take Flight" theme. The musicians kept the festivities going at the afterparty in their house until 2:30a.m. Everyone assembled for a final workshop Sunday morning to conclude the weekend. Chairman Peter Zarich and Mary Stevens provided a wonderful weekend for all.

At the Ball

Vancouver dancers who enjoyed the camaraderie that came with sharing a large house on Officers Row were: Marge and Fred van Nus, Liza and Tom Halpenny, Susan and John Shaw, Jen and Keith Swingruber, Raminta Soden, Linda Mae Dennis, and Martin MacKenzie. The group shared good food and company, and a friendly competition to access the house bathrooms. Dancers walked the ball dances on the spacious front porch, and a park ranger rescued Raminta and Linda Mae after they were locked out of their room. Linda Mae introduced the group to the hilarious Moose parlor game, in which players raised antlers to their heads. (Yes, that is the whole game.)

Other dancing friends from the 2002 Japan SCD trip who attended were Irene Paterson, Bill Paterson, and Dave Wilson. Bill Paterson boated from his home in nearby Friday Harbor, and transferred to a bicycle upon his arrival. He treated several of us to a tour of his spacious boat, with plastic owl and rubber snake mascots. While in Japan, Bill had introduced us to innovative methods to visualize dance briefings via blue and red poker chips. He knew a song for every occasion, and coined humorous phrases like, "Eat a ducky mess!" and "Don't touch my moustache!" to help remember similar sounding Japanese phrases.

We had met fiddler Laura Risk last July during the Portland Highland Games weekend, when she gave a concert and dance on Friday and conducted a fiddler workshop and competition the following day. Laura helped the Vancouver dancers portray a skit at the Fort Worden Ceilidh called "The Fiddler of Fort Worden", about an overly confident fiddler who decided to challenge the Little People. (Does this sound familiar?) Susan Shaw narrated the story, and other audience members were invited to participate in the dance within the skit, as well as to form a human wall and door for the fiddler to enter the cave of the Little People. The fiddler's agent, Liza Halpenny, accompanied her and returned alone and frightened. The fiddler was seen no more, as the Little People were so delighted that they decided to keep her with them forever.

At the conclusion of the weekend, the Shaws and Swingrubers continued their tour around the Olympic Peninsula, where they rested for a night at a lodge. Although there were fewer people present than at Fort Worden, they did find a willing participant to play the Moose game!


At an auction in Glasgow a wealthy American announced that he had lost his wallet containing 10,000 pounds, and would give a reward of 100 pounds to the person who found it. From the back of the hall a Scottish voice shouted, "I'll give 150!"

Calendar of Events

Nov 8: Portland RSCDS Dance Party
7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard. Live music provided by Scottish Rose. $8 for dancers.
The Program:
  The Frisky               BJ  RSCDS Bk 26 #10
  Moment of Truth          IS  RSCDS Bk 37 #2
  Galloway House           BR  RSCDS Graded #5
  Micmac Rotary            IJ  Drewry
  Sean Triubhas Willichan  BS  RSCDS Bk 27 #9
  The Australian Ladies    IR  Campbell
  Surprise Dance

  Old Spedling Castle's Ghost's Dance  IJ  Rae
  The Birks of Invermay                BS  RSCDS Book 16 #2
  Mairi's Wedding                      IR  Cosh
  The Wild Geese                       BJ  RSCDS Bk 24 #3
  Sarona                               IS  Drewry
  On the Quarter-Deck                  BR  Boyd
Dec 17: Vancouver USA SCD Class Christmas Ceilidh, last class of Fall term
A special class event, a Ceilidh (party) -- alternating dances with shared talents. At Marshall Community Center, Oak/Elm Rooms, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA. 7:45-9:15pm
Jan 7 - Apr 28, 2004: Fall term of Vancouver USA Dance Class
Marshall Community Center, Oak/Elm Rooms, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA, 7:45-9:15pm The cost will be $61 for residents of Vancouver City, $67 for those outside the city.
Feb 21 2004: Vancouver USA SCD Annual Dinner Dance
With many dances from the 1700's, our theme this year is "Tartanic and Old Lace!". Live music will be provided by Scottish Rose. More details as they emerge. But here's the Program:
  Cold and Raw              J  Bk V 12   (1718)
  The Braes of Breadalbane  S  Bk XXI 7  (1795)
  Sleepy Maggie             R  Bk XI 5   (c.1755-60)
  The Gentle Shepherd       J  Bk XVII 5 (??)
  Land O' Cakes             S  Bk XXIX 1 (1793)
  Red House                 R  Bk VII 2  (1731)
  Frog in the Middle        J  Bk MMMII 10 (??)
  The Sow's Tail            S  RSCDS 1965  (1748)
  West's Hornpipe           R  RSCDS 1965  (1797)
  Mrs. Stewarts Jig         J  Bk XXXV 1   (1986)
  Argyll Strathspey         S  Bk XXXV 3   (1985)
  The Cumbrae Reel          R  Bk XXVIII 8 (??)
  Old Nick's Lumber Room    J  Bk XXVI 6 (1759)
  Jimmy's Fancy             S  Bk XIV 11 (1751)
  Duke of Perth             R  Bk I 8    (1827)
  Do you have an item of Celtic interest you would like to see in print?  
  You can contact me in any of the following ways:  
  By mail:  
  John Shaw
  PO Box 2438
  Battle Ground, WA 98604
  By email:  
  The Scottish Country Dancer is a bi-monthly publication of the Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers, a non-profit educational organization. For changes of address, please contact John Shaw, PO Box 2438 Battle Ground, WA 98604, . The editor reserves the right to alter or edit any material submitted for publication for reasons of taste, style, or clarity. All materials for publication should be sent by email to the editor at the address above, preferably in straight text. Deadline is one week before the end of the month prior to publication date. Editors of other newsletters may use or adapt any materials in the Scottish Country Dancer unless a specific copyright notice is included. Please credit author and original source.
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