Volume 20 #5
The Scottish Country Dancer
March/April 2004

Articles in This Issue
    Our 19th Annual Dinner Dance Miscellanea
    Scottish Country Dancing Builds Social Capital Calendar of Events
    The Burn's Night Supper
Our 19th Annual Dinner Dance

"Tartan(ic) and Old Lace" seems an appropriate title for a dance evening wherein were explored so many Scottish dances from the 18th century. And like the mountains of a newly explored continent, some of the dances were gently rolling, while others proved very challenging. But we all made it back alive -- nay, even had a lot of fun during the jaunt.

The event this year was held at the Luepke Senior Center, and began with our traditional pot-luck dinner. The tables were decked with tartan table cloths, and beautiful centerpieces of heather, made by Valerie Moore (with special thanks to Sandy Bakker and Coventry Gardens Flowers for their help with the materials).

In addition to the main turkey course, there were many salads, casseroles, and other side dishes. When we have so many cooks, each bringing his or her own "soup", the result is always a wonderful collection of flavors and textures, and this year was no exception. And during dinner, we were soothed by Jennifer Pratt-Walter's Celtic harp.

The band The Scottish Rose, led by Theresa Webb, provided the dance music for the evening for both the family dancing and the main program. The dance floor was frequently occupied by from five to seven sets of dancers, who hailed from as near as Vancouver, Portland, and Kelso, and from as far away as Ashland, Boise, and England!

Many thanks to all for helping chairperson Linda Mae Dennis prepare this wonderful event.

The Scottish Rose

Scottish Country Dancing Builds Social Capital
by Tom Halpenny, Manager

I recently attended a lecture at Reed College on the subject of building Social Capital in America. The speaker, Robert Putnam, showed how the level of the American Society's social networks and connections has steadily declined for the past 40 years. For example, from 1975 to 1995, the number of yearly picnics we go on has declined from 5 to 2. Changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women's roles and other factors have contributed to the decline. You can read more about the subject at the web site: http://www.bettertogether.org.

Every measure of American social connections has declined. Some examples of activities with lower frequency are: fewer attend club meetings, fewer family dinners, fewer times having friends over, signing fewer petitions and voting less, belonging to fewer organizations that meet, knowing our neighbors less.

You have already done something to reverse the problem. You have joined the Vancouver-USA Scottish Country Dancers Association! We are building friendships within our dancing group. We serve the community by performing together, which strengthens social bonds. And dancing is good for your health!

The previous low point of Social Capital in the United States was around 1900. Rapid industrialization, immigration, technological change, and urbanization disrupted traditional patterns of community organization. These forces dislodged people from their structures, on the farm or in the old country that had anchored their lives, and thrust them into a state of personal uncertainty and social disorganization. The nation showed symptoms associated with declining Social Capital: crime waves, political corruption, urban decay, a widening income gap, and poorly functioning schools.

Alarmed by these trends, civic and social entrepreneurs around the country invented a new set of institutions to create community in ways that fit their new lives. They led others to connect with one another and to change a system that was no longer working. Many of the nation's most prominent voluntary organizations, most significant political reforms, and most visionary organizers were products of that time. Perhaps driven by similar forces in Scotland, the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society was founded during the same time period.

Within our association, we can invent new ways of connecting within our community. For instance, in order to help you meet your goal of attending more picnics, we will have a joint picnic with the Portland SCD group on June 27th 2004, at Lewisville Park!

The Burn's Night Supper

On January 31st, The Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers and the Fort Vancouver Pipe Band jointly sponsored a Burns Supper, in honor of Robert Burns, Scotland's most famous poet. The affair, held at the Moose Lodge in Vancouver, was a "sell out" attended by many members of the non-dancing public, as well as by dancers, pipers, friends, and the odd haggis connoisseur.

The haggis arrived on a tartan stretcher with great pomp, accompanied by a piper. Following Burns' Address to the Haggis (ably delivered by Sandy McKenzie), the assembly (or at least the curious) sampled the steamy "pudding".

Following the sumptuous chicken dinner, during which madrigals and musicians played and sang many of Burns' songs, was the Burns' memorial speech, from which we learned of Burns' impact on the thought of his day and age.

Then, Sandy MacKenzie gave the traditional Toast to the Lassies, truly a compliment to the wives and sweethearts present, given with genuine good humor and grace, "impromptu from the heart" (engaged as he is). This was followed by the Response to the Laddies, given by Susan Shaw, (see below), which borrows lines and phrases from Burns' own poetry.

And, then it was time to dance! The Vancouver Scottish Country Dancers performed one dance "to show how it was done", and then invited the public to give it a try. To their credit, many did, and enjoyed it! The Vancouver Dancers finished their performance with The Shepherd's Crook, and Whigmaleeries.

The Vancouver Pipe Band then capped the evening by entering and marching the length of the hall, filling the space with the sound of the drums and pipes. The audience grew very excited -- for many, this was the high point of their evening, what they had been waiting for.

This very successful evening was closed with the traditional circle round the room, singing Robert Burns' most recognized song, Auld Lang Syne. Hip hip, HOORAY! Til next year.

Response to the Laddies

presented by Susan Shaw

      On behalf of all the ladies,
      I cannot deny that all you have said is true.
      Our virtues (however numerous)
      And our vices (however few)
      Cannot compare to yours --
      And I'll leave that up to you.
      To all you laddies who wear the kilt
      We treasure and adore
      For ye know the joys of twirling
      As you dance around the floor.
      So compliments all around to men in highland dress
      Every one of you looks splendid and handsome!
      Now you begin to understand what women have always known,
      That ye must take care -- not to make your pleats a mess
      And also how you sit and stand and bow.
      Looking back at Scotland in the times of Robbie Burns,
      Those were, indeed, far less polished days,
      A time when rough rude men had naughty ways,
      Would swagger, swear, get drunk, kick up a riot --
      Nay, even thus invade a Lady's quiet.
      Now, thank our stars! Those Gothic times are fled;
      Now, well-bred men (and you are all well-bred)
      Most justly think (and we are much the gainers)
      Such conduct neither spirit, wit, nor manners.
      Today amid the world's turmoil, just let me mention
      The rights of woman have gotten some attention.
      And we thank you for that.
      So, ladies! Raise your glasses --
      To the men we've raised
      And the one's we've wed,
      A toast to the Laddies!
      ...enough said.


The oak tree's letter word duir means "door", and is related to the Old Goidelic dorus, the Latin word forus, and the Greek thura, all being derived from the Sanskrit dwr. In every tongue it is a word that implies that doors made of oak are the stoutest guardians against evil.

A Star is Born

from the Glasgow RSCDS Bulletin, issue 81:
Readers may be interested to learn that a previously unnamed star in the Gemini Constellation has now been officially named "Jackie Johnstone and John Drewry". This came about thanks to Colin and Betsy Maxwell from Eaglsfield, Lockerbie, who, as members of the Dumfries Branch, wished to "honor" Jackie Johnstone and John Drewry for having taught the Morland Scottish Country Dance Week for the past fifteen years. They discovered, through the internet website, "Star Foundation, California, USA", that you could name an unnamed star, which is known to exist, but has no name. As both Jackie and John are named, it is very appropriate that an unnamed star within the Gemini Constellation should have been chosen.

In order to celebrate the event, regular attendees Dulcie and Paul Bond devised a strathspey called "The Double Eighty", and Chris Stewart composed the music. Many congratulations to both Jackie and John.

All in the Family

The children of the head of a prominent Scottish-American family decided to give him a book of their family's history.

The genealogist that they hired was warned of one problem: Uncle Angus, the "black sheep" of the family, had gone to Sing Sing's electric chair for murder.

The genealogist promised to handle the situation with tact and diplomacy. "I'll just say that Uncle Angus occupied a chair of applied electronics at one of our nation's leading institutions. He was attached to his position with the strongest of ties. His death came as a true shock."


Calendar of Events

Mar 13: 25th Anniversary Workshop and Ball, Portland
Celebrating 25 years of dancing, friendships, and memories.

Teachers: Ruth Jappy, and Wes Clindinning. Music: Lisa Scott, Calumn MacKinnon, Leslie Hirsch

New location! St. Thomas More School & Church, 3523 SW Patton Road, Portland, OR 97221

For more information or registration forms, please contact Debbie McRobert at 503-620-3034 (email ), or Linda Gertz at 503-692-5963 (email ).

The Program:
  Jubilee Jig            Leaflet
  Shiftin' Bobbins       Ormskirk Bk 5
  Ceol na Mara           TAC Leaflet, Clindinning
  Teacher's Choice
  Waverly                Bk 15
  Machine Without Horses Bk 12
  Bridge of Nairn        Bk 13
  Bauldy Bains Fiddle    Lothian Coll., Dickson
  Teacher's Choice
  Rose of the North      Leeds Silver
  Petronella             Bk 1
  Postie's Jig           Ormskirk Memorial Ed.
  Peat Fire Flame        Bon Accord
  Silver Tassie          Leaflet
  Peloris Jack           Bk 41
  Montgomeries' Rant     Bk 10
Mar 26-28: 28th Annual Workshop and Ball
The Vancouver Island Scottish Country Dance Society invites you to their 28th annual workshop and ball weekend in Victoria, BC. Teachers: John Drewry from Scotland; Mary Murray from Vancouver, B.C.; and Fiona Carnie from Calgary, Alberta. Musicians: Ken Nattrass and Ron Krug from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
They are offering a wonderful weekend of dancing at two venues: Friday night Ceilidh at a new larger location - the Edelweiss Hall, and on Saturday, enjoy classes at multi-levels in the morning and choose from specialized areas in the afternoon.
The Saturday evening Dinner and Ball will be at the most popular Ward Room overlooking the wonderful harbor and straits, and the Sunday morning Social and Brunch across the road in the Chief and P.O.'s Mess with the same grand view.
For more information, registration dates, and fees, contact the registrar, Mike Hanna, at . Also, you can visit the webpage describing the ball at http://www.viscds.ca/springball.html.
Apr 6: National Tartan Day
Honoring the accomplishments and contributions of Scottish Americans, from signers of the Declaration of Independence to the first man on the moon!

For starters, check out: http://www.tartanday.org/
Apr 10: Portland SCD Dance Party
7:30 pm, Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
Apr 17: Vancouver USA Spring Dance Party
"Scottish Country Dance Around the World"
Brush off all those ethnic outfits you've been saving, and get ready to dance!
8-11 pm, Marshall Community Center, Oak/Elm Rooms, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA Live Music!

The cost for dancers is $7; public spectators are welcome (from whom a $1 donation is suggested).

The Program:
    St Andrews Fair       J 5/82 
    Argyll Strathspey     S Book 35
    Shiftin' Bobbins      R Ormskirk Book 6
    Mrs. Stewart's Jig    J Book 35
    Braes of Breadalbane  S Book 21
    Milton's Welcome      R Book 33
    Linton Ploughman      J Book 5
    Birks of Invermay     S Book 16
    Black Mountain Reel   R Foss		
    Todlen Hame               J Book 16
    Seann Truibhas Willichan  S Book 27
    De'il Amang the Tailors   R Book 14
For more information, call John at 360.576.5678, or Van at 360.699.2174.
May 7-9: The Pearl Holmberg Workshop for Teachers and Musicians
This workshop, their fifth, will be held at the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

"This workshop is aimed at Musicians who are already proficient on their instruments, who play for (or would like to play for) Scottish Country Dance; and to teachers certificated or not, who currently teach a class."

Instructors: Helen Frame (dance), and Barbara McOwen and Jennifer Wilson (music).

For more information, or to receive a registration packet, contact the Registrar at: . You can also download registration forms from their webpage, at http://www.rscdsvancouver.org/workshop.html
June 27: Vancouver USA SCD Summer Picnic
Lewisville State Park, near Battle Ground, Washington, in the "Oak" picnic area. More details as they emerge.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

  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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