Volume 22 #2
The Scottish Country Dancer
September/October 2005

Articles in This Issue
The Brief A Little Gaelic Grammar
Manager's Message Dancing in Scottish Castles Tour
A Unique Experience Calendar of Events
Summer School at Shawnigan Lake
The Brief

Just some things you might want to remember:

  • September 7th: the day Vancouver USA SCD Fall classes start -- both beginning and intermediate!
  • 696-8236: the phone number at Marshall Center to register for classes!
  • October 22nd: Vancouver USA SCD Fall Festival Dance -- check the calendar entry for details!
  • Keep checking the Calendar and Demos links on our website at www.VancouverUSA-SCD.org for info and updates about coming events!
Manager's Message
by Tom Halpenny

What do you do during the summer when there is no Scottish Country Dance class?

The special class on June 29 set the stage for the summer SCD events as we practiced many of the summer dances.

Even though many dancers had significant summer plans, we managed to assemble some good-sized dance groups.

Events included the July 7 Art Walk and after-dancing at Pizza Italiana, the July 9 Amboy Territorial Days, July 13 & 15 early-morning TV shows prior to the July 16 Portland Highland Games, August 13 Clark County Fair, and August 21 Uptown Village Festival.

Thank you for contributing to the camaraderie of summer dancing!

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner! as seen on the Halpenny's roof

I am looking forward to seeing you all again after the long summer break. September 7 begins the fall dance class session when we can catch up on everyone's activities. Some of the fall events we can look forward to are: September 11 Kelso Highlander Festival (first time for me), the October 1 Pomeroy Farm Pumpkin Festival, and the October 22 Fall Dance with the curious "MissBehavin" theme.

We will have more fun than a flock of wild turkeys!

A Unique Experience
by Marge van Nus
oooh la la

In July, Marge and Fred joined 29 other SC Dancers from the US and Canada to dance, eat and sleep in French Chateaux of the lower Loire Valley. Staff with us were Hanneke Cassel (current North American Fiddle Champ), Dave Wiesler (piano), Ken McFarland (organizor), and Dianna Freedman (interpretor and also a dancer).

In the first chateau (Chateau de Saint Loup; www.chateaudesaint-loup.com) where they claim Puss 'n Boots was written, Fred and Marge slept in the canopied bed of the Chambre de L'Eveque (Bishop's Room). With large paintings on the four walls, it felt like living in a museum!

In the second chateau (Chateau des Briottiers; www.briottiers.com) our room was in the "Orangerie"--an out building with no stairs to climb. We dined and danced in the main building.

Both these Chateaux provided a great "home base" for all the sight-seeing, visiting other Chateaux, Cathedrals, towns, villages, churches, museums, and markets. Marge has their story book of photos complete enough for viewing. Interested? We could have a Show and Tell party!!

Summer School at Shawnigan Lake
by Liza Halpenny
Hogwarts? Nah, Shawnigan Lake School

A verdant private school reminiscent of Hogwarts was the setting for this year's Scottish Country Dance summer school put on by the Teachers' Association of Canada. Normally the summer school takes place in Waterloo, Ontario, so several Vancouver USA dancers took advantage of its West Coast location on Vancouver Island this year. Shawnigan Lake School, a boarding school north of Victoria, B.C, hosted the weeklong event with generous attention.

Pirates' Night Out

Marge and Fred van Nus, Linda Mae Dennis, and Liza Halpenny attended from Vancouver, Washington. We slept in dormitories and ate at long trestle tables in the spacious dining hall. There were SCD classes of various levels every morning (with live music), an assortment of other types of dance or field trips offered in the afternoons, and social dances in the evenings. Muriel Johnstone and Keith Smith were the featured musicians for the week, and were they ever great!

The week was pleasant and exhausting. My favorite parts were making new friends from all over, someone else doing all the cooking, and (as a new teacher) having the opportunity to observe lots of other teaching styles. AND, since I was just a "civilian" and not a teacher candidate this year, there was no pressure -- just fun. Who says I'm too old for summer camp?

A Little Gaelic Grammar
by Martin MacKenzie

Gràmar nan Gaidheal:

Let's explore a little bit of what is known in linguistics as the "dative case" in Gàidhlig. In English, this would be demonstrated by phrases like "through the door" or "in the pot" or "with the boy." In English, there is no change in the noun and the article "the" never changes, either. However, in Gàidhlig both the article and the noun can change according to the beginning letter of the vowel and the gender of the noun. Remember that little fact of Gàidhlig: nouns have either a feminine or masculine gender? This is one of the many areas in which the gender of nouns plays a crucial rolé in Gàidhlig grammar.

Let's dive right in. If we are going to write or say something like "the boat" in English, we would write or say "am bàta," a masculine noun in Gàidhlig. For all you linquists in the dancing world, this is called a nominative case phrase or construction. "Am" in this case is what the definite article "the" would be in English. This is determined by the rule that any noun beginning with b, f, m, or p begins with "am" as the definite article. However, if we would write or say "the door", a masculine noun again, in Gàidhlig we would write or say "an dorus." Notice the Gàidhlig "the" changes to "an" because of the beginning consonant of the noun "dorus."

Now, if we want to write a dative case statement with a masculine noun such as "bàta", we would write or say: "anns a' bhàta", in the boat. Notice the Gàidhlig "the" changes from "am" to " a' " and the noun receives an "h" after its first consonant, which changes the sound of the noun to a definite "v" sound. For all you linquists out there, that process is called lenition, or softening.

However, just to mix it up a bit, if we were to write or say a dative case phrase with the noun "dorus", this would appear as "aig an dorus." Notice that the noun "dorus" does not lenite nor does the definite article "an" change! Like all languages, Gàidhlig has its irregularities. Most dative case phrases display the pattern of lenition as described above.

Uill, tha mi 'n dochas nach eil do chinn goirt! I hope that your heads are not sore! Chi mi sibh a-rithist a dh'aithghearr! I'll see y'all again soon!

Dancing in Scottish Castles Tour
by Susan Shaw

What would it be like to dance a Scottish dance in a Scottish castle? Imagine dancing "Ye'll Aye be Welcome Back Again", or any of the other dances from the Menzies manuscript (dated 1749), in Castle Menzies, where the manuscript was discovered!

Prompted partly by such romantic curiosity, John and I joined Ken McFarland's Dancing in Scottish Castles tour; and, in the company of about 30 other dancers and two musicians, we danced, walked, and toured our way across the width of Scotland, as well as a good bit of its height.

Edinburgh Castle

We were unprepared for the sights of original Edinburgh surrounding the castle. The sooty black gothic tower built in Sir Walter Scott's memory was hard on our eyes, but "new town" built at the end of the 18th century was charming. Modern shops crowd next to woolen mill outlets and Scottish items galore, including a full range of kilt attire. In August, cashmere scarves are on "SALE" throughout Scotland. Within walking distance of our hotel were several curved streets (called a "crescent") flanked by a row of tall townhouses. It turns out that the headquarters of RSCDS is in one of these crescents and a fun thing to do is to have your picture taken next to the large portrait of Miss Milligan.

Our tour took us south of Edinburgh across the Borders to Holy Isle on the east coast, then up through the Highlands and over to the Isle of Skye, which is part of the Inner Hebrides, and down to Ayrshire, the land of Robert Burns - all on the west coast. We were blessed with good weather and clear views the entire trip.

We learned that the first castles were built in the 12th century to protect against Viking invaders. In the 16th century, better and bigger castles were built on their ruins. Then, many castle-like mansions and large estates were built in the Victorian Medieval style in the early 1800s. We saw and/or danced in all three kinds of castles, as well as hotel ballrooms, to the music of Duncan Smith (piano) and Catherine Fraser (fiddle), the two fine Australian musicians who traveled with us.

One special memory was standing on the Brigadoon (bridge over the River Doon, in Ayr) and listening to fellow traveler Norm McCallum and John Shaw take turns reciting the Robert Burns' poem, Tam O'Shanter. It was on this bridge that the beautiful witch, Nanny (nicknamed Cutty Sark), was left holding the tail of Tam's horse as he sped across the bridge to escape her. (As we all know, a witch cannot cross a running stream.)

Scott's garden, with his home beyond

The ruins of the abbey, where Tam first spied the witches dancing "hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels," are just a short walk from the bridge, and in the graveyard there we saw the graves of Robert Burns' mother and father, who both outlived Robert by many years. It seems that all of Scotland loves Burns, and in Ayrshire he is everywhere. I loved the museum next to his birthplace cottage, which has an extensive collection of his original writings, including handwritten letters and tributes to friends written in perfect English as well as works in his native Scots tongue.

In the lowlands we visited the home built by Sir Walter Scott, the great historic fiction novelist, who loved to collect books as well as memorabilia from famous warriors and anything Scottish, including Rob Roy's sword and gun, Napoleon's journal and pen set, and full suits of armor from the 16th century. We all loved his walled flower garden, which was my favorite of all the gardens on the tour.

So, you get the idea that Scotland is a great place to visit, especially in August when the weather is the best, though the prices are the highest then - except for cashmere, of course.

When all the pictures are developed and sorted, we'd love to share.


Calendar of Events

Sep 7: Vancouver USA SCD Fall Classes Start
Marshall Community Center, Oak/Elm Rooms
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA, 7:45 - 9:15pm
Beginning and Intermediate classes in Scottish Country Dancing.
Sign up now!
See their catalog online at: www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/parks-recreation/catalog/index.htm
The classes are listed under "Adult Enrichment".
Sep 12: Portland RSCDS, First class of Fall session
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
Sep 18: Longview - Kelso SCD Classes Start
First and third Sunday evenings of the month, 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Longview Senior Center
1111 Commerce Avenue
Longview, Washington, USA
Sep 16-18: Flowers of Scotland, Fort Worden 2005
Musicians: Elke Baker (fiddle), Calum MacKinnon (fiddle), Muriel Johnstone (piano), Ralph Gordon (cello, base)
Teachers: John Middleton (Hamilton, ON), Marian Stroh (Reno, NV), Margaret Zadworny (Winnipeg, MB)
Classes: SCD classes, plus alternative classes in Old Time Sequence Dances, Medleys, and Step.
Watch for the Fort Worden application in April, or check their website for an online form: www.rscds-seattle.org
Oct 1,2: Pumpkin Festival
Pomeroy House Living History Farm
Sat. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sun. 1-5 p.m.
See their website: http://www.pomeroyfarm.org
Oct 8: Portland SCD Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
Oct 22: Vancouver USA SCD Fall Festival Dance
Marshall Community Center, Oak/Elm Rooms, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA, 8-11:00pm

The Program:
  Miss Bennet's Jig               (J) Book 20, No. 3
  Miss Jane Muirhead of Dunsmuir  (S) Dunsmuir Dances
  Miss Burn's Reel                (R) Book 20, No. 5
  Miss Mary Douglas     (J) Book 10, No. 11
  Miss Isabella McLeod  (S) Book 25, No. 7
  Miss Dumbreck         (R) Book 25, No. 11
  Miss Hadden's Reel    (J) Book 23, No. 5
  Miss Florence Adams   (S) Book 38, No. 7
  Miss Jarvis' Reel     (R) Leaflet
  Miss Allie Anderson         (J) Leaflet
  Miss Milligan's Strathspey  (S) Leaflet
  Miss Betty Boyle            (R) Graded Book, No. 17
Nov 12: Portland SCD Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
Live Music!

The only good thing to come from Edinburgh is the train back to Glasgow. (according to residents of Glasgow)

  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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