Volume 22 #5
The Scottish Country Dancer
March/April 2006

Articles in This Issue
Something Old, Something New, Something Fun Scottish Country Dance Comes to Hewlett Packard
Day of Dance for Heart Health Calendar of Events
The World of Gaelic
Something Old, Something New, Something Fun
by Liza Halpenny

The following is an email sent by Don Morrison to the people involved with our 2006 dinner dance:

"Thank you all who contributed to and attended our 21st Annual Dinner-Dance and made it a memorable event. Special recognition goes to M.C. Robert (Dancing with the Stars) Stuart; Valerie Moore for the striking table decorations depicting our theme "Something Old, Something New"; Susan Shaw, Registrar, keeping records and welcoming dancers; Linda Mae Dennis, who made the distinctive name tags; our musicians, Lisa Scott and Leslie Hirsch who ably performed a long and difficult program; Piper Annette Allen and the Demo Team, who presented a lively introduction to the evening; our dance Briefers: John Shaw, Liza Halpenny, Geri Stuart, Linda Mae, and Marge van Nus; and lastly, but not least, Marie Morrison, for the attractive flower arrangements."

Once again we have blessed ourselves with a thoroughly enjoyable dinner dance. Sincere thanks are due to Don Morrison, dance chairman extraordinaire, who spent many hours tending to all the details of the evening, making sure things were not forgotten and everyone was on task. His wife, Marie, filled the hall with beautiful flower arrangements on elegant tablecloths.

Gustatory pleasure was followed by a high-speed reprisal of the Performance Team dance "The Gaelic College Pipe Band's Welcome Home, " accompanied by piper Annette Allen and drummers Linda Mae Dennis and Patrick Hogan. After a few warm-up dances (prepared by Liza for public audience participation, of which there was none), we started our formal evening program with a Grand March directed by Don. An evening of rousing music and lively dancing followed, leaving us all happily exhausted.

Out-of-town guests from as far away as Ashland and Seattle joined us for our celebration. A thank you card from Kay and Ross Morrison of Bellevue, WA, noted, "The Dinner Dance was fun. Great food and it didn't seem to matter that we didn't know all the dances. People were very friendly and helpful. We intend to spread the word." I think this speaks volumes about who Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers is as a group. We are welcoming and supportive, here to have a good time and help others enjoy themselves, not to be daunting and demanding with dance participants. I know our walk-throughs help me feel more relaxed!

So, I'll add my thanks to Don's. Everyone worked really hard and created an excellent experience. Yay us!

Day of Dance for Heart Health
by Tom Halpenny

Vancouver-USA Scottish Country Dancers introduced the public to SCD at the "Day of Dance for Heart Health" on Saturday, February 25th in the Heathman Lodge ballroom. This was part of a year-long celebration that promotes dance as a way to enjoy life and prevent heart disease, the number one killer of American women. Women are encouraged to dance their way to heart health. The Saturday celebration was one of 31 events across the country and the only one on the west coast.

The Southwest Washington Medical Center sponsored the event and provided free health screening tests. The health presenter observed that we are psychologically more likely to do "physical activity" than we are to "exercise".

Marge and Fred van Nus prepared an elaborate display to discuss the health benefits of Scottish Country Dance. The display featured a longwise set of miniature dolls with happy disposition!

Participating dance groups represented Ballroom, Jazz, Irish, and Scottish Country Dance. Fred observed that unlike some of the other dance forms, Scottish Country Dance is a dance activity you can do all your life.

Twenty dancers and numerous observers enjoyed the audience participation dances led by dance teachers Geri Stuart, Liza Halpenny, and John Shaw. The teachers were joined by dancers Linda Mae Dennis, Susan Shaw, Martin MacKenzie, Fred van Nus, and Tom Halpenny to dance Machine Without Horses, Jessie's Hornpipe, and Round Reel of Eight, with a briefing.

Dancer Martha Marsh and fiddler Ellen Hansen also joined in the celebration. We met former dancers Linda Gilbert and Lanette who came away interested in resuming their former SCD fun.

You can visit http://dayofdance.org for more information.

The World of Gaelic
by Martin MacKenzie

Instead of sharing my own experiences with GÓidhlig, I thought it would be interesting this month to give y'all information as to where you might read and hear it for yourselves on the Internet!

One of my first contacts with the GÓidhlig world online was through the website of Donald MacDonald, my GÓidhlig teacher. The link is located at http://www3.sympatico.ca/donaldmacdonald/. You will find recorded songs, poems with English translations, links to other GÓidhlig sites, historical information, and a challenge to learn GÓidhlig yourself.

If you want to find a word in GÓidhlig for your own interest, go to this link, http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/faclair/sbg/lorg.php, and type in an English word in the search field and click the Lorg (search) button. This assumes a bit of basic understanding on your part but the interested among you will find plenty to entice you.

The newly created Scottish Parliament has a GÓidhlig-English dictionary of terms that might appear in legislation or other documents in Scotland's Parliament. The link for that can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/dictionary/_bin/. Yes, some of the business of the Scottish Parliament is conducted in GÓidhlig, and some of the members of parliament from the Highlands or Islands were sworn in in GÓidhlig!

Now, on the BBC's web portal, there is a fair amount of support for the world of GÓidhlig in Scotland. The main link for the GÓidhlig portion of the site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/alba/. Click the section labeled ╚ist a-rithist (Listen again) and you will find a list of links for various programs that have appeared on Radio nan Gaidheal (Radio of the Gael or the Gaelic people.) You will need to have Real Player loaded on your computer and sound capability but it is even possible to listen to these programs with a dial-up connection, although patience might be required.

If you click on A' mire ri M˛r you will hear the announcer give little bits of news of the area such as weather and announcements of local entertainment and more traditional GÓidhlig songs such as orain luaidh (waulking songs) and the like. If you listen long enough you will often hear some country dance tunes that you might be familiar with! Na D¨rachdan is similar with more GÓidhlig news of local people in the Highlands and Islands, such as birthdays, anniversaries, people in the hospital, as well as other local events. Explore the other links as interest takes you!

These resources will give you a little blas or taste of the living world of GÓidhlig today.

Scottish Country Dance Comes to Hewlett Packard
by Tom Halpenny

I have been promoting Scottish Country Dance for years at my Hewlett Packard workplace. A small number of HP employees have visited the Wednesday evening SCD class to try it out. Among the key qualities of SCD, one would expect the mathematical quality to appeal to the technically proficient HP population.

About a year ago, HP co-employee John Shaw, Liza Halpenny, and I began to discuss things we could do to introduce SCD to more HP employees. Thanks to Liza's and John's work to become trained SCD instructors, the potential existed for us to bring Scottish Country Dance to the HP site.

We have implemented three initiatives for HP during the past year: department team-building activity, diversity events, and the HP Scottish Country Dance employee club.

Liza led a team-building activity for my department of 25 engineers on June 2nd. Since the participants were almost all men, Liza selected dances with gender-neutral figures. To back up a bit, Liza had led a similar activity for my previous department in December 2003 as part of a holiday potluck lunch and gift exchange. We discovered that many people were hesitant to try SCD. Some were so agitated by the thought of trying SCD that they came for the meal, excused themselves for the dancing, and returned for the gift exchange! Of the two-thirds who remained, about half participated and half observed. Everyone who participated had a positive experience. This time around, the department manager arranged to keep the activity a secret. We timed Liza's arrival with the event so nobody had a chance to think about it. The result was that everyone who came to the meeting participated, and almost everyone enjoyed the activity.

Another digression ... Last year I did some research that included interviewing HP employees about trying Scottish Country Dancing, to learn why most people (including myself) are afraid to try new things of any kind. 1, We feel awkward (fear of failure), and 2, We are afraid of being embarrassed by others (fear of social rejection). We consequently limit ourselves from experiencing what life has to offer. It's better to reserve judgment until we have tried out a new skill, activity, or idea; and we usually like what we have tried. We can intentionally get out of our comfort zone to experience the risk of failing and be less concerned about what others think about us. Trying new things enhances our creativity and generates more new ideas. It's good for business. HP leaders/managers are ideally the role models. I wrote about this in my "farewell message to HP" when I retired in October. VJ, the top printer manager, replied that he liked the comments about trying new things.

I approached the HP diversity team with these findings and requested some support for an event to introduce Scottish Country Dancing to HP in the spirit of "Trying New Things". At the November 18th "Heritage Day" diversity event, Liza and John introduced 35 HP employees to four dances while many more employees observed. Everyone who tried it enjoyed the experience. I was pleased to see that several role-model managers/leaders were willing to try this fun team dance in which we walked geometric patterns in time with the music.

On January 19th, we launched the new HP Scottish Country Dance employee club. Open to HP employees and retirees, and their spouses, Liza and John are co-teaching SCD to interested participants in weekly noon meetings in a large conference room on the HP site. This will be an interesting experiment to measure our ability to increase interest in Scottish Country Dance among HP employees. So far we have attracted enough members for a 4-couple set. John is the club manager and Lissa Pfandler, who attended the Wednesday SCD class a few years ago, is the club secretary.

Many thanks to Liza and John for contributing their time to provide this generous gift to Hewlett Packard employees. Stay tuned for a future progress report.

[Editor's note: Tom deserves much of the credit for persevering in the establishment of the employee club, which required almost a year of patient negotiations, prior to his retirement.]

Update ... The HP SCD club met for 36 weeks in 2006 before disbanding. The club celebrated its 30th meeting with a report to the HP site council managers and 20 dancers who tried SCD at least once. Three of these dancers attended regularly along with us three sponsors. The report states that we led two Diversity events with a taste of SCD for 30 and 85 employees, for a total of 135 people or 7 percent of the 1800 HP site employees.


Calendar of Events

Mar 11: Portland Branch Annual Workshop and Ball
The Ball starts at 7:30 PM and is at the Masonic Friendship Center, 5626 NE Alameda St, Portland OR.

Guest Teachers: Maureen Lyon, Surrey BC Sara Harriman, Austn TX

Musicians: Linda Danielson, Lisa Scott, Kevin McCornack

The Program:
    Grand March
    The Machine Without Horses   BIJ   RSCDS Bk 12 #12
    J.B. Milne                   IR    Foss/Angus Fitchet SD Album
    The Enchanted Garden         BIS   Boyd/World Around the Corner
    The White Heather Jig        IJ    Cosh/Twenty-two SCD
    Teacher's Choice             BIR
    Petronella                   BIR   RSCDS Bk 1 #1
    Asilomar Romantic            IS    Cuthbertson/San Francisco Coll, Vol 2
    Teacher's Choice             BIJ
    O My America                 IR    Barnes/Clipper Ships and Other Dances
    Sugar Candie                 BIS   RSCDS Bk 26 #9
    Tribute to the Borders       IJ    RSCDS Leaflet
    Postie's Jig                 BJ    Clowes/Ormskirk Memorial Edition
    Miss Gibson's Strathspey     IS    RSCDS Leaflet
    On the Quarterdeck           BR    Boyd/The Harbour City
    The Saltire Strathspey       IS    RSCDS Bk 45 #4
    The Reel of the Royal Scots  BIR   RSCDS Leaflet
    Auld Lang Syne
Mar 24-26: 30th Annual Workshop and Ball Weekend - VISCDS
Victoria, BC, Canada.
MUSIC BY Muriel Johnstone (Courtenay, BC) & Keith Smith (Cambridge, England)
GUEST TEACHERS Gary Thomas (San Francisco), David Queen (UK) & Mary Murray (Vancouver)
Further information available from:
Registrar: Rosemary Balfour email:
Ball Coordinator: Janet Rice email:
For registration forms, see their website: www.viscds.ca/springball.html.
Apr 8: Portland Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

The Program:
Mrs. Stewart's Jig         BJ   RSCDS Bk 35
Indian River Strathspey    IS   Senyk - Leaflet
The Falls of Rogie         BR   Alexander Dances, Bk 1
Tribute to the Borders     IJ   Goldring - Leaflet
Enchanted Garden           BS   World Around the Corner
The Piper and the Penguin  IR   Scotia Suite of SCDances

The St. Nicholas Boat      IJ   Drewry
Miss Gibson's Strathspey   BS   Haynes - Leaflet
JB Milne                   IR   Foss
Gloria's Wee Jig           BJ   The Devil's Quandary
The Robertson Rant         IS   RSCDS Bk 39
Flowers of Edinburgh       BR   Rscds Bk 1
May 5-7: Pearl Holmberg Workshop
The RSCDS Vancouver (Canada) Branch presents The Sixth Pearl Holmberg Workshop for Teachers and Musicians -- master classes planned especially for Scottish Country Dance Teachers and Musicians

Dance: Ann Dix, Berkshire, U.K.
Teachers' Class Pianist: Kristi Lind-Ezat, British Columbia, Canada

Music: Elke Baker (Fiddler), Maryland, USA; Liz Donaldson, Maryland, USA (Pianist/Accordionist)

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

Previous attendees will automatically receive a registration package early in 2006. If you are not yet on their mailing list, contact Wendy Swaine at
May 6: Vancouver Spring Dance
Marshall Community Center,
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA, 8-11:00pm
More details as they emerge.
May 13: Portland Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

July 15: Portland Highland Games
More details to follow.
Aug 6-13: TAC Summer School
Did you know? TAC Summer School is open to all dancers!

New location: Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Core Teachers: Ruth Jappy, Delta, BC; Robert McOwen, Arlington, MA; and Rebecca Blackhall-Peters, Langley, BC.

Musicians: Bobby Brown, Laird Brown, Mara Shea, Jim Stevenson-Mathews

Accommodations: Fully air-conditioned single rooms with sink and adjoining bathrooms, and fully air-conditioned dance studios, for your dancing pleasure!

Early Bird Price before May 15th: $750 Cdn, $715 US. Teacher's Discounted Price: $675 Cdn, $645 US.
Sep 8-10: Fort Worden 2006
RSCDS Seattle Branch's Annual Weekend Workshop.


Musicians: Calum MacKinnon (fiddle), Ryan Mckasson (fiddle), Cali Mckasson (piano), Ralph Gordon (cello, bass), Brian Crisafulli (fiddle), Gwen Taylor (fiddle)

Teachers: Ron Wallace (Rohnert Park, CA), Gary Thomas (Rohnert Park, CA), Elaine Brunken (Laurel, MD), Mary Murray (Vancouver, BC)

Classes: SCD classes plus alternative classes in Ladies' Step Dance, Old Time Dance, and English Country Dance.

Watch for your Fort Worden application in April, or check the website for an online form:

Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.
Oprah Winfrey

  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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