Volume 24 #2
The Scottish Country Dancer
September/October 2007

Articles in This Issue
A Message from the Manager Preview: Annual Fall Dance
How I Spent My Summer Vacation The Sound of a Sound Sound
Classes Calendar of Events
A Message from the Manager
by Linda Mae Dennis


I thought that August was going to be a time to recuperate - to sit around, read, and eat bonbons. Wrong! What with the whirlwind vacation to Canada, the Clark County Fair rehearsals and performance, the Uptown Village rehearsals and performance and yet another quick trip to Canada (not to mention all that band stuff and all the fruits and vegetables that have required my immediate attention), this last week of August has turned out to be my whole summer holiday.

Well, it's only Wednesday, and I'm already fidgety with anticipation. I'm ready to dust off my dancing shoes and get back on the floor. Sitting around is nice, but not that nice. Not as nice as seeing all the smiling faces and getting that feeling of floating through the air while listening to wonderful Scottish music. Ooh, I can hardly wait!

Hope to see you all really soon.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation
by Liza Halpenny

August 19, 2007
Still coming down off the high of yesterday's performance at the Uptown Festival, I thought I'd pen some reflections on this summer's SCD performance activities. Really, what could be more fun than getting together with friends to dance? We take the summer off from weekly classes, so, to avoid getting withdrawal pains, we always have a busy summer performance calendar.

Our dance group is so willing, so happy, and such flexible troopers. At the request of the Portland Highland Games Committee, we do TV promo spots the week of the Games. Introducing our own particular brand of fun, we watch the sunrise together, allowing the greater Portland area to see on TV what we look like at 5:00 in the morning. The Mt. Hood Community College stadium lights, along with free coffee and Danish, give a glow to the dances we teach to celebrities in borrowed kilts.

Then there are the Highland Games themselves. After many years we have scored a plum spot down on the field, all the better to display our keen "Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers" banner (with continuing thanks to its donor, Don Morrison) to the crowded grandstand. We dance on the running track, effectively blocking traffic and snaring passers-by for audience participation. And when we're done, we cool off under the mister. The van Nuses and Stuarts ably run the show, and with helping hands, everyone gets a chance to visit other attractions.

Off to the Fair! This year our Clark County Fair performance was moved to a different stage. Proximity to the food court and the Monster Truck show brought a migrating audience of 20 to 50 people. Before the performance, Liza and Linda Mae walked our intrepid dancers through their paces behind the bleachers, accompanied by the mesmerizing chant of the on-stage hypnotist, smoke from the barbecue stand, and electric carts driving down the middle and up through our sets. We are nothing if not adaptable. And we even did a great job when we finally got on stage.

Which brings us to our performance yesterday at the Uptown Festival. This time the walk-through challenges came in the form of pipers drowning out Marge's and Geri's instructions, cars believing they actually had the right of way in the parking lot, and low-flying military jets. We get a lot of laughs during our walk-throughs. On the smallish, carpeted, sloping stage we rested our tootsies between dances while Geri told Scottish jokes and Fred showed the audience what is below his kilt. But the pièce de résistance was dancing to the marvelous music of Cynthia Soohoo (on keyboard) and her son, Nathaniel (on fiddle). We are so blessed to have them in our group. Afterward, Fred treated us all to scones at the Main Street Bakery. And, because it is important to honor our traditions, a group of us also made our way to Renaissance Ice Cream.

As you can imagine, all of these activities build a strong cameraderie in our group. We enjoy each other every minute, from the Tuesday night rehearsals straight through the performances to the after-celebrations. Scottish Country Dance is community. It is family. And we are always delighted to bring in new family members. I'm already looking forward to the new friends I'll meet the first night of class in September. Thank you to everyone who made my summer vacation so much fun.

At Marshall Center

Basic or Intermediate Scottish Country Dance class begins Wednesday, September 12, 7:45-9:15pm at the Marshall Center. Call Vancouver-Clark Parks & Rec at 696-8236 to register via credit card.

Basic Scottish Country Dance Learn the basic steps and foundations of a fun, spirited form of dance to lively Scottish Music. Partners not necessary and all are welcome. Instructor, Marge McLeod van Nus. Marshall Center Oak room.

Wednesdays 7:45-9:15pm
43464 9/12-10/31 8 wks $35
43465 11/7-12/19 7 wks $31

Intermediate Scottish Country Dance A social way to fitness for all who are familiar with the basics. Be ready to enjoy evenings of Scottish Dance to live music anytime, anywhere. Instructor, John Shaw. Marshall Center Elm room.

Wednesdays 7:45-9:15pm
43476 9/12-10/31 8 wks $35
43477 11/7-12/19 7 wks $31

At Firstenburg Community Center

Family Basic Scottish Country Dance class begins Friday, September 14, 7:30-8:55pm at the Firstenburg Community Center. Call Vancouver-Clark Parks & Rec at 487-7001 to register via credit card.

Family Scottish Country Dance - Basic Basic steps and foundations of fun, spirited Scottish Country Dance. Invite your whole family, no partner needed. Instructor Geri Stuart, Firstenburg Community Center aerobics/dance studio. 8 wks.

Fridays 7:30-8:55pm $38
42655 9/14-11/2
42656 11/9-12/28

In Camas/Washougal

Coming in October: you can register for the Family Basic Scottish Country Dance class, 7:00-8:30pm via Camas/Washougal Community Education. Call Geri at 360-834-3757 for more info.

Level 3 Scottish Country Dance For the dancer who has a thorough knowledge and competent performance of common formations, who dances with good phrasing, teamwork, and handing, and who needs only one walkthrough. Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver. 2nd and 4th Tuesdays every month beginning September 11, 7:30-8:30 pm, $3.00 per session. Info and registration (required), contact Marge, or (360) 892-4366.

Scottish/Celtic Step Dance Have fun learning enjoyable dances using steps drawn from traditional Scottish, Irish, Cape Breton and American Tap. Personalized training. Beginners welcome. Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver. 1st and 3rd Tuesdays every month beginning September 4, 7:30-8:30 pm, $4.00 per session. Info and registration, contact Linda Mae, or (360) 609-0623.

by Marge Van Nus

The Celts, whose culture at it's height included most of Europe, celebrated four great feasts: Samhainn, Imbolg, Beltain, and Lughnasadh -- roughly the sequences of the equinox and solstice, dividing the year into four natural seasons.

Samhainn/samhain/samhaine (pronounced Sow'in) -- the Celtic New Year -- is the most important of these feasts, marking the end of summer and the beginning of winter. It was celebrated the first of November. Samhainn is still the Gàidhlig word for November.

Preview: Annual Fall Dance

On October 20th, the Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers will be hosting their Annual Fall Dance. The theme this year is "The Nature Spirits of Samhainn", giving us an opportunity to explore some of the Celtic roots of Scottish culture (as well as giving us an excuse to wear some wild Halloweenish dancing costumes).

The program includes dances with names evoking the Celtic imagery of Nature's elements, and in some cases specifically from images and phrases from Robert Burns' poem, Tam O'Shanter, about Tam's wild ride on a devilishly stormy night. With Lisa Scott's spirited piano accompaniment, it should be a very memorable evening!

The Program:

  The Lady Wynd          J  Goldring, Graded and Social Dances 2, #12
  A Mile to Ride         S  RSCDS Book 26, #2
  The Apple Tree         R  Drewry Leaflet
  Old Nick's Lumber Room J  RSCDS Book 26, #6
  The Graces             S  RSCDS Book 25, #10
  The Apple Tree         R  Whetherly Book 4, #5
  Cutty Sark             J  RSCDS Book 40, #2
  Honest Men and 
    Bonnie Lassies       S  Ruby Anniversary Book, #7
  Clatterin' Brig        R  Goldring, Graded and Social Dances 2, #5
  Tattie Bogle           J  Haynes, 1st Carnforth Col., #7
  Cauld Kail*            M  RSCDS Book 9, #11
  Tam O' Shanter         R  Let's All Dance, Too, #52

*This is a medley: 16 bars strathspey, 16 bars reel

So, mark your calendars for October 20th! The dance starts at 8 P.M. in the Oak/Elm Rooms of the Marshall Community Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver.

The Sound of a Sound Sound
by John Shaw
Now, for something completely different...

While on a recent boating excursion near the San Juan Islands, some of us passengers were curious about the origin of the word 'sound', as in "Puget Sound". One of us pulled out a pocket dictionary to begin the investigation, and we were blown away by the subsequent discoveries. What a marvelous word is our present English word, "Sound"!

According to my desk-top Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (eleventh edition), the word "sound" has no fewer than 4 different ancesters, to give rise to the 7 basic meanings it has today.

1. From the Old English 'gesund' (similar to the Old High German 'gisunt' healthy --"Gesundheit", anyone?), to the Middle English form which we have today as the adjective: sound -- free from injury or disease: exhibiting normal health; free from flaw; solid, firm.

2. From the Middle English "soun", derived from the earlier Anglo-French "son", from the yet earlier Latin 'sonus', similar to the Old English 'swinn' melody, and the Sanskrit 'svanati', comes the noun: sound -- a particular auditory impression... [and other meanings associated with hearing].

3. From the Old English "sund" swimming, sea and the Old Norse "sund" swimming, strait, in the 14th century, to the Middle English form we still have today as another noun: a long broad inlet of ocean... Ah! the Puget Sound!

4. The verb "sound", to measure the depth of..., is from Middle English, previously from Middle French "sonder", which the dictionary says probably came from the Old English "sund-" (as in "sundline" sounding line) from "sund" sea. So you could argue that this source of the word is really a repackaged reuse of 3), but coming back to us via Middle French. Whew!

For the curious, the other 3 basic meanings of the word are:

as an adverb: thoroughly [as in 'sound asleep'] From the 14th century.
as a transitive verb: to cause to sound [like sound a trumpet]...
as another noun: the instrument used to measure the depth of... A relatively modern word, from 1739, from the Middle French "sonde", literally, a sounding line.

And the really curious can check out the Oxford English Dictionary: the entry for 'sound' occupies pages 465 to 470. (Yes, go ahead and finish the Potter book, first.)


Calendar of Events

Sep 4: SCD Step Class starts
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver
1st and 3rd Tuesdays every month beginning September 4, 7:30-8:30 pm, $4.00 per session. Info and registration, contact Linda Mae, or (360) 609-0623
Sep 10: Portland RSCDS, First class of Fall session
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
Sep 12,14: Vancouver USA SCD Fall Classes Start
Firstenburg Center starts Sept 14th
700 NE 136th Ave., Vancouver, Wa.
Beginning classes in Scottish Country Dancing.

Luepke Community Center starts Sept 12th
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA, 8:00 to 9:30 PM.
Beginning and Intermediate classes in Scottish Country Dancing.

Also starting in the Fall: Celtic Step class, and Level 3 SCD. Keep checking these pages for more information as Autumn approaches.
Sep 21-23: Fort Worden Weekend
RSCDS Seattle Branch's Annual Weekend Workshop and Ball

Deby Grosjean (fiddle), Calumn MacKinnon (fiddle), Andy Imbrie (piano), Ralph Gordon (cello, bass)

Helen Frame (Ayrshire, Scotland), Irene Paterson (Mukilteo, WA), Fred DeMarse (Alameda, CA), Arthur McNair (Pittsburgh, PA)

Check the website for an online application: www.rscds-seattle.org
Sep 29: North West St. Andrews Society Vancouver Social
North West St. Andrews Society invites dancers (and other interested people) to the "Vancouver Social" at the Sons of Norway Hall, 2400 Grant Street, Vancouver, 6:00 pm.

It will be a potluck; A - J contribute a salad or appetizer; K - Q an entree or side dish; R - Z dessert. Coffee, tea, napkins, plates and cutlery will be supplied.

Scottish Country Dancing for everyone, to fiddle and piano music, is on the program.

Keep checking back for more details.
Oct 6,7: 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 13: Portland SCD Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
Oct 20: Vancouver USA SCD Annual Fall Dance
Marshall Community Center, Oak/Elm Rooms, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA, 8-11:00pm
Live music, refreshments.
Nov 3-7: Alasdair Fraser's Fiddle Train
A Five-day adventure across Canada!
Vancouver, B.C. to Toronto, Ontario, November 3 - 7, 2007
Join Scottish Fiddler Alasdair Fraser, Cellist Natalie Haas, and friends (more to be announced) as they travel 3,000 miles across Canada with music and dancing. There will be a Kickoff Concert in Vancouver, B.C.

For information: Fred van Nus 360-892-4366, or www.flyingunderradar.com/rails/fiddletrain.htm.
Nov 10: Portland SCD Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

Heard about the Scotsman who washed his kilt? He just couldn't do a fling with it.

  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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