Volume 25 #4
The Scottish Country Dancer
January/February 2009

Articles in This Issue
Coming Up, Briefly Betwixt and Between, 2008
Manager's Message The Ballachulish Ferry
SCD Classes All Around Clark County Calendar of Events
Coming Up, Briefly
Robert Burns turns 250 this month
  • It's a new year and classes are starting up all over the county. Check the article below for details, and be sure to sign up!
  • The Folk Dance Potpourri is coming up Feb 21st March 7th. Note the new date!. As many of you know, this is an immensely popular annual event.
  • In March, the Portland branch will be holding their 30th annual workshop and ball. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up soon!
Manager's Message
by Linda Mae Dennis

I started off writing this long philosophical dissertation about how cyclical life is. How we go round the wheel of the year, always seeming to be starting something when in actuality we're just on the carousel going round again. It got too long, too deep, and too weird. I think the following will be sufficient and far more satisfying:

Happy New Year Scottish Country Dancers!

Nice and simple.

We have a lot of fun activities coming up, and could sure use some additional help with some of them. Please consider volunteering to help with the Winter Dance Potpourri, and/or the Scottish Afternoon, and we're especially hoping that a special person will step up to co-chair the Dinner Dance. None of these are solo efforts. You'll be working with a wonderful team of people who know how to work together to get things done. In fact, that's just what Scottish Country Dancing is all about.

Hope to see you all in class again soon. I'm certainly looking forward to getting back to dancing after all the non-dancing snow cancellations and consumption of holiday goodies.

All the best in the New Year!

SCD Classes All Around Clark County
by Tom Halpenny

Let's treat ourselves to a happy and healthy New Year with a Scottish Country Dance class. You can check out the class list below for a place and time that fits your location and schedule.

You can always visit www.vancouverusa-scd.org for the latest SCD activities.

Marshall Center 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver. Contact Vancouver-Clark Parks & Rec 360-487-7100 www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/parks-recreation
Basic Scottish Country Dance, Wednesday 7:45-9:15pm, Elm Room
Scottish Country Dance, Wednesday 7:45-9:15pm, Oak Room
Beginning Celtic Tap, Tuesday 5:30-6:30pm, Oak Room

Firstenburg Community Center, 700 NE 136th Ave, Vancouver. Contact Vancouver-Clark Parks & Rec 360-487-7001 www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/parks-recreation
Family Basic Scottish Country Dance, Friday 7:30-8:55pm, Aerobics/Dance Studio

Camas / Washougal, Garfield Building, 14th and NE Garfield, Camas. Contact East Clark County Community Education 360-954-3838 www.camas.wednet.edu/district/teaching_learning/community_ed.htm
Basic Scottish Country Dance, Thursday 7:00-8:30pm, Joyce Garver Auditorium. Contact Geri, 360-834-3757

Battle Ground, Captain Strong School, 1002 NW 6th Ave, Battle Ground. Contact Battle Ground Community Education 360-885-6584 http://battleground.augusoft.net
Family Basic Scottish Country Dance, Thursday 7:00-8:15pm, Gym. Contact Liza, 360-887-1888

Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver.
Level 3 Scottish Country Dance, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays every month, 7:30-8:30 pm. Contact Marge, 360-892-4366
Beginning / Intermediate Celtic Tap, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays every month, 7:30-8:30 pm. Contact Linda Mae, 360-609-0623

Betwixt and Between, 2008
by John Shaw

The Vancouver classes, teachers, students, and friends, held their latest Betwixt and Between Dance on Saturday, December 27. The dance lived up to its name this year, not only because it was held between Christmas and New Years for the enjoyment of those who didn't leave town for the holidays -- and their guests, who were visiting. In retrospect, it appears that may have been the one relatively settled weekend sandwiched between snow and ice storms that made this one of the more memorable Decembers of recent years. More than one dancer was heard to remark how glad they were to be able to get out of the house to attend!

All of them

The evening began with the ceilidh acts, which were all done at the beginning of the evening to minimize the impact on the floor and the schedule. First up, students from Linda Mae's Celtic Tap class performed a dance choreographed by Linda Mae to the tune All of Me, by Willie Nelson. Don Morrison looked elegant in a tuxedo and cane as the star dancer, while Martin MacKenzie, Van Hord, and Tom Halpenny, sporting colorfully embroidered Burmese vests, provided rhythmic backup.

John Shaw then read a poem by Alice Jacqueline Shaw (no relation), One Thing I Know, recounting an incident in Jesus' career (see John 9:1-41) from the point of view of the blind man. This was followed by a Quebecois musical set played by Cynthia Soohoo (piano), Nathaniel and Alex Soohoo-Hui (fiddles), and Martin MacKenzie on guitar. Geri Stuart wrapped up the acts with a bow of giggles when she told how a Scottish father had connived to get his adult children to come home for Christmas, at their own expense!

After we cleared away the chairs from the dance floor, our musicians Lisa Scot (piano) and Leslie Hirsch (fiddle) got our ghillies going as we proceeded with the evening of dance. The program included such favorites as The Australian Ladies, their cousin The Cranberry Tart, and The Reel of the 51st Division.

The reward for such jovial exertions was, of course, The Tea afterwards, with the chatter of camaraderie mingled with the appreciation of little sweet things, warming our hands and hearts, before we all headed home.

The Ballachulish Ferry

In a recent Level 3 class, Marge Van Nus taught the dancers an interesting dance named The Ballachulish Ferry. Following the dance (and for weeks afterward!) there was quite a discussion of the subject in the title.

Ballachulish Ferry

From the Wikipedia:

The village of Ballachulish (from the Gaelic Baile Chaolais) in Lochaber, Highland, Scotland, is centred around former slate quarries. The name Ballachulish (pronounced Bah - lah - hoolish) was more correctly applied to the area now called North Ballachulish, to the north of Loch Leven, but was usurped for the quarry villages at East Laroch and West Laroch, either side of the River Laroch, which were actually within Glencoe and South Ballachulish respectively.

The name Ballachulish means "the Field by the Narrows". The narrows in question is Caolas Mhic Phadraig - Peter or Patrick's Narrows, at the mouth of Loch Leven.

Beginning in 1733, a ferry service carried people and goods between Ballachulish on the north shore and the quarry villages on the south shore. This service continued until December 1975, when the Ballachulish Bridge was opened.

Here, via Martin MacKenzie, are the words to the Gidhlig song, Gleann Bhaile Chaoil (meaning 'Glen of the Village of the Narrows') followed by the translation:

Gleann Bhaile Chaoil

O nach robh mi thall sa' ghleann a' fuireach,
O nach robh mi thall an gleann Bhaile Chaoil,
Nan robh mise thall sa' ghleann a' fuireach
Chan fhgainn e tuille, gleann lurach mo ghaoil.

Sa' mhaduinn nuair dh'irinn gun islean, gun ghruaim,
'Se thug slas do m'inntinn bhith sealltainn riut suas;
Chan eil gleann eil' air Gidhealtachd bheir brr ort an snuadh,
Gur mis' tha fo chrdh-lot bhith 'n drsd' cho fad' uait.

Gleann farsaing for mhonadh, dhrinn e suas,
Gleann maiseach fneagach 's morbhuileach tuar;
Ri samhradh is geamhradh do chleca cho uain';
Chan eil n a rinn ndur nach fs air do bhruaich.

Nuair dh'ireas a' ghrian air bu chiatach bhith ann,
'S i cho fial flathail coibhneil a' boillsgeadh air chrann,
I dsgadh nan ln-dubh 's nan smerach air ghig,
Chur filte, le'n cel, air a mrachd san speur.

[Faclan: Iain Camshron]

Waterfall at Glen Ballachulish


Glen of Ballachulish

O, I was not living over in the glen
O, I was not over in the Glen of Ballachulish,
If I was over living in the glen
I would not ever leave, beautiful glen my love.

In the morning when I would rise without grief, without 
It would illumine to my mind to look up at you;
There is not another glen in Gaeldom that could be more 
  beautiful than you,
And now I am in piercing pain, to be so far from you.

Truly a wide moor, that I would praise,
Glen fair, fruitful, and wonderful altogether;
Through summer and winter your cloak so green;
There is not anything that nature makes that does not 
  grow on your slopes.

When the sun will rise delightfully there,
And she so generous, majestic, shining on the trees,
Waking the dawn and the thrushes on the branches,
Welcoming, with music, in the grandeur of the sky.

[words by Ian Cameron]


Calendar of Events

Jan 10, 2009: Portland Holiday Party
Tigard Grange, 7:30 PM.
Jan 25: Robert Burns' Birthday
People are encouraged to gather in their homes or places of libation, to raise a toast (of sparkling cider) to the memory of the life, times, and literary works of one of Scotland's greatest poets, born this day, 250 years ago. (That would be 1759 for those more into poetry than arithmetic.)
Mar 7: Folk Dance Potpourri
A great fun way to sample the folk dance traditions of many cultures! Instruction will be provided, no partner necessary. Soft-soled shoes recommended.
Rudy Luepke Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd. Vancouver, WA (behind the Marshall Center). 8:00-10:00 pm. $5.
Mar 14: Portland 30th Anniversary Workshop and Ball
Where: Masonic Friendship Center, 5625 NE Alameda St., Portland, OR.
Time: Registration, 9:30 am; Classes, 10:00 am; Grand March and Ball, 7:30 pm.
Teachers: Marjorie McLaughlin (San Diego, CA), and Bill Zobel (Courtney, BC).
Musicians: Calum McKinnon (Edmunds, WA) fiddle, and Muriel Johnstone (Courtney, BC) piano.

Get your registrations in soon! No registrations accepted after March 6. Contact Don Gertz at 503-692-5963, or for more information.

    Roaring Jelly                BJ  Foss
    J.B. Milne                   BR  Foss
    Rose of the North            IS  Goldring
    Laird of Milton's Daughter   BJ  RSCDS Bk 2
    Flowers of Edinburgh         BR  RSCDS Bk 1
    Bob Campbell                 BS  Drewry
    Ian Powrie's Farewell to Auchterader  IJ  Hamilton
    John McAlpin                 BS  Three for 2007
    Da Rain Dancin'              IR  Wallace
    Machine without Horses   BJ   RSCDS Bk 12
    Red House                IR   RSCDS Bk 7
    Culla Bay                IS   RSCDS Bk 41
    Trip to Bavaria          BR   Collins Pocket Ref
    Cranberry Tart           IJ   Seven Year Itch
    MacDonald of the Isles   BIS  Haynes
    Reel of the Royal Scots  BR   Leaflet    
Apr 4: Tartan Day / Scottish Afternoon
Watch for details as they emerge.
Apr 25: 24th Annual Dinner Dance
Save the date! (Note: this is the new date.) More info to come, so keep checking back.

Said the Englishman to the boastful Scot: "Take away your mountains, glens and lochs, and what have you got?" "England," replied the Scot.

  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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