Volume 26 #3
The Scottish Country Dancer
November/December 2009

Articles in This Issue
The Brief... Or, Yikes! Classes! Sharing Thoughts on Showing our Support
A Message From the Chair Celebrating a New Release from Celtic Muse
Abundant Harvest (Fall) Dance Maori 'Nessie' Tales Abound
Stories Behind the Dances - Mairi's Wedding Calendar of Events
Classes Starting Again... RIGHT NOW!
The Brief... Or, Yikes! Classes!

Ah, The Holiday's! -- that part of the year where you try to fit all the dancing you can do in with all the visiting you can do, in with all the shopping you can do, in with all the eating you can do... Oh, did I mention the dancing?

So, coming up in the next 8 bars, er, weeks:

  • Classes! Yes, it's time to sign up again -- see the Classes article in this issue, or check our web page.
  • Nov 14th: Portland Branch's November Dance party, with live music!
  • Dec 12th: Portland's December Dance party
  • Dec 30th: our Betwixt & Between Ceilidh

(Oh, remember -- Thanksgiving and Christmas are in there sometime, too...)

A Message From the Chair
by Linda Mae Dennis, Chair
Library Display Case

Wow, it's November already. Hard to believe that the months have flown by so fast, and now there are only two months left in 2009. I guess time really, really flies when you're having fun dancing.

There are two projects that I would like each of you to consider in the next month.

Project 1: Go To the Library

Geri Stuart, Susan Shaw, and I went to the library and put a Scottish Country Dance display into the display case in the lobby. It looks really good! Those who use the display case are chosen by lottery, so we don't have this opportunity very often. And it will only be there for the month of November. So the first project is to put on your "I'm a Scottish Country Dancer" button, and go to the library - that's the Vancouver Regional Library on the corner of Mill Plain and Fort Vancouver Way. Hang around in front of the display and talk to interested people about Scottish Culture and Scottish Country Dancing. There were several people who stopped to talk to us while we were putting the display in place, and interested people tend to go to the library, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding someone to talk to.

Project 2: Creative Ways to Make Money

In spite of the "Abundant Harvest" of friends, food, and fun at the Fall Dance, we didn't make any money. We won't be making any on the International Dance Potpourri either, and no one seems to have the energy or bandwidth this year to organize a Scottish Afternoon Fund Raiser. We need to find other ways to make money for our group to offset the cost of the Dinner Dance (which we are heavily subsidizing). So, Project 2 is to think of some creative ways for us to make money. The easiest for us, of course, is to do demonstrations. If you know someone who lives in a retirement community that needs entertainment, is having a wedding or a party where SCD might be appropriate, belong to a company or group that needs SC Dancers to come to their Holiday Event, etc. see if you can arrange for us to get an invitation to dance. If you have other ideas, please share them. All thoughts are welcome.

Abundant Harvest (Fall) Dance
by Susan Shaw
Sarah, as a fresh lemon

The theme of our October 17th dance was Abundant Harvest. We enjoyed time to relax and talk, time to dance, bountiful harvests to share, good food to eat, wonderful selection of dances, good briefings ... and innovative outfits celebrating the autumn season and vegetables (remember Don Gertz who came as a red pepper?). We had 35 happy dancers (including several intrepid traveler-dancers from Bend), six of whom had never come to a dance before.

Many people brought what they had harvested this year, such as squash, apples, pears, and tomatoes from their gardens. Others wrote on our board about friends, music, and dances, including gratitude for the ability to dance once again. Tom Halpenny brought a photo of his abundant firewood harvest and a few split logs -- and fittingly, Tom and Liza came as Lumber Jack and Lumber Jill! Nine people came just to hear the music provided by three excellent musicians, Lisa Scott, Leslie Hirsch, and Linda Danielson.

Marge Van Nus presented a special certificate to Linda Danielson in recognition of her 24 years of faithful fiddling for our annual Dinner Dances. The new sound system, provided by Patrick Hogan, proved to be very satisfactory.

As Martin summed it up, "The easy dances, the smooth pace, the excellent music all made for an excellent dance this year."

Stories Behind the Dances - Mairi's Wedding

The dance was written by band leader James Cosh -- this is the story behind the song tune used for the dance. Rob Lockhart was researching via Google for a photo of Mr. Cosh and came upon the following article which was initially published in the Toronto Branch Newsletter, Set and Link June 2009.

Glasgow Daily Record (undated): Step we gaily on we go, this IS Mairi's Wedding. Now it's ALL for Mairi's birthday! She'll still be singing at 90. by Stephen Houston.

Millions of Scots have sung Mairi's Wedding. And now, thanks to the Record, they can meet the bride herself. For one of our best-loved tunes was written for Mary McNiven. And the pensioner is still stepping gaily, even though she'll be NINETY tomorrow.

Scot schoolkids have been learning the song for generations, and it is a firm favourite all over the world. At her cottage on Islay yesterday, Mary said: "I can't believe it became so popular. But when it was first played to me I found it very catchy -- and I still do."

The song was originally written in Gaelic -- that's why she was "Mairi" instead of "Mary" -- for the Mod of 1935. Her pal Johnny Bannerman composed it and it was first played to her at the Old Highlanders Institute in Glasgow's Elmbank Street. "I still have a clear recollection of that day," said Mary. "Johnny just said the song was for me." It was translated into English a year later, by Sir Hugh Robertson.

Although Mary herself was real, the wedding wasn't. For she didn't get hitched to Skye-born sea captain John Campbell until six years later. John died 17 years ago. Mother of two, Mary, who won a gold medal for singing in 1934, will enjoy a family birthday party in Glasgow this weekend. And it won't be complete without the famous song. Her daughter Christine, a teacher from Hyndland, Glasgow, said: "Mum still sometimes sings it in Gaelic and people are always asking her to. I suspect she'll sing it to celebrate her birthday."

Classes Starting Again... RIGHT NOW!

Here's the lineup of the classes currently offered around Clark County. As you will no doubt notice, classes started this week at the Marshall and Firstenburg Community Centers. So, now is an excellent time to sign up (if you haven't already done so).

Vancouver, Marshall Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd
Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation 360-487-7100 www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/parks-recreation

Scottish Country Dance for Everyone, 65985, Wednesday 7:45-9:00pm, Elm Room, Nov 4 - 8 wk session

Beginning Celtic Tap, Tuesday 5:30-6:30pm, Oak Room, Nov 3 - 8 wk session

Intermediate Celtic Tap, Tuesday 6:30-7:30pm, Oak Room, Nov 3 - 8 wk session

Vancouver, Firstenburg Community Center, 700 NE 136th Ave
Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation 360-487-7001 www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/parks-recreation

Family Basic Scottish Country Dance, 65983, Friday 7:30-8:55pm, Aerobics/Dance Studio, 11/6 - 12/18, 6 wks, $32

East Clark County Community Education 360-954-3838 www.camas.wednet.edu/district/teaching_learning/community_ed.htm

Family Basic Scottish Country Dance, TBD
Contact Geri, 360-834-3757

Battle Ground, Maple Grove Primary School, 610 A SW Eaton Boulevard
Battle Ground Community Education 360-885-6584 www.bgsd.k12.wa.us/cmd/

Scottish Country Dance, TBD
Contact Liza, 360-887-1888

Vancouver, Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway

Level 3 Scottish Country Dance, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 7:30-8:30pm
Contact Marge, 360-892-4366

Kelso, Catlin Center, 106 NW 8th Ave
Longview Parks & Recreation 360-442-5400 mylongview.com/parks_rec

Basic Scottish Country Dance, 1st and 3rd Sundays 7:00-9:00pm
Contact Linda, 360-578-7893
Please call or email before coming, to verify there are no changes in date.


Basic Scottish Country Dance, Friday 7:00-9:00 pm, starts 9/18
Contact LindaMae

Sharing Thoughts on Showing our Support
by Geri Stuart

I'd like to share a couple thoughts that relate to our newly formed RSCDS SWWAS Branch.

As members of this organization, RSCDS and our Branch/group, we preserve and promote Scottish Country Dancing by paying dues, and participating in events and classes. Of course that means we'd like as many people as possible to become members, pay dues, and sign up for classes. Our support helps maintain quality teachers and wonderful dance opportunities.

Signing up for classes plays a big part and everyone should be doing so even if they can't make all the classes. Some teachers sign up for the classes even if they're teaching the class! AND some are also taking a pay cut, just to keep the classes going. Why? Because it maintains ongoing support for the group. How can individual members/dancers give added support? By encouraging people you know and meet to come to class any time, anywhere -- no need to wait for a new session, at any location.

To clarify our support through participation in demonstrations, it is helpful to know the policy, which was amended at a recent Board meeting. It currently states:

"The policy for all dancers participating in demonstration dance programs includes: 
	1. The dancers must be members of our group and
	2. The dancers must be regularly attending classes.
	3. The teachers may invite guest dancers to participate."

All members and dancers should stay informed of all the happenings related to dancing by checking the sign-up sheets [remembering, 'if you sign up - please show up!'], the information binder in class, and our web site.

Finally, please direct your questions, concerns, and praises to your class teacher.

Celebrating a New Release from Celtic Muse
by Jennifer Pratt-Walter and Valerie Blessley

Dear friends,
Celtic Muse (Jennifer Pratt-Walter and Valerie Blessley) are very pleased to announce that our newest joint recording, "Crossroads," has finally arrived! This album was born from our love of both Celtic and Scandinavian traditional music, with the actual Crossroad being the ocean that carried people from both sides, blending cultures, arts, and music and dance traditions. In this CD you will find some familiar tunes, such as "Skye Boat Song" and "The Parting Glass," several spirited Celtic jigs, and some unusual or eclectic pieces such as a wildly improvisational "Willow Bark Flute" and some choice haunting and tragic ballads.

Valerie and I also composed our own unique versions of what the term "crossroads" meant to us, both musically and in imagery and feelings within us. Music textures, modes, and tempos form a lovely spiral between the Celtic and Scandinavian lands, with branches of new music reaching outward from the center.

Featured instruments include two Celtic harps, flute, recorders, large and small kantele, pennywhistle, willow bark flute, and Appalachian dulcimer.

CDs make an excellent gift for the holiday season: they are easy to wrap and mail, the music can be easily transferred to your personal listening devices, it's never too small or too big, is calorie-free, and it never goes out of style!

Our earlier recordings, "Wind and Wood" and "Merry and Bright," plus Jennifer's "Ancient Realms" and "Ancient Muse," and Valerie's "Northern Light", are also still available. Soundclips can be heard on CD Baby and Amazon.com. Pricing: One CD for $15., two for $28. Larger orders, plus wholesale orders are also available.

For more information, or to order recordings, write Jennifer at or Valerie at . Sheet music is also available for some of the music on all our CDs. Thank you for your support of Independent Artists, and for buying locally made items!

Maori 'Nessie' Tales Abound

Fist published in the Montreal Star, May 3, 1976, here taken from The Montreal Branch's newsletter The Scottish Dancer, June 1976.

Continuing hunts for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland have aroused a competitive spirit in New Zealand on behalf of the local neighbourhood monsters. Maori legends abound in reference to an awesome water creature known as the taniwha. It seems to have been equally at home in fresh or sea water, since it lurked in the depths of caves, river beds, forest pools, and along the sea coast. Its haunts were best avoided, for it ruthelssly killed and ate human beings who fell into its clutches. Maori mythology tells of heros who fought and killed the dreaded taniwha, but such victors were nearer gods than men.

In fact, no remains in any way resembling a taniwha have ever been found. Nevertheless, the legends are so vivid that the idea of taniwhas is very much alive. Maori parents still threaten naughty children with warnings that taniwha will get them unless they behave.

A movement to safeguard the taniwha from the inroads of the modern world has developed. Led by enthusiasts of the Friends of the Taniwha Society, taniwha lovers have rallied to their defence. They say that eggs of taniwha were incubated and released in Western Springs Lake in Auckland to perform a useful function in keeping under control the spread of water weed. It has been suggested further that efforts should be made to cross-breed them with Loch Ness monsters by importing fry (if that is the correct biological term) of the Scottish creature.


Calendar of Events

Nov 14: Portland Dance Social
... and their annual Bizarre Bazaar
Tigard Grange 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard, OR. 7:30PM. $14
Live music, by The Scottish Rose!

The Program:
          The Frisky                BJ  Bk 26
          Portia's Smile            IS  Gertz
          Selkirk Reel              BR  Let's All Dance
          Enniskillen Dragoons      IJ  The Jean Patrick Col.
          Hope Little's Strathspey  BS  Goldring
          Duke of Perth             IR  Bk 1
          The Old Spedling Castle's Ghost Dance  IJ  Leaflet
          The Hidden Valley         BS  Haynes
          Sueno's Stone             IR  RSCDS, 4 for 2008
          The Pipe Opener           BJ  Goldring
          Linnea's Strathspey       IS  Dunsmiur Dances
          The Homecoming Dance      BR  RSCDS, 5 for 2009
Dec 12: Portland Dance Social
Tigard Grange Hall 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard, OR. 7:30PM. $7

The Program:
          Lady Catherine Bruce's Reel  BJ  Graded #7
          Portia's Smile            IS  Gertz
          Duke of Perth             IR  Bk 1
          The Argyll Square         IJ  Bk 43
          A Man's a Man             BS  Bk 30
          Clutha                    BR  Bk 31
          The Frisky                BJ  Bk 26
          The Three Sisters         IS  Drewry
          Starlight                 IR  Bk 44
          Enniskillen Dragoons      IJ  The Jean Patrick Coll.
          Hope Little's Strathspey  BS  Goldring
          The Homecoming Dance      BR  RSCDS, 5 for 2009
Dec 30: Betwixt & Between Ceilidh
Marshall Center, Vancouver, WA. 7:45PM.
Jan 10, 2010: Portland Dance Social
Winona Grange Hall
Watch for details!
Feb 20: International Dance Potpourri
Luepke Center, Vancouver, WA.
More details soon.
Apr 17, 2010: VancouverUSA 25th Annual Dinner Dance
Please join us for an "auspicious" event: our first dinner/dance as the Southwest Washington State Branch of the RSCDS!

At the beautiful Fairgate Inn Bed and Breakfast, 2213 NW 23rd Ave., Camas, Wa. 98607
The semi-formal evening will begin with an early catered dinner at 4 pm, followed by the dance which will conclude around 10 pm.
The musicians for the evening will be Elke Baker, fiddle, and Lisa Scott, piano.

Complete information, including registration form, is available on this flyer.

Then there were two Scots who bet a pound on who could stay under water the longest.
They both drowned.

  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.
  Generated Saturday November 07, 2009