|Volume 27 #6
|Articles in This Issue
|Iona, The Holy Isle, Final Segment
Walking a quarter mile up the path, one comes to the Abbey. It was rebuilt from 1938 to 1965 by Rev. George MacLeod with the help of many ministers in training over the years, along with dedicated volunteers. It's not large either and quite simple within, with its long altar table of Iona marble, white with a bit of green flowing through. The wind whistles through the high open windows, and usually it's cold. And always in the services there are singers with sweet breathy voices that blend so well with that wind. Those Celtic hymns whisper through my mind for hours afterwards, opening my soul. Here, too, is magic. The very first time I came to the Abbey in 1995, I felt the presence of multiple ancestors coming into the ethers around me, welcoming me Home, drawing my spirit back to my ancient ancestral roots. I was overwhelmed, and, despite the many tourists (that time, it was July), I bent my head and sobbed.
I've hiked all over the isle, over the high rocky plateau to the southern beach where St. Columba landed in 563 A.D. to found the Christian community that eventually transformed all of Scotland. But there were Celtic sacred communities on Iona for hundreds of year before that. This isle has been sacred for millennia. I've climbed the grassy hillocks from the western to the northern beach, called the Pilgrim's Way, where there's no path at all and one is certain to come back with mud to the knee. And I've climbed the steep promontory north of the Abbey with its spectacular views of the fields and Abbey and beach below, and wind that will knock you down, if you don't hold on. But I won't describe those. Go see for yourself.
The only other thing I want to tell you about Iona is the magical surprises that always happen there, like the time I met a famous archeologist I'd been reading for years that thrilled me to my marrow or how I always bump into folks who adore Christ the way I do and who will stop and share their inmost hearts, always ripe with the longing to make the world a better place. The isle is infectious. I can never sit still there for very long. If you ever go there, you, too, will be up exploring from morn till night. It happens to everyone. My favorite Iona surprise, though, was the time I went to the western beach on my final night on the isle and stopped by the shore, disappointed that the sunset I'd hoped for was covered by clouds. In moments, though, the red sun dropped behind a heart-shaped hole in those clouds and pulsed very gently, like God saying, "I love you." That memory is tucked into a special place in my heart that will never be the same. I always take that ferry back to Mull with sore feet and a grin, spirit doors inside that have blown gently open the whole time I was on the isle, and already counting the days till I can come back again.
|Our Japan Connection
As many of us are well aware, the tsunami has effected many in Japan. However, what you may not know is that we as a Branch have connections with people there from previous cultural exchanges through our members going to Japan and introducing them to Scottish Country Dancing and those we met there returning the favor to come and dance with us multiple times. A local dance, the Strathspey "East Meets West", was written in memory of those exchanges of culture and friendship.
Consequently, we are taking up a collection from our members at large and the Branch has pledged additional monies and all will be sent to Japan via either the RSCDS Headquarters or the Teacher's Association (our Branch Board will decide). Both organizations are acting as a central distribution point for monies earmarked for the recent disasters in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.
(From the editor) If anyone is interested in reading a little bit from one perspective about life in Sendai currently, visit: A Letter From Sendai
|Donations to ARC=$$ For US!
A reminder that any gently used clothing, bedding, bath linens, shoes, belts, purses, and curtains can be dropped off in classes, or given directly to me. All is stored in my garage for pickup, and as a partner with ARC, all monies paid (based on poundage) will go into our treasury. Thank you for you help, Marge
|A Message From the Chair
The Dinner Dance is right around the corner, and will likely be over by the time you read this. I'm sure it will be or was a roaring success, with great food, fabulous music, and exceptional dancing, all shared with wonderful friends from far and wide. Looking beyond this week . . .
Next up, we have the Annual General Meeting. At this meeting, we discuss the business of the branch, collect memberships, and elect officers. A lot of organizing is involved in keeping our group functioning so that we can keep classes going, put on dances, do performances, and promote our favorite team sport, Scottish Country Dancing. The larger the group gets, the more people we need to participate to keep things running smoothly. Please do ALL come to the meeting to see if there is something you can do to help. Many hands make light work, after all.
And, as I am not one to miss out on any opportunity for dancing OR fun, the meeting will be held at Columbia Dance Center (on Sunday, May 15th at 1:30pm). After the meeting we will do some dances from the 'Summer Dance List', and will then repair to Ice Cream Renaissance for (what else?) ice cream!
What is the Summer Dance List? I'm glad you asked.
We don't usually hold classes during the summer. However, people still want us to dance at fairs, and festivals, and sometimes, other events like weddings. Since we don't have regular class times to prepare and practice, the teachers select a limited number of dances that we draw from for these various performances. That way the dancers get to learn the Summer Dances before summer, and can feel comfortable in signing up for summer performances that they will be asked to do dances that they already have some familiarity with.
More on the Summer Performances next time,
For now, Happy Springing!
|Lisa Scott at St. Andrew's
We all enjoy Lisa Scott for her musical ability and greatly enjoy when she can dance with us. However, I bet many of you don't know that she has told the editor of our august publication that she will be playing for the first session of classes in the four week summer SCD dance school at St. Andrew's in Scotland!! Here is a bit of a taste of what the Summer School in St. Andrews is like:
From their website at http://www.rscds.org/events/summer-school.html , "The Society holds an annual Summer School in St Andrews, Scotland. Approximately one thousand dancers from around the world attend this School each year to learn more about the dancing and dances, old and new; to enjoy dancing together; and to appreciate the wealth of Scotland's traditional music."
As Marge Van Nus explained to the editor, "It is an honor to be invited and an indication of her stature in the music world of SCD! Musicians play for every class from beginning through teachers, as well as teacher candidate sessions, plus all the dances every night, including the ceilidh and the ball. There may be as many as six or seven different classes plus candidate classes."
This is quite a feather in her cap and we are very, very proud of her.
|Demonstration at Firstenburg
At the St Patrick's Demo for Loaves and Fishes held at Firstenburg Center a young girl joined us. Geri inserted a number of dances in the program so she, Crystal, could participate. Crystal, definitely had a lot of native rhythm and body control. Being convinced we would invite her to dance again, she sat down to eat lunch as two men joined us. She joined us for the final dances---and did not want to stop. As I was changing my shoes her mother spoke to me, indicating that when Crystal was old enough she would "put her in a dance class". I asked her age----two and a half years old!! Wow, there is a young one to be nurtured!
|Scottish Dancing in Argentina, Part
"You did Scottish Country Dancing in Argentina? Don't you mean Tango??"
On a sultry summer evening in early March, I had the distinct pleasure of attending SCD class in Buenos Aires. Before heading to South America, I poked around on the Internet to find out whether there would be any SCD available, and sure enough I found a webpage listing a Friday class in Buenos Aires, one of my destinations. The contact information took me by email to Sol Grimoldi, who welcomed me to visit the class, and also graciously supplied me with lots of information about places to stay and things to see in the city. A perfect example of the friendly and inclusive worldwide SCD family.
The Buenos Aires taxi driver delivered me to Montevideo 236, where I pushed the button and told the speaker that I was there for Scottish Dancing. After being buzzed in and finding my way upstairs, I noticed a number of rooms where different kinds of dancing were being done. I was pointed toward the front room, where I found class already in session. Sol (who turns out to be a woman, and the teacher, neither of which I had realized from our email correspondence) invited me in, explaining that the beginner class starts first, then the intermediates arrive and join in, then the evening finishes with intermediate class. I was added to the set after introductions and cheek kisses from all, the manner in which everyone greeted each other as they came and went from class.
Sol gave instructions in Spanish to her class, then translated for me, although it was fairly easy to tell what was going on - the beauty of demonstration. (A week after I came home, I was tickled to find on the Portland Ball program two of the dances that we danced in Buenos Aires: "The Barmkin" and "The Montgomeries' Rant.") As in any SCD class, there were various levels of proficiency, many helping hands, and lots of laughter.
At the end of the evening, a fellow student, Marcela, kindly drove me back to my hostel. On the way there she told me a little of the history of the BASCDancers. The part that surprised me the most was that Sol had been taught SCD in grade school growing up in Buenos Aires. When I got home I emailed Sol for more information for our newsletter. Here is some of what she shared about her own path in SCD:
"What Marcela told you is right. I started dancing as a child. I went to a kind of primary bilingual school where we used to have "Scottish Dancing" once a week. After 20 years, in 1993 on a visit to Scotland, I came across a group of people doing a SCD performance at the Gardens below the Edinburgh Castle. I joined the dance after the demonstration and it was like riding a bicycle. Since then I did not stop dancing and started to go to the Summer School in St Andrews. The funny thing is that the school I used to go to does not exist anymore. It was sold in the 80's and the new owners gave it another name. The only activity that was preserved from the old school is "Scottish Dancing" for children and I am the teacher! It would be nice if one day we can visit you. I saw the web page of your group. You have a lot of activities! Congratulations!"
|St. Patrick's Day Events
Following the Loaves and Fishes St. Patrick's Demo on the 16th: 11 enthusiastic dancers celebrated the 17th March at two Retirement Homes. Both Kamlu and Van Mall residents enjoyed a fun St. Patrick quiz interspersed with interesting, but easy, dances in a show and tell format. Two members of the Performance Team, John Shaw and Martin MacKenzie, gave the world premier performance of the (modified) Sword Dance.
The greenest punch I have ever seen was served at Kamlu; and Van Mall elegantly wined and dined us before we danced. Residents showed much enthusiasm by engaging in the quiz, hearty applause for the dancing, and even standing by the door to shake our hands with a "thank you" as we departed.
Judging by the follow-up emails we, the dancers, offer Geri Stuart a hearty Thank You for expert organization of the entire day!
|Tom Halpenny Completes Six Consecutive Days of Dance
From Tom's Facebook wall ...
It was fun to socially interact with a different group of dancers each day. I purchased a new shirt at the Monday Square Dance clothing sale for $5 and wore it to each day of dance. (Liza thought it would be reeking after a few days, but I checked each day.) I have been wearing a pedometer for two months, and last week averaged 12000 steps per day compared with typical 7500. Each Scottish Dance skip-change step-close-step-hop counts 4 steps!
Monday: Happy Hoppers Square Dance lesson Tuesday: 5th Tuesday Mixer Scottish Dance Wednesday: Scottish Dance class Vancouver Thursday: Scottish Dance class Battle Ground Friday: Scottish Dance class Stevenson Saturday: Happy Hoppers Anniversary Square Dance
|MacHoppers combine Scottish Dance and Square
The MacHoppers danced "Chopped Nuts and Chocolate Swirls", written by our own Van Meter Hord, during an intermission of a Square Dance lesson for the Happy Hoppers Square Dance club. The MacHoppers is the only group in the Portland-Vancouver area that dances both Scottish Dance and Square Dance. Dancers were Liza Halpenny, Tom Halpenny, Kate Prouty, Carol Williamson, Danny Williamson, Darrell Richardson, and Norma Rice.
Calendar of Events
|Generated Sunday May 01, 2011