The Scottish Country Dancer
Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Southwest Washington State Branch
Volume 32 #2
September/October 2015

Articles in This Issue


A Greenhorn's Perspective of TAC Summer School

by Eunice MacKenzie

How did you spend your summer? I spent part of mine in Farmville! No… not the Facebook game. :-) There's actually a town called Farmville in Virginia, U.S.A., believe it or not. Apparently, it was big on growing tobacco in its early days—but I won't go into that right now. I also happen to know there's a perfectly good explanation for why there is a university in Farmville, Virginia, population 8216, (saaaaalllutte!) but I won't expound upon that, either. Suffice to say, TAC (Teachers Association of Canada) discovered Longwood University and decided it would be a good location for 2015 Summer School!

Most readers of this article know that TAC Summer School is not about bookwork; rather, it is about footwork—and fun for the avid Scottish Country dancer. I was first exposed to TAC three years ago when they came to Portland State University, and I was among the locals asked to "stooge" for the prospective teachers. We were given to understand that we were to be honest in our dancing abilities to provide the most realistic teaching possibilities for the candidates. That actually took some pressure off of me, as I still had a lot to learn back then.

Hmm, did I say, "back then"? Oh well. :-) The following year, several of our local dancers, including my husband, Martin, decided to go to Summer School at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, in the maritimes provinces of Canada. They had such a good time, and I have made a wee bit of progress since then and upon earlier this year I received an email promoting TAC in Virginia, I was inclined to make a go of it. Martin was not averse to tackling TAC again, so come July 26, we found ourselves on a shuttle from Richmond airport with other students, bumping our way to Longwood University. Little did we know that one of the "students"was actually Etienne Ozorak, one of our accordion musicians! We also discovered later, that he and his wife, Cheri, are amazing ballroom dancers!

Between the dearth of sleep we owned, and a missing garment bag we apparently didn't own, I was kind of "shell-shocked", but Gail Michener, Sandy Gallamore, and Fiona Miller among others, were on hand to welcome us.

It was enjoyable and fascinating meeting fellow students. As Martin said to me, "Attending TAC is like traveling all over the world without actually going." There were people from United States, England, Scotland, Canada, Australia, France and Switzerland, for starters! There were so many diverse accents being used that on more than one occasion I couldn't resist rolling my "r"s. One day, I was the gleeful recipient of a ride from Curry Hall to the Dining Hall. Dave "Mr. Fiona" (married to Fiona Miller, Summer School Director), who was our "Jeeves", driving the university-provided golf cart around heard me trolling, and asked where I was from. "Orrregon", I replied.

The morning classes were personalized by dancing preferences and abilities and identified by local trees: Sassafras (Advanced), Mulberry (Social), Hickory (Intermediate) and Tupelo. Martin was not a suffering Sassafras. Some of you know that Martin dealt for over a year with plantar fasciitis, and he more than half-expected to "feel the pain" with the rigorous course, but apparently he is healed!! I really enjoyed being a Mulberry. People were so friendly, complimentary and patient with me. We were taught social aspects of dancing, especially from the waist up; most of the students had various physical challenges that kept them from being able to do the fancy footwork. Be sure to smile, look like you are enjoying yourself! It was also fun having Marge van Nus in my class! The teachers were Rebecca Blackhall-Peters, Langley, BC; Terry Harvey Newton Square, PA, USA; Robert McOwen, Arlington, MA, USA; Sue Porter Oban, Scotland, UK. They all traded off teaching the different levels. Here is a link to the dances taught to each group:

It was a treat having live music for the classes every day! Speaking of musicians, we had some wonderful, talented performers: Kathy Fraser-Collins, Glen Andrew, ON, Canada, music director and keyboard; Neil Barron Wetherby, West Yorkshire, England, UK on accordion; Fred Collins on the drums, Glen Andrew, ON, Canada; Judi Nicolson, Katy, TX, USA on fiddle; Etienne Ozorak Sacramento, CA, USA on accordion; Don Wood, Aurora, ON, Canada on keyboards. The music was incredible!

The afternoons provided opportunities to learn different dance genres and techniques, but I decided I would benefit most from the dance/ball walkthrough classes. Martin, being the nice guy he is, attended with me. One of the teachers for the walk-through classes will be known by the long-term dancers from the Portland, OR Branch: Lin (aka Linda) Pettengill. She earned her teaching certificate as a Portland member. Sadly (for us), right after she got certified, her husband got a job and they moved to California; some of you may know her from Asilomar.

Wednesday had no regular classes because it was field trip day! Some either went hiking on the High Bridge Trail nearby or toured Monticello, the famous home of Thomas Jefferson. There were dances almost every night, Sunday through Tuesday. Thursday, Wednesday and Friday evenings had ceilidhs. Saturday had the banquet and Ball! There were after parties (almost?) every night on the first floor of Curry Hall. Some after parties were mostly chatting and enjoying food and drink; others consisted of people getting their second (or third) wind! Sometimes the musician's music inspired a lot of creative moves and dancing! What tune was it that Sue Porter kept dancing the "Macarena" moves to? I was frankly amazed at the energy displayed/demonstrated by people after long days of combined dancing and humidity. (To be fair, there were some that would find soothing relief at one of the water fountains on the way "home" after a dance. Daily (or nightly), Martin verbally counted the bathers: 4,4,4,5,6,18! After the Ball, there were people who actually swam in it!)

I have likely "jacked" too much space, but there was so much to say! I was amazed at the noisy cicadas, which I originally thought were automatic sprinklers. :-) The tree frogs were abundantly ever present. And, we actually spied some fireflies! I must share appreciation for the friendliness and conviviality of the Longwood staff! I also want to publicly thank student Maria Ward for her kindness in using her car and time to take Martin and me shopping so we could avoid the humidity and find some clothing suitable for the Ball!

In closing, I would like it to be known that attending TAC Summer School is a fun, valuable and worthwhile experience!

(As husband to the writer of this article, I want to express a sincere thank you to everyone who treated Eunice and I with such kindness at TAC Summer School! For those who might be considering this another year but are unsure, know that at whatever level you are you will learn something and have a wonderful experience immersing yourself in Scottish dance and culture. ~ The Editor)

Scottish Dance Archive

by Tom Halpenny

RSCDS has introduced its online archive of digital images. The content of archive documents has been catalogued, and many documents of interest have been scanned and can be downloaded. I spent a day downloading large pdf files so I could more easily read them. We can visit the website.

Readers can time-travel back to the beginning of the Society. For example, The Scottish Country Dance Society was founded in 1923 and began publishing a twice-annual Bulletin in 1932, and changed to a brief once-annual Bulletin in 1940 with the beginning of World War II's rationing of paper. The Bulletin resumed its larger content in 1946 with continued annual frequency. The 1952 Bulletin carried the title "Royal Scottish Country Dance Society" for the first time. The final edition number 82 was published in 2004. The Society began publishing a twice-annual magazine that has continued. We can access the magazine editions from the RSCDS website.

RSCDS has also published a fascinating video interview of the Society's first archivist and most recent president, Alastair MacFadyen, who answers 20 questions. He covers the Society's archive topic at time 25:28. Alastair observed, "An archive is the essence of a nation's heritage. The same applies to an organization like the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society."

The RSCDS Southwest Washington State Branch has its own history, going back over 30 years with the Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers. We can access the complete collection of newsletters online.

The Branch history lies with the dancers, teachers, musicians, and organizers. I read the newsletters and consulted my notes, and compiled a list of over 200 names, in approximate chronological order, who have influenced the Branch history with friendship and fun dance activities. I plan to update the list with future names. Please contact me if your name is absent and you would like to be added.

Fair Enough

by Tom Halpenny

The well rehearsed dance team entertained the audience during the August 9, 2015 Clark County Fair SCD performance, starring dancers Susan and John Shaw, Lanette Pinard, Marge van Nus, Holly Gibson, Martin MacKenzie, Liza and Tom Halpenny, fiddler Maggie Hannahs, and piper David Stredwick.

David piped the dancers through the audience and onto the stage for the opening dance titled "Fair Enough", devised by emcee Liza and first performed in the 2014 show. (We can look forward to the dance in the upcoming Fall Dance program.) Maggie played a fiddle solo and then accompanied dancers for "The Cupar Jig".
David took the stage for a bagpipe solo, always an audience favorite. Dancers performed six dances and assisted with audience participation in two sets.

Due to the warm summer temperature, the group used the air-conditioned Event Center building lobby for their pre-performace dance practice. A Dixieland Jazz band was performing in the space, so the dancers enjoyed walking the dances to the music. Here is what "The Reel of the Royal Scots" sounds like.

The Scottish dancers have publicly performed at the Clark County Fair annually since 2002. The group danced the first year on the other more intimate stage, on two different days with different programs. The hypnotist preceded and followed the dance performance, and Van Meter Hord imagined, "Just have the hypnotist suggest to the people to join our group. We'll be overflowing with members!" Along the way, the dance performance was promoted to the main community stage near the food court and carnival rides, with larger audiences. The shows have had variety and often featured a piper and musicians playing for the dancing, and the kilt talk.

We can visit the Facebook page photo album at

Scottish Dance Summer Picnic

by Tom Halpenny

Scottish dancers came to the annual summer picnic July 12 at Fairgrounds Community Park. We ate and socialized, danced together, and returned home for a nap. The sunny weather was an improvement over the 2014 picnic with lightning. Lisa Scott led the dancing that began on the grass and moved into the shelter between the picnic tables in order to escape the bright sunlight. The beautiful Branch banner was flying, recalling its debut at the 2013 summer picnic.

(Pied) pipers Patrick Hogan and Sydney Thomson gathered just up the hill from the picnic shelter and practiced their piping skills. About fifteen children ran to investigate, as the music wafted across the park.

Don Morrison brought granddaughter Genevieve and her boyfriend Trinidad, who are both dancers. Don reminded us that Genevieve had danced with us when she was nine years old. Trinidad enjoyed his introduction to Scottish dance.

I arrived early at 7:00am in order to claim the shelter for the picnic that began at noon. The hours passed quickly as I secured the table cloths from the breeze with thumb tacks, finished three sudoku puzzles, practiced bocce ball, and picked up rubbish around the shelter.

We can visit the Facebook page photo album at

Calendar of Events

September 1: Scottish Back-to-Dance Blast
Please join us for an introductory evening featuring easy dances
and instruction in Scottish Country Dancing
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway in uptown Vancouver, at 7:30pm.
$3 per dancer or FREE for first-time dancers.
Bring your Friends, Family, and Cohorts for an evening of Fun.
Soft-soled shoes are recommended.
Questions: email or contact by phone at 360-609-0623.
This is a great time to bring friends to try it out, shake off the cobwebs, greet old friends and meet new ones, and gear up for the fall dancing season.
September 2: Marshall Community Center
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver, WA
Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation 360-487-7100
Scottish Country Dance for Everyone, Wednesday 7:30-9:00pm, Elm Room, 8 wks, starts 9/2, $42 (or $6 drop-in fee)
Email or contact by phone at 360-834-3757
Starting September 8, 15, and 18: Columbia Dance Center
Classics and Beyond, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00 p.m., starts 9/15, $5 at the door
Class may sometimes be preempted, watch for emails.

Dance through RSCDS Book 49 - Plus, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00 p.m., starts 9/8, $5 at the door
Email or contact by phone at 360-892-4366

Scottish Country Dance, Social class for all levels., Most Fridays 7:30-9:00 pm, starts 9/18, $5 at the door
Most Fridays, email first.
September 11-13: 41st Annual Ft. Worden Dance Workshop
Fort Worden State Park on the Olympic Peninsula
Musicians: Calum MacKinnon (fiddle); Deby Grosjean (fiddle);
Ralph Gordon (bass); Andy Imbrie (piano)

Teachers: Rebecca Blackhall-Peters (British Columbia); Sandy Gallamore (Virginia);
Patricia Houghton (Scotland); Gordon Robinson (British Columbia)

Watch for your Fort Worden application in the mail in April or check the Seattle RSCDS website at for a downloadable application.
September 24: Clark County Family YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver, WA
Scottish Country Dance for Everyone, Thursday 7:30-9:00 p.m., starts 9/24, $5 at the door
Email or contact by phone at 360-798-3388
No registration required.
October 3: 19th Annual High Desert Workshop and Ball, in Redmond, OR
Scottish Country Dance Through the Ages

The annual workshop and ball hosted by the High Desert Celtic Dancers
will be held at The Redmond Grange at the corner of 7th St. and Kalama St., in Redmond, Oregon.
Workshops: Morning and Afternoon day of the Ball and beginning registration at 9:00 AM.

A short ball review for requested dances following the workshop.

The Ball begins at 7:30 PM with the Grand March.

Guest Teacher: Chuck Ryer of Eugene, Oregon.
Music provided by: A Scottish Heart.
For registration forms and more information, contact Susie at (541) 549-7311 or email at , or visit the website at

The Program:
Welcome Ye Back, Chuck Round the room Jig
Maxwell's Rant Reel, 8X32
The Machine Without Horses Jig, 8X32
Delvine Side Strathspey, 8X32
The Montgomeries' Rant Reel, 8x32
Waverley Jig, 8X48
Mrs. MacLeod Reel, 8X32
Culla Bay Strathspey, 4X32
Pelorus Jack Jig, 8X32
The Gentleman Strathspey, 8X32
The Clansman Reel, 8X32
EH2 7AF Jig, 8X32
The Saltire Strathspey Strathspey, 4X32
The Sailor's Wedding Knot Strathspey, 3X32
The Reel of the 51st Division Reel, 8X32
October 17: Harvest Ball
Hosted by the Eugene Branch of the Heather and the Rose Country Dancers

1:30-4:30 pm - Ball Review Workshop
7:30 pm - Eugene Country Dancers English & Scottish Country Dance Ball

Veterans' Memorial Hall, 16th and Willamette, Eugene OR

Julia Heydon (fiddle, guitar, recorders), Doug Heydon (guitar), Amey Herman (fiddle), Beau Eastlund (percussion)

Please email
More information is available at

Ball Program:
Tricks for Treats
Puck’s Deceit
Tarry Awhile
Hambleton’s Round O
Cuillins of Skye
Waters of Holland
Miss Nora Kindness
The Play’s the Thing
Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot
Major Ian Stewart
Pony Express
Mile of Smiles
The Clansman
Orange Nan
Mount Hills
Astoria Lass
Closing Waltz
October 24: Fall Dance
Musicians: Guinevere Saenger, piano; Maggie Hannahs, fiddle
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway in uptown Vancouver, at 7:30pm.

The Program:
Gay Gordon's Mixer 
Lady Catherine Bruce's Reel J RSCDS Graded Book
The Birks of Invermay S Book 16
Catch the Wind R Book 45
Fair Enough J Unpublished
New Abbey S Goldring, Graded and Social Dances 2
Thornycroft R Goldring, Graded and Social Dances 2
Mrs Stewart's Jig J Book 35
The Enchanted Garden S World Around the Corner
The Barmkin R Goldring, 24 Graded and Social Dances
Blue Bonnets J Book 3
Delvine Side S Book 2
The Reel of the Royal Scots R RSCDS leaflet
Oslo Waltz 
  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:  
  Martin MacKenzie
  10701 SE Hwy 212 C-7
  Clackamas, OR 97015
  By email:  
  The Scottish Country Dancer is a bi-monthly publication of the RSCDS Southwest Washington State Branch, a non-profit educational organization. For changes of address, please contact Martin MacKenzie, 10701 SE Hwy 212 C-7 Clackamas, OR 97015, . 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 Tuesday September 01, 2015