The Scottish Country Dancer
Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Southwest Washington State Branch
Volume 33 #1
July/August 2016

Articles in This Issue


From The Chair

by Linda Mae Dennis

Greetings fellow dancers! Summer is here, and classes have come to an end for the season. It’s time to travel, allow those nagging injuries to heal, while still staying in shape, and do something different for a couple of months as we prepare mentally for another dance year. Personally, I will be drumming, drum majoring, and gardening, and hope we have many stories to share with each other when next we meet.

If you missed Layne’s end of season party, it was a wonderful event. The day was perfect if not a little too sunny, the food was great, and the company even better. It was a lovely relaxing time to chat with good friends.

If you haven’t signed up to be a part of the Scottish Country Dancer presence at the Portland Highland Games yet, we would love to have you. It is important for Scottish Country dancers to be represented at this event, as it attracts people who like Scottish stuff. It is also the only thing at the games that people can participate in (except for the children’s games which most of us are too old for, and the kilted mile, which most of us, well, … I still cherish my medal for coming in last). Martin is coordinating the dancers, so please contact him if you have questions, concerns, or just to sign up.

The first item on the agenda for the fall is the Fifth Tuesday Mixer on August 30th. We’ll meet all the teachers, and perhaps, if everyone makes an effort to bring someone to try it out, we’ll meet a lot of new friends as well.

Stay well, 
Stay strong, 
See you in the Fall if not before,
Linda Mae

Branch 2015-2016 AGM

by Tom Halpenny

We can access the minutes of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Southwest Washington State Branch 2015-2016 Annual General Meeting here: http:,

The 2016-2017 slate of elected officers is:

Chair - Linda Mae Dennis
Vice Chair - Cynthia Soohoo
Secretary - Theresa Ryan
Treasurer - Susan Shaw

The Panel of Instructors has appointed Liza Halpenny to serve in the Teachers' Representative role for 2016-2017.

Dance Books Available

by Marge Van Nus


I have taken back the Bookstore/Library, listed below are books for sale/donation to the SWWA Branch:

Pillings diagrams, 7th Edition.

RSCDS Pocket Books; 1-2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8-9, 10-11-12, 13-14-15, 16-17-18, 19-20-21, 22 & graded, 5 for 1965-23-24, 28-4 for 1978-29, 30-CD for Children-31, 32-Leaflets (22 of them), 33-34-35, 36-37-38, 39-40-41, 42-43-44-45, index for Bks 1-29-Graded bk.-5 for 1965-4 for 1978-Miss Milligan's Misc. Vols. 1 & 2. and Full size copies of MMM Vols. 1 & 2 -- no music.

RSCDS Books (full size) with music; Books 33, 34, 37, 38, 39, 75th Anniversary with leaflet 33; Bks 40, 43

Non RSCDS Books; (local) A Feast of Dances, Just Desserts, An International Language.

Marie Boehmer's "Cameo Collection" Bks. 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9

Email or phone your interest at or 360-892-4366. There is only one copy for many, but for a few there are multiple copies.


Branch Membership Time

by Liza Halpenny

Hello, fellow Scottish Country Dance enthusiasts! Hasn't this just been a great year of dancing? I myself have deeply enjoyed spending time with all of you, on and off the dance floor.

Our Scottish Country Dance group has been providing dance opportunities in Vancouver and the surrounding area since the 1980s. The Branch is made up of all of us, doing our part to enjoy and share this super fun form of group romp.

You are invited to join the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society – Southwest Washington State Branch. There are three levels of membership:

• Branch Member - includes RSCDS membership, card, magazine, voting privileges, and eligibility for office; 
  Branch voting privileges and eligibility for office; Branch newsletter
• Secondary Member (for those who are an RSCDS member through another branch) - includes Branch 
  voting privileges and eligibility for office; Branch newsletter
• Affiliate - includes Branch newsletter and notification of Branch activities

RSCDS is the world-wide organization that preserves and fosters Scottish Country Dance, trains teachers and musicians, and provides many resources including dance books and music. To learn more about the benefits of joining the Royal Scottish Dance Society, visit https:,

To learn about Southwest Washington State Branch membership, and to join, go to
http:, Here you can find a membership form to print out and mail
or you can pay online using PayPal.

A Wee Bit o' Scottish Gaelic

by Martin MacKenzie

Tha an sgeulachd an seo, Here's a story for you,

Do you know that there were large Gàidhlig speaking communities here in the United States? Did you know that Flora MacDonald of the Skye Boat song and Bonnie Prince Charlie fame lived for a time in North Carolina in Anson county with her husband Allan who was a tackman for the chief of Clanranald?

Many Highland Scots settled in the Cape Fear area and in what is now called Fayetteville, North Carolina in response to the pressures of what was called Am Fuasgladh nan Gaidheal or The Highland Clearances. Gàidhlig became so entrenched there that it was a requirement for people who wanted to work in the postal system to be fluent in Gàidhlig. I watched a BBC program by a Gàidhlig speaking presenter who described a courtroom exchange where the case hinged on the skill of the prosecuting attorney to make his case in good, i.e. grammatically correct and dare I say, poetic Gàidhlig. Also, African slaves, sadly owned by many of these Highland settlers only knew Gàidhlig besides their birth languages. Many descendants of these original slaves still living there have Highland surnames as well, of course, as the descendents of their masters. The descendants of these settlers and those that remained in America after the Revolutionary and Civil Wars bear their heritage and history proudly to this day.

Ok ma tha, Ok then, Let's explore a little bit more Gàidhlig. Here is a bit of vocabulary to build that learning around.

Tha meaning is, are, am, a verb Pronounced a bit like "hah" but a bit less forcefully. mi, I, a personal pronoun Pronounced rather like the English me. toilichte, happy, an adjective. A little bit more difficult. Pronounced something like "tallikcha."

The structure of a basic English sentence is subject, verb, then the object. However the basic Gàidhlig sentence goes verb, subject, object, and extensions of the verb or adverbs.

Here is a parallel English Gàidhlig example:

English: I am happy. Gàidhlig: Tha mi toilichte.

Here are a couple of new words we will add to this basic sentence to give it some structure and a bit more meaning.

le, with, a prepositional pronoun. Pronounced like "lay." dannsadh, dancing, a masculine noun. This is pronounced something like "downsugh." a bhith, to be, a verbal phrase of intent. Pronounced like "a vee."

Here is the parallel example with the new words added.

English: I am happy to be dancing. Gàidhlig: Tha mi toilichte a bhith a' dannsadh.

Well, until next time I'll leave everyone with a bit of a mystery. Nuair a rinn Dia ùine, Rinn E gu leòir.

As I observe that the writer never gave the solution to the ministry, this editor will here. Nuair a rinn Dia ùine, Rinn E gu leòir is a wee gnàthas-cainnte or idiomatic phrase. It literally means, "When God made time, He made enough." The idiomatic meaning is, "It is unnecessary to be in a big hurry."

Spring Fling at PDX

by Tom Halpenny

A wee event from the past this editor remembers well.

A group of Scottish Country Dancers performed at the Portland International Airport on April 13 and April 20 2003, as part of the "Spring Fling" series of European entertainment to celebrate the new Lufthansa German Airlines nonstop air service to Frankfurt.


The dancers, Marge and Fred van Nus, Geri and Robert and Duncan and Alasdair Stuart, Liza and Tom Halpenny, Van Meter Hord, Martin MacKenzie, and Raminta Soden, performed for two hours each day. Passing travelers stopped to watch a dance and then continued on their way, to be replaced with a new audience for the next dance.

In addition to audience participation by some of the travelers, the Scottish Country Dancers were joined by some members of a group of Norwegian Dancers who were performing at the same time. These dancers wore colorful costumes and were all very tall! Also performing was a rhythmic Yiddish band. The Lithuanian Dancers had performed there a couple of weeks earlier.

Fran and Herb Petschek joined the group for some dances before catching a flight home to Ashland, after having attended the "Garden Party" Spring Dance the previous evening.

The dance team celebrated their camaraderie each day with a complimentary ice cream treat in the airport food court.

A Blurb From Marge

by Marge Van Nus

One of our fellow dancers and teachers has been 'dancing' across the seas in Europe. ~ The Editor

Joining fellow cruisers in Rome, we sailed on a "Christening Voyage" of a new ship. After stops in Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, and France we arrived in the Netherlands. While in Rotterdam, Queen Maxima (of the Netherlands) named the new ship in a well choreographed champagne ceremony. Then we all signed a wall, to be a permanent part of the ship. The cruise finished in Amsterdam. However, I added another week sailing from Amsterdam to ports in Norway during which the Robert Stuart family joined me in a mini family reunion of cruising that last week.

Spring Fling 2016 Videos

by Tom Halpenny

RSCDS HQ has created two videos related to the Spring Fling 2016 event in order to inspire the public youth audience to take up Scottish country dance. International youth dancers talk about the value of Scottish dance and the friendliness of fellow dancers. German TV has also produced a Euromaxx program to learn the basics of Scottish dance and attend the Spring Fling. The Spring Fling 2016 videos give inexperienced viewers a taste of what it's like to Scottish country dance, and the videos communicate beneficial feelings.

RSCDS Spring Fling 2016 in Edinburgh brought together young people who are the future of RSCDS.

Spring Fling: Interviews explain why they Scottish dance and the value of the Spring Fling youth event.

Euromaxx host Maria Grunwald profiled Scottish dance with a lesson and attended Spring Fling 2016.

We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive... and part of the living, incarnate cosmos. ~ D.H. Lawrence

The Plan of Nan and Fran

by Sally Palmer

One day Fran said to Nan
‘Can I stay with you tonight?
I think I’d feel better
If I kept you in my sight.'
Then Nan said to Fran
‘That’ll be just fine, 
I’ll go pack your stuff, 
And then we can dine’
So Nan fetched Fran’s PJs
And litter and food,
And cleaned out her old box
In a jolly good mood.
And Fran slept all night
Next to Nan on the bed, 
And when they woke up, 
They both sat up and said,
‘Sleepovers are fun!
We like them a lot!
We’ll do this again
And again - why not?!!!'

RSCDS Management Board Trustee

by Tom Halpenny

RSCDS HQ is wondering why it is unable to interest many of its 12,000 members to serve on the Management Board. There is also insufficient interest to fully staff the management committees: education & training, membership services, and youth services. Four MB members came off the committee last year with only a single new member joining this year for an “elected” three-year term. The MB has the right to co-opt members with the desirable skills; the chairman has co-opted one person for the second consecutive year, for a one-year term. This year one MB member will come off, so there will be five open positions, as stated in the nomination form. The top three vote-getters will be elected to a three-year term, and the next two highest vote-getters will be elected to a two-year term. Assuming the recent trend continues, no more than three members will be nominated so all will automatically be “elected”. Anselm Lingnau, Germany, and I are the only MB members from outside UK. So the interests of North America branches are represented only my me! That’s pretty whacky.

There are six meetings per year: November, January (training), February, May, June, October. I have been attending the January and June meetings in person with travel expenses paid by RSCDS and attend other meetings remotely in the middle of the night. I am serving the second year of a three-year term.

The makeup of the Management Board is:

Chairman Elect
Treasurer (appointed)
Convenor Education & Training Committee
Convenor Membership Services Committee
Convenor Youth Services Committee
Ordinary Members (up to 9) (I am one of these)
Executive Officer (non-voting)

Calendar of Events

Sep 9-11: Fort Worden Weekend Workshop and Ball
The Seattle Branch will be hosting their 42nd annual
Fort Worden Scottish Country Dance weekend.
This year, they are also offering an optional music
workshop on Friday, September 9 from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm.
For more information, including registration, check their website at
Oct 28-30: Asilomar Weekend
A magical weekend of Scottish Country Dancing at Asilomar, located on the shore of the beautiful
Monterey Peninsula (120 miles south of San Francisco). See their website for more information,
including registration details:
  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.

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