The Scottish Country Dancer
Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Southwest Washington State Branch
Volume 39 #1
July/August 2022

Articles in This Issue


Editorial Notes

by the Newsletter Editor and Former Chair, John Shaw

Yes, the lazy days of Summer are upon us already. Note that we are not lazy, just so hot we don't feel like doing anything. Which is the excuse behind my apology for being so late with this issue of the newsletter. That's right: this issue is late for no less a reason than Global Warming.

In case you missed it, our branch has a new Chair and a new Secretary -- details are below in a nice summary of the AGM by the outgoing Secretary, Tom Halpenny. For my part, the past 5 years have been generally rewarding, though occassionally "interesting" (think pandemic). And the work of re-assembling our world of teaching (classes), enjoying (dances, workshops, road trips), and promoting (demos) Scottish Country Dancing is just starting. I look forward to helping any way I can.

As is typical with Summers, most area classes have gone into hibernation, as dancers and teachers break to travel, tend gardens, tend families, and build up an appetite for when dancing and classes begin again in the Fall, generally about the first or second week in September. However, one class is continuing through the Summer! Tom Halpenny has moved his Social Dancing Brief Only class from Columbia Dance Studios outside to the Gazebo on Officers' Row at Fort Vancouver. The time is the same: Tuesday's at 7:30pm, and the class is free to the first 50 people who attend. (Actually, I made that up. It's free to everyone.) Come on out and enjoy the evening with dancing friends.

Branch AGM 2022

by Tom Halpenny

Branch members met online on May 12, 2022 for the Annual General Meeting.

We can access the draft minutes of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Southwest Washington State Branch 2022 Annual General Meeting here:

Branch Officers for 2022-2023
Chair Theresa Ryan
Vice Chair Donna Belle
Secretary Kathlleen Mintz
Treasurer Paula Zellers

The Panel of Instructors appointed Liza Halpenny to serve in the Teachers' Representative role for 2022-2023.

We can view the Management Board history at

The Best Birthday Ever

by Holly Gibson

(This article is reprinted from the July/August 2015 issue of The Scottish Country Dancer. ~Ed.)

At some point in life, usually after age six, the best birthdays are those had by other people. After all, who wants to get older? After attending Nannette's Birthday Bash in Mt. Vernon on May 31, I can safely say that maybe it isn't so bad after all. Nannette Crowell, a dancer in the Skagit Valley/Redmond area was turning 60 in style. As a gift to the area teachers, dancers, and her friends, she and her husband decided to have a dance, complete with lunch, door prizes, and a professional photographer for all those group photo needs at no expense to the dancers. Free dancing, what could be more Scottish than that? The idea of dancing to the music of Calum MacKinnon, along with Guinevere Sanger on piano, two other fiddlers and a bass player, plus a very low-cost road trip with friends was too good a deal to pass up.

Last year flyers and emails went out to the various branches on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada inviting dancers to the ball. Very general plans were made amongst area dancers early on and then before we knew it, it was May and time to actually figure out what we were doing. As it turned out, John and Susan Shaw and Linda Mae Dennis and I drove up on Saturday, stayed with some very nice friends of the Shaw's, and then drove in to Mt. Vernon the next morning, squeezing 45 minutes worth of travel into three hours by taking a side trip to Snoqualmie Falls and the charming towns of Carnation and Duvall. Darrick Wong also made the trek north so that the Portland and SW Washington branches were well represented.

The dance was held in a gym at a local school, but it was amazing how a few well placed balloons and cheery colors transformed a plain venue into a ballroom. Lunch was served first, and I learned that vegetarian cutlets can taste very good indeed when smothered in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. After some time for chit chat, it was time to dance. The program included favorites such as The Compleat Gardner, Best Set in the Hall, The Belle of Bon Accord, The Australian Ladies, and approximately 12 others. After about eight dances it was time for dessert. Apparently Nannette is well known for her trifle and I must say the reputation is well deserved. Some of us, who shall remain unnamed, even had seconds.

Unfortunately for those of us who were driving back home that evening, it was getting late and instead of our coach turning into a pumpkin at midnight it was more like 5:00 p.m. We changed out of our finery, although I changed faster than the others and miraculously found myself in a set for The Diamond Jubilee. I'm still not sure how that happened. I thought about somehow finding myself in a set for the next dance but thought better of it and we headed out. Soon, or so it seemed to those not driving, we were in familiar territory and it was back to real life. However, if real life includes fun moments like these, it really isn't so bad after all.

Wicked Willie

by Pat Blatt

(This bit of fun is reprinted from the July/August 2006 issue of The Scottish Country Dancer. ~Ed.)

    It was with Wicked Willie this woeful tale began
    When Willie trod the Winding Road with willful Bonnie Anne,
    Her size increased considerably, not due to Sugar Candie
    And she hastened to the Wedding with Drops of Brandy handy.
    But Willie found a New Rigged Ship, and he became a Sailor
    And voyaged to the Isle of Skye aboard a Dundee Whaler,
    And there he met a Highland Lass and made a pass at Nancy
    But Nancy Frowned and Willie found he wasn't Ladies' Fancy.
    Then Willie made suggestions to The Laird of Milton's Daughter
    And she, poor girl, fell in to doing what she didn't oughter.
    The years went by and Willie met a Yellow Haired young Laddie,
    A Happy Meeting, for he cried, "The Dueks Dang O'er My Daddie!"
    But Willie couldn't stand the thought of being someone's father,
    So he packed up his bags in haste and said Farewell to Auchterarder.
    He turned up at St. Andrew's Fair, there to Salute Miss Milligan,
    Who turned and cast him, by the right, straight in the nearest Swilcan!

There are 21 dance titles (some amended slightly) in this poem. [From the Edinburgh Branch Newsletter, winter 2005-6]

Calendar of Events

August 6: SWWS Summer Picnic!
We're having a summer get-together! It will be at Fort Vancouver Park, across the road from Pearson Air Museum. It will be a potluck -- bring a dish to share, your own tableware, and soft drink or water. There will be games and dancing on the grass.

There will be a flyer soon.

We hope to see you there!
September 3: Performance at Ridgefield Multiculture Festival
In downtown Ridgefield, outdoors at Overlook Park. The theme this year is "Dance!", with dancing from all corners of the globe (including the upper right-hand corner, Scotland!) There will be Scottish Country Dancing at around 2:30.
September 9: SWWS Friday Classes Begin
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 N Broadway, Vancouver, WA. 7:30 pm.
October 22: SWWS Fall Dance
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver, WA. 7:30 pm.
Lisa Scott (piano)
Betsy Branch (fiddle)

Save the date! More details will be posted as they emerge.

Please send me your last pair of shoes, worn out with dancing as you mentioned in your letter,
so that I might have something to press against my heart.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  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 RSCDS Southwest Washington State Branch, 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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