The Ghillie Gazette

The July/August 2013 newsletter of the Portland Oregon Branch of the R.S.C.D.S.

Linda Giving Maurice a Gift

Linda Giving Maurice a Gift

President’s Message

by Linda Gertz

Summer is now with us. That means it is time for the Highland Games, Saturday July 20! Join in by:

  1. Helping with our club dancing from 9:00-10:00 a.m.
  2. Manning our table which provides information about all the different groups Vancouver way & in Oregon.

  3. Helping out the Vancouver club when they dance at 1:00, 2:00 & 3:00 p.m.

  4. Cheer on members from both of our clubs running The Kilted Mile!

Our club will be having a picnic on August 17 - so be expecting details on it. Our first wonderful idea didn’t work because the park lacked restroomsSad smile The second wonderful idea didn’t work because the park is being taken over by a collectors boat & car show! So when we come up with the third idea - it should be the charm! So save August 17 for our next great idea!

Our last class will be July 15. Then we won’t meet again until September 9th. Wishing you all a fun & adventurous summer, with many tales to tell when we rejoin in September!

Teacher’s Corner

by Debbie Mc Robert

This is the last Teacher’s Corner article for this dance year. Wow, has time flown! As I ponder what a teacher should be telling a class at the end of the dance year, several thoughts go through my head. Here are some of them.

  1. Keep in touch with the dancing community even though you are not coming to class.
    • Visit websites. Darrick has done a great job with our website ( On our website you will find links to other websites to visit. You can also visit RSCDS’s main website (

    • Watch dances on You Tube. If you search for Scottish Country Dancing you will have hundreds of choices to watch. If you find a dance that looks fun to do, email the name of the dance to one of the teachers. We can add it to our dance list.
  2. If you have something you want to share with the teachers, please do! We are always open to new ideas. Do you have a dance you want to try? Do you have a suggestion for the monthly parties? Do you have an idea to attract new dancers? Call or email us. We’d be happy to listen to what you have to say.
  3. Remember the fun and make plans to return to class in September. I also ask that you spread the word to others you think might enjoy dancing.
  4. I want to thank all of you for your contribution to our class. I especially want to thank you for being so welcoming to beginners. Each of you add so much to class with your smiles and cheery attitude. You are a great group of students. I hope to see all of you in September!

Maurice Baxter Retirement Party

by Linda Gertz

For those who weren’t there, you missed a nice party on June 3. The party was in honor of Maurice Baxter retiring from dancing. We all enjoyed special dances selected in Maurice and Rae’s honor and many, many yummy treats to keep us dancing! The club’s gift to Maurice & Rae was a Heirloom rose called “Country Dancer”. Maurice & Rae have been a wonderful part of our group and will be missed.

2013 Workshop and Ball

by Darrick Wong

In March of 2013, Portland hosted its 34th Annual Workshop and Ball, in Lake Oswego. This time around, the ball was held in a wonderfully spacious church with a gorgeous wood floor, which provided more than enough space for people to socialize, catch up with the faraway dancers, and most importantly, dance. People came from all around the area to attend our ball -- your author recognized people from Seattle, the High Desert/Bend area, and San Francisco.

The workshop was taught by Jim and Lea Maiolo of the Seattle branch. The musicians for the ball were Deby Grosjean of Aptos, CA and Lisa Scott from the local branch. The Maiolo’s were instrumental in helping people tighten up their technique, which made our ball program that much more fun to dance late into the night! Many thanks to our local teachers Don Gertz, Linda Mae Dennis, Richard Juzix for calling the dances, and especially to Linda Gertz and Debbie Mc Robert for putting everything together. If you went to the ball, we hope you had a good time, and we’ll see you all in 2014!

The Tartan and the Fiddle

by Holly Gibson

Every year whoever is lucky enough to chair the workshop and ball has many important decisions to make, one of which is the theme. They’ve ranged from Scottie dogs to flowers and each year the decorating team has done a wonderful job. This year, the theme was the fiddle and the tartan, specifically the Oregon State tartan. If you do a Google search of the words “tartan” and “Oregon state” you’re likely to have your eyes assaulted with graphics of blankets and scarves splashed with Oregon State University’s colors of orange and black. Fortunately, the State of Oregon tartan is a bit more subdued. Designed in 2002 by Robert Harding, the tartan was adopted in April 2003. Each color represents a certain region or aspect of the state: the dark blue (almost purple) is from the Oregon flag and also represents the ocean and the various rivers in the state, gold, also from the Oregon flag, is for the farming regions, the white stripe is for the snowy mountains, the light brown background represents the high desert and grassland areas, the lighter blue is for other bodies of water and the (sometimes) blue skies, and finally the black is for the obsidian buttes of Central Oregon. The only color that seems to be missing is green, for all the moss.

The history of the violin, or in our case the fiddle, is not nearly so cut and dried. The term “fiddle” itself is thought to come from the Irish “fidil,” but again, no one is sure of that. It actually required a trip to the library in order to find something semi-reliable about the history of the fiddle. According to An Encyclopedia of the Violin (and you should have seen the what-kind-of-a-music-nerd-is-this look the library clerk tried not to give me when I checked it out), among the predecessors of the violin are the crewth, rebec, and the viol. Their origins and how they arrived in the British Isles is now lost to us, although one theory is that these stringed instruments were brought back during the Crusades. There is a reference from 1490 in the accounts of King Charles VIII regarding a payment to Raymond Monnet, a rebec player, and in 1526 the rebec was listed as being in the state band of Henry VIII, along with 15 trumpets, three lutes, three taborets, a harp, two viols, four drums, a fife, and ten sackbuts. No mention is made of partridges and pear trees, but they’re notoriously difficult to tune, which most likely accounts for their absence.

As for when the fiddle first appeared in Scotland, more speculation ensues. One theory suggests a Scandinavian influence, but the general consensus is nobody knows for sure. However, what is distinctive to Scotland is the music that was played on the fiddle and how important that fiddle music became to society. There are reports of fiddles being played for both Mary Queen of Scots and James V, and the fiddle quickly became part of Scottish culture. The first collection of fiddle music indigenous to Scotland was published in 1757 and by the late 18th century, there was a vibrant tradition of fiddle music for all kinds of occasions, including dancing, which we are so fortunate to be part of all these centuries later.

Youth Weekend West 2013

by Darrick Wong

In early May, the Southwest Washington State RSCDS branch hosted the annual Youth Weekend West workshop, ceilidh, and ball in Vancouver, Washington. Youth Weekend was started about ten years ago to encourage intermixing of young dancers, typically between the ages of fifteen and thirty, between the various branches on the west coast of North America. This year, there were many participants from Seattle, Bellingham, both Vancouvers, Oregon, and California.

The weekend kicked off on Friday night with a welcome ceilidh. Chris Skagen, a longtime local piper and founder of a local pipe band, piped the dancers into our intimate dance studio. Cynthia Soohoo and Maggie Hannahs, our local musician/dancers, played lively tunes all evening for us to dance to. A great time was had by all, as we danced modern favorites such as The Reel of the Royal Scots and The Piper and the Penguin, and finished off the night with a bouncy polka! There was a fantastic energy in the air that night that will be remembered by all for years to come.

Saturday morning, there were instructional classes to help dancers learn new figures and to hone their technique. In the afternoon, various elective classes were offered, such as the Zombie Dance and folk dances of Normandy. After taking a break, everyone reconvened in the evening at the Southwest Washington branch’s annual dinner ball. It was a pleasure to mix young and old dancers on the floor, as the author observed more than a few of the young dancers sneaking in a few flourishes towards the end of the ball! Lisa Scott, Leslie Hirsch, and Linda Danielson helped us dance the night away to their wonderful music.

On Sunday, those who were capable of at least some hobbling joined in for an easygoing class. The dancers learned one of the author’s tricky strathspeys, and danced Unstoppable Kate as a tribute to Kathlleen Mintz, the main Youth Weekend West organizer. We organizers are grateful to Linda Mae Dennis and Lea Maiolo for teaching classes.

If you are a dancer who is young in spirit and enjoys energetic dances, please join us at next year’s Youth Weekend West! A venue has not yet been selected for next year, so please stay tuned to for details!

Update 7/16: Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. will host next year’s Youth Weekend West.

Upcoming Events

Here's a list of events coming up in the next ninety days. This calendar is kept up to date at

April 2019

Vancouver, Wash.
4/27 at 6:00pm

May 2019

Burlingame Water Tower, Portland, Ore.
5/11 at 7:30pm
Portland AGM
Burlingame Water Tower, Portland, Ore.
5/20 at 7:30pm

June 2019

Portland Class
Burlingame Water Tower, Portland, Ore.
6/3 at 7:30pm


If you want to vote in the Annual General Meeting (AGM), your membership must be renewed before the Meeting, which is the second Monday in May.

If your are not a current member, you can register here.

Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Portland Ore. Branch:
Membership Form 2018-2019

Membership Type:

Note for families: Join at the family rate only if there are two adults; a single adult should join at the single rate.

A “secondary” membership is for people who already have their RSCDS membership through another branch and want to become members of our branch. The “Ghillie Gazette Only” option is for people who have not yet decided to join the branch but would like to receive the newsletter.

Please make check payable to “RSCDS Portland OR Branch” and mail or give to Sally Palmer, 1425 SE Yukon St., Portland, OR 97202-5315 . We cannot process your membership request until we receive your check.

Is Scottish Country Dance fun?