The Ghillie Gazette

The July/August 2015 newsletter of the Portland Oregon Branch of the R.S.C.D.S.

February Dance Party

February Dance Party

From The President

by Martin Mac​Kenzie

As the heat of summer builds, we’re heading into our summer pattern of general dancing during our classes and looking ahead to the more lazy days after the Portland Highland Games coming July 18th. Concerning the Highland Games, we will be joining the Southwest Washington Branch in a Ceilidh dance to expose the greater public to our dancing and build their interest to coming and joining us in the fall for classes. We will enjoy live music from Judi Nicholson and Lisa Scott, and Marge McLeod van Nus will be teaching us. I encourage anyone reading this missive to help guide and encourage the more inexperienced dancers. Before the Portland Highland Games, the Southwest Washington Branch will hold their annual Sumptuous Summer Picnic on Sunday, July 12 @ noon. Y’all come, eat, hike, dance, and socialize, y’ hear!

Teacher’s Corner

by Debbie Mc​Robert

The end of the dancing year is just a few classes away. I want thank all of you who attend class. I particularly want to thank you for the big and little things you do in class that help make it an enjoyable experience for all.

Here are just a few that I’ve observed:

  • You are willing to get up and dance to fill a set. I can see the look on your face. You were hoping to sit one out. But you come in to the set to dance another dance.
  • Intermediate dancers who make sure the beginners are up and dancing. It brings joy to my heart to see all of you searching for the beginners, making sure they are dancing. I’ve also seen dancers willing to give their spot to a beginner who is sitting out because they do not have a partner.
  • I appreciate the beginners and their desire to learn more. I see them watching the other dancers and picking up on the patterns and footwork. I love to see the desire to learn.
  • I appreciate the questions and comments about the dance, both during teaching and after we have danced the dance. They show me you have an interest in the dance. They also help to pick up on something I forgot to go over in the teaching of the dance or something I taught incorrectly. (Yes, it does happened.)
  • Thanking the teacher and the end of class. I know this may not make the class more enjoyable but it does make for a happy teacher. It is so nice to have dancers from class show their appreciation for the time we put in to create the lesson we teach. Even the applause at the end of class makes me feel good about the class.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I look forward to dancing again in September.

Dance Around the World

by Linda Mae Dennis

Many of you know Rebecca and Kathlleen Mintz, dancers off and on in the Vancouver/Portland area for several years. Rebecca was the instigator and main teacher for the now infamous 5th Tuesday Mixers in Vancouver, infusing the whole with her contagious energy and excitement. Kathlleen was one of the organizers of Youth Weekend West in Vancouver, WA when it was here in 2012, and of course we have all enjoyed dancing and socializing with them on many occasions.

They were having trouble finding meaningful work here, and so opted to teach English abroad. As they were both working in northwest Spain starting in the fall of 2014, Patrick and I determined to go to visit them while they were there. There’s nothing better than a local guide in a foreign country.


Dates were generally agreed upon, and then actual planning began. One of the first issues we ran into was direct flights to Spain. It wasn’t happening. We found a direct flight to Dublin, Ireland and a direct flight from Dublin to Santiago, Spain. We had never been to Dublin, so decided it would be a good idea to spend a day or two there – I mean, we were going to be there anyway! I poked around on the internet and found contact information for the Dublin Branch of the RSCDS. I also found out that their usual classes are on Thursdays, and we would be there on Tuesday and Wednesday. I emailed them anyway and asked if they had any recommendations for things to see and do in Dublin, as we would miss being able to dance with them. Within a couple of days, we had a reply that the teachers had put their heads together and decided “foreign visitors” was a great reason to have a social dance, that they had a hall available, live music lined up, would I like to teach a couple of dances, and would we like to see Trinity College and the Book of the Kells?

All of that turned out great! After an afternoon and evening of adjusting to the time difference, and a day of sight-seeing we met up with Helen Mc​Ginley at Trinity College, where she toured us around, got us in to see the Book of the Kells exhibit for free, showed us where she worked upstairs in the stacks, had a dinner with us, and took us to the church where we were to dance. One hiccup – the table tennis group was unaware that the dancers had booked the big hall, and were using it until 9:00pm, so we danced in a smaller room for the first part of the evening. They had a great turnout – 9 couples instead of their usual 3, and we all had a great time. Helen wrote about it in her blog:

Patrick and Twin Mintz

Next morning we were off to Spain, and Rebecca was there waiting for us at the airport and helped us through the process of getting a car, and finding our hotel. Kathlleen was completing her last exam and met up with us later, after we had had a tour of Santiago, saw the cathedral and lots of pilgrims – even some bagpipe music by some street musicians.

The plan was to make our way across northern Spain by car, seeing what Spain was all about and arriving in Barcelona in time to dance with the Barcelona Branch on Tuesday. Unfortunately, their teacher has been ill and there has been no Scottish Country Dancing in Barcelona for several months, so that didn’t pan out. However, we did have a great road trip with the twins, which if you’re interested, you can read about in the blog: . Or you can ask them about it directly, as they will be back for the summer at least.

We did not dance in Spain. We did see some awesome sights, beautiful countryside, and got to know our travelling companions even better than we did before. We went our separate ways on Wednesday morning.

Also during the planning stages, I had contacted Marilyn Watson, who lives in Christchurch in the UK. Marilyn was one of the examiners when TAC Summer School was here in Portland. She was looking for a place to stay for a week after Summer School, and Patrick and I offered to put her up and show her around. While she was here, we took her up the gorge to see the waterfalls, took her sight-seeing in Portland and Vancouver, dragged her to at least one band practice, and she even helped us pick green beans, etc. and take care of the garden. We got to be quite good friends.

When I told her our plans to walk from village to village in the UK, she naturally offered to let us stay at her house for as many days as we wanted. When she found out that we would be arriving on a Wednesday, she wanted to know if we would be interested in attending her technique class that evening. Of course, I did. Patrick wasn’t so sure, but came along anyway, and really did very well. It was very interesting and informative for me to see an examiner in action as a teacher.

Portland to Abbotsbury

We stayed at Marilyn’s house Wednesday night, then took the train to Dorchester and walked to a different town each day for five days. We averaged 5 to 10 miles between towns, but didn’t really take into account that we would also be walking around after we got there, because that’s how sight-seeing works. We did a good wander around the Isle of Portland, which is very hilly for all that it’s an island. And we opted not to walk that spit of land between Portland and Abbotsbury because it is ALL pebbles, but went round the longer way on paved footpaths and roads. That didn’t keep us out of the pebbles completely, as our path the next day took us along the coast as well. So even though we weren’t dancing, we were keeping our legs in shape for dancing.

We stayed at Marilyn’s house again the next Tuesday night and, with mutual invitations to visit each other any time, departed for home on Wednesday.

We have a wonderful community of Scottish Country Dancers available to us worldwide. I’m glad I’m part of it. It’s like the insiders Air B&B. Just pick a reason (Dancer friends in Spain), and a season…

19th Annual Scottish Country Dance Workshop and Ball in Redmond

by Susie Allely

Please join us in Redmond for our 19th annual Scottish Country dance workshop and ball on October 3, 2015. Our guest teacher this year is Chuck Ryer from Eugene. Not only is he a good friend, he is a wonderful dancer and a great teacher. He also has published quite a few of his own dances and will probably be sharing some of these dances in the workshop.

Hope to see you here!


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?