BROUN’S REEL

February 2018         A NEWSLETTER           No. 152


Subscriptions      Branch Walk     obituary Jennifer Hignell


Editorial


Now and again there are magical events which make you realize just why you got involved in Scottish Country Dancing in the first place. One long-ago summer at St. Andrews when I was doing one of the teaching courses – possibly right back at Prelim level – I was working very hard on learning dances and writing essays and lesson plans. It would be fair to say that somewhere in the tediousness and slog of the exam work, I’d lost sight of the joy in and enjoyment of dancing. Then I took a rare Thursday night off to go to the dance at the Younger Hall. I remember walking back to University Hall afterwards with Malcolm, and enthusing about the dance we’d just attended. This was why I did it, this superb, wonderful, floating on air feeling that comes from a top dance!

A second amazing experience was going to the Scottish Universities Scottish Country Dance Festival one year at Gateshead.(and yes, I do know where Gateshead is, thank you very much!) The evening dance was held in a slightly shabby old-fashioned hall with the most wonderful sprung floor. My sister came to collect me from the dance and take me back to Tynemouth with her. I talked and talked non-stop all the way home, and for the next half hour in her living room, about how brilliant the dance had been.

The latest of these great dance experiences was this last weekend at Harrogate. I always enjoy the Harrogate weekend, but somehow this one was extra-special. So many things made it a great weekend; rather than just one single factor, a lot of good things came together, so that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. The Cairn Hotel has been in a renovating and upgrading process for a few years now, and I don’t remember it ever looking as good; the building was warm and welcoming when it was cold and wet outside. All the arrangements with the hotel worked as we’d wanted them to, and (to the best of my knowledge) the hotel staff were helpful and obliging, even when many of us chose to stay in the hotel for Saturday lunch instead of walking into the town centre in the pouring rain. Several people commented that they thought that the food had improved, too.

It’s hard to distinguish what is the most important thing about weekends like the Harrogate one. Is it the hotel accommodation, the company of the assembled dancers, the teacher, the dance programme or the dance band? If any one of these elements is poor, it definitely detracts from the whole thing. The most outstanding element was probably Marian Anderson’s playing for the Saturday night dance. Never less than very good at any time, on that evening she was in absolutely superb form, enjoying playing, enjoying being there with us, and providing the very best music. It’s always a pleasure to work with Neil Barron, who played on the Friday night, and the accessible programme pleased many people – unless they were just being very nice to me! Pat Clark, playing for the classes, gets better each year, and also seemed to enjoy playing. Some new dances on the Saturday programme look good additions to the repertoire, too.

Then we come to the teaching. David Queen is very good-humoured and knows how to get the best out of a class. He began with long slow warm-ups which meant that injury-prone people like me were able to dance all weekend rather than having to drop out at an early stage. There was technical advice for all levels – sometimes advanced dancers feel “Oh, we’ve heard all this before!” People at every level there could feel they had improved – and that is a rare teaching skill. David also taught some very accessible dances, but with little links and features that made them unique, so that you enjoyed the dances in themselves – they’d earned their right to be on the programme!  

And finally, the company. You were great! I really enjoyed meeting old and new friends, talking to people I didn’t know as well as those I did, catching up with old friends I’d not seen for a while. There were only two things wrong with the weekend – some of you missed a really good time, and some of us caught a cold from each other. Next year, here’s to no colds and even more people! And thank you, Helen, for making it all possible.

Joyce Cochrane


SUBSCRIPTIONS 2018/19

As usual, the subscription form for the Branch is included in the February edition of Broun’s Reel.  

There are new General Data Protection Regulations which come in on 25th May. This means that it is the Branch’s responsibility to keep the information which you give us about yourselves in a more secure way.  As I understand it, and I am still trying digest the information sent from HQ to the Secretaries, information on the computer may have to be password protected which will be no problem once Malcolm has told me what to do!   We shall try to keep you informed as more details become available.

I look forward to receiving your subscriptions shortly, either directly to me or to a committee member who will pass it on.   Thank you.

        Helen Brown, Secretary   



Cottingham SCD Class Christmas Card Appeal

For the last 14 or 15 years, our Cottingham class has chosen not to send Christmas cards to each other, and instead we have donated what we might have spent on Christmas cards (and possibly stamps) to a charity. We always try to choose a local charity, as we feel that what we can raise will make a greater difference to a local project than it would to a national charity. If possible, we try to choose a charity that someone in the group has some connection with.

This year, two of the group have connections to Matthew’s Hub, a support service and centre in Hull for young people with Asperger’s Syndrome and High-functioning Autism. Matthew’s Hub became our charity this year, and we raised £122. This is the reply we had back from Gareth at the Hub:

“Thank you so much for your kind donation. This money will go towards a sewing machine and materials for our costume making group. This helps our members gain new skills and develop their confidence and social skills.”



RYEDALE SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCE GROUP


Dates for your diary

We are holding a further two teaching sessions for beginners this term.

Malcolm Brown has kindly agreed to take these sessions again for us. See classes. We will be holding our end of term dance on July 5th 2018 again dancing to Robert Whitehead see events. More details in the next Broun’s Reel.

Any queries please contact either:-

Sheila Barnes (01751 473924) sab.greenlands@gmail.com

or

Jennifer Robinson (07886869281) jar.doha@gmail.com



BRANCH WALK & LUNCH, 21st JUNE

ADVANCE NOTICE!  THIS YEAR THE WALK WILL BE HELD IN THE SOUTH END OF THE BRANCH ON THURSDAY 21ST JUNE, FOLLOWED BY THE USUAL PUB LUNCH. THIS YEAR IT IS BEING ORGANISED BY CHRIS HARE. PUT THE DATE IN YOUR DIARY NOW AND GET THE COMPLETE INFORM ATION FROM CLASS TEACHERS NEARER THE TIME.


Y & NH BRANCH DANCE, PICKERING, 12th MAY

Our Branch Dance on 12th May will be held in the Memorial Hall, Pickering, beginning at 7.30 p.m. See events The programme has been devised by Sheila Barnes and Jennifer Robinson.


OBITUARY : JENNIFER HIGNELL
We met Jennifer at SCD evening classes in the late 60s though she had been dancing for a short while before then.   She danced with the York SCD Club and later with the York and North Humberside Branch and participated in demonstrations for both groups.

She and her husband, Steve, attended Summer School in St Andrews for many years as part of the large group who used to attend from the Branch and York Club.   Many years later, she took her grandchildren there.    She passed her Preliminary Teaching Certificate (now called Part 1) in 1995.   She was on the committee of York SCD Club and acted as one of the MCs there.   She also attended Day Schools near and far.

She was a talented seamstress and made costumes for dancers in displays.   She also made a large banner for the York SCD Club which is displayed at their Annual Dance.

Jennifer was part of the group of tap dancers who performed at the Branch Ceilidhs – many of you will remember them.

She was involved, along with many members of the Branch, with the running of the White Rose Festival for the years when it was held in York.

Away from dancing she played tennis a lot and often attended Wimbledon, frequently representing the WRVS there.   She became the organiser of Books on Wheels in York for the WRVS and recruited new helpers from her SCD friends.

She was a lovely person and we all missed her when she and Steve left York in 2005 to live close to their daughter near Edinburgh.

She died in October 2017.          Helen Brown, York


Please do consider standing for the Committee! It has been hard work again for last year’s committee – a few more people would really help.

Please notify any topics for discussion at the AGM in advance.




Copy date for next issue:     21st April 2018