Lights on in the College Hall

New Zealand Branch Queens Birthday Celebration


Last weekend the New Zealand Branch of the RSCDS hosted a weekend event of in-person dancing in Otorohanga. We're so pleased to see Scottish country dancing gradually returning in some parts of the world, as Covid restrictions begin to ease. Whilst many of us are not there yet, the promise of experiences like this is very welcoming. Thanks to Andy from New Zealand Branch for the photos, and organiser Jane McIlroy for the words below:

"Lights on in the College Hall, a full carpark, sounds of laughter, ladies in pretty dresses, men in their kilts; music – a keyboard, fiddle and the deep, vibrant sound of a viola – ah, Glenfiddle Band from Auckland is playing at the Queen’s Birthday Weekend School in Otorohanga – near the geographical centre of the North Island of New Zealand.

Classes to challenge, encourage and expand skills for Elementary, Intermediate, Low Impact and Advanced Technique taught by Gaye Collin, Katherine Uren, Damon Collin and Helen Smythe respectively. Each class had a musician or two providing the music – those from Glenfiddle plus Glenice Saunders and Margie O’Connor.

The Ball on Saturday, danced to Glenfiddle – Anne-Marie Forsyth on viola, Sharlene Penman on keyboard and Margaret Peace on Violin.  Dances ‘walked to the brief’ to help the newer dancers. Most dances familiar to Waikato/ Bay of Plenty folk but less so to those from Auckland, Wellington and places in between. Ian Powrie’s Farewell to Auchterarder and The First Rain of Spring got a repeat but no others as we still had to find legs for a combined class and then the Kiwiana Themed Ceilidh on Sunday evening.

The Ceilidh was superbly MCed by Damon – alias Fred Dagg, and his mates Bruce, Bruce and Bruce. Folk from our town came and joined in having seen the advertisement in our local paper. Dancing to the expanded band – now 7 fiddles and a viola, drums, recorder, accordions and keyboards filling the stage and the hall with fabulous, toe-tapping music.

Laughter, companionship, fun, friendship and fitness all present in a wonderful weekend of dancing."

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There are 159 RSCDS Branches and over 300 Affiliated Groups in more than 50 countries around the world, located on all continents (except Antarctica).

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