RSCDS Cape Town Celebrates World Accordion Day

RSCDS Cape Town

Dancers performing Byron Strathspey, Free Wild World (Chris Wait)

Cape Town dancers recently formed part of the line up for a concert on Sunday 5th May 2024. RSCDS Cape Town Secretary and teacher Heather Hodgson was approached by Leon Oosthuizen to collaborate and celebrate World Accordion Day. Leon Oosthuizen, president of the South African Free Reed Association (SAFRA) organized an event that brought together 12 accordionists, singers, dancers and other musicians to showcase the versatility of the accordion or trekklavier as the instrument is known in Afrikaans.

The Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA), an international organization that represents accordion players and associations from around the world, is responsible for starting World Accordion Day annual events 15 years ago. The first World Accordion Day was held on 6th May 2009, marking the date - 6 May 1829, that the accordion patent was filed in Vienna by Cyrill Demian.

The venue for the concert was the Drostdy Theatre, a majestic Victorian building in the historic heart of Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands.

Tickets included a light lunch where traditional South African cuisine like bobotie, pumpkin fritters and koeksisters were served. Between the lunch and the concert, there was a mini expo where attendees had the opportunity to view a display of accordions or participate in a ceilidh to get a feel for Scottish Country dancing. Moms with babes in arms, dads, sons, and others joined the dancers on the floor to enjoy ‘Flying Scotsman’, ‘A Reel for Jeannie’ and ‘DAN: the dancing rhino’. A great opportunity for us to promote Scottish Country Dancing and the society and for attendees to work-off the effects of a hearty meal.


RSCDS Cape Town

From left to right Caireen Alston, Michelle Parker, Mary Lister, Hilary Kerr, Jon Kerr, Heather Hodgson, Andrew Hodgson


During the concert that followed Piper Caireen Alston piped us onto the stage to the sounds of ‘Scotland the Brave’ and the local tune ‘Sarie Marais’ which would be later played on the accordion.  Our dancing set consisting of: Andrew and Heather Hodgson, Jon and Hilary Kerr, Mary Lister and Michelle Parker danced to the playing of Leon Albert Oosthuizen and Louis Verwey on Accordion and Harold Schenk on piano.

We danced three dances:  a reel ‘Catch the wind’, a strathspey ‘Byron Strathspey’ and a jig ‘First Rain of Spring’. The script for the MC included interesting details for her to share with the audience like drawing their attention to the solo sequences in ‘Catch the wind’ representing the lengthy courtship, and the final turn when the “belle” consents to give her “beau” her hand-in-marriage, and the shape of the Celtic cross in the Celtic reel formation in ‘The First Rain of Spring’.

The concert programme listed the tunes making up the sets for the dances which included three composed by the talented George Meikle – ‘Gruesome twosome’, ‘Stratchcarron Dancers’ and ‘Marie Provan’ as well as Wouter Joubert’s recommended tune ‘Nineteen years’ for his jig.

Other genres or styles of music on the line up included French café, classical, Tango dancing, Boeremusiek and Sesotho Famo songs. While dance events often end with Mairi’s wedding, this concert ended with a performance of the song "Mama Tembu's Wedding" and the national anthem of South Africa.

Perhaps other RSCDS branches and the Society would like to mark your calendars for 6th May 2025 to showcase the many talented accordionists who contribute massively to our enjoyment on the dance floor.

RSCDS Cape Town

Leon Oosthuizen, Louis Verwey and Andrew Hodgson Photography Free Wild World (Chris Wait)

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