A Big Night Out to end 2020

This year’s Tartan and Final Night was unusual in many ways.

We would normally finish the club year with an event at our home venue, but Johnsonville Bowling Club (our home for 2020), was not large enough.

Final night would normally be one of three tartan nights held for the year, all of them with guests from other clubs. This year we had to cancel our April Tartan Night due to Covid, and hold our July Tartan Night as a night of Live Music at Home for club members only – again not enough space to invite other dancers.

Our big event of the year would normally be our Annual Dance, but that too had to be cancelled. And so, our Final and Tartan Night on 14 December became our ‘Big Night Out’ for the year.

Ngaio Town Hall is an excellent venue for bigger dancing events, and so it proved on Monday night. It was a really nice way to round out the year, with Rod at the helm as MC, and a great night’s music from Mary McDonald, Lynne Scott, Jason Morris and Richard Hardie.

A year full of challenges

This year has been full of challenges, and our Tartan and Final Night was no different.

Due to the discovery of a booking clash one week out (!), we had to delay the start time to 8.00pm, get the word out to the Region’s dancers of the new start time, and do all our hall and band set-up in 30 minutes. But we managed it, thanks to the goodwill of band members and a posse of club members ready and waiting at the door at 7.30pm.

There were lots of highlights. The best was seeing six sets of happy faces on the dance floor, including all four of Johnsonville club’s remaining beginners for 2020. Well done Gill, Isabelle, Lizzie and Maggie for hanging in there across such a fragmented year of dancing, and recent beginner Scott for taking to the dance floor on only a few weeks’ experience.

Gill at the left dancing left hands across in Australian Ladies with Isabelle in a similar position in the set at the right

Special thanks to the two sets of dancers from other clubs who came along, making our ‘big night’ so much bigger and better. Club members made sure supper was plentiful and full of options for all. Isabelle’s legendary curry puffs created a buzz, with Elizabeth’s fruity Xmas skewers, and red and green napkins adding to the festive spirit.

The band also made a very thoughtful gesture in memory of the late Peter Elmes, finishing the night with his set of tunes for Marie’s Wedding. Johnsonville club was fortunate to enjoy Peter’s music over many years, and he played a special role in the club’s musical history so it was a very fitting end to our dancing year.

It has been a good year despite its difficulties – leaving Johnsonville School (where we’d danced for almost 50 years), finding a new club night venue, moving into Johnsonville Bowling Club and working out how to operate there, and dealing with Covid-19.

The Bowling Club gave us an enthusiastic welcome, and we fully expected to continue dancing there in 2021. However, a last-minute opportunity arose to move into a larger venue from next year, and we’re very much looking forward to a new permanent home at the truly lovely Khandallah Town Hall. We’ve definitely finished the year on a high.

See if you can find yourself and fellow club members in Loralee’s photos here, and in videos of the dances below.

Pat Reesby

Blue Bonnets
Reel of the 51st

Aline Homes

The Express
The Australian Ladies
The Triumph
The Moudiewort
John Markham’s Rant (You can see John Markham dancing in the video)

Kristin Downey
16 December 2020

As an aside, Maggie plans to head back to Scotland early next year, and it’s wonderful that one of the club’s colourful programme wall posters for the night, will be travelling home with her.

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