2017 Event Reviews

Summer School 2017-2018
Pre-Christmas Lunch
Tartan and Final Night
Halloween Samhain
New Dancers Celebration
October Tartan Night
Annual Dance
Midwinter Fun, Feast and Frolicking
April Tartan Night
Mid-Summer Ceilidh

Summer School 2017-2018

A number of Johnsonville Club members enjoyed this year’s Summer School in Masterton with Désirée Patterson, Janet McFadden, Kate Quigley, Elaine Rowse, Alan Cassidy and Linda Tooley attending the whole School. Pat Reesby, Moira Broughton and Loralee Hyde went to some of the great evening functions such as Hogmanay and the President’s Ball.

With many sets taking to the floor in the large venue, our members had a wonderful time dancing at Hogmanay and the President’s Ball to the outstanding music of Ian and Judith Muir from The Craigellachie Scottish Dance Band.

The RSCDS New Zealand Branch celebrated its 50th Anniversary of being a Branch of the RSCDS at this Summer School with stalwarts of the NZ Branch, Peggy Hudson and Mary Ronnie from Dunedin, cutting the celebratory cake at the President’s Ball.

Congratulations to our Club tutor Rod Downey for having his dance My Golden Bear published by the RSCDS New Zealand Branch in a new book of dances to celebrate the 50th Anniversary.

Our congratulations also to Club member Désirée Patterson for her appointment as the new editor of the RSCDS New Zealand Branch Scottish Country Dancer magazine.

Thanks to our photographer Loralee Hyde for taking the photos here to mark this Summer School.

Pre-Christmas Lunch 2017

Taking advantage of Wellington’s outstanding early summer, our second annual pre-Christmas lunch at Cafe Thyme in Johnsonville on Friday 8 December was a great get-together for members who could attend with lots of laughter and good food.

Even though our dancing season finished just a few weeks ago, many of our dancers were chatting about attending Summer School in Masterton after Christmas or joining in the fun there at Hogmanay 🙂 Thanks to our President Kristin Downey for organising our final Club social event of the year!

See photos from our lunch here

Tartan and Final Night 2017

Another great Tartan and Final Night on 20 November! With over 50 dancers attending (37 of whom were Club members), we danced the fantastic programme from tutor Rod Downey to music from Peter, Don and Aileen. One of the more slightly challenging dances we enjoyed was Les Remparts de Séville!

Thanks to all who helped set up the hall with the Club bunting, the supper team, President Kristin Downey for all her work during the year, the photographers and the guests from other clubs and our guest tutors during the year, Jeanette Watson and Catherine McCutcheon, who joined us. We also welcomed former Club member Jenny Vaughan (Freeman) visiting from San Francisco Bay.

Kristin presented gifts of appreciation to Jeanette and Catherine and thanked John Munro who was Club Secretary for two years – he is leaving the area and heading off to the Wairarapa.

Andrew, a new member of our Club this year, gave a wonderful speech of thanks to Rod for his commitment to teaching, especially to the newer dancers in the Club, his stories about dances and his love of music, saying Rod “is the greatest teacher he has ever had”!

See Loralee’s photos here

Download the Johnsonville Tartan and Final Night 20 November 2017 Programme

Halloween Samhain 2017

What a fun-filled Samhain celebration (the Celtic roots of Halloween) we had at club night on Monday 30 October!

With Rod’s halloween-themed dances on the programme, fervent Celts, witches, little devils and ghouls danced the night away.

During supper we held the club AGM – possibly the first Scottish Country Dance Club AGM ever held at Samhain with everyone in appropriate costumes?

See the photos of our Samhain celebration here

New Dancers Celebration 2017

There was a wonderful contingent from Johnsonville on 14 October at the New Dancers Celebration in Lower Hutt. Hosted by Ngaio Club with Melva Waite MC ‘ing, there was the grand number of 16 sets on the floor dancing to the top-tapping music from Aileen Logie, Don McKay, Terry Bradshaw and Hilary Ferral!

Congratulations to our newer dancers for taking to the floor with such enthusiasm and dancing so well. Thanks to our more experienced dancers who were there to support them, making the evening so enjoyable for all. It was so special seeing so many dancers at this celebration.

See photos from the New Dancers Celebration here

Tartan Night October 2017

Dancing to the stirring beat of a fabulous five-piece band – Lynne Scott, Anne-Marie Forsyth, Richard Hardie and Mary McDonald with fiddler Heather Elder sitting in with the band and playing for every dance – five sets took to the floor at our Tartan Night on 2 October. It was wonderful to welcome a set of visitors from Island Bay, Lower Hutt, Ngaio, Tawa and Waikanae.

What a fun-filled night! Our thanks to tutor Rod Downey for his varied programme catering for all with dances from Knights’ Heys and Odin’s Raven (a favourite from our Vikings & Celts of Johnsonville: Midwinter fun, feast and frolicking) to the The Library at Birmingham which has the Rose Progression devised by Rod for Jenny Freeman’s Strathspey in his Cane Toad Collection.

Club members did great service in hall set-up and clear-up as well as providing an excellent supper. Special thanks to the supper team who worked in the background to ensure another successful event – as they do all year at club nights, tartan nights and our annual dance.

And thanks to our photographers Loralee Hyde and John Patterson for providing a fine record of this special evening – see the photos here

Download the Johnsonville Tartan Night 2 October 2017 Programme

Annual Dance 2017

Our 2017 Annual Dance saw us back in our home hall at Johnsonville school on Saturday 5 August. It was a much less grand affair than last year’s big celebration of 50 Golden Years of association with the RSCDS, held in Karori Recreation Centre’s splendidly large hall. That didn’t stop this year’s dance being a really fun and laughter-filled night of dance and music.

The many members who came to help with hall set up made sure the hall looked wonderfully welcoming, and full of colour. For the first time our tartan bunting easily encompassed the entire hall, using extra bunting sewed by volunteers for last year’s celebration. Tartan rugs and donated Scottish flags added to the atmosphere – thank you members and Elaine Rowse. Aline Homes created beautiful floral arrangements as she has done for many years.  This year she was spoilt for choice with an abundance of contributions of foliage and greenery from members’ gardens.

It was great to see over 30 club members on the dance floor. Our commiserations to those who were still recovering from winter flu and couldn’t attend. Others were overseas, and the Orpheus Choir lured some away. You missed a great night and we missed you. All of us who were there couldn’t resist getting up for perhaps one-too-many of the dances on Rod’s once-again vigorous programme. Chosen for their great music as well as their dance appeal, the dances were irresistible, and so much fun.

This year, we again had the pleasure of dancing to the music of Peter Elmes and his band. Peter and Aileen Logie played accordion, with recent addition Hilary Ferral on fiddle and Don McKay on fiddle and mandolin. Their fine music made for a fine night’s dancing. Peter has been playing regularly for Johnsonville dances for more than 30 years, and we love to have him come back each year, and look forward to his marvellous sets of music.

And then there was supper, with a feast laid out on the cheery red tartan tablecloths made by past life member Isla Norris in 1988. (They are still looking good after almost 30 years of many suppers and much washing, although perhaps not quite so much ironing…)  Members’ ‘plates’ covered every delicious dietary choice, and the supper team supplied us with refreshing fruit salad, made sinful by lashings of cream and jelly.

So many people contributed to making this such an enjoyable night, that they can’t all be individually acknowledged. But everyone’s contribution is appreciated. Thanks also to all those dancers from other clubs, who joined us to make it a special night. Seven sets made for a hall of happy dancers.

A final mention is due to photographer Loralee Hyde and videographer Pat Reesby who recorded many memorable moments for us to look back on, and enjoy – see Loralee’s photos here

Vikings & Celts of Johnsonville: Midwinter fun, feast and frolicking

A mighty mob of roaring Vikings and Celts frolicked through the wilds of Johnsonville on 8 July, seeking hearty sustenance, rip-roaring fun and a dancing adventure through far-off lands!

Mulled wine and nibbles followed by a fine feast set the scene for a night of exhilarating dances from Oslo, Sweden, Greenland and more.

Thanks to Viking President Kristin together with Emma and Allison for their wonderful organisation, Viking Tutor Rod for such a lively programme, the merry band of Vikings and Celts who helped out – cooking and baking, in the kitchen, decorating the hall and cleaning up – and Celt Loralee for her event promotion and photography – see her photos here

And thanks to all our members who came along with friends and family and had such fun frolicking on this midwinter night!

Tartan Night April 2017

Seven sets took the floor at our first Tartan Night for the season on 10 April! What a great night, especially with our 15 new dancers having lots of fun as they found new friends to dance with among the more experienced club members.

Thanks to tutor Rod Downey for his programme that catered for both the new dancers and those with experience, including the dance Eighty Eight he devised to teach figures of eight. And we very much appreciated the wonderful music from Peter, Don, Lynne, Aileen and Heather.

We loved the beautiful decorations in the hall – all created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Johnsonville School, the long-standing venue for our Monday Club Nights. Thanks to all members who helped with the set up, the supper team, the photographers and everyone for coming along and enjoying this special evening. See the Tartan Night photos here

Mid-Summer Club Ceilidh 2017

For the third year running we had perfect weather for our Club Ceilidh at Johnsonville Bowling Club on Saturday 28 January! Twenty-three of our dancers and 5 guests enjoyed the bowling, dancing, socialising and the great potluck dinner.  It was especially nice that Jeanette Watson and husband Peter Beaumont could join us, and get to know us a bit better before Jeanette takes up her role as guest tutor at some of our beginners’ classes.

Twenty-two bowlers took to the green, and some of us may even have made progress in our bowling thanks to the help and expertise of Murray and Frankie from the bowls club. Thanks also to Cathie who was on hand with jugs of iced water and serving behind the bar – very much appreciated on such a warm day.

Rod gave us a good time as always, with a varied programme of both ceilidh and Scottish country dances:

  • Old time dance Over the Top (danced as a jig)
  • Strip the Willow (danced once as a jig, and then as a slip jig with running step in 9/8 time).  Pat demonstrated running step for us, but there were a multitude of interpretations.
  • Irish ceilidh dance The Walls of Limerick  This one really got us reeling, with Maureen’s Irish heritage and experience giving her the advantage.
  • The Illabo Rant (square set reel)
  • The Den O’ Mains (jig)
  • Finishing with a club favourite – the reel De’il Amang the Tailors.

Many thanks to our ceilidh performers who lightened our hearts as they shared their music and dance skills with us: Malcolm and Jennifer (both performing  on keyboard), Sono (on flute) and Maria for teaching and demonstrating Cretan dance.  As she said, very different from Scottish dance, very energetic, and a lot of fun.

Thanks to all the people who worked in the background to ensure the day ran smoothly – Maureen organising RSVPs and potluck contributions, committee members (plus Allison’s husband Kevin) setting up the venue, Joan and others helping out in the kitchen and many people helping with clearing up.  And thanks to John Patterson for his great photos

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