Aline and John Homes: Life Members

At Johnsonville’s Annual Dance in 2011, President Kristin Downey had the happy task of presenting Aline and John Homes with certificates of Life Membership of Johnsonville Scottish Country Dance Club.

John and Aline with their Life Membership certificates in 2011 Photo: Pat Reesby

Aline and John have been members of Johnsonville Club for almost 40 years. John joined the club half way through 1981, when he moved out from Brooklyn. Prior to that he had been dancing at Kelburn Club for around ten years.

Aline was still Aline Holden in those days. She joined the club in 1982, where she met John. They were married on 8 March 1986, at Johnsonville Guide Hall in the little reserve below Johnsonville West School (now West Park). Isla and Eric Norris (inaugural Life Members of Johnsonville) attended their wedding on behalf of the club.

John and Aline’s wedding 8 March 1986: the celebrant, groomsman Malcolm Tippet (who
used to dance at Linden), John, Aline and Matron of Honour, Margaret Harper

Aline and John have been stalwart club members ever since. To put their longevity of membership into perspective, the only other current club members who were dancing at Johnsonville around that time were Elizabeth Rendell (recorded as a member in 1981, and then 1984 onwards) and John Markham (first recorded as a member in 1984).

In 1986, both Aline and John became club committee members, with Aline going on to serve as president and John as secretary in 1987 and 1988. They also attended RSCDS Wellington Region meetings as club delegates in 1988.

Aline and John made a particularly memorable contribution to Johnsonville Club’s 25th Jubilee celebration on Monday 3 October 1988. Aline (as president) and John (as secretary) were heavily involved on the organisational side of the club’s S-themed party night, but they also each created a permanent gift to the club.

To mark the event, Aline wrote the dance she named Long John Silver – referencing Johnsonville’s Silver anniversary with Robert Louis Stevenson’s character, Long John Silver rounding out the title. The figures in the dance were also carefully chosen – the shapes in bars 1-6 represented Roman numerals XXV, and double figures of eight and reels with their ‘8’ shape denoted the year 1988.

Download the instructions and diagrams of figures for Long John Silver below.

John composed an accompanying tune for the dance, also titled Long John Silver. As he says, “My musical background is rather limited, but I’d come up with a couple of very brief pieces earlier, in much the same way as I did that one, noodling around on a tin whistle.”

Download the tunes below.

In 1989, after the change from the club delegate system to elected committee members, Aline remained as a Wellington Region committee member. John acted as a delegate to the RSCDS NZ Branch AGM at Summer School.

In 1989, Aline also began working towards her preliminary certificate as a qualified RSCDS tutor with support from the club committee and tutor Marjorie Crawford. Together with Deb Shepherd she passed her preliminary teachers’ certificate test at the 1989-1990 Hamilton Summer School.

In the early part of 1990 Aline, Deb and Janet Keilar shared the responsibility of tutoring the club for the first half of the evening through till supper, with tutor Marjorie Crawford taking the latter part of the evening. Over the years, Aline (amongst others) took on the role of relieving tutor on occasion to give Marjorie some time off.

From at least 1995, Aline is noted in club documents as arranging the floral decorations for Johnsonville Club’s annual dance, a task she continues to this day with John her able assistant. She and John have also been responsible for theme-night decorations for a number of club events, such as the Johnsonville Black and White Annual Dance at Onslow College on 8 July 2000.

John and Aline with their decorations at the 2000 Johnsonville Black and White Annual Dance

In 2020, John has returned to the club committee to take on the newly created role of committee member with responsibility for the newsletter, a task no longer included in the club secretary’s duties. He has come to the role in ‘interesting times’ as they say, with dancing suspended due to Covid-19 and the newsletter more important than ever in keeping club members connected.

Both Aline and John have contributed to the club in many ways over the years, welcoming and supporting new dancers, serving on the club committee and helping out whenever they can. Due to injury, Aline has been unable to dance regularly for some years, but she continues to contribute to the club and the Region and attend club and Region events.

Aline and John dancing The White Cockade at the Johnsonville 50 Golden Years celebration in 2016

Aline’s floral arrangements continue to delight and we all enjoy Aline and John’s regular appearance as The Sweeper and The Old Year at Wellington Hogmanay ceremonies. See Pat Reesby’s video of Aline and John from the 2019 Wellington Region Hogmanay, organised by Johnsonville.

Thank you both.

Kristin Downey
4 June 2020

  • Information sourced from Johnsonville Scottish Country Dance Club documents, additional information supplied by John Homes
  • Thanks to Elizabeth and Malcolm Ferguson for supplying a copy of Aline’s dance from Lower Hutt Club archives, when no copy could be found in Johnsonville’s archives
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