Never a dull moment at Johnsonville

Before, during and after the Covid-19 lockdown

We’d only just started settling in to our new club home at Johnsonville Bowling Club, when it became obvious that we would need to suspend club nights due to the risks posed by Covid-19. We also had to cancel the club’s planned Tartan Night on 6 April and postpone the club’s annual mid-winter dinner dance.

We did however manage to squeeze in our St Patrick’s Day celebration night on 16 March before we shut up shop. It was a fun night of Irish-themed dances with a lot of green to be seen not only on the four sets of dancers, but also on the supper table.

Rod started with a set of Irish reels for A Trip to Ireland and finished with Irish Rover. He searched out Irish style music to add a flavour of Ireland to well-known dances with an Irish theme such as City of Belfast, and we got a second chance to dance The Coleraine Rant written by Rod for last year’s St Patrick’s Day.

Elizabeth Ngan supplied a super supper with a green theme. Dancers were spoiled for choice with minted green pea dip and corn chips, Easter eggs and Lindt chocolates in green paper, green apple sherbet fizz, and Kiwiberry (for the health conscious amongst us). All in all, a cheery last club night before embarking on Alert Level 4.

Going into lockdown, the challenge was to keep club spirit alive, our new dancers connected, and our experienced dancers interested. The club newsletter became our point of contact, a means of dance instruction, and a way to keep us entertained.

The newsletter team worked hard to put together a weekly newsletter including teaching points from Rod, a focus on dances previously done at club by John Homes, a Scotland-themed item from Robert Vale, and tidbits for lockdown entertainment from Kristin.

Club members also took up the challenge, writing about their connections to anything Scottish. Thanks to all our contributors, we managed to keep the newsletter running throughout lockdown.

Thanks also to Loralee Hyde who set up our very appealing Mailchimp newsletter template and continued to maintain our website. She posted all Rod’s instructions on the website for future reference, as well as the stories and photos contributed by members. Two special stories featured Johnsonville’s longest standing members Aline and John Homes, and Liz Rendell.

Johnsonville’s longest standing members Liz Rendell, and Aline and John Homes cut the cake at Johnsonville’s celebration of 60 years as a community dance group in 2015. Photo: Loralee Hyde

The website is increasingly becoming a great historical resource for the club. Read Johnsonville members’ stories of their Scottish connections, 2020 articles and history articles

Johnsonville returned to the dance floor on 15 June, although there are still lots of adjustments to make to the club’s operations and planned social events.

from Kristin Downey, President
16 June 2020

Originally published in RSCDS Wellington Region Harbour City Happenings Volume 23 No.2 June 2020

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