Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kilts and Ghillies Ball - 17 April 2010

To the Organizers: How could I? Mea culpa.
There is a reason why I don't like to be and should not be an MC - I can't remember diddly when I am in 'briefing' mode.

Richard and Donna Ives - you who did most of the organizing:
for all that you did that we know about and especially for all that you did that we don't know about. Thank you.

Molly and David Keller - kudos and thanks to you too. Mollie once again did the registrar thing, and did it superbly; and David created the booklets.

Leslie Kearney - who created the flier and briefed the first half. Belatedly - thank you. Especially for Maurice which was a sheer delight and break down free.

To the anonymous not so few - who opened, and set up, and cleaned up, and broke down, and baked and cooked and fed us delicious goodies: Thank you too.

To all of you who I failed to name you have my sincere apologies and my equally sincere thanks.

The Band:
Rebecca McCallum (fiddle) and Jim Stevenson-Mathews (piano)! One person commented that there was more music from this duo than from last year's trio. And good music is 80% of the battle - in other words: so so music will sink a very good program but good music will more than carry a so so program. And when you have both good music and a good program…

The Program - very well received indeed. We started with 48 dancers and at the end of the evening not only had very few people left early, very few people were sitting out. Most people were up for most of the dances. I counted 40 dancers on the floor for Reel of the 51st.

The new 3-7 pm "tea" dance format was a success - so the same again next year. One suggestion made was to reinstate the meal, but to eat after the dance. I like it! Thank you Susan Leff!

So, as constituted, this year was a success.

What worked:
1) The new 'Tea Dance" format
2) The band
3) The program (I will have a challenge maintaining this standard).
4) No anthems (entirely subjective)

Changes I would like to see:
1) catered meal after
2) one additional band member for a fuller sound- a second fiddler?
3) 8 or more additional dancers

The dances were:
Mole’s Frolic (32 J 3) Dunsmuir (Tom Winter)
Anna Holden’s Strathspey (32 S 2) 42/2
The White Cockade (32 R 3) 5/11

Holden My Own (32 J 3) Between the Rivers (P. Stephens)
Sage and Salsa (32 M 3 set) J. Lataille - Still Enough to Dance
Montgomeries’ Rant (32 R 3) 10/1

The Nurseryman (32 J 3) 37/7
Maurice† (32 S 2) Dunsmuir (Gary Thomas)
Blooms of Bon Accord (32 R 4) Drewry - Deeside 2


Glen Falloch (32 J 3) Jean Attwood - Alexander 2
Rakes of Auld Reekie (32 S 2) B. Priddey - Golden Oriole Bk
On Hudson Creek (32 H 3) Between the Rivers (J. Sawin et al)

Back to Back (32 J 3) T. Glasspool - Itch to Dance
The Dundee Whaler (32 S 4) R.Clowes - Ormskirk
The Westminster Reel (32 R 2) 45/1

Major Ian Stewart (32 J 3) 35/4
The Duchess Tree (32 S 3) Drewry - Brodie Book
Reel of the 51st Division (32 R 4/5C set) 13/10

Mole’s Frolic – Close, but still not the perfect opening dance. It is just a wee bit too energetic for a warm up dance in MHO. I will keep looking for that perfect blend of mental and physical stimulation. I see no sense in having the first dance, or any dance for that matter, a 'throwaway' which Mole's Frolic isn't.

Anna Holden’s Strathspey
This one worked out better than I thought it would. I was getting a bit tired of it.

The White Cockade – Simple but still fun, and the music is classic.

Holden My Own
– just different enough to make a simple dance fresh and enjoyable.

Sage and SalsaYumm!

Montgomeries’ Rant – There is a reason why this is a standard repertoire dance - it is a classic.

The Nurseryman
– I missed this one: I had an offer I couldn't refuse so I was sitting it out.

Maurice – It was beautiful and over all too soon. Teaching it is a real chore, seeing the pattern is also a chore, but when it all comes together - Oh my!

Blooms of Bon Accord – I am going to commit heresy - I like the dance, I don't like the tune. I am so used to the McBain's Band recording of Angus MacLeod (which is the music we used in dem) that I am spoiled.


Glen Falloch
– I saw some sets struggling with this one but most dancers ended up smiling. I think this dance is on par with her other dance The Falls of Rogie.

Rakes of Auld Reekie – I asked the band to play the music strong and bold. They did. And the experience was extraordinary. Right up there with Maurice on the "Top Ten Strathspeys" list that I keep and I will remember it as one of the top ten dance experiences of my life. Thank you set!

On Hudson Creek – Another dance with potential for break downs that never happened. And I just love the flow from the reels into the turns. The key is not to take the instructions too seriously but allow the flow to happen naturally and turn far enough to face your next corner.

Back to Back
– Thank you Leslie Kearney for introducing us to this dance in 2007. Another fun often dance that deserves more dance time then it gets.

The Dundee Whaler – Truth be told not a dance I care for. But it was late in the program and I needed a dance of little mental effort. It filled the bill. No one asked for a repeat and I didn't expect that anyone would.

The Westminster Reel – A nice wee dance, not hard, but needing a bit of concentration.

Major Ian Stewart
– On the program because everyone should know it (and everyone did). Also on the program because I like Hello-G'bye setting (but my legs were toast and I sat it out).
But I liked what I saw which was every one having fun.

The Duchess Tree – At one time this was a favourite of mine. It has slipped off of my "Top Ten Strathspeys" list. The slow tunes, while very pretty just can't compare with hot bold strathspeys.

Reel of the 51st Division – We danced this as a 4C dance in 5C sets - and I will never, ever again, want to dance it as published in Book 13. This one was just about perfect. More time to rest the weary legs, more time to chat with partner and others without danger of missing a beat. Better flow and timing in the first figure.

For those who attended the potluck after and enjoyed my soup–

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Show: 30 Minute Meals
Episode: 30-Minute Veggie Feast

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups canned or packaged vegetable stock
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
Coarse salt
20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.

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