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May eUpdate 
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Chair Chat


Dear dancers,

How are you adapting to our new world? I miss catching up with everyone at classes and dances.  You may have heard that Robert Whitehead has had the virus and is recovering at home. Alan has been in touch with him on behalf of the branch. Speedy recovery, Robert. And this message to all our musicians – we want to get you back to our dances as soon as possible.

According to the Calverley class, the solution in these challenging times is ice-cream. To prove it, Helen danced the ice-cream Highland Fling for us.  I must say, Helen, you did well to keep that cornet in a raised hand.

If the ice-cream Highland Fling is not for you, you might try the Wednesday evening Zoom class from the RSCDS. Details should be in your mailbox. I know that some of our members are giving it a go and I’d love to hear how you get on.

All the best,
Marion 
Remembering Robin

Marion writes, dancing The Reverend Robin Walford at the May branch dance was our planned tribute to Robin. The composer Ian Dall, Sheffield Branch Chair and a close friend to Robin and Jane, has created a fine, lively dance. I hope we get to dance it soon.
 
Here a few of Robin’s dancing friends share happy memories:

I have tried to find words to explain Robin's wide-ranging and significant contributions to the White Rose Festival, but the only way I can find that does them anything like justice is to share some of my most vivid memories:
 - much jollity as we took down the tents under Robin's expert guidance (guidance that was much needed, at least by me!)
 - Robin striding across the field with a smile on his face to thank Richard for helping out with the car parking
 - Robin helping me work out what order the teams in my row should be in when I was a Grand March Marshal (no sporran = nowhere to keep the list!)
 - learning and rehearsing "The Waterfall" on a Monday night (if you're familiar with the dance, you'll be able to imagine the chaos and laughter!)
Helen Nicholas
 
I will always be very grateful to Robin for all his cheerful support and encouragement.  Not being the most confident of dancers, he would always cajole me along and try to convince me that I was more capable than I thought.  He had a mischievous and light-hearted personality which made him so popular and such a valued member of the Scottish Dancing fraternity. He will be so sadly missed. 
Linda Woodward
 
We first got to know Robin and Jane several years ago at Glaramara where we discovered a mutual enjoyment of Scottish Country Dancing and walking.  We attend quite a few dances at Leeds, so we were able to enjoy Robin's company and gentlemanly and sociable approach to dancing. Whilst walking in the Yorkshire Dales, in particular in Wharfedale, we swopped many stories of our experiences in life and families with Robin's lovely twinkly sense of humour balancing a more serious side. Some of our walks were quite lengthy and challenging. We discovered that he had been quite an "action man" all his life and tried many sports and activities with his usual enthusiasm. We will miss him greatly and the contribution he made to all our lives.
Jan and Geoff Robinson  

 Joe Murphy
 We have learned this week of the death of Joe Murphy, who with his wife Alice, who predeceased him, was a former regular visitor to Leeds events.  The family planned to play Scottish Country Dance music at the funeral, which took place on Wednesday May 6th. Those who remember Joe (and Alice) may wish to listen to the chosen tunes:
  • Tribute to the Borders – a dance devised by Roy Goldring inscribed to Alice and Joe Murphy, the tune for the dance is The Daggs of Craghouse by Moira Reekie, played by Colin Dewar.
  • Scotland’s Gardens – the tune  is Joe Murphy’s Reel.  The tune was composed by Donald Ridley and played by Colin Dewar
  • Joe’s Delight – a dance by Urisa Reungsuwan for Joe.  The tune is My heart is in the South” composed by Wouter Joubert and played by him and his son, recorded on a mobile phone especially for Joe’s funeral. 
  • Montgomerie’s Rant – Tune: Lady Mongomerie – played by Colin Dewar – one of Joe (and Alices’s) favourite tunes)

You should be able to find recordings of the other dances but we here is “My Heart is in the South”  with Wouter’s permission – he asks that you all realise that is was a home recording and could be improved on.

Thanks to Jane Atkins of Carlisle and Border Branch, and Don Andrews, for this message.

Updates and Links
 This only the second eUpdate since 'lockdown', but how life has changed and how quickly our perceptions have altered!  The new normal is for telephone consultations with health professionals, being unable just to 'pop in' to a shop for the odd forgotten or special item, shopping at unaccustomed early hours to avoid lengthy queues in order to actually get into a supermarket, being surprised at seeing a visitor in a neighbour's garden (distance observed, nevertheless), watching films and thinking how weirdly close to each other people stand and how often they shake hands and embrace friends they meet in the street.  

But the new normal is also noting how very kind, helpful, neighbourly and cheerful everyone is these days, from the neighbours one normally never sees to the shop assistants and strangers in the park who smile and say hello as they carefully give way and keep their distance on footpaths and at entrances. And hearing birdsong without competing road and air traffic noise!

We hope you are enjoying the Dance Scottish at Home newsletters from Head Office, with all the links to online activities. What a very creative lot our dancers and musicians are!  If you are a Branch member, and HO have your email address, you should have this newsletter popping into your mail box each week.

If you have missed earlier editions, they can all be found on the HO website, including all the previous on-line classes. Who will take the next one I wonder?  We have included a few links of our own which you may find useful, informative - and even laugh out loud fun!  

The SCD musician, Leonard Brown, is currently performing a free 1 hour concert live on facebook every Friday, Sunday and Tuesday starting at 2 pm. You are more than welcome to watch and get involved by asking for your favourite tunes.  Here is a link to a list of Leonard's CD special offers.

Another source of live Scottish music is Tunes in the Hoose, where you will find a few kent faces: e.g. the MacFadyens, and Matthew MacLennan.  This is a voluntary online community to be found on Facebook, created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic - great music, great fun.

And lastly, a bit of SCD outreach; some enthusiasts don't stop at teaching their children to Dance Scottish!  Here's a link to Heelwork to Music - enjoy.

Lockdown project

In 1994 the Branch was asked by Head Office to recorded ten of the MacNab dances for a video they were making.  Brenda Burnell taught the dances and directed the performances. This video has long since disappeared with the technology, but they are now available on YouTube as a result of a project undertaken during the lockdown by Ian and Christine. Enjoy them and do you recognise the dancers? Some are still dancing with the Branch. 

RSCDS Membership 

As this eUpdate replaces the usual paper copy of the Leeds Branch Dancers' Newsletter which we would now be distributing through classes and social dances - or posting to you, and the current membership year ends on 30th June, you might be expecting to see the 2020/21 Membership Renewal form attached.   However we have decided to wait until later in the summer before we start the renewal process.  This will give us time to see how our activities will be able to develop after lockdown - rest assured, we'll be organising next year's programme as soon as it is safe to do so.  In the meanwhile the eUpdates will keep you informed.  Please do print out and give to any friends of the Leeds Branch who normally see your copy of the Dancers' Newsletter.  We will be posting copies to those members we know have no email address.
 
Keep safe and keep dancing  - pas de basque only needs a small space, and with music is way more fun than skipping for aerobic exercise! If you are looking for something more challenging, try Scottish Step dancing. There is a video of Diane Hastie teaching the six steps of the Maid of Islay - no partner needed!

Best Wishes
Evelyn
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