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(Updated 24 Oct, 2016)
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Branch History - 1980 through 1984

1980

Calendar for 1980

January 5 Monthly Dance, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School, San Francisco [Livermore]
February 9 Valentine Ball
March 1 Monthly Dance, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School, San Francisco [San Francisco]
April 5 Monthly Dance, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School, San Francisco [Oakland]
May 3 Monthly Dance, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School, San Francisco [Lafayette]
  31 AGM and Potluck
June 7 Monthly Dance, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School, San Francisco [Berkeley]
August 30 Santa Rosa Dance, Veterans' Auditorium, Sebastopol
September 6 Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Berkeley]
October 4 Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco
November 1 Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [San Fran. & Palo Alto]
  14-16 Asilomar Weekend
December 6 Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [San Jose & Red Thistle]

Monthly Parties were held at Robert Louis Stevenson School in San Francisco. Beginning in March the cost was raised to $1.50 for members and $2.00 for non-members. Music at this time was still being provided by recordings.

Duncan MacLeod, RSCDS Immediate Past-Chairman, visited the Branch and taught a general class on April 8, 1980 and a teachers' workshop on April 9, both at Piedmont School, Oakland.

The 1980 Santa Rosa dance was held on Sunday August 31 at the Veterans' Hall in Sebastopol. The same hall was used in 1981, but the night was switched to Saturday.  In 1982 the site was changed back to the Santa Rosa Veterans' Hall but the night remained Saturday.

1980 AGM and barbeque, May 31 at the home of Doug and Gloria McConnell, 1474 Oak Hill Avenue, Palo Alto.  The meeting was called to order with half the attendees in the swimming pool and the remainder gathered around the pool's apron.  In spite of its unorthodox location, the meeting dispatched its business with admirable efficiency.  After the bar-b-que supper attendees danced on the front lawn.

Monthly dances beginning with September were at Temple United Methodist Church, at 19th Ave and Junipero Serra Blvd in San Francisco.

A contest to name the newly formed band that played for the post-games dance at Santa Rosa - actually Sebastopol and was to play at the Ball at Asilomar was announced in the September Reel and Strathspeyper with a promise to reveal the winner at the ceilidh at Asilomar.  The winning name - The San Francisco Scottish Players - not very original but very appropriate. The new band was led by Kim McGarrity (piano) and Margo Leslie-Post (violin). Nancy Eranosian (violin), Tom Welch (violin), and Andy Johnson (bass) were the other members.

1981

Calendar for 1981

January 3 Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Livermore]
February 7 Valentine Ball
March 7 Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco
April 4 Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco  [San Francisco]
  18 Birthday celebration at John Muir House, Martinez, performance by Red Thistle Dancers
May 9 AGM, potluck and Monthly Dance
  30 Day Workshop with Bill Hamilton & Robert MacKay
  31 Teachers' workshop with Bill Hamilton
June 13 Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco
September 5 Santa Rosa Games and Dance
  12 Monthly Dance
October 3 Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Livermore]
November 6-8 Asilomar
  14 Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Berkeley]
December 5 Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Oakland]
  12 San Jose Class Party, First Christian Church
  19 Berkeley Class Party, Haas Club House
  19 Sacramento Branch potluck & party
  21 San Francisco Class Party
  28 Lafayette `Tween Party

The AGM was held following a potluck in Golden Gate Park on May 9th.  Following the usual reports of the years activities, the branch sound system and  Articles of Incorporation restated to conform to new requirements for non-profit status were discussed; and dues were set at $7.50 (regular), $5.00 (students, seniors & Life and Long term) , $3.50 (R&S subscription for nonmembers).  An Affiliated membership for those joining after the Valentine Ball of $3.00 was also established.

A one day workshop was held at the Burlingame Recreation Center in Burlingame on May 30th with Bill Hamilton of Edinburgh teaching classes from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM with breaks for tea and bag lunch. His music was provided by pianist Robert Mackay.  Classes were followed by a pot luck supper and an evening dance.  Cost for the workshop was $7.50 and for the dance $2.50.

The Branch lost one of its most tireless workers and a skilled teacher in June when Jean Sanford Patrick was killed when the light plane she was piloting crashed into the side of a fog shrouded mountain.  Her husband, George, survived the impact and fire when he was hurled through the plane's windshield.  An obituary appeared in the July, 1981 R&S. The same issue of the R&S also reported the death of another Branch teacher, Doreen Evans, and yet a third shocking death occurred among Branch dancers when John Imbrie suffered a fatal heart attack on August 15th. John was just short of his 19th birthday.

Jimmy and Isabel Fyfe and Henry Thompson were appointed September 12th as delegates to The Societies’ Annual General Meeting. Henry was also appointed as Representative to the Executive Council.

At the Ball at Asilomar Arlene Baxter conceived the idea of decorating Merrill hall with banners hung from the rafters of the cathedral-beam ceiling, one for the Branch itself and one representing each of the classes.  A project was started to induce each class to produce a banner with 4 ft by 6 ft dimensions. General instructions were provided, but the design was left entirely to the class itself.  Most of the classes had banners finished in time for the Asilomar Ball in 1982 when they were first hung.  The effect was stunning.  Banners have been used for Merrill Hall every year since then, and more and more banners have been produced. Most classes also use theirs in decorating for their own parties.  Cathy Sponseller has made a photographic and descriptive record of all of the various banners.

1982

Calendar for 1982

January

9

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Palo Alto]

February

13

Valentine Ball

March

6

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Lafayette]

April

3

Monthly Dance First Christian Church, San Jose [San Jose]

May

1

Potluck, AGM and Monthly Dance  Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

 

9

Ethnic Dance Festival, San Fran. Red Thistle

 

 

Dancers participated.

 

22

Video Workshop, 1-6 PM, Chabot School, Oakland

June

5

Monthly Dance  Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco  program, records & sound equipment by Mark Post; refreshments by Berkeley, Lafayette and Oakland Classes

 

?

Scottish/English Workshop & Dance taught by Carl Whitman (Bruce Hamilton liaison with the English Country Dance Society)

July

24

Day Workshop with Carl Whitman

September

4

1st Jean Patrick Memorial Dance, Santa Rosa

 

11

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

October

2

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

 

9-11

Asilomar Weekend

November

13

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

December

4

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

 

18

Berkeley Class Christmas Party

 

18

San Jose Class Christmas Party

 

18

Sacramento Branch Christmas Party

Beginning in March Board meetings were held in the homes of various Board members instead of at the Edinburgh Castle as had been the practice for many years.  They were still generally scheduled for the afternoon of the monthly dance.

The Berkeley Class sponsored an afternoon workshop on Saturday, May 22nd at which the technique lesson taught by Bruce Hamilton was videotaped by Bruce John Shourt.  Each of the 24 dancers was taped and retaped during Bruce's teaching.  The session was deemed a success, but the technique has been used surprisingly little, although it was repeated the next year.  The cost was $4.00 per person.

The usual July picnic was replaced this year by a workshop in English and Scottish Country Dance taught by Carl Whitman at the Berkeley Veterans' Auditorium, 1931 Center St.  Carl brought out the similarities and points of departure between the two dance traditions.  The workshop ran from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM with a break for lunch, and was followed in the evening with a dance to music by local English and Scottish dance musicians. Tickets were $6.00 for the workshop and $3.00 for the evening dance.

The Branch was saddened to learn of the death on July 19th of C Stewart Smith.  Stewart taught Country as well as Highland dancing in the Bay Area for many years going back to before the formation of the Branch and had a hand in training many of the Branch's original teacher corps.  He was also a frequent teacher at the Asilomar weekends.  His departure for Houston in 1973 in no way lessened his strong ties to the dancers in the San Francisco Branch.

1983

Calendar for 1983

January

8

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

February

5

Valentine Ball

March

5

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

 

11

Berkeley Class party, Chabot School, Oakland, Cabbage Band

April

2

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

May

7

AGM, Potluck and Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

 

14

Second Annual Video Workshop

June

4

June Jubilee Dance, International House, UC

 

18

Music Workshop

August

7

Dunsmuir House Highland Games

September

4

Jean Patrick Memorial Dance, Santa Rosa

 

10

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [San Francisco]

October

1

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Berkeley]

 

21-23

Asilomar

November

5

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Lafayette]

 

19

Dunsmuir Dancer's First Annual Harvest Dance

December

3

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Oakland]

 

10

San Jose Class Christmas Party

 

13

Burlingame Class Christmas Party

 

17

Berkeley Class Christmas Party

 

17

Sacramento Branch Christmas Party

 

22

Santa Cruz Class Christmas Party

Teacher candidate classes under Carolyn Hunt resulted in a Certificate for Sheena West and preliminary passes for Robert Berger, Robyn Dondero, Lee Feinstein, Meredith Hoffman, Diane Johns, Susie Kass, Douglas McConnell, and Rick Wood.

The 1983 AGM was held at Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco on May 7th.  Donald MacQueen and Jane Samuelson were appointed to count ballots. Rick Wood, Ellen Breslauer and Jack Baxter served as the nominating committee. Class reports were heard from Branch and Affiliated classes in Berkeley (2 classes, every Friday), Burlingame (every Tuesday), Lafayette (3 classes, every Thursday), Livermore (2 classes, every Monday), Monterey, Oakland (every Tuesday), Palo Alto (every Monday), San Francisco (3 classes), San Jose (2 classes), Santa Cruz, Hayward (expected to start in the fall but didn't last long), and North Berkeley.  Reports were also heard from the two demonstration groups, Dunsmuir Dancers and Red Thistle Dancers and from Mill valley and Sacramento.

The Video Workshop of the previous year was repeated on Saturday, June 18th at the Chabot School. Bruce Hamilton was again the teacher, but camera work this time was handled by Wes Ludemann.  The price had gone up to $5.00.

A workshop on June 4th for Scottish Country Dance musicians conducted by Alasdair Fraser was arranged by Kim Chambers

A special June Jubilee Dance was held at the International House Auditorium, June 4th, to honor both the Society's sixtieth anniversary and the largest membership to date for the Branch (312). There was live music, dress was "dressy but not formal", and a color theme of yellow and white was chosen.  This is the only time I recall a color scheme for a dance, at least one that was announced.  Tickets cost $5.00 for members, $7.00 for nonmembers. The Branch Committee and Teacher Training Class acted as hosts and provided refreshments including a birthday cake with 60 candles in honor of the Society's 60th anniversary. Claire Lawson demonstrated Highland Dancing at one of the intermissions.  Hall rental cost $380.

The Branch published its first, and so far only (A second is currently in preparation) book of dances titled "The San Francisco Collection".  300 copies were printed at $1.20 each. The now familiar yellow brochure listing all the branch classes also appears to have made its first appearance in 1983.

An effort was started by Frank Orme and Don Kennedy to document the history of the San Francisco Branch. Some work was done towards pulling together all of the Branch Archives, an ambitious program of oral history interviews was started, and one issue of a history oriented news letter called "Fiddle 'N Ghillie" was printed. But it was all carried on for only a short time before its originators got swept up by other activities and failed to pass their enthusiasm on to successors.

Beginning with the September party live music was supplied by a new `organization' called the monthly Party Music-Makers.  This group was to have an ever changing cast of characters. Anyone who played fiddle, flute, accordion, piano, banjo, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, drums, bass or `what-have-you' was invited to participate. Each month a coordinator was assigned the responsibility for selecting musical arrangements and putting together a core of instruments.  Anyone else who was interested could join provided they notified the coordinator and attended the scheduled rehearsal. Coordinators for the first for dances were Geoff Palmer, Rick Wood, Robyn Dondero and Jane Embrey.

1984

Calendar for 1984

January

7

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

 

7

Shrine Game Demonstration, Stanford

February

4

Valentine Ball

March

3

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

April

7

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

 

20

Original Dance Party, Univ. YWCA, Berkeley

 

28

Ceilidh & Dance to celebrate 10 years of dancing for Sheena West, Lafayette Veterans' Hall 7:30PM

May

5

AGM and Monthly Dance Lutheran Church of Our Savior & Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco

June

2

Monthly Dance Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco honoring R&S Club

 

12

Music Workshop by Margo Leslie-Post at the home of Arlene Baxter

July

21

Concert & Dance with Alasdair Fraser, Chabot School, Oakland

 

22

Branch Picnic, Kennedy Park, San Lorenzo

September

1

Jean Patrick Memorial Dance, Santa Rosa

 

8

Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Dunsmuir Dancers]

October

6

Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Oakland/Berkeley]

 

26-28

Asilomar

November

3

Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Palo Alto]

 

11

Music Workshop, Margo Leslie-Post

December

1

Monthly Dance, Temple United Methodist Church, San Francisco [Stanford & Burlingame]

 

15

Oakland/Berkeley Christmas Party, Haas Clubhouse, UC Berkeley, San Francisco Scottish Players.

East-West Shriners' Game, Jan 7,1984 San Francisco and Sacramento Branches fielded 168 dancers under the direction of Jennifer Kelly for a demonstration at half-time. One or more sets were contributed from each class.  The dances specified by Jennifer (The Belle of Bon Accord, Roxburgh Castle, Rakes of Glasgow 1x, The Reel of the 51st Division 3x, and The Frisky 3x) were taught to the sets individually by their class teacher, and there were two joint rehearsals with the massed pipe bands, brass bands and highland dancers also participating.  The first joint rehearsal was staged at the armory on Treasure Island, the second the morning of the performance on a field adjacent to Stanford Stadium.  A third rehearsal had been scheduled a week or two before the performance, but it was cancelled because of the most severe storm to hit the Bay Area in many years.  The decision was made by the band leaders at the last minute and resulted in a flood of frantic phone calls.  All of the San Francisco Branch dancers were notified, but the sets from Sacramento had already left by the time the decision was made, and arrived to find the stadium deserted.  The weather for the final rehearsal the morning of the performance was miserable, cold and foggy, but by game time the sun was out, and by half-time it was glorious indeed.  The massed bands were arrayed in the center of the field with sets of country dancers grouped at either end and a ring of highland dancers around the running track that surrounds the playing field.

The Branch lost another of its active members on April 6th when Carol McQuilling died.  She was manager of the Santa Cruz Class, attended the San Jose Class and was a member of the Branch Committee.

The first of a series of `Original Dance' Parties featuring original dances devised by members of the San Francisco Branch was staged by the Berkeley Class on Friday, April 20th at the University YWCA, 2600 Bancroft Way, Berkeley.  Anne Orme was the organizer.

Music was supplied by the San Francisco Scottish Players, and refreshments were served afterwards at the home of Barbara and Andrew Imbrie

AGM May 5, 1984, 4:50 PM, Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 1011 Garfield St, San Francisco followed by the may monthly dance at United Methodist Church, 19th and Junipero Serra Blvd.  In spite of their addresses the two churches were a block apart on Beverly St where their entrances were. Nominating committee this year consisted of Alan Twhigg, Mark Post and Dudley Ellis; Ballots were counted by Carolyn Hunt and Geoff Palmer. The Branch Fee was raised to $7.00; an Annual membership was $10.00, Seniors and Youth $5.00, Affiliates $3.00 and a subscription to the Reel and Strathspeyper $5.00.Class reports were heard from Berkeley (2), North Berkeley, Burlingame, Davis (Sacramento Branch), Hayward, Lafayette, Livermore, Mill Valley, Monterey, Oakland, Dunsmuir Dancers, Palo Alto, Red Thistles, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Stanford and Vallejo.  Not all of these were Branch classes.

The `June Event' this year at Temple United Methodist Church in San Francisco was a `Reel and Strathspey Night' with a program of Reel and Strathspey Club favorites put together by Fred Macondray.  Music was provided by the San Francisco Scottish Players.  There was an exhibit of photos relating to the Reel and Stratyhspey Club.  Refreshments were provided by classes lead by Don Kennedy and Otto Schreier.

June 25th the Stanford Class under the direction of Douglas & Gloria McConnell became an officially recognized `Branch Class'

The Caledonian Games September 1-2 at Santa Rosa included adjudicated Scottish Country dancing for the first time arranged by Jennifer Kelly. There were two categories of teams (Social and Performance) and two adjudicators from outside the Bay Area. Each team danced one reel, one jig and 1 strathspey chosen from the following list: Group S - reels: Captain MacBean's Reel, General Stuart's Reel & My Mither's Coming in - jigs: The Rakish Highlandman, Duke of Athol’s Reel & Miss Nancy Frouns - strathspeys - The Balmoral Strathspey, Donald Bane & I'll Gang Nae Mair tae Yon Toon: Group P - reels: Minard Castle, College Hornpipe & Argyle’s Bowling Green - jigs: Bob Sanders, Muirland Willie & La Flora - strathspeys: Alltshellach, The Stoorie Miller & Braes of Breadalbane.

Beginning with September the Monthly Party fees went up to $3.50 for members and $4.00 for non-members.

A Teacher Candidates' Class started meeting in Menlo Park on September 30 under the direction of Bruce & Jo Hamilton assisted by Carolyn Hunt. Initial enrollees were: Prelim: Michael Bentley, Rebecca Davis, Ed Johnston (Sacramento), Marjorie Kistemaker, Meg Laycock, David Newitt and Alan Twhigg. Full: Robyn Dondero, Lee Feinstein, Meredith Hoffman, Susie Langdon Kass & Douglas McConnell



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