Executive Summary August, 2020

Executive Summary:

Classes and socials (in-person) canceled until further notice
Delaware Ball and Hogmanay will NOT be held in person this year
Membership: Please join the branch!
Plans are evolving for online events and socials to start this fall

Read on for a letter from Chairperson Katherine Giacoletti with more on branch membership, upcoming events, and how we can stay connected in our DVB community.

Dear DVB Dancers & Friends,

I hope you’ve enjoyed this summer and found some relaxation in it, strange and distanced as it has been. As we look ahead to the fall and winter, I’m sad to say that we do not yet know when we will be able to be together again to dance. In addition to the obvious cancellation of all classes and monthly in-person socials until further notice, we will not hold the Delaware Ball or Hogmanay as in-person events this year. Although it is with heavy hearts that we cancel these events, the decision to keep dancers and musicians safe and healthy was clear. In light of this, the Executive Committee is working on plans to bring us together virtually in the upcoming months.

A note about membership: https://www.delvalscottishdance.org/membership We ask that you still join the branch this year if you are able to. Your membership dues will be used to support musicians (e.g. for their time and talents for online gatherings), to support some of our dance locations (currently we are helping St. Stephen’s so that they are able to remain open), possibly to pay for technology needed to support our online community, and to pay our dues to RSCDS headquarters (each branch pays HQ for each member). We suggest a membership without classes (if we are able to resume sometime before the end of the membership year, we will address that then). If you are able to donate beyond that to support the branch, we thank you, and there is also a low income option to be aware of.

If you’re only interested in what we are planning for virtual connectedness, skip to the bottom of the message, but if you have a moment, I want to share some thoughts with you, gleaned from many online discussions some of us on Executive Committee have been attending with leaders from various dance organizations (CDSS, SOBHD/ScotDance USA, etc.).

We don’t know when we will be able to dance in person together again, and so instead of focusing on the loss and staying in emotional limbo until things resume (at the risk of putting a song in your head …), let it go. That is, hold onto and stay involved in our dance community (and other communities that you cherish) in the new ways that you are able, but try to let go of the sense of just waiting. We could be waiting a long time and emotionally it is tiring to keep holding onto that “maybe next month” feeling. So instead, let’s work together to be creative and be with each other through technology, focusing on the aspects of our community that are well-suited to virtual gathering. More on that below.

Reach out! This may seem odd to say, but we can and should keep inviting new people to join our community. We may, in fact, reach people who we might not have before – and indeed, I have heard anecdotal hints of this already. For some people, it may actually be easier to try out a new group remotely than in person. They may be more comfortable that way, or may just have more time than before, or find themselves with time available at the right times. As we shift our focus to Scottish dance and music topics and activities that can be enjoyed online, think about who you know who might be interested in joining us, and invite them!

Virtual Connectedness: While we can’t be together in person in the foreseeable future, the Executive Committee has taken some initial steps to bring our community together virtually. Much remains far from normal, but as we traditionally take the summer off and reconvene in the fall, I want to let you know some of what we have planned:

Monthly Socials: We will organize online socials two Saturdays a month (similar to our regular dancing schedule), for about 30-45 minutes. These will be times to gather and socialize. Bring your own tea item and chat with others in the community. Details to follow.

Presentations: Teachers and musicians in the branch are working on presentations and discussions on topics related to Scottish dance & music. Examples: History of the RSCDS, all you ever wanted to know about bagpipes, what are Pillings/diagrams and how to read them, SCD music topics for dancers, how SCD, ECD, contra, highland, step are related, etc. More information to come (and suggestions welcome!).

Hogmanay: We hope to have a celebratory evening even though we won’t have a ball, including Auld Lang Syne at midnight. BYOH (bring your own haggis). More details to follow!

Online events beyond DVB: As I’m sure you’ve experienced in personal and work lives, one of the few benefits of doing so much online is that we don’t have to let geography constrain whose events we attend! RSCDS headquarters and numerous branches and affiliates have regular online classes and concerts. Here are a few links (below), and if you find others that you think branch members would enjoy, please feel free to share them with an EC member and we will pass them on.

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions. These are the things we have lined up to try, and we will add to/change/stop them based on what we hear from you. The DVB community is ours to shape and foster, and so please if you have suggestions, let someone on the Executive Committee know. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy.

Katherine Giacoletti

Annual General Meeting Sunday May 24th @ 7:30pm via Zoom

Due to Covid-19 we’ll be holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) via Zoom. If you’ve never used Zoom download the free app to your device ahead of the meeting. An invitation to our virtual AGM will arrive via email. Follow the instructions and join us for our year in review. Because this event replaces our annual Garden Party Social, Geoffrey Selling will be giving a garden tour and Cecily Selling (branch Secretary/Membership coordinator) will be giving a brief history of the branch since it’s inception 50 years ago! Hope to see you all there. Feel free to bring a tea item and your favorite beverage to enjoy during the meeting.

Delaware Valley Gold Dances Announced!

The Delaware Valley Branch is thrilled to announce the creation of a 50th anniversary book of Scottish country dances by current and former branch members, many with original tunes by Delaware Valley musicians. Thirty four dances were submitted, and were tested out by a group of over 20 stooges on November 16.

It was a glorious day celebrating the creativity of our devisors, musicians and the skill and enthusiasm of our teachers and dancers. Soon we’ll have a list here of the dances that were selected.

Based on feedback from detailed questionnaires, 24 dances have been selected for Delaware Valley Gold (titles subject to change):

AFLOOGA, by Vallorie Peridier
An Absurd Number of Cucumber Sandwiches by Darbus Oldham
Before the Storm, by Steven Rusche
Bordeaux en Belle, by Geoffrey Wood
Cailin Rua, by Katherine Giacoletti
The Crum Creek Hornpipe, by Becky Birtha
The Fearsome Fivesome, by Jessica Emery, Ben Kurtze, Jocelyn Kurtze, Sara Nealley, and
Daniel Potter
The Garden Party, by Dan Blim
The Golden Jubilee Quadrille, by Geoffrey Selling
Jane’s Flying Cello by Ed Nealley
Katherine Hamilton, by Kate Nealley
The Lansdowne Strathspey, by Jenny Beer et al.
Longborough Lanterns, by Melissa Shaner
The Morstein Hornpipe, by Dave Wiesler
Off to Arden by Jill Emery
The Pittsburgh Rake, by Seth Weidner
Sleepwalking, by Katherine Giacoletti
The Slingshot, by Kathy Clark
Tarble-in-Clothier, by Melissa Shaner
To Be Named Later, by Scott Higgs
Trip to Tarble, by Kathy Clark
UPWL28, by Dave Wiesler
The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, by Kate Nealley
The Written Examination, by Jenny Beer

Physical copies will be available at our 50th anniversary celebration in April. Thank you toeveryone who made and is making this book possible!