The TAC Virtual Summer School will be held via Zoom from

 July 28 - July 31, 2021

 Join us for Scottish Country dance lessons from these world-class teachers:

Ron Wallace, California

Geoffrey Selling, Pennsylvania     Alan Twhigg, California
 
Musicians playing for the dance classes:
Lisa Doyle, California     Susan Worland & Michael Bentley, California     Dave Wiesler, Delaware
 
And we present two interactive sessions from:
 Lara Friedman-Shedlov, Minnesota  and Marjorie McLaughlin, California
 
 
   

Dance Teachers & Music Staff

Virtual Summer School 2021

Ron Wallace joined by

Lisa Doyle on fiddle &

Gary Thomas on piano

 

 

 

Ron Wallace

Some of my earliest memories include watching my parents performing Scottish dance at a Burns Night celebration in Mapleton, Minnesota, where my mother grew up. The organization was started by her uncle and over the years twelve of my relatives were involved. Many of the Scots who settled this area arrived before the SCDS was formed. Their dance style hadn’t evolved with the times as it did in Scotland. For example, dance pumps as we know them today were worn for performance, but not social dancing.

This was a very fertile ground to “grow up with it” and produced dreams of teaching it. When my parents bought a restaurant and my mother couldn’t continue teaching, I had the opportunity to take over. So, at a very early age, that’s exactly what I did. 51 years later I reflect on how little I knew then and how little I know now! The more I learn, the more I want to know.

In 1981, teaching Scottish dance and music became a full-time endeavor with classes in highland, step dance, Cape Breton step, country dance, and piping. Teaching these forms has taken me around the world and provided many an adventure. What better life than to share traditions old and new with all who love to dance!

 

Lisa Doyle grew up in Brighton, England, but has lived in Northern California for almost 30 years. After initially training in classical violin, she was inspired to explore traditional music styles by Alasdair Fraser and the many wonderful teachers at fiddle camps in California, Norway, and Scotland. She plays fiddle for Santa Rosa Scottish Dance and maintains a busy private violin studio in Sebastopol, California.

 

 

 

Gary Thomas 

Not long after moving to California in 1989, I began playing piano for Santa Rosa Scottish Country Dance classes, followed soon after for the Dunsmuir Scottish Dancers, and for Ron Wallace’s step and highland classes.  I have also been fortunate to participate in numerous workshops as a musician, including TAC Summer School (as a soloist and as a backup to Laird Brown), Prague, Vienna, and Asilomar, to name a few.  I even had the honor of playing with Bobby Brown’s band so Muriel Johnstone could dance at her own birthday party.  What a treat!

Our former band, “Hook, Wink & Swagger”, played for many Southern California Scottish events, as well as local events until the untimely passing of Steve Wyrick. Our new band, “Flindrikin”, includes Lisa Doyle, Ron Wallace and myself.

Over the years I’ve composed numerous tunes which can be found in our dance publications “From the Redwood Forest” and “The San Andreas Collection” (Scottish), and “The Bishop’s Ranch Collection” (English), as well as in “Dunsmuir Dances”.  More tunes will become available in our soon-to-be-published tune book. For step dancing or just listening, we have our two-CD set of “Dancers Dream” and our newest creation, “Mother’s Garden”.

 

 Alan Twhigg joined by Susan Worland on fiddle and Michael Bentley on bodhrán

   

With Scottish heritage on both sides of his family, Alan Twhigg developed a love for traditional music at an early age. His parents danced with the Reel & Strathspey Club that preceded the formation of the San Francisco Branch of the RSCDS and often took him to Highland Games and pipe-band concerts as a child.

Alan passed both of the RSCDS teaching exams at St. Andrews in the 1980s and has been teaching regular weekly classes at various levels ever since. He has served as a guest instructor at weekend workshops across North America and tutored candidates for teaching exams. He also continues to participate in SCD performances, chiefly with the Red Thistle Dancers.

To support his dance hobbies, Alan makes his living as a technical writer/editor in the computer industry. He shares a townhouse with two cats and too many books. Recent projects include expanding the audience for SCD among the international folk dance and contra dance communities.

“SCD is a great activity for keeping body and mind engaged, for sociability, and for responding physically to the wealth and variety of music in the Scottish tradition. It has helped me connect with diverse people across the world and led to experiences and long-term friendships I never expected.”

 

 

Susan Worland is an award-winning fiddler in the Scottish tradition. She regularly plays for Scottish country dance events on both coasts and in Canada. Drawing on her classical training, she also spins lovely sounds for quieter listening. She is a member of the Santa Cruz County Symphony.  Susan has appeared on many Scottish music recordings, with the bands Tullochgorum and Reel of Seven, and with Red Thistle Music and the Bayside and Benside Ensemble.

Michael Bentley has played bodhrán and percussion with Red Thistle Music since its founding and has been playing Scottish music for over 30 years as part of bands and sessions on both coasts of the US and in Scotland.

     

Geoffrey Selling joined by Dave Wiesler on piano

 

 

 

 

 

For over 50 years, Geoffrey Selling has been one of North America’s most sought-after Scottish country dance guest teachers – providing all levels of classes as well as workshops for new and experienced teachers.  These classes have taken him to such faraway places as Japan, and the RSCDS Summer School at St. Andrews, as well as the USA and Canada.

Geoffrey has danced and taught in the Delaware Valley Branch since 1969.  On 18 occasions, he tutored teacher candidates for their certification exams, both in the Branch and at the TAC Summer School.  In l980, he and his wife, Cecily, wrote the Handbook for Scottish Country Dance Teachers (now in its third edition), which is used in candidate classes worldwide.  Geoffrey is the author of numerous articles in TACTalk, the publication of the Teachers Association of Canada, as well as in the RSCDS’s Scottish Country Dancer magazine. 

In l998, Geoffrey was appointed an RSCDS Examiner and is now completing his 23rd year examining RSCDS teacher candidates, as well as training new North American examiners.   

Geoffrey was awarded the Society’s Scroll of Honor in 2009, and in 2013, he trained 10 North American teachers as tutors in a course at the TAC Summer School at Mt. Allison College.  Geoffrey feels it is important to keep the Society’s focus on the traditional dances and style of Scottish country dancing, all bound together by an emphasis on dancing socially.  As the Society necessarily modernizes, he works to keep the old-world graciousness in his students’ dancing.

Now retired from his professional life as an elementary school science teacher, Geoffrey volunteers with watershed organizations, teaching adults about stream health and water quality.  His hobbies are hiking, baking, gardening, and dancing (Scottish and Polish).  His wife, Cecily, is an accomplished Scottish country dance teacher and tutor in her own right.

 

Dave Wiesler began playing traditional Scottish music in 1993.  Since then, he has become highly regarded for his strong rhythmic drive, his technical skills, and his deep knowledge of the genre.  He performs most often with his band Thistle House, but regularly joins other musicians.

Dave is at home in a huge range of other styles of music and folk dance, including contra dance, swing, vintage dancing, blues, Viennese waltz, and English country dance.  He has played at festivals and camps across the country, as well as in Canada, Scotland, and England, and he has

composed hundreds of tunes, parodies, and more complex pieces.  Dave’s many recordings include SCD albums with Thistle House, Mara Shea, Hanneke Cassel, and the Scottish Weekend ensemble, and he is presently working on a double album of new dances to celebrate the Delaware Valley branch’s 50th anniversary.

 

Lara Friedman-Shedlov, Minnesota

 Lara Friedman-Shedlov

 

After absolutely refusing to learn to dance as a child, Lara accidentally fell in with the New Scotland Country Dance Society while a student at Edinburgh University. They became a confirmed addict in a matter of months. With Scottish country dancing as their gateway drug, they soon found themself Highland and Scottish step dancing as well. Their current repertoire also includes Morris, rapper sword, English clog, and Cape Breton step dancing, but they still swear by Scottish country dance when looking for an exhilarating time. Lara lives in Minneapolis with their husband Dan and two pet rats named Pansy and Daisy. They earned their RSCDS teaching certificate at TAC in 2000 and are currently serving as Chair of the TAC Teacher Conference Weekend. They are a member of the Twin Cities and the International Branches. 

 

Marjorie McLaughlin, California

   

Marjorie (Easton) McLaughlin was born in Glasgow.  Her family emigrated to the United States when she was 9 years old and she began dancing in a class started in Cleveland by her father, Tom Easton. In 1973, after moving to California, she became active in the San Francisco Branch of the RSCDS.  She earned her Teacher's Certificate at St. Andrews in 1987. In 1992 she married fellow dancer Richard McLaughlin and moved to San Diego where she still teaches Branch classes. She has actively supported TAC as editor of TACTalk, on staff for several Summer Schools, and as Registrar for Summer Events for the last three years.

She has taught many weekend workshops and enjoys the opportunity to teach, and to learn from, dancers in other areas. Dance teaching has taken her all over the US and Canada as well as to New Zealand, Japan, the U.K., Austria, and Greece.

Her interest and research into the history of SCD have resulted in a number of presentations and reconstructions of old dances comparing the original descriptions with how they are danced today.  She has also contributed articles to the Scottish Country Dancer Magazine.  Of particular interest to her is the remarkable influence of 19th-century Dancing Master, Thomas Wilson.