Registration will open by March 1, 2023
| Class Teachers Summer School 2023
Sharon was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and moved to Calgary with her family when she was young. She started Scottish country dancing at the age of 7 and has been a part of many of the classes and demonstration teams in the Calgary area. She has over 45 years of dancing experience.
Sharon started teaching SCD to beginners at one of the local groups in Calgary in 1994. She received her preliminary certificate from the RSCDS in 1998 and her full certificate in 2002. Since then, she has been teaching classes in Southern Alberta on a weekly basis. She has also taught at many day and weekend workshops across North America. Recently, she has taken up tutoring and loves sharing her passion for Scottish country dance with others. In addition to teaching, Sharon has held several board positions with Calgary Branch and Teachers’ Association (Canada).
Sharon is also interested in other forms of Scottish and Irish dance. These include Irish ceili dancing, highland dancing, and Scottish step dancing.
Gary began dancing at age 10 in Dufftown, Scotland, with Jessie Stuart as his teacher and gained his full teaching certificate in 2013. Gary, who is currently the RSCDS Chair-Elect, has taught at various weekend and day schools in Scotland, Europe, and North America, including RSCDS Summer School, the 40th anniversary weekend of the Stockholm Branch, TAC Summer School in Vancouver, and the Munich Scottish Association Dance Weekend.
Gary dances with the RSCDS Aberdeen demonstration team, loves a good birl, enjoys dancing strathspeys (especially ones with the poussette), and thinks the most important thing about Scottish country dancing is having fun!
By day Gary works for the University of Aberdeen, is married to Joanna, and has 2 children, Bess and Flora.
Mountain View, California
With Scottish heritage on both sides of his family, Alan 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 discovered Scottish country dancing as a college student, amongst other dance forms such as ballroom and international folk. The music resonated with some early memories, and the intricate patterns of SCD stood out from the other styles. He soon sought out a weekly class, then two . . .
Alan passed both the RSCDS teaching exams at St. Andrews in the 1980s and has taught 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. Favorite memories include choreographing and performing a sword dance for the San Francisco Opera and teaching and performing in Norway, the Czech Republic, and Russia.
“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 worldwide, leading to experiences and long-term friendships I never expected.”
Rohnert Park, California
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. Her uncle started the organization, and twelve of my relatives were involved over the years. Many Scots who settled in 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. 54 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!
Bobby Brown Music Apprenticeship
Bobby Brown (1941-2011) devoted his life to the playing, researching, recording, and teaching of Scottish Dance Music. As an individual performer, a member of two Scottish Country Dance Bands, the Musical Director of the internationally renowned fiddle troupe The Cape Breton Symphony, and the leader of The Scottish Accent, Bobby Brown was a leading proponent of Scottish Country Dance music and traditional Scottish music in Canada, the United States, Britain, and Europe for over fifty years.
Scope and Purpose
Understanding that cultural preservation is dependent upon the devoted cultivation and transition of knowledge, Bobby Brown encouraged young musicians to learn and preserve the songs and tunes of the Scottish tradition. At workshops and classes, Bobby set aside his performer responsibilities to become an engaging teacher and eagerly instructed participants in the subtle idiomatic nuances of traditional Scottish music. He loved playing, and Scottish music was in his soul.
In his memory, the annual Bobby Brown Music Apprenticeship was initiated in 2015 to provide funding towards the cost for tuition, meals, and accommodation for one musician to attend one of the following:
• A music internship at TAC Summer School
• A music course at TAC Summer School
• A music course at a TAC-recognized Scottish Country Dance event
2019 Bobby Brown Apprentice
Lorraine McCormick, Lethbridge, AB, Canada
Lorraine McCormick, from Lethbridge in southern Alberta, has had a lifelong interest in music which she has pursued along different tracks in different places. She began by studying voice and piano, completing senior-level Toronto Royal Conservatory exams, before receiving a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Alberta, following up with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Lethbridge. In London, England, she studied classical guitar. Returning to Lethbridge, she taught piano and music theory, developing a studio of more than forty students of various ages and skill levels.
Her love of singing took her into Sweet Adelines (women's barbershop) with several groups including Edmonton's Gateway Chorus, competing internationally and singing in Carnegie Hall; she also arranged some of the group's performance pieces. More recently, she has taken up the Celtic harp, alto recorder, and English handbells.
She played keyboard with GlenMorin Scottish country dance band before forming her own keyboard and recorder duo ("The Spurtles"), which plays for weekly classes and monthly socials of the Lethbridge Scottish country dance club, and also a harp and recorder trio ("Thistle Do") to pursue her love of Celtic music.
Previous Bobby Brown Apprentices
2022 Connie Walker, Los Angeles, CA US
2019 Lorraine McCormick, Lethbridge, AB Canada
2018 Sarah Thompson, Minneapolis, MN, US
2017 Martha Matthews, Los Angeles, CA, US
2016 Heather Cameron, Plymouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
2015 Mary Ross, Victoria, BC, Canada
The Music Director for the 2022 TAC Summer School will work with one pre-selected lead player /melody instrument (fiddle, accordion, keyboard) on a daily basis in the capacity of a private tutor/coach. By the conclusion of the week, the candidate will have all the necessary information and skills to confidently and competently play for a class and future dances. This program could potentially be developed to incorporate additional summer school musicians working in the same manner with piano, bass, drums, or other instruments.
The apprentice program will include the following:
- Selection of approved and appropriate music for dances
- Opening & Closing Chords (Bow & Curtsey)
- Grace notes & other idiomatic choices
- Phrasing, Dynamics, Interpretation
- Assembling sets/ musical research
- Guiding & assisting the candidate through classes
- Working with teachers
- Afternoon discussions and preparation for the following day
- Involving and preparing candidates for participation in evening socials where possible
Provided a suitable applicant meets all the following criteria, one award will be made for 2022
• The musician must have demonstrated a genuine interest in Scottish music, preferably with some experience playing Scottish Country Dance Music
• The musician must have the desire to improve his or her musical skills
• The musician must display an appropriate level of technical proficiency on his/her instrument, with the ability to improve musical skills
• The musician must have the passion and commitment to continue to play for and promote the music for Scottish Country Dancing
The next deadline is March 31, 2023
A musician may apply for the 2023 Bobby Brown Music Apprenticeship by submitting the following:
• the completed application form (download Music Application Form)
• a letter of application that addresses each of the above eligibility criteria
• a recording of three tunes; at least two of the tunes should be in the Scottish idiom
• a letter of reference from a Scottish Country Dance teacher, RSCDS Branch, or music teacher
• Applications for the 2023 Bobby Brown Music Apprenticeship received by the deadline will be reviewed by a committee of the Scottish Country Dance Teachers' Association (Canada) including, but not limited to: TAC Chair, TAC Treasurer, TAC Summer Events Director, and TAC Summer School Music Director.
• The award will be presented to the recipient in the form of a pre-paid scholarship (to a maximum of the cost of the full-week resident registration fee, including meals and accommodation, dependent on the value of funds available)
• A recipient can only be awarded the scholarship once
• Following the 2023 TAC Summer School, the recipient will forward a report on his/her experience to the Teachers' Association (Canada) for publication in the next issue of TACTalk
T.A.C. Summer School Tour Options
TAC 2014 Summer School is pleased to offer the following activities for interested dancers during our mid-week break on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
Both tours will be aboard an air-conditioned coach bus, departing from the South Hall residence. All the options are space limited and will be available on a first come, first registered basis.
Prepayment is required to secure your space on the tours. Register online now!
All events will run, rain or shine, providing the minimum required number of people have signed up for each event. In the unfortunate circumstance that the tours have to be cancelled for any reason, registration moneys will be refunded.
If paying by cheque, please send payment in US funds to:
25 Jansen Road
Ottawa, ON K2H 5W6
Option 1 - Rocky Mountain National Park
Travel through rugged Big Thompson Canyon. Visit the mountain village of Estes Park and explore the multitude of souvenir shops. Walk to a waterfall or around an alpine lake. Witness beautiful meadows and discover fragile alpine tundra. See incredible mountain views as you travel 11 miles (17.6km) above timberline while reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet (3,715m) on Trail Ridge Road. Observe a variety of wildlife including herds of grazing elk and yellow-bellied marmots. (Park entrance fee included)
Duration: Approximately 6 hours.
Cost: $60* USD per person (min 35 guests, max 55)
Departs: 12:30 pm
These rates* include snacks and drinks.
Option 2 - Craft Brewery Tour
Come take a ride with us on the NoCo Short Bus! The Colorado Rockies have inspired many to experiment with the flavors and combinations that make amazing beers. With over 40 craft breweries in the area, it only makes sense to try a few! You’ll get to experience multiple local craft breweries, sample up to 16 craft beers, and have a chance to learn about what makes each brewery different.
Duration: Approximately 4.5 - 5 hours.
Cost: $75 USD per person (max 14 guests)
Departs: 1:00 pm
The tour will visit the following breweries:
City Star Brewery - Berthoud, CO
City Star Brewing offers small batch American ales, hand crafted on a 3.5 barrel brew system in the heart of downtown Berthoud, CO. City Star believes beer is best consumed fresh, directly from its source, and has adopted a taproom-centric model encouraging this. Winning 2 medals at the 2013 Great American Brew fest proves they have what it takes to make great beer!
Loveland Aleworks - Loveland, CO
Loveland Aleworks is an independent, family-owned brewery offering a selection of small batch, handcrafted beers. Passionate about brewing ales that they and their customers believe in, Loveland Aleworks brews what they like, not limiting themselves to any certain style of ale. Loveland Aleworks creates quality ales using the best ingredients.
Verboten Brewing - Loveland, CO
Verboten Brewing was founded in 2011 by homebrewers Joe and Keri Akers and Josh and Angie Grenz. A boutique brewery that includes one Nitro tap and rotates seasonal and unique and exciting selections often, Verboten Brewing derives its name from the “forbidden” ingredients that were rejected by the German Purity Law for beer. Their motto is “Beer For All” and firmly believes that there is a beer out there that will appeal to everyone.
Grimm Brothers - Loveland, CO
Only the finest ingredients go into the production of Grimm Brothers Beer. Founded in 2010, Grimm Brothers has been a three time Great American Beer Festival medal winner and Gnarly Barley Brew Festival People’s Choice Award winner three years in a row. Grimm Brothers specializes in German Style Ales and Lagers brewed in the traditional manner but with innovative American freedom.
Registration will open by March 1, 2023
| Class Musicians Summer School 2023
Kathy Fraser-Collins (Director)
Ste. Anne de Prescott, Ontario
Kathy was born in a rural farming community near the Scottish settlement of Glengarry County, Ontario. She began playing the piano at age 5. She would eventually spend 35 years performing with Bobby Brown, the Scottish Accent, and Cape Breton Symphony Fiddlers for many tours, workshops, dances, broadcasts, and over 20 recordings. With degrees from McGill and the University of Toronto, she taught high school music from 1980 to 2009, retiring from her hometown school in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. Kathy was inducted into the Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame in 2014, and along with her husband Fred, she remains very involved in the music scene in their area. They are members of the Quigley Highlanders Pipes and Drums, E.H. Gospel Sound, and enjoy promoting young local musicians through their own Torridon Scottish Dance Band.
They recently have been privileged to work with outstanding musicians Judi Nicolson and Ian Muir and were thrilled to collaborate with them as ‘Tartan Ties” on their CD ‘Fire Away!’ Kathy first played for TAC summer school at Brock University in 1979 with Bobby Brown.
She was honoured to be named Music Director for the 2015 and 2016 TAC Summer Schools and is happy to be taking on that role again for Summer School 2023 in Halifax.
Scottish fiddler Judi Nicolson, originally from Scotland, performed throughout Scotland after winning three major Open Scottish Fiddle Championships. Judi played with some of Scotland’s finest dance bands, recording numerous radio sessions, television, and theatre appearances. Judi has been teaching Scottish fiddle since the 1980s, and in 2002, while teaching throughout Schools in Aberdeenshire, she qualified as a violin and viola teacher. In addition to her teaching career, Judi has published two of her own composition books and adjudicated in numerous fiddle competitions.
In 2008, Judi moved to Katy, Texas, with her husband and family. A consummate performer, her dynamic fiddling, engaging stage presence, and deep understanding of Scotland’s music have created a demand for her to play throughout the Americas, Canada, Australia, and the UK both as a solo fiddler and with other talented musicians in various groups. She is a past Musical Director for TAC Summer School and Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School.
Along with two of Canada’s finest musicians Kathy Fraser Collins on piano, and Fred Collins on drums, she recorded a solo album called ‘FiddleMyStyle’; later, with the addition of Ian Muir, Scottish renowned accordionist and friend, they formed the band ‘Tartan Ties.’ They have performed throughout America, Canada, and Australia and released their first album in January 2020 entitled ‘Fire Away!’
Ian Muir has played for Scottish dancing in all its forms for the past 40 years. Scottish Country Dancing, Ceilidh, and Old-Time dancing have been the mainstay of his long music career. As well as playing for dancing, he has performed solo in Scottish Variety theatres throughout the country and has toured extensively in Europe and the Middle East. He formed his own Scottish dance band in 1984 and has been a regular contributor on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Take the Floor’ programme as a bandleader. He was the programme’s presenter for two summer seasons.
He combines playing duties with his tutorial role as Principal Accordion Tutor in the Scottish Music Department at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a post he has held for 23 years.
Since 2012 Ian has been on staff at four TAC Summer School events in Portland, Oregon, Bishops’ University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, UBC in Vancouver, and last year in Calgary, Edmonton. He played at the Vancouver Branch’s 50th-anniversary celebrations, the San Francisco Branch’s Asilomar weekend in California in 2013 and 2022, and the Edmonton, Alberta weekend school.
Recent studio recordings include RSCDS Book 51, a commission by Bill Little for part of his Carlingwork Collection, and a recent collaboration with Judi Nicolson, Kathy Fraser-Collins, and Fred Collins in the album “Fire Away!”
Ste. Anne de Prescott, Ontario
Drumming was an early passion for Dundee-born Fred Collins, and the opportunity came when joining the Boy’s Brigade at age 12. Fred soon became a member of the competitive MacLeod Pipe Band performing at highland games throughout Scotland. With members of his Boy’s Brigade, he formed a SCD band, “The Gie Gordons,” while also being called upon to play with such bands as Jimmy Shand, Angus Fitchet, and John Ellis. On a “holiday” to Canada in 1954, Fred was immediately recruited by the Toronto Scottish Pipe Band. He shortly thereafter joined Ed Brydie & “The Four Scots,” providing music for the first SCD class in Toronto.
After two years back in Dundee, Fred returned to Canada in 1964 and, over the years, performed and recorded over 23 albums with a variety of dance bands and soloists, including Ed Brydie, Stan Hamilton, Angus MacKinnon, Don Bartlett, Alex Jappy, Rudy Meeks, Graham Townsend, Alasdair Fraser and, of course, Bobby Brown & the Scottish Accent and the Cape Breton Symphony Fiddlers.
Along with his wife Kathy, he is currently enjoying performing and recording with “Tartan Ties” alongside great musicians Judi Nicolson and Ian Muir. Fred’s ‘other’ life has included a managerial position with Shell Canada, his own renovation company, percussion tutor and repair technician, and last but not least............farmer!!!!
Rohnert Park, California
Not long after moving to California in 1989, Gary Thomas began playing the piano for Santa Rosa Scottish Country Dance classes, followed soon after for the Dunsmuir Scottish Dancers, a performance team, and Ron Wallace’s step and highland classes. He has also participated in numerous workshops as a musician, including TAC Summer School (most recently as a solo pianist for the examination course), Prague, Vienna, and Asilomar, to name a few. “I even played with Bobby Brown’s band so Muriel Johnstone could dance at her birthday party. What a treat!”
Gary’s former band, “Hook, Wink & Swagger,” played for many Southern California Scottish events and local events until the untimely passing of Steve Wyrick. His new band, “Flindrikin,” includes Lisa Doyle and Ron Wallace.
Over the years, Gary has composed numerous tunes, which can be found in the dance publications “From the Redwood Forest,” “The San Andreas Collection” (Scottish), and “The Bishop’s Ranch Collection” (English); as well as in “Dunsmuir Dances.” A new book of dances with music, “Give it a Whirl,” is currently available as a download, as well as “The Thomas/Wallace Collection,” music composed by Gary and Ron, including dance music, waltzes, airs, and more. These books can be ordered through the website www.a-scot-in-time.org. The band currently has two recordings, “Dancers Dream” and its newest creation, “Mother’s Garden,” for step dancing or listening. More are in the works. Stay tuned!
Don Wood began playing the piano as a young boy in Nova Scotia, accompanying his father, who played fiddle and button box. His exposure to all the old reels, jigs, and strathspeys, admittedly with a "maritime" flavour, would stand him in good stead later in life.
After playing the guitar for several local Rock and R&B bands, Don was lured away in 1966 to play bass with Stan Hamilton's Flying Scotsmen, where he met his lifelong friend Bobby Brown. Don became the original pianist for the Scottish Accent and has made many recordings with the Scottish Accent and fiddlers Alasdair Fraser, Graham Townsend, and Rudy Meeks.
Don has made brief sojourns into blues, country, rock, folk, and gospel music, but he is never far away from his Scottish musical roots. He continues to play piano and bass with Scotch Mist and the Torridon Scottish Dance Band across Canada and the United States.
Page 1 of 2