Highland Highlights

By Loraine Ritchey

Sean Connery

Sean Connery, the consummate Scot, entertainer of millions, how does one entertain one of the world's most beloved and admired actor? This was the task that fell to Marguerite Reid and dancers, Cheryl Fisher Kirby, Karen Fisher Rubach, Brandie Reid, Jill England, Jennifer Vinson, Heather McAskill, Danielle Piacentini and Alexa Scott. The place was the world-renowned Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. and the occasion the Kennedy Center Honors.

Marguerite, well known adjudicator/teacher (SOBHD) took up the challenge with Cheryl Fisher Kirby. Working with the dancers they choreographed "The Kennedy Center Reel" in honor of Mr. Connery and the occasion. Marguerite, the excitement still clearly in her voice tells DANCER of that very special night.

" We are still floating from the experience. We knew the City of Washington Pipe Band (1999 Grade 2 World Champions) was to play under the direction of Mike Green but the dancers sweated this one out for about a week when word finally came through it was a GO then the nerves really took over. I can't say enough about the Kennedy Center, it was beautiful and everyone so helpful and professional. This place was a performer's dream, rehearsal hall with a wall of mirrors.

Saturday and Sunday morning rehearsal and then Sunday Night. Full security time hoods and trunks opened and sniffing dogs (who only found our practice swords) The place was buzzing with stars and dignitaries, many of whom arrived together from a reception at the White House. Finally President and Mrs. Clinton arrived and the show started. We were able to watch our section from the "Green Room " along with Walter Cronkite, Smokey Robinson (just to name a few).

Sean Connery was GREAT - jumped up after the Pipe Band played and then started dancing, arms up and all. This is embedded in all our minds something we will never forget. The finale with everyone on stage singing "We Are The World". The topper came when we were invited to the after show party, along with Michael Douglas, Mary Tyler Moore, Lynne Redgrave, Bill Cosby Ted Danson, and Ted Kennedy. The teachers involved were Catherine Fisher, who received the original call, Cheryl Fisher Kirby, Linda Reid Tarpy and myself, Marguerite Reid. We reluctantly left the center and Washington behind us but that night will never be forgotten."

A great night for the art of Highland Dance and from the expression on Sean Connery's face when the program aired a great night for Sean Connery, I am sure. Marguerite will not have time to sit on her laurels for very long, as the next big event to come her way is of course this year's US Interregional and the North American Championship. The event will be held in Philadelphia on July 15th and 16th. Yes, they have a Webb site www.webspawner.com/users/usir2000/.

Webb sites, e-mail and Highland. Readers will note that last month I gave an e-mail address and promised to see what was out on the World Wide Webb. I would like to say that I have had a glorious time in cyberspace, but it has been more like cyber hell. I will not drone on about e-mail that goes out and never reaches people, e-mail that is sent but never received, or that dreaded group tech-support. Suffice to say my month trip in the realm of technology has not been at all pleasant. Therefore, you will note that I have listed two e-mail address and rest assured I will answer each and every letter just to let the sender know it arrived. If you don't hear from me then I didn't get it!

Not all the news was bad and I was able to reach a number of Webb sites. I can only preface by saying that when Highland dancers and mums etc. use the Webb please check with your teacher before taking everything that is out there as gospel! That being said The first Webb page would have to include FUSTA's http://fusta.vitualave.net/ this will give you some excellent information and links. www.egroups.com/list/highland-dance/

This is a posting from dancers, teachers, mums from Canada, US, NZ, Aus. and the UK exchanging information about well you name it, it seems to have been discussed, well worth a visit. Other Scottish links can be found through www.scotz.com and www.scottishdance.net/highland . The Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust is in the process of building a Webb site but their e-mail is edinburgh.stdt@virgin.net . The 2000 Scotdance Canada Championship Series also can be found at www.ahda.ab.ca/2000 I hope that dancers will enjoy these sights and if anyone has one they regard highly please let me know.

For many years it has fallen to one of the editors to retype this column for DANCER, this is the first time it will be sent as an attachment. I must admit to some trepidation but I am going to try. However, I think I will also send a copy by The US Postal Service (just in case). My two e-mail addresses are ritch@adelphia.net Or lritch7@yahoo.com If you would like to continue using the old way of contacting me I still respond from 1127 W. 4th Street, Lorain, Ohio, 44052 TEL 440.246.6046. And Jo Thanks for all the typing.

I did try my hand at some research on the Internet however, again I was unlucky. Susan Wilson, from New Brunswick, Can. Wrote to me with regard to the Sailors Hornpipe outfit. Most dancers with SOBHD will know that there are some new guidelines this year. Susan writes " I know that there are some changes but I was wondering why we wear the black tie and the three stripes on the collar and why are the pants bell bottoms?"

Many years ago when my daughter first danced the hornpipe my father, a very proud member of the Royal Navy sent her a leaflet put out by the Royal Naval Sea Cadets. I tried in vain to get another copy through the Internet (I really don't want to rummage in the attic) but so far no luck. So Susan the best of my recollection from that leaflet. The three stripes on the collar signify Lord Nelson's major sea battles, The Nile, Copenhagen and of course Trafalgar. Until Lord Nelson's death the tie was red, after his death it was changed to black as a sign of mourning. The pants are flared so they can be more easily rolled up when performing duties on board ship (such as swabbing the deck). Lord Nelson also instigated the wearing of buttons on the sleeve. Apparently, so the story goes Mid-shipman in those days were very young and had the habit, (not having pockets) of wiping their noses on their sleeves, to put a stop to this practice Nelson ordered the sewing of buttons on the jackets.

As always for Questions and Comments, I can be reached at

Loraine Ritchey, 1127.W. 4th Street, Lorain, Ohio, 44052.