Get Ready for our 40th Anniversary Celebration

This year’s New Year’s Ball weekend will be a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the founding what became the Chicago Branch.  In addition to our usual Ball and Tea dances, we will have a banquet prior to the Ball.  Also this year we have added two great musicians, Colyn Fischer (fiddle) and Dave Wiesler (piano), to our usual line-up of Tim Macdonald (fiddle) and Jeremy Ward (violon – but cello this year).  Both the Ball and Tea dances feature dances written by or about Branch members or Branch friends.  All details and a registration form are available on the Special Events page. Come join us in celebrating 40 wonderful years of dancing!

It’s Time for the 2019 SAGM and Fall Dance

Now that the new season has started, it’s time to register as a member and prepare for the Semi-Annual General Meeting and Fall Dance.  Membership forms are available on the Member Information page.  Membership supports both local events and maintaining Scottish Country Dancing worldwide.  The SAGM and Fall Dance are scheduled for Sunday, November 24th at the Fermilab Barn.  Details and the program are on the Special Events page.

Get Ready for the Annual New Year’s Ball

If you missed the SAGM and Fall Dance, you missed a fun time. The dances were fun and we had plenty of good food (mostly desserts!) for the potluck. It is not too late to become a member of the Branch and you can do so by downloading the form from the Member Information page and mailing it to Sue McKinnell. Remember, membership is to a worldwide group of people who dance the same dances we do, so you can always find someone to dance with no matter where you wander.

Now it’s time to get ready for the annual New Year’s Ball weekend! This year it will be January 19-20 at the Baker Center in St Charles and we will have Tim Macdonald and Jeremy Ward back with their marvelous music. Dance programs and cribs are up on the special events page and we will soon have prices (most likely the same as last year) and registration information there as well. Mark your calendars now.

Get your registration forms in and come to the SAGM and Fall Dance!

It’s that time of year again when you sign up for membership in the Branch and the RSCDS.  Updated forms are available on the member information page.  Pricing is the same as last year.

We will hold our semi-annual general meeting (SAGM) on November 10th in the Fermilab Barn, followed by a potluck supper and the Fall Dance. (more details on the special events page).

Come see how the Branch works and enjoy an evening of dancing!

October 2017 Update

We will hold our semi-annual meeting Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Fermilab Barn.  The main purpose of this meeting is to approve the treasurer’s report for the last season.  Everyone is welcome to attend, whether a member or not, and can join us for a potluck supper followed by the Fall Dance (program and times on the Special Events page).

Also, note that the current membership form is available on the Member Information page.  Please consider joining the Branch to help support Scottish Country Dancing in the Chicagoland area. You can download the form from the page and mail it to the Branch treasurer with your check.

The Silk & Thistle group meets every Tuesday evening (7:30-10:00 p.m.) and anyone interested in trying SCD is welcome to join us.  We will be celebrating Halloween (October 31st) with themed dances.  Come dressed in costume, bring snacks, and have a great time!

The Loch Mich group hopes to have events scheduled later this year – check the class page for specific details.

We are working on the programs for the New Years Ball and Tea Dances (January 20 and 21, 2018) and will upload them to the Special Events page once they are set.  We are looking forward to dancing again to the music of Tim Macdonald and Jeremy Ward – always a pleasure.

10 Days Left!

Gather your Gillies. Smooth your sashes. Prepare your kilt pins.

The New Year’s ball is just a few short days away. Be sure to register in advance to let us know you’re coming. Or just show up ready to dance and you can pay at the door.

We’ll see you on January 21 at the Baker Center in St. Charles!

October 2016 Updates

Greetings to all!

Hope you are putting, or plan to put, Scottish Country Dancing in your life this Fall. Between our Loch Mich and Silk&Thistle classes, you should have plenty to choose from and keep your life busy.

You won’t want to miss the Silk and Thistle Halloween Party on 10/25, nor the special Star Trek 50th Anniversary Loch Mich evening on 11/30.

Remember about our SAGM and Fall Dance on 11/12 at Fermilab. Hope to see you there.

Regional events you may be interested in:

Milwaukee Scottish Dancers Halloween Dance
October 29, 2016, 2 pm
New Berlin, Wisconsin
$10.00 admission with potluck following the dance.
Address and program available here:
RSCDS Twin Cities Scottish Country Dance Workshop
November 18-20, 2016
With guest instructor Ron Wallace and live music by Ken Steffenson (fiddle) and friends
The weekend will feature a social dance on Friday night, Workshop classes all day Saturday and on Sunday morning, and a potluck party on Saturday night
More information and registration details, costs on
See you soon!
Charles and your Chicago Branch Committee of Management

Ceilidh Time

Ceilidh at Shoreditch Town Hall by Frederique Bellec Photography 

Doesn’t this just make everyone want to get up and dance?

We definitely need to have a traditional ceilidh at some point.

Until we can make it happen, visit your own virtual ceilidh with Visit Scotland:

And start planning our own event. I vote for Strip the Willow!

Chat with a Scottish Dancer

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Chicago’s very own Tim Macdonald showed off his fiddling prowess at the Glenfiddich Piping and Fiddle Championships in Scotland last month. We caught up with him after his triumphant return at the Fall Dance to find out what it was like playing on the international stage.

How was it performing at such a prestigious competition?

Delightful, of course! Naturally it was an honor to be chosen, and there was a real ambiance to it that I haven’t found in America—there’s the factor of bringing the music back to Scotland where it all began, but the venue itself was incredible. Perthshire was the birthplace of many of the Scottish fiddling greats, including Niel and Nathaniel Gow, and Robert Mackintosh, and Blair Castle (where the competition was) is where Niel worked for many years. His portrait hung on the wall right next to where I played. And it wasn’t just the setting of course—the event brought together eleven top-notch fiddlers, half a dozen premiere accompanists, and hundreds of appreciative audience members, and it was really satisfying to get to meet other lovers of Scottish music.

How do you think you did?

No performance is perfect, but overall I was very pleased with how Jeremy and I played.

The word through the grapevine is that your set was the most popular. How did the audience react?

The audience had been a little bit subdued throughout the competition (there was even a sign prohibiting foot-tapping) but they were pretty enthusiastic after we played. Fiddle music—folk music—is fundamentally music for everyone, not some elite sect of concert-goers, so I was really glad that our playing helped open them up. And I was thrilled to have many different people come talk to me after the competition and say how much they enjoyed the performance and that they’d never heard music like that before.

What was your favorite part of visiting Scotland?

So many things to choose from! I’d have to say it was meeting so many wonderful people, from those at the Glenfiddich to the six musicologists I got to have a conversation with to the dozens of people I got to talk to and play with at jam sessions.

What is your next goal as a musician?

I have some interesting composition projects coming up, but I think the most exciting challenge I have coming up soon is to help the BBE stage The Gentle Shepherd, Scotland’s first opera.

And where is the link to you performing on the BBC website?

The fiddling starts at 1:18:08. Tim starts at 1:35:40

Just for fun, enjoy this video of Tim on the pocket fiddle:

Photo courtesy of Studio Starling