Find out what's been happening at RSCDS Richmond Branch!

In Memoriam: Terry Chater

posted Dec 26, 2020, 11:24 AM by Richmond branch RSCDS

Terry Chater (1934 - 2020)

Everyone is unique, but Terry was unique in previously unimagined ways. A tour de force on the 
dancing scene in Darlington and North East England since the 1940s, his huge personality, enthusiasm, and love of a good time on the dancefloor was legendary.

Terry started dancing in his early teens, initially attracted by the music, and in the 1950s began his enduring association with Richmond Branch. A golden age for SCD, dances in the area attracted large numbers enjoying the music of Jimmy Shand. From the mid-1960s Terry taught adult classes in Darlington and subsequently his children’s class, launching Darlington Junior Appreciation, an annual non-competitive festival for children, in 1971. It grew in popularity, welcoming over 20 teams from a wide area, and bands from over the border. Terry was in his element! He took children’s teams to festivals in North East England and those involved still remember the hair-raising minibus journeys with Terry at the wheel.

Terry always played an active role in the life of Richmond RSCDS: as one of the team of Branch teachers and leading Socials and Dances. In June 1998, when the Branch celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Society with an ambitious event in the grounds of Richmond Castle, Terry was proud to M.C. part of the afternoon programme. In 2009 Terry received recognition for his lifelong achievements in SCD, receiving the Branch Award sponsored jointly by Richmond and Leeds RSCDS.

Terry will be remembered for many things but especially his swirling yellow kilt, piercing ‘heuch’, tendency to sing along with his favourite tunes, and unconventional outlook. An unforgettable character, he is greatly missed by the thousands he encouraged to share his love of dancing.

Joy Bradshaw and Caroline Brockbank

Photo: Terry and his wife Betty

A Summer Assembly in Richmond: GeorgeFest19

posted Oct 16, 2019, 7:03 AM by Richmond branch RSCDS   [ updated Aug 28, 2020, 2:29 PM ]

GeorgeFest, 21st August 2019

GeorgeFest is a ten day August festival held in Richmond, North Yorkshire.
Offering a full and varied programme of themed events it attracts visitors and celebrates a period when
the town flourished as a regional hub. The 18th century was a time when Richmond was very prosperous
bringing wealth, status and a social ‘Season’ when polite society would gather for events, of which
dancing would form an important part.

This sets the scene into which Scottish Country Dancing, with its long tradition, fits very naturally and for
the last two years Richmond RSCDS has played a unique part in the Festival through the creation of our
own Summer Assembly taking place in the Town Hall.
The historic Town Hall was rebuilt in 1756 to provide a setting for Balls and Assemblies: for Richmond
Branch in the 20th century it has been the focus for our monthly Branch Socials held there since the
Branch was formed in 1952 and so making a direct link with that dancing tradition.

Even a quick glance through the publications of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society reveals so
many 18th century origins of our traditional and popular Scottish Country Dances. Our aim in taking part in the
Festival has been to demonstrate how Scottish Country Dance is part of a living tradition, continuing to
enjoy favourites familiar in the 18th century ballroom whilst devising new dances to take the tradition forward for
the dancers of today.

Our Festival programme brought together examples of dances such as ‘The Machine Without Horses’,
credited to Rutherford 1772 and published in RSCDS Book 12, and ‘West’s Hornpipe’. – Ladies’ Pocket
Book 1797. Another essential was ‘The Summer Assembly’, a Reel devised more recently by Roy
Goldring in the 1980s; as well as other recently devised dances which could be shared with the audience,
giving visitors a chance to join in the fun. The programme was enhanced by the traditional music, ably
played by a lively band of musicians, (all of whom are also dancers) and aptly named ‘The Music Will Tell

Richmond Branch RSCDS is proud to have links to the history of the town in the form of two dances
celebrating the local beauty ‘The Lass of Richmond Hill’. In the spring of 1992 the Branch marked its 40th
Anniversary with the publication of a book of new dances; two of which were inspired by this 18th century
personality. A Reel ‘The Lass of Richmond Hill’ written by Fiona Turnbull, and a Strathspey, ‘Miss
Frances I’Anson’s Strathspey’, written by Clarice Middleton, 1st President of Richmond Branch. The
Georgian Festival has given us the opportunity to include these special dances in our programmes.

We were especially delighted on the afternoon when we were joined by ladies of the Georgian Theatre
suitably dressed for the occasion in gowns and bonnets. They added the authentic touch to give a flavour
of how the Town Hall Assembly Room would have appeared full of local society all eager to dance!

Branch members have supported the initiative, given their time and taken part in the Festivals of 2018
and 2019. We have all enjoyed the challenge of presenting a family friendly, lively and colourful event
which is an appropriate and unique part of the Georgian programme. We have also been able to
highlight and acknowledge our own debt to the traditions of Scottish Country Dance. We are proud to be
contributing to the aims of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and keeping that tradition alive into
the 21st Century

 Joy Bradshaw

Countryfile Live at Castle Howard

posted Aug 29, 2019, 5:42 AM by Richmond branch RSCDS   [ updated Aug 28, 2020, 2:29 PM ]

Countryfile Live event at Castle Howard, 18th August 2019

Countryfile Live presented a large show at Castle Howard from 15th - 18th August 2019.  Richmond Branch was invited to join Leeds Branch to give displays of Scottish Country Dancing on the Saturday and Sunday.  A set of eight of us travelled early to Castle Howard, on a beautiful sunny Sunday, and gave two displays in the afternoon on the Village Green, alongside the Leeds Branch set, dancing to Alan Harrison's pipes and conventional CD music.  We were in the company of other traditional country activities such as Maypole Dancing, Morris Dancing and an excellent local brass band.  There was a large and appreciative audience, who were very willing to  join in with the dances arranged for them, in a variety of footwear including a few wellies!  The day before had been very muddy and some had come prepared for the worst! Everyone had a most enjoyable day and look forward to next year, when we may return.

Jan Robinson

White Rose Festival 2019

posted Aug 26, 2019, 3:39 PM by Richmond branch RSCDS   [ updated Feb 25, 2020, 6:51 AM ]

The White Rose Festival, 13th July 2019

In July 2019, Richmond Branch once again put forward a team to take part in the wonderful White Rose Festival, held annually in Harewood, Leeds.  We look forward to this event every year, and despite ominous weather forecasts, we had a hugely enjoyable day, dancing a varied selection of dances with friends in the beautiful sunshine.  

Two of our class teachers - Joy and Louise - also brought their children's teams along to take part, and it was wonderful to be able to watch these enthusiastic and talented young dancers, whilst we took a well-earned rest in between our own contributions!  

Our Honorary President, Fiona Turnbull, and her husband Richard, came to watch and support the team this year, and they later passed on this message:

"We would like to congratulate the Richmond Branch team both for the standard of dancing and the smart appearance of the team. Everyone seemed very relaxed and therefore danced with ease and grace, expressing happiness and the true joy of dancing.  Well done everyone."

A huge thank you has to go to Louise, our fantastic (and patient!) teacher, who always does an amazing job getting us ready for the day; and also to Leeds Branch, for organising the festival.  Looking forward to next year already!  

Anna Smith

Geoff and Jan Robinson - Branch Award

posted Jun 5, 2019, 4:13 PM by Richmond branch RSCDS   [ updated Jun 5, 2019, 4:19 PM ]

Geoff and Jan Robinson receive Branch Award, April 2019

Richmond Branch owes much of its continued success over the past 25 years to Geoff and Jan Robinson. During that time both have served on the Branch committee. They have an extensive knowledge of dancing and dances and are always happy to assist and take part in Branch activities.

Jan was Chairman from 2006-2009 and Geoff has ably chaired the committee for the last 10 years. Jan became Secretary in 2013 and so the organisation of events has largely revolved around them in recent years. As Branch Chairman and Secretary respectively Geoff and Jan Robinson have given much time and effort to ensuring the smooth running of the Richmond Branch. Regular attenders at the Branch class, they encourage dancers of all abilities and welcome new members enthusiastically.

Both have been willing to adopt and embrace new ideas such as having the branch take part in the local Georgian Summer Festival, moving into new technology, supporting a beginner’s session at the start of each weekly class and ensuring that the dance “ The Lass of Richmond Hill” was accurately displayed on YouTube and danced by Richmond dancers. 
Every July for many years they have organised an outdoor summer dance in their delightful garden in the centre of beautiful Swaledale. This event is always popular and attracts visiting dancers and spectators from a wide area. 

In addition to their commitment locally both are wonderful ambassadors for the Branch, travelling frequently to dances elsewhere in the region to encourage other dancers to support Richmond Branch events. 

It is therefore appropriate that their endeavours on behalf of Richmond Branch are suitably recognised in this joint Branch Award.  

Fiona Turnbull, Hon President

This Branch Award was presented to Geoff and Jan by the branch committee at the Richmond RSCDS Branch Spring Dance, 27th April 2019.  

The Red Poppy

posted Jun 5, 2019, 3:45 PM by Richmond branch RSCDS   [ updated Jun 5, 2019, 4:17 PM ]

The Red Poppy, November 2018

The recent issue of RSCDS members’ magazine, Scottish Country Dancer, Issue 27, carries an interesting item under Letters to the Editor, entitled ‘The Red Poppy Project’. South Western Scottish Dancers have created their own tribute to the 2018 commemorations marking the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day by reviving and dancing ‘The Red Poppy’, a dance first performed before the Queen in The Royal Albert Hall in November 1986 and broadcast by the BBC.

The dance is a Medley of Strathspey and Reel devised by the late Stanley Wilkie of Edinburgh and originally danced to commemorate the 70th anniversary of The Battle of the Somme. The article linked to two excellent videos by members of SWS:- Team Tamar and Team Taw – performing the dance.

This unique SCD contribution to the Armistice Day commemorations is very inspirational and, as one of the teaching team for Richmond Branch, and with the availability of the detailed instructions and the video on YouTube, I felt that the class members would enjoy sharing the dancing experience for this unique occasion. 

Our regular weekly classes are held in The Booth Hall, Catterick Village and we found that other users of the Hall also had plans of their own to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. The Hall, in which hang two Rolls of Honour, had been wonderfully decorated with hand crafted poppies and, in that setting our dancers were able to feel that we had made our own appropriate contribution to a significant. event. 

Thank you to South Western Scottish for inspiring us. The Red Poppy is a very interesting dance for 12 dancers with a challenging, but not too overwhelming, set of figures. The dance will stay with us and we look forward to the release of the recorded music in 2019. 

Joy Bradshaw

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