|Vice President||Mary Williams|
John Nash, &|
|Ball Chair||Mary Williams|
Antonia Morton, &|
|Artistic Director (Bands,|
Teachers, Special Events)
|Wiki Master &|
Sara Lawson, &|
Antonia Morton, &|
Andrew Macdonald &
Graham Thompson, &
|Hall Booking||Mary Williams|
|Band Liaison||June Harman|
|Teacher for Beginners||Michelle Sutherland|
|Record of Dances||Graham Thompson|
|Name Tags||Wendy Jermyn|
Christopher & Jennifer Chaundy enjoyed English and Scottish country dancing in England before emigrating to Canada. After discovering EC dancing flourishing in Peterborough in 1982 under David and Catherine Gallop, and meeting there other keen Ottawa dancers, including Nigel & Angela Kilby and John & Mary Nash, they organized their first English Country Dance in Ottawa in January 1984.
Dances were held intermittently, moving in September 1984 to Merivale High School, where Irfôna Larkin joined them, and in September 1985 to Glebe Community Centre.
Dances continued at Glebe C.C. after Christopher & Jennifer returned to England, led alternately by Irfôna, Nigel and John Nash.
The Club moved to Pinecrest C.C. and the seeds of what was to become our annual dance weekend "A Trip to Ottawa" were sewn. On March 4th 2006 a dress-up Ball, "March Forth", with local callers and the Waickman (family) Band was held. Following this success, the "Tulip Ball" was held in 2007 again with local callers (Irfôna, Nigel & John) and the The Playford Players.
In 2007 the club moved to the Mlacak Centre, Kanata, and a much bigger hall. Here the Club has grown to approximately 50 members with many regular callers and frequent live music by the club's now resident Playford Players. Friday night dances are held weekly September through May.
Perhaps distracted by the move to Mlacak, in 2008 there was no Ball!!; this was enough to formalize things a bit and a "Ball Group" (comprising Michelle, Sara, Irfôna & Mary) was formed resulting in 2009 "May We Dance" with, for the first time a guest caller, Orly Krasner, and guest musicians, The Fine Companions.
Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the club's founding, The Ball Group subsequently became the Ball Committee. The event was expanded into a dance weekend anchored by the Saturday evening dress-up ball, it was given a new name "A Trip to Ottawa" moved from May to a better time in the ECD calendar, early November, and a much larger hall. A Trip to Ottawa has been held every year since - see Gallery pages.
A Trip to Ottawa has become increasingly popular year over year and in 2018 we were forced to limit numbers to 96 dancers to allow sufficient space to dance without having to restrict the repertoire.
Since 2009, in addition to the Regular Dance (Fridays), an "Advanced" Dance is held. It happens Wednesday, twice a month, at Orange Hall, Westboro. Intended for dancers who know the basics (as taught in our class) and are ready for something a bit more challenging, occasionally a lot more challenging! (but before 9:00).
In 2010 the club was incorporated in Ontario under the name Ottawa English Dance, a Non Profit Organization (NPO), to promote the enjoyment of English Country Dance. The AGM is held at the end of the dance season at Orange Hall.
With the encouragement of June Harman, in 2017 a new local band emerged. Quite Carried Away, complementing the Playford Players, significantly increased the number of our regular Friday Dances with live music. (QCA played occasionally prior to 2017 under that name as well as The Hole in the Wall Gang.) In addition to the Regular Dance they have played the Friday evening Welcome Dance for A Trip to Ottawa too. Quite Carried Away is lead by Milan Skubnik (violin and other curious instruments), with Edith Troup (keyboard), & Serban Gheorghe (violin) forming the core. They are joined intermittently by Suzette Argo (recorder & flute), Mary Nash (violin), Mitzi Hauser (whistles & occasionally percussion), & Jonathan Werk (woodwind, not to mention two tin whistles - played simultaneously).
By 2019 rising costs in Westboro prompted the club to look for an alternative to Orange Hall. As a result of a search by Mary Shleifman, club president, "Summer Dances" were held to test the McNabb Community Centre in downtown Ottawa. By no means perfect it past the test and so became the venue for "Advanced Dances" starting September 2019.
The Playford Players have played at Friday dances since 2003, typically once a month, and at occasional special events - see photos of demonstration dances at Pinhey's Point. The band comprises Elizabeth Scarlett (fiddle), Jim Hunter (keyboard), Alf Warnock (mandolin & guitar), and most recently Ross Davison (wind).
Elizabeth Scarlett played recorder and flute in primary school but switched to violin in grade 9.
She was a longtime member of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra under James Coles and studied with Flora Goulden, passing the Grade 8 Toronto Conservatory violin exam at age 18.
Elizabeth began playing Celtic fiddle in 1981 and was a regular attendee of the Rasputin's Monday night Celtic Session's from 1985 until it closed in 2008.
She taught fiddle at The Ottawa Folklore Centre for eight years, and subsequently was the Music Director of the Ottawa Fiddle Ensemble for several years. She also plays in the Ottawa Ceili Band.
Jim Hunter began playing by ear when he was four years old and gave his first public performance
at age six.
As a child he was exposed to classical and to folk music and passed his Grade 9 Toronto Conservatory piano exam at age 15. He performed regularly through his teen years, playing for dances and dance classes in his hometown Sarnia, and was a member of the American Federation of Musicians.
Now Jim is very well-known in the Ottawa area and a much sought-after pianist, playing for many local fiddlers and regularly at sessions, and at several ceili dances each month.
Jim's the pianist on local fiddler Sarah Burnell's award-winning CD's and has performed at the NAC's 4th Stage on several occasions.
Alf Warnock was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He has been an enthusiastic musician all his life.
He began playing piano around the age of five and continued until age twelve when he took up the guitar. He played lead guitar in a skiffle band that became a popular teen rock and roll band in Glasgow, playing at weekly dances throughout the Glasgow area.
He later developed interests in Jazz and Celtic music. Playing banjo, mandolin, and fiddle, Alf hosted the Monday night Celtic session at Rasputin's for over ten years, and is the leader of the Ottawa Ceili Band.
Since his retirement a few years ago, Alf has focused on Jazz guitar, playing guitar and bass guitar in groups and at Jazz jams in Ottawa.
October 19th, 2018. Mary emailed us to say that Godfrey Williams died in the early hours of the morning. He had suffered a brain anurism in August followed by two months at the Ottawa Civic Hospital Mary's email (here).
In addition to being a dancer for many years Godfrey also served as Club Treasurer over 15 years.
A memorial service to celebrate Godfrey's life was held at the St John's Anglican Church, Kanata on Saturday, October 27. Obituary (here)
Irfôna Larkin, long time member of the club, caller, and well known in the dance community across Canada and Northern US, has been missed by all since she died unexpectedly on December 17th 2014. More information here.
In memory of Irfôna, Charlene Thomson composed a dance "Irfôna's Waltz" (links to sheet music and an mp3 recorded by Charlene and Julian Shepherd). Charlene's music inspired a competition to find a fitting dance for her composition. On April 8th, 2016, a dance-off was held at which members voted on three short listed entries.
On the morning of April 3rd 2012 Club founders Nigel and Angela Kilby were involved in a tragic motor vehicle accident while on vacation in Portugal with friends.
Angela died in the accident, Nigel past away July 11th at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Emails (here) from their family helped all through a difficult period.
At St Paul's Church (20 Young Rd, Kanata) there is a memorial garden dedicated to Nigel & Angela. Angela's art hangs inside the Church.
In addition to Club Member's contributions to this web site, the English Country Dancing logo is from a sign painted for the club by early club member Holly Lennox. Jane & Keith Thompson occasionally give design and artistic critique. The following tools, available free on the Internet, are used for web site management: EditPad Pro © written by Jan Goyvaerts; WinSCP © from SourceForge; SASS © written by Hampton Catlin, Nathan Weizenbaum, Chris Eppstein; Jernej Simončič for Windows version of Gimp ©; and Ruby © written by Project Contributors. Not to mention Stack Overflow.