As you enter the games located on your right and just past the first group of vendor tents you will find McBride Hall. Festooned with hanging flags from around the world, wall banners depicting the various locations of Scottish Country Dance classes and a prominent dance floor, McBride Hall has become the "go-to" place to experience (and participate in!) a myriad of activities from dancing to music.
Anchoring the activities in McBride Hall is Scottish Country Dancing, which shares with you the traditional social dances of Scotland. There are twice daily dance demonstrations by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Los Angeles Branch Demonstration Team as well as workshops and beginning dance classes presented by the dancers and classes of the Southern California branches of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. Unlike Highland Dancing which is competitive solo dancing, country dancing is non-competitive social activity . . . coming from the same roots as square dancing and contra. The dances are lively and enjoyed by dancers of all ages. Participants may join in the fun with or without partners.
In addition to Scottish Country dancing, sprinkled throughout the two days, is a variety of other audience participation activities and entertaining musical performances. A staple of our Hall is Rigel, aka David Key and Becky Spiro, who perform the more quiet ballads, jigs and airs of Scotland. Mixing melancholy with whimsy, they have delighted our audiences regularly. In the past we have offered the musical styling of the Ventura British Brass Band; 3 for Joy; Ventura Celtic Coast Band, as well as Bows and Toes. McBride Hall has also been home to workshops in Irish step dancing, English Country dancing, Contra, and Cape Breton step dancing.
For those of you who wish to play the music rather than to dance to it, we have been fortunate enough to present Pint of Irish - a Los Angeles based "Seisun" group of musicians playing Irish Pub music. The "Seisun" (or session) is a traditional form of what we might think of as "jamming." Everyone is welcome to join in. If you know a few Irish or Scottish tunes, bring along your instrument. (a tune list can be found at pintofirish.org) There is currently a Ventura Branch of Pint of Irish being formed. If you wish information about the group, please contact Mike McChesney by email at email@example.com.
On Sunday afternoon, we ended the 2017 Games with a "Wee Highland Ball". Reminiscent of the formal Scottish Country Dance balls held throughout the world. Our mini-ball consisted of a short program of dances along with a humorous running commentary on the traditions, customs and culture found at such an event. We were thrilled to have live music, organized and performed by the inestimable Shauna Pickett-Gordon and members of the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles and Rigel. Those are some of the past glories to be found in McBride Hall, please stop by to see what fun and surprises we have in store for you "Off Main Street" at the 2018 Seaside Highland Games.