Branch Award 2012


Keith and Deirdre MacCuish Bark

Keith and Deirdre MacCuish Bark are committed to Scottish Country Dancing and to the Toronto Association. Keith earned his Teacher’s Certificate in 1993; Deirdre in 2001. Keith has taught the Erin Mills Tuesday group for twenty years, and together they taught numerous youth and children’s classes at Erin Mills. For the last few years, Deirdre has taught at Woodglen and Humbercrest, our newest social group that is growing steadily. They have taught Branch classes, taught at workshops across North America, and are regular teachers at the annual Thistle Scottish Country Dance School in North Carolina.

Keith is now a recognized tutor of the Society for future SCD teachers. This has required many hours of mainly winter driving for teaching weekends. Deirdre acted as co-pilot for these trips as well as advisor for the local organizers on the intricacies of the examination process. She is a current member of the RSCDS Toronto Teachers’ Panel and Keith has been its Chair. He has prepared dance programs for the Toronto Association’s year of dancing – a daunting and often unforgiving task.

Their commitment to the standards of SCD teaching has taken them on to the Teachers’ Association (Canada) in various roles: Keith as AGM Director, Summer School Director, and Chair of TAC; Deirdre as AGM Director, North American Exam Coordinator, and TAC’s Summer School Candidate Course and Examination Coordinator.

Keith was involved in organizing and chairing the West Toronto Ball, and both serve on the Committee for the West Toronto Workshop.

Their involvement in RSCDS Toronto extended to the Association’s Board of Directors. Keith served on the Executive Committee and was, in the late 90s, one of the key players in the major transformation that the Toronto Association underwent as a result of our successful Trillium Fund request. He served as Chair (2001-2003) during these proceedings, including the incorporation of the Toronto Association, and all the changes the grant required.

Deirdre served on the Board as the Director for Special Events featuring ceilidhs and galas. They are regularly the Toronto Association’s representatives at the Society’s AGM in November. Recently, Keith has been seconded to the Membership Services Committee of the Society, a position requiring very early morning meetings via Skype.

The Demo Pool continues to keep them busy: Keith as teacher, dance selector, music organizer, and Deirdre as contact person, program organizer, and general persuader, especially during the busy days of the Robbie Burns Supper season. Many times they are pressed into dancing as well.

Is that all? No, not by a long shot – these are just highlights in the list of contributions this dedicated, generous couple has made to the Scottish country dance community because they love to dance.

Jane Robinson

At the April Monthly Dance, Margaret Rieger presented Jane Robinson with the RSCDS Toronto Branch Award.

For the past nineteen years Jane has served the Association in many different roles. During the ’90s she was Branch Class Convenor and, until recently, the Class Rep for Branch classes at Eastminster church. She has been Monthly Dance Coordinator, Dancing in the Park Coordinator, and Membership Director. While on the Executive Committee in the late ’90s she was one of the key players in both the planning and execution of the major transformation of the Association that resulted from our Trillium Fund grant. She then wrote the “Yellow Book” that has guided the Board’s activities since incorporation.

Since then Jane has been Vice Chair, Chair (2007-2009), and is she is now Past Chair of the Board, as well as Chair of the Nominating Committee. The wonderful 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2007 unfolded under her leadership. And she hasn’t retired. She was involved in the publication of Ann Campbell’s book of dances Who’s Who in Toronto; is on the Planning Committee for the Southern Great Lakes Chairs Conference; sits on the Tartan Ball Committee; and is keeper of our regalia and “paraphernalia”.

With her enthusiasm, encouraging support, commitment, phenomenal memory of people and events, and her welcoming smile, Jane has given so much to the Scottish country dancing organization and family here in Toronto and in the Haliburton Highlands.

Congratulations, Jane, and a huge “Thank You” from the Toronto Association!