Occasionally, in the Ozarks, on a cool and still night, with a good imagination, you can hear the faint sounds of “mountain music” drifting from the rugged hilltops to the valleys below. That music and accompanying dances brought the men and women who settled Pulaski County together in a social setting and offered a brief respite from the continual backbreaking work. The music and dances were also a tool that helped pass down stories, legends, and wisdom from one generation to another through song.
“Mountain music” will make a triumphant return to Pulaski County during this year’s Old Settlers Day. The two day event will feature The Back Porch Players and Flower O’Scotland Dance Troupe– both groups strong believers in the power of music to pass down history and heritage.
Flower O’Scotland Dance Troupe can trace their beginning back to Springfield, Missouri near the turn of the 21st century. Comprised of folks from all walks of life, and of all ages, their goal is to preserve and raise the awareness of Scottish country dancing. Scottish heritage is shared by many Missouri families, dating back to Show Me State’s early days of settlement.
Scottish country dancing itself dates back to the early 16th century. Its popularity waned on occasion, but during the 18th century, to regain their Scottish heritage, it made its way back to Scottish castles, courts, and village gatherings. The dances themselves are social in nature and would sometimes vary from region to region. According to Raymond Purdom, FO’SDT coordinator, the first efforts to standardize the dances was made by Dr Jean Milligan and Mrs Ysobel Stewart in 1923. Their early efforts resulted in the Scottish Country Dance Society which is now the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
Purdom also tells listeners that Scottish country dance could be the Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather of American square dancing. He does note significant differences though- Scottish country dancing is on the balls of the feet, while square dancing is stepping and sliding. Gentlemen are generally in a kilt, wearing the tartan of their clan ancestry and the ladies are in period dresses which makes for a colorful and entertaining presentation. Dances can commemorate battles, weddings, romances. Sometimes even death. Purdome relays that “Reel of the 51st” was written by a British Lieutenant who was captured in the early days of World War II. The dance was a morale booster for the POW’s- and helped to keep their German captors puzzled and confused.
During their 12th consecutive appearance at Old Settlers Day the troupe will perform jigs, strathspeys (similar to, but slower than the reel), reels, and waltzes.
Flower O’Scotland Dance Troupe will be performing at Pavilion 2 beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
To learn more about Flower O’Scotland Dance Troupe and Scottish country dancing please visit http://floweroscotlanddancetroupe.yolasite.com
To learn more about Old Settlers Day please visit www.route66courthouse.com.
To learn about more things to see and do in Pulaski County, Missouri, please visit www.PulaskiCountyUSA.com.