Kirk Bachler, 1948-2014
The RSCDS Twin Cities Branch mourns the loss of Kirk Bachler, who passed away on June 9th, 2014. Kirk was a member of the RSCDS Twin Cities Branch since the 1980s and one of its regular teachers for over a decade. He especially loved to work with newer dancers and was a mainstay of the Branch’s performances at events with historical themes, such as the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and the Big Island Rendezvous. He was also very active in the local Morris dance community.
Kirk was known for his ecclectic interests and lively conversation. Though he styled himself a curmudgeon, his generosity and thoughtfulness belied that image. Despite his claims to be a grumpy old man, he started and served for many years as the Branch’s “Sunshine Committee,” a role in which he reached out to members who were experiencing illness or loss. Kirk will be missed and remembered.
Tim Dickson, 1963-2008
The RSCDS Twin Cities Branch mourns the loss of Tim Dickson, who passed away suddenly on May 1, 2008. Tim grew up in Roseville, MN, graduated from South High, Mpls in 1979 and UW Madison in 1983. He played a very important and valued role in the RSCDS Twin Cities branch during his decade of membership. He was on the branch board for several years, serving as a member at large and as board vice-chair. He chaired our annual Fàilte Ball for many years, and organized many other social events, for which he was known for creative and elaborate themes and decorations.
He was also one of our most dedicated Renaissance Festival performers. He was a co-conspiritor in the creation of our life-sized “Nessie”, which continues to be a favorite at the Festival when she makes her appearances. His energy, humor, and sense of fun will be remembered fondly by all who knew him. “The dancer is at rest, but the dance will keep going — Tha an dannsair aig fois, ach cumaidh an dannsa à dol.”
Alan Grant, 1944-2012
The RSCDS Twin Cities Branch mourns the loss of Rev. Alan W. Grant, who passed away October 29, 2012.
Alan was born in Seattle, WA and grew up in Corvallis, Oregon. He graduated from Oregon State University and went on to the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, graduating with a Master of Divinity in 1970. He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1971 and spent most of his career doing pastoral care at hospitals. After moving to Minneapolis in 1976, he served as chaplain at Metropolitan Medical Center and Mercy Hospital, where he was known for his gift in helping people through life transitions.
He had a passion for cycling and also enjoyed photography, woodworking, and bread-baking, as well as travel with wife Helen. He became involved with the local Scottish community through the Twin Cities Scottish Club and soon discovered Scottish country dancing and the RSCDS. Along with Helen, he became a fixture in the group, a board member, and a sought-after partner on the dance floor. We will miss his playful humor and his great kindness. »”The Minister on the Mississippi,” an 8×32 Strathspey
Anna Laino, 1983-2009
The RSCDS Twin Cities Branch mourns the loss of Anna Laino, dancer and musician, who left us on February 5th, 2009.
Born Nov. 12, 1983, in West Islip, NY, she had moved to Chardon, OH in 1994, and lived there until moving to Minnesota in 2006. She was a 2001 graduate of Chardon High School, a 2005 graduate of Grove City College and a 2008 graduate of Luther Seminary with a master’s degree in sacred music. She loved to listen to and play music. She played the organ, violin, piano, trumpet and was a gifted singer. She enjoyed knitting, traveling, and art. She also enjoyed spending time with her two cats, Wilbur and Orville. Anna was the music director at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Minnetonka for the past three years.
Anna had danced with the RSCDS for the past two years and also played fiddle with the Talisker Collective. In addition, she was fiddler for Duck or Grouse Rapper Sword.
She will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege to know her. »”Anna’s Homecoming,” an 8×32 Reel
Harold “Mac” McMillen, 1928-2000
The RSCDS Twin Cities Branch mourns the loss of Harold “Mac” McMillen. Mac was well known in the Minnesota Scottish community as a piper. He was also a dancer and teacher with the Branch for many years. Born in Winona, he served in the U.S. Army in Japan and then studied at Minnesota Bible College and was ordained as a minister. He later went on to a second career as a computer programmer and systems analyst.
He is remembered by many as the proprietor of Thistle Leather and the originator of the famous carved leather “jacks” (mugs) that became extremely popular at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, where he was a performer and craftsman since the year it started in 1972.
Roberta Riegel Williams, 1928-2023
The RSCDS Twin Cities Branch mourns the loss of Roberta Williams, who passed away on December 5th, 2023. Roberta discovered the group when it was still an RSCDS affiliated group and went on to help found it as an official Branch and be one of its first teachers. Originally from Philadelphia, Roberta moved to the Twin Cities with her husband Arthur in the 1950s. After discovering Scottish country dancing in the early 1970s, she quickly became very involved in the group. In addition to teaching, she trained and tutored many others as Scottish dance teachers, and also wrote and published numerous dances, including in her own book, The Borealis Book.
If you enjoy dancing at the Renaissance Festival you have Roberta to thank. It was her idea to have the Branch perform at RenFest. In 1973, she called the Festival to suggest Scottish country dancing and the festival requested that the dancers audition. Roberta invited a festival rep to come to that year’s ball. “A woman in a big black cape showed up at the ball and thought we were great!” remembered Roberta, and thus began a wonderful tradition for the Branch that has continued for fifty years and counting! » See the instructions for “Flowers of Shakopee,” a dance she wrote for audience participation at the Renaissance Festival.