FUSTA's Hall of Fame
FUSTA is proud to present the Hall of Fame Awards. This prestigious award is given to honor members of FUSTA who have made an impact on Highland Dancing in the United States and have contributed to the growth and development of the FUSTA organization.
If you know of someone that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, please read the criteria document, fill out the nomination form below, and submit it on or before December 1st to Mary Beth Klein.
Hall of Fame - 2015
Co-Inductees Anne Burgin Andrews & Eleanor Unger
ANNE BURGIN ANDREWS was born and raised in Edinburgh Scotland. Her Mother enrolled her in dancing at the age of five with Madame Ada Caulder. Anne then studied highland and tap with Cissie Tucker and trained with the Royal Academy of Ballet. She received her membership in highland while in Scotland.
In 1957 Anne moved to the United States. She competed at the 2nd annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. In 1967 Anne became an adjudicator with the SOBHD.
Anne moved to Charlotte, NC in the late 60's. It was then she became focused on teaching dance and took over as the dance organizer for the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.
She was the director of dance for the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games for 37 years.
During her time as the director she brought the Atlantic International Championships to Grandfather Mountain which was the first championship to be held in the southeast. She also hosted two USIR's at Grandfather Mountain.
Anne has taught dance for over 50 years. Her students have competed successfully throughout the United States, Canada and Scotland winning many championships including the USIR. Her students included her own daughter who she taught for over twenty five years.
Anne is the director of dance for the Loch Norman Highland Games where she has run the Carolina's Open Championship for 19 years. She has been the dance organizer for over seven highland games in the southeast. As a dance director she has passionately advocated for the needs and welfare of the dancers.
Highlights from Anne's many years of judging include judging the Champion of Champions in Tasmania and the Grand Australasians in Sydney Australia. She has judged championships throughout the United States, Canada and Scotland including the world championships.
As well as teaching, judging, and organizing, Anne has been honored with the distinguished St. Andrews Scottish Heritage Award for the Arts and the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games - Agnes McRae Morton award. In the early eighties Anne and Eleanor Unger organized the SEUSHDA registration scheme.
Anne's considers highland dance to be one of the greatest gifts of her life and she treasures the special relationships she has built with her students past and present.
Anne has a son Andrew, a daughter Elaine and two grandchildren. Her Granddaughter is carrying on the tradition of dance and she is thrilled to be involved with her development.
Anne thanks FUSTA for the honor of being inducted in to the hall of fame.
ELEANOR UNGER, a native of Scotland, has been part of Highland Dance for over 40 years. She had a very successful competitive career in New Zealand and was a New Zealand Academy trained teacher and judge before coming to the United States in 1967.
Eleanor passed the required SOBHD and BATD exams to teach and judge worldwide. While working with the Virginia Beach Ballet in the 1970's, Eleanor established a formidable Highland Dance school and also taught Highland Dance classes for Old Dominion University. She formed her own dance Company, "Virginia Beach Highlanders," which has since become "Scottish Dance Theatre of Virginia." Over the years she has enjoyed training dancers for competition, both as Company performers and as BATD teachers.
Eleanor was one of the founders of SEUSHDA, (the forerunner for SEFUSTA) and as the Secretary/Treasurer, she and Anne Burgin, the President, organized and ran the first SOBHD approved Registration Scheme in the United States. Under this strong leadership, the tiny group grew from an initial membership of eight to the flourishing body we see today as SEFUSTA with a new generation of strong leaders. As a founder of the Tidewater Scottish Festival in 1978, she was able to host the first few Southern Regionals in Virginia Beach and help get the Regional Championship established. These games, later renamed Hampton Roads Scottish Festival, with Eleanor as the President, hosted the USIR in 1997. She earlier had the honor of serving as Vice President of FUSTA and was in charge of the review of FUSTA By-laws under the Presidency of Marquerite Reid. She also served a very long tenure as the SEFUSTA Judge's Chair in the earlier days of the organization.
Eleanor played an integral role in the outreach of Highland Dance to the general public. During the 16 years as Dance Director of the Virginia International Tattoo, FUSTA's dancers have performed with some of the best dance groups in the world. Each year an audience of 60,000 from 44 states and 14 countries viewed fresh new Highland dance Choreographies by Eleanor, accompanied by 300 pipers. Highland Dancers were featured in all TV and brochure promotions. Facebook and Youtube dance production numbers were posted annually. Hundreds of thousands of people have been exposed to Highland Dance via the largest Tattoo in the United States - Cast 900.
Life Member BATD, Adjudicator SOBHD (ret), Dance Director Emeritus Virginia International Tattoo, Director Scottish Dance Theatre of Virginia.
Hall of Fame - 2014
Co-Inductees Diane MacPhee Krugh & Catherine Fisher
DIANE MACPHEE KRUGH -
One day, when Diane was five years old, she asked her father if she could learn to play the bagpipes. He immediately called to her mom and said, "Bride, get her some dancing shoes!" Her mom, Mary Catherine was affectionately called "Bride" by her dad, Sandy. Sandy was a well-known and successful bagpiper, so Diane was dancing to bagpipes at a very early age. It probably helped that her mother's parents came from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland and her father's parents were from Plockton and South Uist, Scotland.
Growing up in the Detroit, Michigan area, in 1962, Diane started lessons with Pearl Magnuson as did most of the Detroit area dancers. After a year or so, Sheila MacMillian Mittig, a teacher from Balloch Scotland, moved to Dearborn, Michigan and Diane became Sheila's first pupil in America. Diane took lessons from Sheila until the Mittigs moved to Chicago. Then she and her sister, Donna, trained with Janis Burkhardt. The MacPhees moved to Chicago for a short time before they returned to Michigan in 1973. That is when Diane started teaching Donna and other students in Northville, Michigan and taught there until September 1975 when she moved to Dunedin, Florida. The principal reason for the move to Florida was because of her mom's health. Bill Weaver graciously accepted her students when she left Northville. You might say that move was the beginning of the rest of Diane's life.
Diane taught in Dunedin and Orlando, Florida from September 1975 to January 1979. While in Florida, she also ran the highland dancing events at the Dunedin and Orlando Highland Games. In December 1976, she met her wonderful and loving husband, John. He proposed six weeks later and they were married in October 1977. In answer to John's life-long dream to go to law school, Diane left her family in Florida and moved to Houston, Texas for John to go to the South Texas College of Law.
In Houston, Diane became friends with C. Stewart Smith. Diane and Stewart ended up spending every Friday night together at Stewart's house where they worked on theory and talked dancing until all hours of the night. It is thanks to Stewart that Diane was able to increase her theory knowledge in highland dancing. Stewart had every dance teacher's dream job, teaching highland dancing full-time at St. Thomas' Episcopal School, a private school in Houston.
Stewart passed away in July 1982, and that once in a lifetime job to be his successor, was offered to Diane. Diane has been with St. Thomas' Episcopal School for 32 years, where for the past 31 years she has had the pleasure of teaching with her sister, Donna. With that kind of longevity, they are both finding great pleasure in teaching the children of children they taught... the next generation.
In 1980, Diane attended the World of Highland Dance Conference in Las Vegas. It was here that she met fellow dancing friends who were ready to get a nationwide highland dance championship started in the United States. The Federation of United States Teachers and Adjudicators of highland dancing (FUSTA) was formed and Diane was one of the founding officers, being the first Treasurer, holding that position for two years. She was also a Southwest Regional Delegate twice, and has been the National Registrar since 1999. Diane has always had a special love and passion for FUSTA and wants to see it grow and succeed to be the very best it can be.
In 1983, Diane became pregnant with her son, Neil, and Donna came to Houston to help. Donna was only planning on being in Houston for a year. Needless to say, Donna did not return to Florida and now Donna has taken the term "help" to a whole new level. Donna is the reason that Diane is able to do what she does. In Diane's words, "I can assure you I could not be the success I am today if it wasn't for my sister!!" Together, they have produced 24 US champions, 16 First Runners Up, 11 Second Runners Up, 2 Third Runners Up, 3 Fourth Runners Up, and 1 Fifth Runner Up in the 33 years of the USIR. In addition, five of their students have been in the top six places in the World Championships on numerous occasions. In 1997, their student, Michelle Cumagun, brought the World Championship back to the United States for the first time in 25 years!
Diane has her Fellowship in Highland and National dance and is a Senior Examiner with the BATD (British Association of Teachers of Dancing). Along with her friend, Joy Tolev, Diane is the co-coordinator of the North American Sadie Simpson Scholarships sponsored by the BATD. Diane passed her Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (SOBHD) Judges exam in 1983 and has been judging for over 30 years. She has been blessed to travel all over the world examining, teaching, and judging and has loved every minute of it! The friendships that she has made and the places she has experienced are truly invaluable.
Diane was never the top winner and only won one trophy during her time dancing. She likes to emphasize that one does not always have to be a champion to be successful in highland dance, but when you have the passion for it and love what you do, then you will find success.
Diane's pride and joy and greatest blessings are her husband, John, and her two children, Neil (30) and Sandra (20). She and John will have been married for 37 years in October. All of her family is very important and special to her, her sister, Donna; her husband, Mike Cusack, and their son, Michael; brother, Donald and his wife, Christine Lacey; and father, Sandy MacPhee.
Diane is very appreciative to the Hall of Fame Committee for this incredible honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame here in Houston in front of students, former students, dear friends, and especially her family. It is wonderful to have them all here and share this special night.
CATHERINE FISHER -
Catherine Davidson Fisher was born in Philadelphia to Scottish parents. In an effort to maintain and share their heritage, Catherine started taking Highland Dancing lessons at the age of 5 from Marguerite Reid. She along with Judy Magee Hackett were Marguerite's first pupils. Although dancers did not travel as we do now, Catherine was very successful and always appeared in the prize list. She competed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and occasionally traveled up to Canada. She competed with Judy Hackett, Sarah Jean Thompson, Sharon Magneson, and Joyce McIntosh. She even had an opportunity to compete against World Champion, Sandra Bald Jones when she first started competing in the United States.
Catherine married Richard Fisher in 1963. She moved to Ohio in 1966 and briefly took lessons from Vera Patterson (Hugh Bigney, Sandra Scafati, Pat Miller). While in Ohio, Catherine began teaching her students. In 1972, Catherine and her family moved to Maryland where she began taking her daughters, Cheryl and Karen, to Marguerite Reid for lessons and teaching her students in Maryland. Her son, Keith, began taking piping lessons as well. Catherine and Richard spent many years traveling to lessons and competitions all over the country and Canada with their children. Presently, her granddaughters have carried on the family tradition and Catherine is actively involved in their development.
In 1981, Catherine served as Secretary to the new dancing organization, FUSTA. At the same time, she was the first USIR chairman which took place in Alexandria, Virginia. She organized the USIR, again, in 1988 and just recently in 2012 in conjunction with Cheryl Kirby. Catherine is still actively involved in FUSTA. She is part of the Nominating Committee as well as the Hall of Fame Committee. Presently, she is the Regional Registrar for the Eastern Region.
Catherine became an adjudicator with the SOBHD in 1967. Since then, she has judged all over the world, most notably the Scotdance Canada Championship Series, Cowal, and the Champion of Champions in Australia.
In 1981, Catherine went to work for ARINC in Annapolis, MD. She progressed from Secretary to Manager of Contracts Administration. In 2007, she retired after 25 years. Catherine lives in New Market, Maryland with her husband, Richard, of 50 years. They have 8 grandchildren and enjoy attending their diverse assortment of sporting and artistic events.
Hall of Fame - 2013
Co-Inductees John Hynd & Sharon Farrar
JOHN HYND - A native of Los Angeles, John was born of Scottish parents and has been involved in piping and Highland Dancing since the age of nine. First came piping lessons, followed by dancing lessons as recommended by his piping teacher in order to understand better the rhythms of pipe tunesâ€¦and to strengthen his skinny legs. The only other interest he had was to become a professional baseball player which wasn't in the cards.
After competing successfully in solo piping events and playing in a pipe band he managed to also compete in Highland dancing. A trip to Scotland as a college student turned out to be a three month adventure meeting many relatives and in making new friends traveling around the country to many Highland gatherings. Being the first American to win the British Overseas Championship at the Edinburgh Festival was a highlight. During his stay, he continued to further improve his knowledge of the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (SOBHD) technique which is now accepted around the world. His coach in Scotland was the late Cissie Tucker, an early and prominent member of the SOBHD, and a renowned teacher in Edinburgh.
John was a founding member of the Southern California Highland Dancing Association and served as an officer and an active committee member in its early years. The area teachers and dancers were all working on the new SOBHD method and having had a full dose of Scottish 'Kool Aid,' he was active in promoting the technique when he arrived back home. He began teaching as a sophomore in university and soon had classes in two locations in the Los Angeles area... in addition to working two part-time jobs. John was the first teacher whose students did medal tests and other exams conducted in the early 1960's by the SDTA and its representative James L. MacKenzie. It was then that he passed his membership examination.
John graduated from Pepperdine University, with a B.S. degree and his business career consisted mainly of 38 years in the airline industry with Pan Am and later, United Airlines. He worked in Sales Management, Advertising and Sales Promotion and latterly in a Customer Service Management capacity at Los Angeles International Airport. In his spare time, John was a founding member of the L.A. Scots Pipe Band formed in 1962 and he played with the band for 11 years.
His job entailed a great deal of travel and did not allow him to continue to teach full time, but having married Catherine Girvin from Buffalo, N.Y., who was already a successful Highland teacher, she inherited John's students and added many more students from there. Cathy continued to teach for over 50 years and John was supportive to her and always maintained an interest in her students, many of whom were top prize winners. Cathy and John were amongst the first who passed the SOBHD Judges Panel exam given in North America in 1965. John has had the pleasure of judging at all major championships and competitions in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Scotland.
In addition to serving on several FUSTA national and regional committees, he served for 10 years on the FUSTA Board of Directors as the National Chairman of the Judges Committee and during that time many new responsibilities were taken on by FUSTA as prescribed by the SOBHD in Edinburgh. It was his interest and fortitude that encouraged the SOBHD to annually conduct Judges Panel Examinations in North America which has provided opportunities for many new members of the Panel in the United States.
John and Cathy reside in Manhattan Beach, CA and their daughter Janeen Tronnes, lives in Vancouver, B.C. Their beautiful granddaughter, Ava, has just celebrated her seventh birthday. Janeen carried on the dancing tradition, and she is hopeful that Ava will keep it going. Since his retirement from United Airlines, he has worked as a Background Actor in movies, T.V. shows, and has been a 'regular' on the soap opera, "The Young and the Restless" for nine years. It keeps him busy on a part-time basis in a fun and worthwhile atmosphere.
It has been John's pleasure and privilege to give back as much as possible in all aspects of Highland Dancing. The friendships made in many places in the world in over 60 years, are invaluable and a part of a very significant and wonderful ride that he has had in the world of Highland Dancing.
SHARON FARRAR was born in St. Catharines, Ontario and from age 5 studied with an inspiring dance teacher, Miss Shirley Ashdown, who also taught Cathy Hynd. Sharon grew up competing most weekends from March through November in Ontario, Michigan and the eastern United States. Highland dancing and the Highland community of dancers and pipers were foremost in her life. "Play" often involved dance class for little friends in the family basement.
Miss Ashdown arranged for Sharon to teach the children of a group of Scottish families in Niagara-on-the-Lake when she turned sixteen. This gave Sharon money for living expenses while attending McMaster University in Hamilton and also made sure she came home from school on weekends!
1962 was a banner year: graduation from college, marriage to Harry Farrar IV, and relocation to Woodland Hills, CA. The Highland dance community in California welcomed her. She soon started teaching and became involved with the parent and professional dance associations. 2013 marks her fiftieth year of teaching in Los Angeles. Sharon continued to dance and compete until 1979. When she finally sold her kilt, she had competed for 31 years! A new career teaching English and History at Viewpoint School followed her retirement from dancing - something was needed to fill the void.
Sons Harry and Bruce both danced and played the pipes and the family continued the pattern of immersion in the Highland community. No better way to grow up! Harry's daughter dances now, and his son, Harry 6 plays the pipes. Bruce's twins are only 3 years old but showing an interest, too. The beat goes on.
Professionally, Sharon is a Fellow of the SDTA. She became an SOBHD Judge in 1965 soon after the SOBHD style of dance became the norm in the USA. Sharon served on the FUSTA Board as President from 1987-89 and held the offices of Vice-President, Secretary, Western Region Delegate and Western Regional Judges' Chair. She wrote the first FUSTA newsletter in October 1982 and many more after that.
Sharon prepared the groundwork for gaining FUSTA's non-profit tax exempt status. She worked with Billy Forsyth to revise the original FUSTA Bylaws and structure the organization in a manner acceptable to becoming an Affiliate of the SOBHD. FUSTA gained affiliation in 1988.
Sharon worked on FUSTA committees - mainly with Bill Weaver and Ann Johnson - to create the FUSTA Code of Ethics, FUSTA Disciplinary Procedures, FUSTA Child Protection Program, and FUSTA Scrutineering Certification Course and Program. She established electronic databases for Membership, Dancer Registration and records of FUSTA committees.
In FUSTA Western Region, Sharon was President of Associated Judges and Teachers prior to establishment of FUSTA's affiliation with SOBHD and organized numerous competitions and events in the region. She chaired the USIR 2001 and Co-chaired USIR 1984 with Cathy Hynd.
Sharon cannot imagine her life without Highland Dancing and treasures her wonderful students and friends. She thanks FUSTA for the honor of being named to the Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame - 2012
BILL WEAVER, born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but growing up in Dearborn, Michigan, began Highland dancing at the age of five under the tutelage of Pearl Magnuson. Although a very successful dancer, Bill left Highland dancing at the age of 15 to pursue competitive springboard diving, culminating in being selected as a collegiate All-American. At the time Bill chose to step away from Highland dancing, he didn't realize how much he loved the sport. His parents tried to talk him into staying in Highland, but it is difficult to tell a 14 or 15 year old that they might regret their decision to quit. Bill's parents, of course were correct. Once he got back into competitive Highland dancing, quite by accident at the age of 23, Bill realized how much he had enjoyed it and still regrets those years away.
Shortly after returning to competitive dancing, an old friend, Diane MacPhee (now Diane Krugh), was going to be moving from Michigan to Florida and asked Bill if he would take over her dance studio. At first Bill said no, since he had never taught before, but Diane can be very persuasive, and soon Bill agreed, though with a large dose of trepidation. Bill immediately fell in love with teaching and found what seemed to be his calling. There was also another perk that came with inheriting Diane's dance school by the name of Elizabeth Grover, who later became Bill's wife, Liz Weaver, and the best thing that ever happened to him and, to whom he owes everything.
Bill has a small, but very successful Highland dance school he runs with Liz, in St. Louis, Michigan. Bill is a pioneer of long distance teaching with many of his students living in other parts of the U.S. and Canada. His students have won many major Championships including the U. S. Inter-Regional Championship, the Canadian Inter-Provincial Championship and the Adult World Championship. In addition to their dancing success, Bill has created bonds with many of his former dancers and remains an influential role model and person in their lives. Many of his students have gone on to be successful teachers and judges themselves, often crediting Bill for their continued successes.
Bill is FUSTA's first and only male president and first president to serve two consecutive terms. Prior to becoming president, Bill helped to increase intra-organizational communication by establishing the FUSTA website. During his terms as president, he worked to foster global change by pushing for a true worldwide board that included an organization which represents Scotland as an entity separate from the SOBHD which is now in place and continues to be developed. He also worked to improve communications between all the overseas organizations and was responsible for the fact that all the overseas organizations such as FUSTA are now being treated as peers by the SOBHD. This is evidenced by the fact that overseas organizations have been given more autonomy to act on many domestic issues as well as being asked for input on global issues and problems that come up for discussion. Bill is the current Vice President of FUSTA and besides having been President he was also FUSTA Treasurer and has served as the Midwest FUSTA delegate numerous times.
Bill has been a member of the S.O.B.H.D. Worldwide Judges panel since 1976, is a Life member of the B.A.T.D. in both Highland and National dances, and an Examiner for the UKA. Bill has judged at most major competitions and Championships in the U.S., Canada, Scotland and Australia and has also taught Highland dancing workshops throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as Australia. Bill is also a popular piper for Scottish Highland dancing competitions having piped at various competitions and Championships throughout the U.S. and Canada for 35 years.
Using his professional expertise as a Licensed, Certified Athletic Trainer, Bill has developed a very popular training program to help increase strength and explosiveness in Highland dancers which is used, recommended, and endorsed by Highland dancers throughout the world, including seven times, and current (2011) Adult World Champion, David Wilton. Bill, along with Christie Freestone, his wife, Liz and Kate DeGood, also developed an effective program to help candidates train to take the SOBHD judge's exam. Through this endeavor, they also developed a comprehensive, one of a kind guide to all three versions of the Scottish National dances. Additionally, Bill is the co-organizer of the highly popular World Highland Dancing Conference held tri-annually in Las Vegas.
Bill's legacy has left, and continues to leave, an impact on the world of Highland dancing, FUSTA, and his dancers personally. Perhaps, Bill's greatest gift is that he is willing to stand up for what he believes is right for Highland dancing and FUSTA even if it's not the popular choice. He has made a lasting impression on the world of Highland dancing, and in the hearts of his dancers and those around him.
Hall of Fame - 2011
ANN JOHNSON was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. By the time she was three her father had learned to play the bagpipes as a birthday surprise for her Scottish grandfather. From then on the music was always present and Highland Dance lessons followed when she was six.
By the time she was 7 she began competing and enjoyed modest success. It was not until she went away to college with every intention of giving up Highland Dance that she discovered she was not ready to do that.
Ann continued to work at her dancing often without regular instruction while she attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Learning to be analytical and to practice effectively were valuable acquisitions that resulted in rewarding competitive successes on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada.
After graduation Ann taught 4th grade for two years in Tacoma before returning home to Portland in 1974 where she had been hired by the Hillsboro School District to teach 5th and eventually 6th grade.
In 1980, she attended the organizational meeting of FUSTA held at a Highland Dance conference in Las Vegas. It was easy to become enthusiastically involved in the efforts to preserve and promote Highland Dance in the U.S. Ann served as the Northwest Region's first delegate and was elected FUSTA's third president in 1984.
In 2003, shortly after retiring from a 31-year career as a classroom teacher, Ann was again elected FUSTA President becoming the first person to hold that office twice. The world of Highland Dance had changed considerably in the 20 years since she had last been president. It was a world made smaller by electronic communication and the ease of travel. FUSTA and the overseas affiliates of the SOBHD communicated more frequently and found that all were suffering from growing pains in one form or another.
She is credited with re-establishing harmonious relationships with the SOBHD. During Ann's three terms as president she also oversaw the establishment of the FUSTA Hall of Fame and the academic scholarship for high school seniors. FUSTA's Scottish representative to the SOBHD became a regular attendee at the Mid-Winter meeting; a move that did a great deal to enhance communication and trust between the two organizations. The FUSTA newsletter and ballot 'went electronic' and the vital positions of National Registrar and National Judges' Committee Chairman became elected rather than appointed positions on the Board of Directors.
For over 30 years, she has been a volunteer and more recently Vice President Competition and on the executive committee of the Portland Highland Games Association.
Ann has been a member of SOBHD Adjudicators' Panel since 1974 and is an SDTA Life Member and Examiner.
Her dance school in Portland has produced consistently well-trained dancers who have exhibited a love of dance and the true spirit of sportsmanship. Her students have won local and national championships, including the USIR, and medals and trophies at the major summer championships in Scotland.
It is her belief that all who participate in Highland Dance have an inherent responsibility to give back so that others can enjoy the wonderful experiences and opportunities it offers. The privilege of participation in Highland Dance and FUSTA has been a highlight in her life.
Hall of Fame - 2010
CHRISTIE McLEOD FREESTONE's love affair with highland dancing has spanned the last half century. When she was eight years old, her Scottish grandfather arranged for Christie and her sister, Jeanne, to study with two of the great highland dance instructors of the day, Pearl Magnuson and Sharon Magnuson (Capitani). After four lessons, Christie decided that highland dancing was "too hard," and hung up her ghillies. Her sister continued to dance, becoming one of Michigan's most successful champions in the 1960's. After four years of traveling throughout North America to highland games, Christie decided to join her sister and become a highland dancer once again. This time, she "caught the bug" and the rest is history.
Not a natural dancer, Christie had to break down movements into isolated positions in order to perfect them. She quickly discovered a talent for analysis and an ability to teach. Her out-going personality, mixed with her ability to instruct, led to the founding of the Mid-Michigan Highland Dance Academy in 1970. As an Alma College freshman, she was recruited to teach her first student, Mary Jo Rohrer (Pung) whose father was the Community Education Director for the public schools. He asked her to teach a six-week course to the community children of Alma. In the first class offered, four students registered. The second class session enrolled 12 students. The third class session produced over 150 students. Highland dance officially became an institution in Alma, Michigan-Scotland, USA.
In the late 1970's, Christie initiated discussions with the Detroit area teachers about holding a national championship for highland dancing in the United States. Knowing that such an undertaking would need national support, she took the idea to a teachers' meeting at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in 1980. It was decided to present a proposal to teachers from around the country at the Las Vegas International Highland Dance Conference in 1981. In order to sponsor a national championship, a governing body was necessary. The Federation of United States Teachers and Adjudicators of Highland Dance (FUSTA) formed and Christie was elected to be the first president. The first USIR was held in 1981 and Christie had a national champion that first year. In the past 25 years, she has had regional finalists at every USIR and has produced 11 USIR champions.
As an early elementary school teacher with a Master Degree in early childhood education, Christie has researched motor skills development in children and adapted her findings to the teaching of very young highland dancers. She has taught numerous workshops throughout North America sharing her techniques for teaching beginner dancers.
As the director of the Mid-Michigan Highland Dance Academy in Alma, where she currently heads a staff of six member and associate teachers of highland dance, Christie's students have won over 100 championships throughout the world. She has trained 23 member teachers and three SOBHD judges. She initiated the idea of a judge's training program, that has became a reality through the collaboration of life-time friends and judges, Liz and Bill Weaver, and student and judge, Kate DeGood. Christie is a life-time Fellow member of the BATD and a member of the SOBHD judges' panel. She teaches first grade at a public elementary school in Ithaca, Michigan and is an Adjunct Professor of highland dance at Alma College. She is the wife of Dave, "the wind beneath her wings," and the mother of Craig, "the pride of her life!"
Christie's legacy is the positive approach she uses when teaching students. Parents are encouraged to watch lessons and to practice with their children. Students are encouraged to participate in other activities, even if it means adjusting dance schedules. She believes that students must experience all that life offers before they are able to decide upon which path they will follow in life. Only then will they find their "gifts" and develop a passion for living. Perhaps, Christie's greatest gift is that every student leaves a workshop or a dance class feeling special. She often believes in her students more than they believe in themselves. She credits her personal successes in life to the lessons she learned from her loving parents, Catherine and Max McLeod.
Most people slow down after 40 years on the job, but Christie just keeps going at a frantic pace. With a smile, a hug and a word of encouragement, Christie Freestone has made an indelible mark on the world of highland dance.
Hall of Fame - 2009
CATHY HYND was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Living close to the Canadian border she began Highland lessons at an early age in St. Catherines, Ontario, first from Bill Cameron and most of her competitive years from Shirley Ashdown. She had a very successful career as a competitor from a young age into her twenties at all the major competitions in the Eastern United States and Ontario.
After completing a degree from the University of Buffalo, she began teaching and often judged when she retired from competition. At the start of a career in Journalism, she became eager to organize a cohesive group of Highland teachers in the Eastern U.S. states, and was the co-founder of the United States Highland Dancing Association (USHDA). The original group included Marguerite Reid, Margaret Callendar, Vera Miller, M.E. Davidson, Margaret Killen and several others who were teaching in major cities.
After getting the organization up and running and organizing the first SOBHD sanctioned championship in the U.S. in the early 1960's, she met her future husband John Hynd, and after their marriage she moved to California and began teaching along with John and then on her own. Cathy and John were amongst the first American members of the Worldwide SOBHD Judges Panel.
One of Cathy's legacies will be that she and Jenny MacLachlan from Kitchener, Ontario organized the first Highland workshop for dancers from the U.S. and Canada who came together to enhance their skills and knowledge. Instructors at this event were Heather Jolley and Sandra Bald Jones. Years later, Cathy and Sandra organized the first "World of Highland Dancing Conference" in Las Vegas with professionals gathering from the U.S, Canada, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. This event made the world of Highland much smaller and resulted in new communication and friendships that had not been seen prior to this event.
Cathy was part of a group who organized what is now FUSTA at that first Conference which was held in Las Vegas in 1980. From its inception, she has continued to be committed to the goals and success of FUSTA and has actively participated from the beginning until the present day. Christie Freestone acted as the first President and Cathy was supportive from day one acting in various capacities. She served as the first West Regional Delegate for several terms, then as Vice-President and President for two years beginning in 1996. She prides herself in having attended all but two of the USIR events and has served often as co-organizer or FUSTA Liaison at the USIR's in California. As President she attended the first SOBHD Liaison meeting in Glasgow, and began the practice of holding a mid-winter meeting for the FUSTA Board of Directors, which has become an essential part in running FUSTA today. She also appointed Lynne Erbrick as chairman of the much needed and important Judges Committee, and produced the CD "Dance to the Piper", coaxing several U.S. pipers to donate their time and effort. The CD has become a significant and worthwhile fundraiser for FUSTA for many years.
Apart from her administrative and organizational efforts, Cathy has managed to produce 12 USIR champions, a Junior World Champion and a 1st runner up, as well as champions at the Commonwealth and Bute Championships. Some of her former pupils are current members of FUSTA and several are on the SOBHD Worldwide Judges Panel.
Over a 50-plus year span, Cathy remains committed to the goals of FUSTA and the SOBHD, and to excellence in competitive Highland Dancing. She is currently a life member of the BATD and a member and examiner of the UKA.
Cathy and John reside in Manhattan Beach, CA. Their daughter Janeen, also a successful competitive dancer, is married to Richard Tronnes and they reside in Vancouver, Canada with their three year old daughter, Ava.
Hall of Fame - 2007
NORINE HARMON has known highland dancing all her life. Growing up in Western Canada, she was a competitive highland dancer from the time she was very young. She was quite an accomplished dancer, winning many awards to include championships in Canada.
After her family moved to California when she was in her late teens, Norine competed as a professional roller skater. When she came back to highland dance, it was as a certified Highland Dance instructor, with the SDTA.
After completing her official highland dance-teaching exam in 1965, Norine and her husband settled in San Jose, CA where she started the San Jose School of Highland Dance.
In addition to being a successful highland dance instructor, Norine has contributed to highland dance through many other avenues. She has been the highland dance coordinator for the Caledonian Club of San Francisco, before it was held in Santa Rosa, over 35 years ago. She has been the dancing coordinator for many other highland games, including the first Monterey highland games. Norine has contributed and helped make successful the Monterey Highland Games since it was first held in Pebble Beach.
Norine was also an adjudicator and has judged throughout the United States and Canada. She has earned the highest possible merits in the Scottish Dance Teacher's Alliance, and was a Life Member.
Norine has inspired many highland dancers. We thank and honor Norine for her many years that she has given to highland dance. She was one of a kind, and we are all fortunate for her generosity in sharing with us her enthusiasm for highland dance and Scottish culture. (d. 2007)
Hall of Fame - 2006
JEANNIE BRAUNS was born in 1928 in Trenton, NJ. She graduated from Rider College and then worked for the state of NY. Besides her family, her passion in life was Scottish Highland Dancing. Throughout her life, she had formed many lifelong friendships within the Scottish community around the world. Jeannie founded the Albany Area Capital District Braemar Highland Dancers in 1962, later opening another school in Rome, NY. Many of her dancers went on to compete at numerous championships including the U.S.I.R. She was the founder of the Scotia Highland Dancing Competition and dance organizer for the Capital District Scottish Games. In 1981, she opened the Braemar Summer School of Highland Dancing and Kiltmaking. She was a member of several organizations, past president of FUSTA and Daughters of Scotia. Jeannie was also a life member of the SDTA. (d. 2005)
MARGARET CALLANDER was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She began dancing at the age of 5. She is a Life Member of the BATD and has been a Member of the SOBHD Judges' Panel for many years. In 1955 she won at the Edinburgh Festival. She began teaching in 1950. Her students have won many awards in the United States, Canada and Scotland. She was secretary of the Association before FUSTA was created namely USHDA. This Association was comprised of members from the present Midwest Region and Eastern Region. From members of this Association FUSTA was born. Margaret was one of the founders of the Ohio Scottish Games, which led to the organization of the Ohio Scottish Arts School. For the past 28 years the School has promoted Highland Dancing to students from the United States and Canada. The School promotes teacher training and has produced hundreds of teachers to carry on our Scottish Arts and Traditions.
FLORENCE HART started highland dancing lessons in Scotland when she was 5 years old. She became a Cowal medalist and Fife champion. At 15, she won a scholarship to the Celtic Ballet School of Theatre Dance and studied there for 3 years in Glasgow. Florence danced in Britain until the age of 23. She arrived in the United States in 1961 where she started teaching highland dancing. She began her SOBHD judging career in 1967. Florence has a fellowship in SDTA and is a member of UKAPTD. She has trained many champion dancers and has had representatives from the Midwest at the U.S.I.R. for the last 25 years. She taught at Macalester College for 38 years and organized the Macalester Highland Games in 1965.
BETTY LAWRENCE, originally from Ayr, Scotland and now lives in Oklahoma City with her husband Matt and her Scottish terrier MacDougall. She has taught highland dancing for over 50 years and is a member of SDTA. She is a fellow and examiner emeritus of the BATD and is on the SOBHD judges panel. Betty has taught at the Ohio School of Scottish Arts for numerous years and has mentored many dancers. She is an advocate of dancers continuing their education to become teachers and judges. Betty continues to foster a love of highland dancing and shares her knowledge with many students and teachers.
SHEILA MITTIG - Born in Balloch, Scotland Sheila studied all forms of dance at the Stewart School, Alexandria. Sheila emigrated to Dearborn, Michigan in 1964 and immediately began teaching Highland Dancing. She is a Life Member of the B.A.T.D. and has been on the S.O.B.H.D. judge's panel for many years. Sheila has judged and taught workshops all over the world and has taught two World Champions. Sheila now lives in Novi, Michigan where she still teaches along with her daughter, Alison. A former student of Sheila's, Alison is a four time U.S. Highland Dance Champion.
VERA MILLER PATTERSON'S love of Dance began in Scotland at an early age. Studying with the best teachers she became well versed in the disciplines of Highland, Ballet, Tap and Character, winning many prizes in local competitions. Following the war, Vera emigrated to the US with her husband and young daughter and began teaching Highland and Ballet in Lorain, Ohio. Her students won numerous awards and championships in the US and Canada including the Eastern US – Junior and Senior, Adult World and Junior World Titles. With her friends and colleagues, Vera was one of the founders of the USHDA – the forerunner of FUSTA - and was active in the BATD and SOBHD. Many active teachers, judges and dancers were recipients of her generous knowledge-sharing, her uncanny gift of timing and her deep and abiding love of Scotland and the art of Highland Dancing. (d. 2005)
MARGUERITE REID was born in Philadelphia, PA on March 19, 1933. Her parents, Sam and Isabel Watson, emigrated here from Scotland. As a young child she went to Scotland where her love of Highland Dancing was born. She began dancing when she was five in Trenton, NJ with Wilma Buick. Marguerite began teaching at an early age by teaching her cousins, Helen Magee and Judy Magee Hackett. The Daughters of Scotia also provided her with dance students, one of those being Catherine Davidson Fisher. She was a pioneer in the field of highland dancing in a number of ways. She was also one of the first teachers to embrace the new philosophy of the SOBHD. She was one of the first SOBHD judges in the US. She served as the fourth President of FUSTA. One of the things she was proudest of was getting FUSTA affiliated with the SOBHD during her term as President. Her willingness to try new methods or approaches is what kept her teaching inspirational. She encouraged her dancers to become teachers and judges. Fourteen of her dancers are now currently FUSTA members. (d. 2004)
MARY STEWART came to Kearny from Glasgow, Scotland in December 1951. In 1953, she started teaching Scottish Highland Dancing at the Masonic Temple on Kearny Avenue. In 1968, she moved her school to a small studio in the basement of a two-family home, a short walk from her Devon Street home. In 2000, Mrs. Stewart retired after nearly 50 years of teaching. In those years, she taught hundreds of dancers and trained 6 current FUSTA members. Mrs. Stewart was a past Grand Chief of the Daughters of Scotia Bonnie Doon Lodge 10, a member of the Siloam Shrine 17, the Order of the Eastern Star Kelvin Chapter 69, and the Order of the Eastern Star Arlington Chapter 66. Mrs. Stewart was a long-time member of FUSTA and its predecessor, USHDA. She judged all over Scotland, Canada, and the United States and was a BATD examiner and life member. (d. 2001)
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