Bobby Brown Music Apprenticeship
Bobby Brown (1941-2011) devoted his life to the playing, researching, recording, and teaching of Scottish Dance Music. As an individual performer, a member of two Scottish Country Dance Bands, the Musical Director of the internationally renowned fiddle troupe The Cape Breton Symphony, and the leader of The Scottish Accent, Bobby Brown was a leading proponent of Scottish Country Dance music and traditional Scottish music in Canada, the United States, Britain, and Europe for over fifty years.
Scope and Purpose
Understanding that cultural preservation is dependent upon the devoted cultivation and transition of knowledge, Bobby Brown encouraged young musicians to learn and preserve the songs and tunes of the Scottish tradition. At workshops and classes, Bobby set aside his performer responsibilities to become an engaging teacher and eagerly instructed participants in the subtle idiomatic nuances of traditional Scottish music. He loved playing, and Scottish music was in his soul.
In his memory, the annual Bobby Brown Music Apprenticeship was initiated in 2015 to provide funding towards the cost for tuition, meals, and accommodation for one musician to attend one of the following:
• A music internship at TAC Summer School
• A music course at TAC Summer School
• A music course at a TAC-recognized Scottish Country Dance event
2019 Bobby Brown Apprentice
Lorraine McCormick, Lethbridge, AB, Canada
Lorraine McCormick, from Lethbridge in southern Alberta, has had a lifelong interest in music which she has pursued along different tracks in different places. She began by studying voice and piano, completing senior-level Toronto Royal Conservatory exams, before receiving a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Alberta, following up with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Lethbridge. In London, England, she studied classical guitar. Returning to Lethbridge, she taught piano and music theory, developing a studio of more than forty students of various ages and skill levels.
Her love of singing took her into Sweet Adelines (women's barbershop) with several groups including Edmonton's Gateway Chorus, competing internationally and singing in Carnegie Hall; she also arranged some of the group's performance pieces. More recently, she has taken up the Celtic harp, alto recorder, and English handbells.
She played keyboard with GlenMorin Scottish country dance band before forming her own keyboard and recorder duo ("The Spurtles"), which plays for weekly classes and monthly socials of the Lethbridge Scottish country dance club, and also a harp and recorder trio ("Thistle Do") to pursue her love of Celtic music.
Previous Bobby Brown Apprentices
2022 Connie Walker, Los Angeles, CA US
2019 Lorraine McCormick, Lethbridge, AB Canada
2018 Sarah Thompson, Minneapolis, MN, US
2017 Martha Matthews, Los Angeles, CA, US
2016 Heather Cameron, Plymouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
2015 Mary Ross, Victoria, BC, Canada
The Music Director for the 2022 TAC Summer School will work with one pre-selected lead player /melody instrument (fiddle, accordion, keyboard) on a daily basis in the capacity of a private tutor/coach. By the conclusion of the week, the candidate will have all the necessary information and skills to confidently and competently play for a class and future dances. This program could potentially be developed to incorporate additional summer school musicians working in the same manner with piano, bass, drums, or other instruments.
The apprentice program will include the following:
- Selection of approved and appropriate music for dances
- Opening & Closing Chords (Bow & Curtsey)
- Grace notes & other idiomatic choices
- Phrasing, Dynamics, Interpretation
- Assembling sets/ musical research
- Guiding & assisting the candidate through classes
- Working with teachers
- Afternoon discussions and preparation for the following day
- Involving and preparing candidates for participation in evening socials where possible
Provided a suitable applicant meets all the following criteria, one award will be made for 2022
• The musician must have demonstrated a genuine interest in Scottish music, preferably with some experience playing Scottish Country Dance Music
• The musician must have the desire to improve his or her musical skills
• The musician must display an appropriate level of technical proficiency on his/her instrument, with the ability to improve musical skills
• The musician must have the passion and commitment to continue to play for and promote the music for Scottish Country Dancing
The next deadline is March 31, 2023
A musician may apply for the 2023 Bobby Brown Music Apprenticeship by submitting the following:
• the completed application form (download Music Application Form)
• a letter of application that addresses each of the above eligibility criteria
• a recording of three tunes; at least two of the tunes should be in the Scottish idiom
• a letter of reference from a Scottish Country Dance teacher, RSCDS Branch, or music teacher
• Applications for the 2023 Bobby Brown Music Apprenticeship received by the deadline will be reviewed by a committee of the Scottish Country Dance Teachers' Association (Canada) including, but not limited to: TAC Chair, TAC Treasurer, TAC Summer Events Director, and TAC Summer School Music Director.
• The award will be presented to the recipient in the form of a pre-paid scholarship (to a maximum of the cost of the full-week resident registration fee, including meals and accommodation, dependent on the value of funds available)
• A recipient can only be awarded the scholarship once
• Following the 2023 TAC Summer School, the recipient will forward a report on his/her experience to the Teachers' Association (Canada) for publication in the next issue of TACTalk