Also from We Make History...

Family Friendly Reenacting

We Make History has among its many facets family-friendly groups that portray and reenact both the American Revolution and the War Between the States. Our latter group, the 1st Virginia Infantry, was the only western based group to be invited to participate in the 145th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Chancellorsville which was held in Isle of Wight County April 4th-6th, 2008. Fifty of us traveled from Arizona to have the honour of being part of Jackson's great flank attack, following up on the honour of having defended Henry House Hill during our last journey to Virginia for the Manassas reenactment of 2006. The 1st Virginia Infantry is a large family-focused, education-oriented, Arizona-based historical reenacting group which is now open to recruiting in Virginia!

Speaking Engagements & Historic Portrayals

Lord Scott is an experienced professional speaker both in the 21st century context and as a portrayer of historic characters, particularly George Washington! His experience includes being a “modern” encourager of homeschoolers such as during a recent appearance for the ladies of Loudon County as as a number of historic figures for a variety of special events and sites in Arizona, Virginia an o ther states. Please see www.historicportrayals.com, email at wemakehistory@aol.com for further information.

The Future...

We would like to look at expanding from our beginning with the Old Virginia Ball by possibly adding a Regency Ball, an 18th Century Ball (or other Balls) and a variety of family-friendly historic activities as annual events in Virginia! But next up in Virginia will be another mid-nineteenth century Ball to take place this Fall. Date and details will be announced soon. :o)

Our friends in Virginia can help by...

1) Spreading the word!    2) Letting us know of good venues (anywhere in VA or vicinity) which could be rented for an historic ball    3) Identifying someplace to use as a base for lengths of time ranging from a couple of weeks to a couple of months or more as we make return visits to build We Make History locally.

See a few of our many Ball pages here.

Her Majesty's Ball    George Washington's Birthday Ball    The Civil War Ball    The Jamestown Ball    The Buccaneers' Ball    The Highland Ball    The Pride & Prejudice Ball    The Victorian Christmas Ball

Send us a note here to begin receiving Virginia-related We Make History updates!

The Old Virginia Ball

Virginia, first of all the states, the birthplace of America!

Is it any wonder then that “The Old Dominion” as she is fondly known has a longstanding reputation among her sister states as the leader in grace, manners, hospitality and gentility yet has the fierce determination to utter that great motto of liberty “Sic semper tyrannis!” and do so with conviction?

Some would say that the height or near perfection of the grace and gentility of Virginia were to be best experienced in the antebellum years. Perhaps this is so. The thesis is certainly intriguing and was well worth earnest exploration through means of The Old Virginia Ball as we stepped back in time to Old Virginia circa the decades of the 1850s & 1860s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is "We Make History"?

We Make History has long been a leader in family-based, educational events in wholesome and multi-generational settings. Founded by a Christian homeschooling family we held our first historic "Grand Ball" in 2001 and have gone on in the past seven years to offer literally hundreds of diverse opportunities for families to learn and be inspired, gaining appreciation of our heritage in social, creative and interactive contexts. And though there is great value in learning of and from our history and in positive use and appreciation of social arts such as historic dance, yet we confess that we have even deeper aspirations, namely to develop and strengthen good character. Respect, grace and all that is noble in the concepts of "ladies" and "gentlemen" have the ability to positively change individuals and to impact society for the better. By doing so - We Make History!

Through We Make History we have been blessed to become known across the United States and beyond. And for a number of years it has been part of our greater vision to expand from our base in the West and offer inspirational, heritage related activities to the families of the East, with Virginia as our location of focus. It has simply been a question of waiting upon God's perfect timing. Now that time has come and we are proud to offer you a small first step toward what we foresee as a bright future as We Make History becomes a truly "bi-coastal" family educational experience!

Communications: Send us a note here to begin receiving Virginia related We Make History updates!

Valuable Links:

We Make History of Virginia

The We Make History National Main Page

Learn More About We Make History

Etiquette & Expectations

A Grand Vision

Historic Support

George Washington Portrayal

Historic Portrayals

The 1st Virginia Infantry - of Arizona!

Email Us Regarding this Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This page, all attached pages, the entire site and all content are the property of We Make History © 2001-2010. All rights reserved.

No copying or reproduction of any kind is allowed without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes for Good Reading on the Veranda...

Ladies & Gentlemen of Old Virginia...

New Friends & Old...

I would like to take time to write a note of thanks and appreciation for your participation in the first of what we hope shall be many We Make history events to be held in Virginia.

The Old Virginia Ball was a "smashing success" to quote one participant and the smiles I saw as I gazed about the room certainly support such an ambitious declaration.

There was indeed a sweet spirit evident and our Virginia friends showed that they are quick learners indeed when it comes to 19th century dance.

Could this ease be a genetic pre-disposition? A biological "memory" of the dancing of those who went before you? More experimentation and observation - much more - will happily be necessary. ;o)

Among our many tasks now that we have just returned to the West will be to edit and post photos from the Ball. We'll let you know when they are up!

Looking ahead...

We would like to return this Fall to hold another Ball and it has been decided to continue this next time with our mid-nineteenth century theme, utilizing our new veterans and bringing in many more novices to learn, enjoy and smile as well. :o)

Please do send us a polite note to us sharing your favourite memories and highlights of the Old Virginia Ball. We so enjoy reading them and may post a few.

And here are several ways you can help us prepare for the future.

1. Pray for us as step by step we expand the ministry to the East Coast.

2. If you know of good potential locations for Historic Balls let us know and we will check them out.

3. We will be seeking a place in Virginia to base out of so that we may more effectively build We Make History in the area staying sometimes for several weeks or several months at a time to do so.

4. Learn more about us!

www.supportourheritage.com

www.historyforfamilies.com

www.wemakehistory.com

More? But of course...

Among our many plans are to build our Christian-values, family-based historical reenacting groups in Virginia. Entire families very much enjoy participating but they are perhaps especially helpful for men and young men as they learn valuable character-building lessons together.

Currently we portray Continental soldiers of George Washington's Army and the 1st Virginia Infantry (a "gentlemen's regiment") of the War Between the States.

www.georgewashingtonsarmy.com

www.1stvirginia.com

We are intent upon building each in the Virginia area to participate along with our large Arizona group when we travel to the East but will be beginning with the 1st Virginia. Our 1st Virginia Infantry is nationally known with a superb reputation. We are the only western based Civil War reenacting group that is invited to many of the better eastern events. We will be looking for local recruits and will come out to train them. See our standards here.

http://www.1stvirginia.com/1stVirginiaHistory/Joining.htm

Please respond with interest here.

I remain

your humble servant

in the cause of

family friendly

and character building

education.

Lord Scott of We Make History

www.wemakehistory.com

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Dear Lord Scott,
I would like to thank you for hosting the Old Virginia Ball. The ball was a capitol success, and I look forward with anticipation to the next ball. Tomorrow would not be too soon.
If I can ever help with anything please let me know.
Could you put my on the contact list for your newsletters please?

Connor

Round Hill, Virginia

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Lord Scott,

My husband Captain Beaty and our daughter Mahaley very much enjoyed the first Old Virginia Ball and would be excited to hear of a return.

We look forward to participating in future events in our area.

In Christ,

The Beaty Family

West Virginia

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Dear Lord & Lady Scott,

Yes, April has been quite a month. I loved the Old Virginia Ball—by the way, it was on my dad’s birthday. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the ball. This was my first ball ever. I had so much fun! How I wish the social dancing they do nowadays were like the Virginia Reel and the other dances we did at the ball! I’m still singing the tunes from the ball and if you do one in Purcellville again, I will come!

~Rosanna

(a.k.a. Stephanie S.)

Purcellville, Virginia

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Sir,
Our small group has generated much anticipation among our friends for the event!
Sincerely,
Megan A.

Virginia

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Newcomers In Old Virginia 

We Make History holds its first-ever ball on the East Coast and shows a hall full of enthusiastic guests how it's done in Old Virginia.

As related by Private Francis of the 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry.

"We have Yankees tonight," I observe. Officers in blue arrive to add some balance. "Usually it's the opposite. We have more Confederates than Federals."

Reassurance is my weapon. I carry it in lieu of a rifle as I greet the families strolling into the comfortably-sized hall with the wooden floors. Some gentlemen are in uniform while others enter in modern-day suits with their ladies in hoopskirts. The room blooms with color like a Virginia garden in April.

"Private Francis!" my Captain calls. "Why haven't you offered to pose with this lady for a picture?"

Shouldn't she make that offer? I think as I catch a smile from the young lady in the deep blue gown before me, among the first to arrive. Is she not beautiful enough to stand on her own? Yet I follow orders.

"I have a hard time remembering names," I disclaim to a family. "So I may very well just say to you Sir, Madam or My Lady."

Some are familiar with English Country Dance. Other say, or I deduce from their voices: "I've never done this before."

"Do not fret," I respond. "You're in for a wonderful evening. The dances we are going to be doing are very simple, much less fancy than 18th Century dancing. We teach as we go. And if you mess up, just dance on."

"I'm not a good dancer," one tells me.

"All you have to do is walk. If you can walk, you can dance. And we're going to prove it to you."

Our Captain takes the rank of Dance Captain to call and demonstrate a few basic steps: how to honor your partner, how to turn your partner, how to do-si-do, how to form a star, how to sashay -- and most importantly, why the gentleman always stands to the lady's left. The arrangement hearkens back to a more chivalrous time, when men carried swords on their left hips to protect from attack. If the lady is standing in the wrong place...

"Ohhhh!" the Captain's lady demonstrates as a mock sword is drawn.

"Did I tear your dress?" her partner inquires.

A few example couples practice the simple steps, but the rest won't try them just yet. We begin as always with a welcoming promenade, couples lining up behind the captain in a march about the hall progressing into a long snaking line of ladies and gentlemen with the. The Captain maneuvers them into a spiral and then out again, obviously drawing inspiration from Stonewall Jackson's flanking march at Chancellorsville.

Back in a circle, he pays tribute to various guests, inviting them to walk forward and back.

"Those wearing blue!"

"Those wearing gray!"

I walk out during both calls, mistakenly, but with good reason. The 1st Virginia wears both blue and gray on their uniforms. But nobody minds. We dance on.

"Those under 20!"

"Those over 20!"

The perfection of arrangements reveals itself. At many a dance, the hall can barely contain a huge circle of guests. This time things fit perfectly. Even without a microphone, our Captain's voice carries across the room even though he must project. Our four-piece band -- banjo, fiddle, guitar and flute -- navigates through technical hurdles with laudable dexterity. The leader even adds historical notes on each song they play.

A mixer follows, and now the guests show what they have learned -- circling and do-si-doing and two-hand turning their partners before flowing into a promenade about the room.

"The other way," I suggest to a couple behind me as we learn the promenade step. They face clockwise. My partner and myself face the opposite direction. Then I look about and find -- to mild embarrassment -- my lady and I are actually the ones facing the wrong direction. Three years of experience on the floor and I still need correction. But we dance on.

"Now wasn't that simple!" our Dance Captain observes, constantly reassuring, constantly encouraging his troops.

Our guests master the basic steps. Now comes the dance that will elevate their skills to the next level -- reeling. The Virginia Reel will follow soon enough, but our Dance Captain starts with a set dance that incorporates the reel with only a few other moves. As I expect, I am asked to head one of three sets. I cannot fail here. The danger in reels sprouts from logistics: the head couple must swing around exactly one and a half turns. Then that couple works their way down the line, taking turns swinging someone of opposite gender and then swinging themselves until they get to the bottom. Forget about that extra half turn, and men come face to face with men, and ladies with ladies. Couples hurriedly cross back to the proper side of the line, hastily swinging to get back in time with the music. Some forget to swing their partner again. Some accidentally skip someone down the line.

The newcomers, however, learn fast. They working through the pattern slowly under the Captain's guidance. A few collisions and misplacements arise, but he is rooting for everyone: "Cheer them on, folks!" They soon reel like they have danced all their lives, and I am not surprised. Our guests may come from Arizona, Texas, Kentucky and Maryland as well as Virginia, but they all dance like Virginians. Clouds of doubt and uncertainty dissipate with each reel down the line. The smiles break through. The warmth of fellowship and joy of the ball is rooting itself within them. I know it well.

It gives all of us confidence as we try something new: a unique circle mixer called Borrowdale Exchange, and the meaning of the name emerges as three couples in a circle join together in a six-handed star and then loose themselves one couple at a time into a freestyle promenade. Dancers weave about like traders in a stock exchange before the call to reform into circle sets.

"It's an exchange. It's crowded," I say to my partner as we promenade our way out of congestion on the floor and into a new set. Undoubtedly couples find themselves abandoned or try to join full sets. The Dance Captain indulges them, letting them try sets of six.

We approach the limits of physical dexterity. Right-hand stars, even with hands held high, simply cannot form with the limits of our reach and the available space among 12 bodies. Children disappear in a huddle of dancers. Couples lose sight of their hands. Walking slows to a tiptoe as foot space vanishes, but everyone joyfully reaches in to preserve the figure and clasp to whatever fingers they can touch. Then couples peel off into the promenade, laughing as they reform into the way they were.

The band plays a waltz and I seek a partner among the newcomers. "I'm not much of a waltzer," I warn to the lady in blue. I have warned that to ladies for three years now, thinking my simple two-step plain and ordinary among the patterned grace of the 1st Virginia belles. One of those belles shows me a box step -- yet again -- during the evening, but my feet slip back into their two-step pattern. They prefer it that way, as do my eyes, wanting to focus on the countenance of the elegant and graceful young woman before me.

Her eyes dart about and she giggles a little.

What? I wonder. Am I too serious? Not smiling enough? Dragging my feet? Do I have something on my mouth from the last break for refreshments? But I don't ask. We dance on.

Later, I hear some reassurance: "They tell me you're the best dancer."

"They do me too much credit," I say. "Who says?"

She grins and chuckles, but does not reveal her source. I know it has to be one of the Arizona contingent -- my brothers and sisters in Christ, dance, and history. How can somebody think that when they've seen me waltz?

Our guests are warmed up and confident. "Are you enjoying yourselves?" I ask during another break for refreshments, but the answer is obvious. It's time for the Virginia Reel.

Once again, the glorious burden falls upon me to head up a set, although our newcomers are learning fast. Once you master the reel, everything else moves simply and symmetrically involving the top and bottom couples of the set while everybody else claps and cheers.

"You do this like a pro!" I proclaim to my partner as we sashay down the set.

"Oh stop it!" she teases.

Yet everyone is a pro, like they've been dancing all their lives. This is Virginia. The reel ends to the cries of "Huzzah!" echoed throughout the room, cries growing louder throughout the night.

We proceed to "Chase The Squirrel," an wild round of gentlemen chasing ladies and ladies chasing gentlemen accented with sashaying and copious swinging. Wool uniforms stand up to the torture test, but hoopskirts cry for mercy. One of them breaks on a young lady's finest, jutting out from her dress like a saber. It slashes the air until her mother yanks it out and tosses it aside.

Although winded, the gentlemen pause to offer a verse of "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny," aided by our Lieutenant, happy to join us again after a long time absent on special detail. Our first attempt failed to impress the captain. The second fares much better.

Now the ladies must make an offering of their own, not from their mouths, but from their feet. Once again, it is time for the traditional shoe dance to determine the partners for the next Virginia Reel. Each lady removes one item of footwear, tossing it into a pile while the gentlemen soldiers stand at attention, about-face. They shoulder and fix bayonets on their rifles of air.

"Company... CHARGE!"

The secret, I have found, is not to emerge in front of the hard-pressing pack but to linger a bit behind, where in the scramble for shoes, an article of footwear undoubtedly slides from the pile, right into my hands.

My new partner claims her shoe, and we claim a place at the top of another set. Just as we are preparing to start, however, she dashes out of the hall.

"Wardrobe malfunction," another lady hurriedly explains.

I formulate plans to reel with a virtual partner should I be left solo, but she arrives in the nick of time.

The guests roll through the figures with abundant confidence, laughing at mistakes and reeling on.

"Over here. Over here! That's it, you've got it! Huzzah!"

Everyone is clapping now, realizing outbursts of joy are perfectly acceptable and, in fact, expected.

They could likely dance the reel for half an hour, but the longest dance of the evening is the simplest one: the Pineapple Dance, the mixer where three sit in a chair, one holding the token of hospitality, passing it to another, and sashaying off with the third. Two new dancers fill the empty seats, and the game continues. It takes a moment for our newcomers to pick up the rhythm and flow, but once they do, they are unstoppable. They even learn to cheat when three men or three ladies end up in the chairs, tossing the pineapple to someone else in line and sashaying as a hollering troika down the lines of couples. I gallop with a lady of the 1st Virginia and we finish with an improvised simultaneous twirl worthy of a medal. I cannot stop laughing.

Fifteen minutes of unbridled euphoria, and we arrive at the final waltz of the evening. Although I try my best to find a lady I have not danced with yet this evening, I find the lady in blue is unconnected to a partner, and I will not leave her wanting. We ease into a two-step.

"You've got to twirl her," another couple next to us prods.

So I do, lifting my right hand and letting the lady spin twice around. Another lady has shown me how to do a double twirl as opposed to a single. It all begins with the placement of the hand in a particular position in relation to the face depending on the number of times around. But we don't follow strict protocol. I cannot remember it, anyway. We dance on.

Our Dance Captain heaps praise on our guests in his closing words, the evening exceeding all expectations. Now, as we leave the hall, it's up to all of us to carry the spirit of the dance forward. Two and three weeks from now, this night will still be fresh upon our minds, he says, and we can take the honor and respect into our circles of friends and family or anyone else in our lives. And more dances shall follow in Virginia, perhaps in Yorktown, for one. We have much to look forward for.

"You were right, Christopher," one man tells me, saying the evening was indeed as wonderful as I had promised. Nobody walks away disappointed.

"What does 'Huzzah' mean?"

"It's like 'hooray!'" I explain. "Actually, it's more 18th Century than 19th Century, but it has sort've become a trademark."

Logistics and schedules inhibit a post-ball feast. But on the modern-day carriage ride back to the inn, I think once again about
my very first We Make History ball and how it changed my life forever. I think about how many lives were touched this night, the many smiles on many faces. Undoubtedly, some will sit up for hours with afterglow, but mysteriously, I am not one of them as I drift off -- perhaps dancing in my dreams.

 

Please also see our “Etiquette & Expectations” page as well as our "All About Us" page.

 

www.WeMakeHistory.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music playing is a version of

"Carry Me Back to Old Virginia"

 circa 1848