The Saint Andrews Society of Pittsburgh Burns Dinner was held in the ballroom of the University Club in Oakland.
More than 80 members and guests attended and enjoyed a memorable evening.
During the social hour we were entertained by three scholarship winning Celtic harpers:
Allyson Crownover, Sarah Hetzler and Madelyn Koontz from the Ringgold Harp Choir.
These three muses gave our evening a wonderful start.
After the social hour, the great chieftain o' the puddin' race was ceremoniously piped in by Alastair Murray, who came to Pittsburgh in 2012 . Alastair was a member of the St. Laurence O'Toole pipe band in Dublin, when they won both the European and the World Championship.
Now living in Pittsburgh with his wife Kristen, Alastair is both a piper and a reed maker.
Dale McLeod entertained us with his rendition of Burns famous "Address to a Haggis", which our Edinburgh ex-pat, Maggie Immel, said was the best she'd heard in America!
Sue Gillis Kruman, who is a professor at Pitt, arranged for us to have the University Club ballroom, and organized the evening's event. She also got together with the chef of the University Club who prepared a wonderful Scottish meal, which included East Lothian potato and cheddar soup, Scottish salmon, roasted chicken breast with whisky sauce, roast beef and stout casserole, and a dessert which included shortbread as well as apple pie and cake.
After the meal, Maggie Immel spoke of Burns the man, the land and time he lived in, the many subjects of his poetry, and what it is that sets Burns apart from any other poet - indeed any other person in the world!
Then we toasted The Immortal Memory of Rabbie Burns.
Maggie came to the US from edinburgh forty five years ago with her husband Ed, and they come to us by way of Donora, where they are long-time members of the Scottish community. Later in the evening, Maggie recited some of her favourite Burns poems.
After the Immortal Memory, Doug Fulton gave the toast Tae the Lassies, and his wife Teralyn Iscrupe gave the response on behalf of the lassies.
The dinner was followed by traditional entertainment, with Katie Janeiro leading off with a selction of Highland dances. Katie delighted the audience with her dancing and with her charming personality.
Here she is dancing the Highland Fling (left) followed by the Sword Dance, and the Scottish Lilt (right).
She was accompanied on the pipes by Andrew Carlisle, who recently became a member of the Saint Andrew's Society of Pittsburgh.
The evening's entertainment was highlighted by some wonderful piping by Alastair Murray and by Andrew Carlisle.
Andrew comes from Ballygowan in Northern Ireland, where he plays with seven-time World Champion pipe band Field Marshal Montgomery.
He has won many prestigious solo piping competitions around the world, and is currently Professor of Music at Carnegie Mellon University, and Director of Piping.
Membership secretary Lyn Orr introduced new members of the Society - and the evening closed with Andrew Carlisle and Alastair Murray leading everyone in Auld Lang Syne - an appropriate ending to our celebration of Scotland's Bard.
Tartan Day 2015 - Report and Pictures
On October 4th, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania joined with the St. Andrew's Society of Pittsburgh to dedicate a newly renovated monument commemorating Brigadier General John Forbes. The dedication was the culmination of several years work, and took place at the site for the monument in Mellon Park, at the corner of Penn and Fifth Avenues.
Dignitaries attending the dedication included Elizabeth Hobbs, Chairman of the National Society of The Colonial Dames, Louise Sturgess, Executive Director of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, and Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto.
The monument commemorates Forbes and his army of 5980 troops, including 1267 Scottish Highlanders. It is more than 250 years since this force ended the Seven Years War and secured this area for Britain. The taking of Fort Duquesne marked the end of a long march through Pennsylvania, over thickly forrested mountainous terrain occupied by native Americans who were often unfriendly. The importance of this campaign is captured by an anonymous letter which appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette shortly after Forbes' success.
"Blessed be God, the long look'd for Day is arrived, that has now fixed us on the Banks of the Ohio! These advantages have been procured for us by the Prudence and Abilities of General FORBES, without Stroke of Sword . . . . The Difficulties he had to struggle with were great. To maintain Armies in a Wilderness, Hundreds of Miles from the Settlements; to march them by untrodden Paths, over impassable Mountains and dangerous Defiles, required both Foresight and Experience . . . consider . . . his long and dangerous Sickness, under which a Man of less Spirits must have sunk; and the advanced Season, which would have deterred a less determined Leader, and think that he surmounted all these Difficulties, that he has conquered all this country, has driven the French from the Ohio, and obliged them to blow up their Fort . . . . . Thanks to Heaven, their Reign on this Continent promises no long Duration!"
Society members in attendance were: Paul Thompson, Ken Stiles, Lyn Orr, Jim Campbell, and piper Jim Harland.
Once again The St. Andrew's Society golfers and friends got together for a day of fun, as we visited Lindenwood Golf Course in Canonsburg, to take part in our annual golf outing, the Kilted Klassic. Eighteen holes of the game Scotland gave the world. Mary Queen of Scots was a golfer. I wonder how she'd have done at Lindenwood? Probably quite well - but she'd have been hard put to beat Margaret Kelman's approach on hole 1 - a fairway shot that landed inches from the hole!
It was a beautiful day. The course was wonderful. The dinner was excellent. The prizes were great. And we had twenty seven golfers!
Each foursome was piped to the first tee by president Paul Thompson. With a hat like that, he should have been playing "Australian Ladies". As it turned out the hat was needed. The sun was out, and the cold water supplied by the organizers was very welcome, as were the "goodie bags"!
The course was in excellent shape, and Lindenwood applauded our organizers for putting on one of the best-organised golf outings they've seen.
Everyone enjoyed a great day - and our thanks go to Debbie Hunt who organized the event with Roy and Lynne Aber, Scott Brown and Dave Strunk.
Kilted golfers The Ladies foursomes The winning men's team The banquet
The Family Picnic was once again held at the beautiful Monroeville Community Park. It was attended by about 60 people, including several of our Celtic cousins from the Welsh Society, who made the event all the more enjoyable.
Jim and Dolly Campbell assembled a great team, with Gary Perry, Lynn Daniels and Dale McLeod at the grill, while Jeannie Shema and Cheryl Campbell ran the games. And wasn't it a wonderful surprise to have Jimmy and Joyce McIntosh up from South Carolina spend the afternoon with us. Their retirement is clearly being well-spent on the golf course - Jimmy won the chipping contest with the only bullseye, while Joyce put two in the cup to win the putting ! Chris Hayworth took the prize for tossing the haggis, while Georgia Messner won at pinning the sporran on the Scotsman.
Entertainment was provided by Chris Hayworth (singing and guitar), who came to the area from Edinburgh only ten months ago, and by Jim Harland (bagpipes) and Teresa Perry (fiddle).
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