Monthly Archives: June 2014

Clan chiefs will join some forty clan and family groups from across the UK and overseas for Bannockburn Live

For immediate release
Monday 16TH JUNE 2014

A Prepared Statement from the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs :

The battle of Bannockburn in 1314 is known to every clansman around the world, so the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs is proud to support this year’s 700th anniversary commemorative event – Bannockburn Live.  Clan chiefs will join some forty clan and family groups from across the UK and overseas for this historic occasion.

The two-day event promises to be spectacular – and the SCSC pays tribute to those staging it: Visit Scotland, Unique Events, the National Trust for Scotland and Clanranald Trust. The battle re-enactment will be the largest of its kind ever seen in the country.

The battle of Bannockburn took place 700 years ago as the clans were evolving in the hills, glens, dales and islands of Scotland. Those clans and families with all their history are thriving across the world today, with millions of people claiming Scottish roots in countries like America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. We welcome, in particular, those who will cross oceans to be part of this special weekend.

SCSC Convenor, Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor says:
“2014 will be a great year for clanship for many people and a momentous year with the referendum. There are varying views amongst chiefs and clans over what is best for Scotland. Because of these differing opinions, the SCSC will not comment on independence.

Bannockburn Live will offer all the top quality attractions that Scotland is renowned for. Food and drink, music, genealogy, history and culture.  It will be a truly memorable, one-off, occasion. We urge people to take part in what will be a thoroughly enjoyable and unforgettable weekend.”

All enquiries regarding the service of commemoration should be addressed to Martin Hunt at Tartan Silk Public Relations:

t. +44 (0) 131 557 0341  m.  +44 (0)7767 401 760 email : martin@tartansilk.co.uk

Notes to editors.
The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs is a non-political body. The chiefs and heads of families are a disparate group, as are their views.

The SCSC may be seen as a “collective” on matters of kinship; but it has no collective political view whether on the independence question  or any other

Clan chiefs and societies provide many of the 40 million overseas Scots with authentic information and guidance on their clan history. They play a significant role in today’s modern Scotland in attracting many thousands of people of Scots descent around the world back to Scotland every year. Such visitors travel to all parts of Scotland keeping local firms in business, and people in employment, so benefiting Scotland’s overall economy. Clan Chiefs bring inward investment for clan and heritage projects, archaeological projects, genealogical and historical research, and Highland Games.  Much of this takes place in remote rural communities in which they live and work. Further information can be found at clanchiefs.org.uk

Scotland Best Educated in Europe ….

The Scotsman this week wrote of the strengths of Scotland from unemployment to percentage of income spent on a mortage, and that Scotland is the most highly educated country in Europe with Scots the best-educated in the world.

People in Scotland are among the best educated in the world. Picture: Donald MacLeod

As the Scotsman reported :  

                                                                                                                                                     

More than two-fifths of people aged 25-64 in Scotland are educated to college and university level, outstripping Ireland, Luxembourg and Finland at the top of the table.

Mr Grice added: “In terms of the proportion of the population going into higher and tertiary education, Scotland actually has just about the highest in the world. Scotland also does very well in terms of people in the working-age population (16-64) that have a qualification at NVQ4 or above. Both of those are quite strong indications of a skilled workforce in Scotland.

“At the other end of the scale, the proportion of people of working-age population with no qualifications is highest in Northern Ireland (17.2 per cent), with Wales (10.6 per cent) and Scotland (10.3 per cent) not dissimilar and England (9.1 per cent) a bit below that.

“So, at the other end of the scale, Scotland doesn’t come out quite at the same top-of-the-class way as the other two 
indicators.”

The compendium also includes figures on “the Scottishness of Scotland”, revealing national identity is stronger north of the Border, with four-fifths (83 per cent) declaring their national identity as Scottish.

ONS deputy director of analysis, said: “We show the Scottishness of Scotland with 83 per cent identifying themselves as either Scottish or Scottish and something else, stating some degree of Scottishness in their national identity. That’s higher than the 70 per cent in England and 66 per cent in Wales.”

Scotland also has the lowest unemployment rate (6.4 per cent) of the four UK countries and the second-lowest level of public-sector employment at 22.1 per cent compared with 17.4 per cent in England.

The Scotsmans full report can be found at “Scotland Best Educated ..”

June 27 March of the Pipers from Stirling Castle

Pipefest Stirling – Saturday 27 June, 2014

The countdown to Bannockburn 2014 is upon us and one of the leading events will be the March  from the gates of Stirling Castle to mark the 700th Anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, Pipe Bands, Scottish Clans and Highland Dancers are invited to take part in an international parade through the City of Stirling.  The March will be led by the Atholl Highlanders – Europe’s only private Army,  Full details can be found at Pipefest’s website.

stirlingcastle

The vision of thousands of pipers and drummers marching through Stirling will be a sight not to be missed, as the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn is marked. Pipe bands and individual players will take part. Individual players are being invited to join a massed pipe band block. The post-parade reception party will take place at the Albert Hall.
stirlingmap grouse homecoming

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival : August 1-25, announces its calendar of events

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which takes place from August 1st – 25th throughout the City, has this week announced the 2014 season – and it  “is bursting at the seams with exhilarating, inspiring and unforgettable festival shows and offering a truly unboring experience.”

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Fringe this year offers 49,497 performances of 3,193 shows in 299 venues across Scotland’s capital city…. it is the biggest ever in the history of the Fringe.

A number of new venues will be showcasing work this year. Riddle’s Court, the wonderful 16th Century courtyard house set behind the Royal Mile which has been undergoing extensive renovation and conservation work, along with La Belle Angèle on Cowgate, become new venues for performances. 

The Fringe this year welcomes shows from 47 other countries – up from 40 last year- , including major showcases from New Zealand and South Africa. The United States and Australia have the largest representation with 197 and 90 shows respectively.

Many anniversaries are marked within the Fringe’s programming this year :

- 2014 celebrates 450 years since the great William Shakespeare was born and there are over 50 shows celebrating his work.
Hamlet has the largest representation at the Fringe with no less than seven different interpretations being performed.
Macbeatha (Summerhall)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Rock Musical (C Venues – C)

- Dylan Thomas was born 100 years ago this year, and his life and works is celebrated with performances of :
Dylan Thomas: Clown in the Moon (Assembly Hall)
Bob Kingdom, (Pleasance Courtyard)
Under Milk Wood (Assembly Hall)

- In recognition of 200 years since the second volume of Grimms’ Fairy Tales was published, various shows also revisit some of these classic stories.
Grimm (C Venues – C Too)
Snow White: The Whole Grimm Affair (theSpace on Niddry Street)                        A Collection of Grimms’ Fairy Tales (Greenside @ Nicolson Square)

There is so much happenning – such an exciting time, as always to be in Edinburgh – with so much to experience and enjoy.

For a full listing of performances and to buy tickets visit  https://www.edfringe.com/media/news/get-unbored-with-the-edinburgh-festival-fringe-2014-programme-launched

New York Sings Dylan Thomas on Saturday, June 21, 2014 

Add your voice to the Dylan Thomas sing-a-long Celebration in New York on Saturday June 21st

ASF Members and Friends are invited to join in a truly Celtic sing-along … a mass celebration of Dylan Thomas

The Sing A Long starts at 11:00am in various locations throughout the City, Culminating at Rockefeller Park (Battery Park City) at 11:45am

Photo: New York Sings Dylan Thomas on Saturday June 21st<br /><br /> ASF Members and Friends are invited to join in a truly Celtic sing-along ... a mass celebration of Dylan Thomas </p><br /> <p>The Sing A Long starts at 11:00am in various locations throughout the City,<br /><br /> Culminating at Rockefeller Park (Battery Park City) at 11:45am</p><br /> <p>This is a FREE event but registration is recommended.<br /><br /> To sign-up, find out more and stay updated please visit:<br /><br /> http://makemusicny.org/wyer</p><br /> <p>Wales has celebrations under way throughout the year with even an app from First Group to guide you on your way ...  http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/south_west_wales/journey_planning/dylan_thomas/</p><br /> <p>June 21st is New Yorkers chance to raise their voices in celebration of the great Dylan Thomas.<br /><br />  .<br /><br /> Everyone is welcome to join this great singing event on June 21. It will be part of Dylan Thomas 100, celebrating one hundred years since the birth of the great Welsh poet, and brought to you in New York by the Welsh Government and the British Council </p><br /> <p>The event is also co-presented by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Make Music New York and Poets House, in association with American Opera Projects as part of the River To River Festival 2014.</p><br /> <p>Description<br /><br /> Celebrating the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas, 'And Death Shall Have No Dominion' is a once-off participatory singing event for a synchronized headphone choir in honor of his famous poem.</p><br /> <p>Using an app that contains the accompaniment and synchronizes their mobile devices, participants set-off along 45 minute walking routes through lower Manhattan, singing the words of the renowned poet across the landscape of his final days.</p><br /> <p>The performers begin their walk individually, singing just one part. Little by little, as routes converge, the song is revealed in its fullness until eventually, everyone assembles together for a grand choral finale accompanied by the Asphalt Orchestra, at Rockefeller Park.</p><br /> <p>Participants are invited to reflect on Thomas’ words that famously declare triumph over death in the context of their own personal journey. Anyone can take part–it is unnecessary to read music or to have sung in a choir previously.</p><br /> <p>Date & location:<br /><br /> Saturday June 21, 2014. Starts at 11:00am in various locations<br /><br /> Culminates at Rockefeller Park (Battery Park City) at 11:45am</p><br /> <p>Registration & Further Information:<br /><br /> This is a FREE event but registration is recommended.<br /><br /> To sign-up, find out more and stay updated please visit:<br /><br /> http://makemusicny.org/wyer  </p><br /> <p>Images

This is a FREE event but registration is recommended.

To sign-up, find out more and stay updated please visit:
http://makemusicny.org/wyer

Wales has celebrations under way throughout the year with even an app from First Group to guide you on your way http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/south_west_wales/journey_planning/dylan_thomas/

June 21st is New Yorkers chance to raise their voices in celebration of the great Dylan Thomas. Everyone is welcome to join this great singing event on June 21. It will be part of Dylan Thomas 100, celebrating one hundred years since the birth of the great Welsh poet, and brought to you in New York by the Welsh Government and the British Council

The event is also co-presented by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Make Music New York and Poets House, in association with American Opera Projects as part of the River To River Festival 2014.

Background to the Event:
Celebrating the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas, ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ is a once-off participatory singing event for a synchronized headphone choir in honor of his famous poem.

Using an app that contains the accompaniment and synchronizes their mobile devices, participants set-off along 45 minute walking routes through lower Manhattan, singing the words of the renowned poet across the landscape of his final days.

The performers begin their walk individually, singing just one part. Little by little, as routes converge, the song is revealed in its fullness until eventually, everyone assembles together for a grand choral finale accompanied by the Asphalt Orchestra, at Rockefeller Park.

Participants are invited to reflect on Thomas’ words that famously declare triumph over death in the context of their own personal journey. Anyone can take part–it is unnecessary to read music or to have sung in a choir previously.

Letter from America – The Story behind Tartan Day

Alan Bain, Chairman of the American Scottish Foundation recalls the humble beginnings of the first Tartan Day Parade in New York, which was so small it took place on the sidewalk.

Alan Bain’s Tartan Day Parade in New York with Jack McConnell, Sean Connery and Mayor Bloomberg 

The concept of Tartan Day was introduced to The Scottish Coalition, which is group of six national American Scottish organizations that had been convened by “force of nature” Ms. Duncan MacDonald, in order to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Caledonian Foundation – of which she was a director and officer. Once described as “the first lady of Scotland in America” she called herself Duncan after her Scots grandfather because her father had anticipated a boy – and because another girl at school had the same name as her, Dorothy. Under the Scottish Coalition she managed to bring to get the many organizations that all had the same goal – to support Scotland.

Tartan Day originated in Canada. Its purpose was to celebrate the role Scots and Canadian Scots had played in the birth and development of Canada. The strategy resonated with the group assembled by Ms MacDonald as Scots and American Scots had a similar impact in the U.S. Of the 41 men who have served as president of United States an astonishing thirty-one have had at least some documented Scottish ancestry. That is a score of more than 75 per cent, and when compared with the less than 4.4% of the American people in general who are of Scottish descent amounts to an over-representation of more than 17 times! The Canadians picked April 6 as the date on which Tartan Day was to be celebrated since April 6, 1320 was the date on which the Scots submitted a petition to the then Pope urging his support of their determination to be free of English involvement in their affairs. The document, known as The Declaration of Arbroath contains such stirring language and powerful ideas that it served as a strong influence on America’s Declaration of Independence.

As part of the assembled group, The American-Scottish Foundation was tasked with initiating Tartan Day celebrations in New York City and chose to an annual parade. Accordingly, on Saturday, April 6, 1998 the first “Parade” was held. It took place on the sidewalk of Third Avenue early in the morning from the British Consul General’s office on Third Avenue at 52nd Street to the Dag Hammarskjold Park by the U.N. at First Avenue and 49th Street.

Despite its modest beginning, Tartan Day quickly became Tartan Week then Tartan Fortnight and continues to grow, taking on the form of a Fringe Festival where activities to suit most tastes take place. Today the Parade attracts a crowd of thousands including visitors from Scotland that add to the enjoyment of the occasion and Tartan Day celebration are held as far away as Argentina. Included in the annual Parade in NYC are a contingent of Scottish and West Highland Terriers, a variety of Pipe Bands from the East Coast and beyond and each year a contingent of bands and groups from Scotland.

What’s especially gratifying for those of us involved is the fact that the celebration of Tartan Day is now a National as well as an International phenomenon.

Aye

Alan L. Bain

http://www.scotlandnow.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heritage/letter-america-story-behind-tartan-3627106