LAURINBURG – The 25th annual Charles Bascombe Shaw Memorial Scottish Heritage Weekend is scheduled for April 4-6 on the St. Andrews University Campus.
“We wanted to do something special for the 25th anniversary,” said Bill Caudill, director of the Scottish Heritage Center and event coordinator. “We’ve changed the schedule from past years by adding entertainment elements while also maintaining a high level of scholarship from our presenters.”
St. Andrews University and its Scottish Heritage Center serve as hosts for this event along with the North Carolina Scottish Heritage Society, The Scotland County Tourism Development Authority, Comfort Inn of Laurinburg and new co-sponsors Our State Magazine.
“This was a great opportunity to join with Our State Magazine for a Live and Learn weekend,” Caudill said. “These collaborative events help introduce the opportunity and experience to a broader audience.”
The weekend begins on April 4 with registration and check-in from 12:45 to 1:30. After a brief welcome, Dr. Bruce Durie will present his first lecture of the weekend, “Scottish Roots and How to Dig Them Up.”
Durie is one of Scotland’s premier authorities on genealogical research and has received high acclaim for his teaching, writing and broadcasting on the subject. He is currently Chief Genealogist and Historian for the ancestral specialist MacDonald and Rees, Ltd. He currently teaches regularly for the University of Edinburgh, and previously founded and directed the Postgraduate Program in Genealogical, Heraldic, and Paleographic Studies at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. In addition, he is the resident expert on the BBC Radio Scotland series, Digging Up Your Roots. His most recent books, Scottish Genealogy and Understanding Documents for Genealogy and Local History, have been heralded by many as the definitive guides on these subjects.
Dr. Douglas Kelly next will present his first lecture, “The Presbyterian Customs and Traditions of Carolina Scots.” A descendant of Scottish highland families who settled in the Upper Cape Fear region, Kelly is known by many for his extensive preaching career in the Presbyterian Church. In addition, he has pursued a life-long interest in the history and genealogies of the Scottish settlers of our region. He has published numerous books on theological and religious topics, but is perhaps best known by many for his book, Carolina Scots, a comprehensive study of the leading families of the Scottish settlements of the Carolinas. He currently serves as the Richard Jordan Professor of Theology at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte.
A video and performances by members of the St. Andrews University Pipe Band will take place before a reception and the Scottish Heritage Center Awards Banquet.
“This year we are beginning a new traditions of awards to be given at our annual awards banquet,” Caudill said. “We will present the Saltire Award to an individual, group or organization which has made an outstanding contribution to the preservation and interpretation of Scottish history and culture. The Pine and Thistle Award will be given to an individual, group, or organization within the Carolinas who have represented the legacy of the Scottish settlers of the Carolinas through their work.”
The inaugural recipients are Dr. Michael Newton and the Mill Prong Preservation, Inc., respectively.
Newton will also be a very active part of the weekend as after receiving his award at the banquet he will be the honored guest at a launching celebration for his new book, The Naughty Little Book of Gaelic: All the Scottish Gaelic You Need to Know to Curse, Swear, Drink, Smoke, and Fool Around. This special event is sponsored by Cape Breton University Press.
Newton is recognized as one of the top scholars of Scottish Studies in the United States at present. Working as Technical Lead in the Digital Humanities Lab at The University of North Carolina, he has published an abundance of articles on Scottish Gaelic history, culture, music, and literature in recent years.
Saturday begins with Durie’s second lecture, “How to Re-Cross the Atlantic: Approaching Problems in Scottish Genealogy Research.” A break and video presentation on the Scotland County Highland Games, premier Celtic violinist Jamie Laval will present “An Instrumentalist’s Approach to Scottish Dance.”
Laval won the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship in 2002 and embarked on a full time touring career which now includes 100 engagements per year. A resident of Tryon, he takes a keen interest in the musical and historical ties that connect his Carolina home with the dispersion of Celtic peoples from their homeland. He has recorded three solo albums to date. His most recent, Murmurs and Drones, won the popular vote for “Best World Traditional Album” in the 2012 Independent Music Awards. His musicality, performing presence and humor have endeared him to his audiences — including a private appearance for Her Majesty the Queen.
After a lunch buffet, Newton will present “The Origins of Scottish Highland Dance Traditions,” which will be followed by a dance demonstration and audience participation activity.
A question and answer forum with all the speakers will conclude the symposium elements, although the weekend’s activities continue with a Scottish Heritage Center Open House. The day will end with “A Musical Celebration of National Tartan Day,” a concert featuring St. Andrews University Pipe Band, fiddler Jamie Laval and accompanist Roger Gold.
“We will close out the weekend with the annual Kirkin’ of the Tartans Worship Service at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church,” said Caudill. “This colorful Scottish-American tradition includes a display of tartans from the various clans represented throughout the weekend.”
The service will conclude with a lunch, the only event of the weekend not covered by registration.
To register for the Kirkin’ of the Tartans lunch, send $10 per adult and $5 per child under 12 directly to Laurinburg Presbyterian Church, 600 W. Church Street, Laurinburg, NC 28352. Additional information can be obtained by calling 910-276-0831.
The entire weekend of lectures, a banquet, book launching and concert costs $140 per person. A detailed brochure is available at sapc.edu/shc/images/2014SHBrochure.pdf. To register, call 910-277-5236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with Scottish Heritage in the subject line.
Melissa Hopkins is Director of Communications for St. Andrews University.