The Ceilidh

May 27, 2013 at 12:08 PM

DSC_8853.JPGThere’s one night a year when the clans unite - the MacDonalds, McQueens, MacLeods, McLaughlins, Frasers and Wallaces become one, as the ‘Saint Kentigern Clan’ gather for their annual Ceilidh. Out come the kilts, on goes the tartan, and no matter how tenuous the link, the community turns out to claim its own slice of our Scottish heritage.

Originally conceived as a fundraiser for the Pipe Band tour to Scotland, the Saint Kentigern Ceilidh is now in its 18th consecutive year and continues to be an event that members of our community, from all walks of life, support and enjoy. Reminiscent of scenes from a medieval banquet, young and old come together in an evening that brings tradition, pageantry and hilarity to the fore.

On an evening that brought torrential rain, guests were initially entertained by our Middle School Pipe Band and the Pipes and Drums before MC for the evening, Duncan McQueen organised the chaos of the Grand March that brought couples into fours, then eights and finally into lines of sixteen across Elliot Hall – in an amazingly smooth manoeuvre this year!

When Wee Jock’s Ceilidh Band struck up, few could resist the urge to take to the floor for the dancing. Guests quickly learnt that to prevent spending the evening tripping over their own feet, not to mention their partner’s, they needed to listen out for instructions!

Our drummers stepped to the front to give an amazing display of precision drumming with just a couple of lost, flying sticks, before the haggis was paraded in. Year 13 student, Jack Gudgeon gave a superb, emotional rendition of Robbie Burns ‘Ode to the Haggis’ that greatly impressed all assembled.

General Manager of the Trust Board, and true Scot, Mr Eric Shiels offered thanksgiving for the meal with the Selkirk Grace:

‘Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.’

(Although attributed to Burns, the Selkirk Grace was already known in the 17th century, as the ‘Galloway Grace’ or the ‘Covenanters' Grace’. It came to be called the Selkirk Grace because Burns was said to have delivered it at a dinner given by the Earl of Selkirk.)

Dinner was a fine spread but as always the item on the menu that caused the most discussion was the Haggis. Aficionados could be heard in earnest discussion about its qualities and whether it should be drier, looser, firmer, more seasoned or less seasoned....those eating it for the first time seemed simply bemused – there was much comment about it sticking to the roof of your mouth like peanut butter!

The evening continued with Highland Dancing from our regular performer, Year 12 student, Sarah McQueen and singing from ‘the Bard’, Darryn Oui before Mr McQueen urged the gentlemen to practice opening their sporran and pulling out their credit cards ready for the live auctions. Spirited bidding for jewellery donated by Herb Merkle, and a weekend bach retreat donated by the Schubert family were added to the silent auctions to raise $4820.

After much fun and laughter, the evening concluded with a spirited Auld Lang Syne. If laughter is a good measure of success, then the Ceilidh surely succeeded in providing an evening of fun-filled entertainment, mixed with a fine meal and a surprising amount of exercise!
We give our grateful thanks to those who donated and bid for the items offered in both the live and silent auctions. The generosity of our community is greatly appreciated by the Pipes and Drums in their efforts to raise funds for their trip taking place in July this year.

Special thanks to the committee who have made this evening such a success:
Kim Walker, Lorraine Stanfield, Jean McQueen, Linda Boyd, Meghann Stewart, Lee-Anne Lindsay, Jocelyn Eaddy, Georgina Sawyer, Andrew Lightfoot, Anne Clifford , the Maintenance Staff, the Lighting & Sound Team and our Old Collegians behind the bar.

For their generous support and provision of the Silent Auction items our thanks to:
Parents and Friends of the Pipes & Drums
Herb Merkle Jewellery & Advanced Gem Lab
Arcadia Books, Newmarket
The Journey, Newmarket
The Print Shop, Remuera
Blue Illusion, Remuera
Hedgerow, Remuera
Mungos – Saint Kentigern College Shop
Saint Kentigern College Parents & Friends

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