Happy Birthday, Robbie Burns

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College of Piping celebrates late poet’s birth with event at Credit Union Place

SUMMERSIDE – “Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware that jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer.
 Gie her a Haggis.”

Andrew Campbell performs the “Address to a Haggis” poem by famous Scottish poet Robbie Burns during the Burns Day celebrations at Credit Union Place on Saturday. Looking on is James McHattie, a piping instructor at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer

So said Robbie Burns (1759–1796), and so say his countrymen and their descendants every year to honour him.

Saturday was Robbie Burns Day, an event marked all over the world to honour the late Scottish poet’s birthday. 

It’s a time marked with poetry, haggis, kilts, bagpipes and scotch — lots of scotch.

Summerside’s College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada hosted its annual Burns supper Saturday at Credit Union Place’s Veterans Convention Centre.

This was the third year they’ve held it at the CUP but the first time its been sold out, said Karen Hatcher, executive director of the college.

She’s couldn’t pinpoint exactly why this year’s event seemed to do so well, but suspects that it is starting to develop a buzz.

“It’s an event that’s developing a reputation. It’s a very elegant evening,” said Hatcher.  “It’s been a great event. When we started it I knew what my goal was and it’s taken us a couple of years to get to that level, but I’m just absolutely delighted.”

The college sold 240 tickets to the supper, making it their biggest fundraiser for the year.

Having such an event also helps raise the status of the college, added Hatcher.

“Having these high profile public events bring people into our community that might not otherwise know about us, but we have a lot of faithful supporters here tonight and they are bringing people into our family,” she said.

One of those faithful supporters is Andrew Campbell, who had the honour of performing Burns’ “Address to a Haggis.”

Campbell took over the responsibility from his father many years ago and is continuing an act that’s important to him.

“It’s great to carry on the tradition and it’s great to carry on the Scottish tradition of Robbie Burns. And it’s great to have so many Scotsmen in the room,” he said.

Colin.MacLean@JournalPioneer.com

@JournalPMacLean

Organizations: Union Place

Geographic location: Canada

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