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Clan Hannay Newsletter Spring/Summer 2005


Per ardua ad alta
 

 

 

Clan Hannay News
Spring/Summer 2005


A Message from the Convener

Happy New Year! Hope it’s started off well for you and yours.

It’s been pretty wet at my house in Southern California, and on that note, I’d like to offer a prayer for our Scots friends who have had to endure, well, Scottish weather.

The big change for Clan Hannay Society West is the retirement of Noreen Hanna, who has been a cheerful and diligent membership secretary for several years. She wanted to retire a few years ago, but graciously agreed to stay on until we could find a replacement.

I am pleased to announce—I’m sure no more pleased than Noreen is—that Michele Thompson, of Washington, has agreed to step up and take over those duties. So here’s a big thank you to Noreen for all the hard work, along with the hope that this doesn’t mean we won’t see her at some of the Gatherings in the summer.

Michele will be responsible for keeping the mailing list up to date, sending out the annual reminders for membership dues, and forwarding a portion of our annual dues to the international Clan Hannay Society. For a brief biography of her, please see below.

I’m especially pleased about Michele’s participation because one of the main topics of discussion at the general membership meeting in Monterey was the need to attract younger people into the Clan, and for them to begin taking leadership positions.

So many of the people who have been stalwart supporters of CHSW have been active for two decades or longer, and are ready to pass on the mantle. The hope is younger faces will draw in younger people and the branch will continue to grow. So, if you have any desire to take a greater role in CHSW, please let me know, or if you have any ideas about what we can do as a branch to make it more meaningful to you or to those in your family, please pass along your suggestions.

On that topic, I want to appeal to those of you who haven’t attended a Highland Games and Gathering recently to check out what’s on the schedule near you (see page 7), and plan to attend. If you have a few hours to volunteer in the Clan Hannay tent, let me know and we’ll get you some literature and other support.

Those of you who have been around CHSW for a while probably met my mother, Lorna Hanna. I’m sad to report that she died in December.

An Englishwoman by heritage, she had an ongoing, lighthearted dispute with my father about the superiority of the English vs. the Scots, but nevertheless proudly wore the Hannay tartan because it meant so much to her husband and daughter. (She did famously put her foot down, however, on letting him use family finances to pay for his kilt, leading him to dig through the trash at every rest stop along Interstate 5 for months to collect enough soda and beer cans to earn the cash to pay for it.)

I hope you enjoy this issue, and if you have anything to contribute, please send it along. We’d like to hear about your experiences at Gatherings and Games, your travels in Scotland, family history/pictures, or suggestions for articles you’d like to see in our newsletter. Please include any photos or artwork you might have (send a SASE and we’ll return your photos/artwork).

Send to Lora Cline, 2564 N. Calle Tercero, Huachuca City, AZ 85616, or email her at: lcnobilus@wmconnect.com

Cheers!
Gigi Hanna

Clan Hannay Society West
welcomes new secretary

Michele Thompson hails from Walla Walla, Washington. In 1991 she graduated from Junipero Serra High School in San Diego. Back in Washington, Michele attended South Puget Sound Community College for two years, then moved to Ellensberg to study anthropology for a year, then back to Olympia to finish her associate’s degree in 2000.

It was during this time she became involved in several of her clans. Michele is related to Clan Donnachaidh (Robertson) through a great, great, great grandmother; Clan Mc Tavish/Thom(p)son through birth; Clan Maxwell through a grandmother; and Clan Hannay through a great grandmother.

For several months during 2001 she was Washington State Commissioner for McTavish/Thom(p)son, then became State Commissioner for Clan Hannay in 2002.

She travelled to Scotland in 1999 and visited Sorbie, Dumphries, Galloway, and her Maxwell ancestral home of Caerlaverock.

Michele has one younger sister, and she is the aunt of her sister’s girls. Her hobbies are cross stitch, genealogy, writing and farming. She says the farming is “confined to an apartment flower bed,” but she hopes to have a farm some day.

Bagpipes: An ancient tradition
Scotland has a wealth and variety of music, and one of the oldest and
most successful of wind instruments is the Bagpipe.

Although its origins have never been the property of one people or nation, it is now strongly identified with Scotland, especially in the form of the Great Highland Bagpipe.

The Scottish or Highland pipe is now the best known in the world, with one bass drone harmonising with two tenor drones and being tuned to the pitch of the pipe chanter.

This powerful instrument has a long pedigree deriving from prehistoric shawms and hornpipes of Near Eastern civilisations, evolving with bag and drones in Classical and early European history, and emerging as a familiar instrument by the 12th century, significantly a renaissance period of economic well-being.

The pipes were being played in Scotland by the 14th century and in the Highlands by about 1400. They achieved their recognisable form in the late 16th and 17th centuries, with decorated chanter and drones, when they also overtook the harp as the musical instrument of Gaelic society and assumed a traditional role in Gaelic culture; they complemented the bardic tradition of brosnachadh - encouragement and incitement - the praise of warriors and chieftains and the lament for their passing. They were played in the Great Hall and naturally for dancing and entertainment.

Dynasties of pipers emerged, such as MacCrimmons, MacKays, MacGregors, and Cummings, who performed the duties of official piper for their patrons through successive generations and who sustained and generated the music of the bagpipe until the collapse of the society which nurtured them in the wake of the Jacobite wars of the 18th century.

The Highland bagpipe survived by virtue of the growth of the empire and standing armies and these influences standardised the instrument and styles of playing. Piping both in Scotland and in Europe as a whole had been characterised by variety of music and playing styles, and of the instrument itself. Other forms of bagpipe that are gaining increasing popularity are the Scottish Small Pipes and the Border Pipes.

The Scottish Small Pipe produces a mellow sound. Small pipes are played across the knees with the use of a bellows. No blowing at all is required. The border pipes are operated by the same means, but they produce a sound more akin to that of the Highland Bagpipe. These types of Bagpipe are suited to being played with other instruments such as fiddles and whistle. This is because they are most commonly played in the key of A or D as opposed to B-flat of the Highland Bagpipe. [by Hugh Cheape, National Museum of Scotland]

A brief history of Highland games

When celebrating in times of peace one of the Highlanders’ favorite pastimes was the tainchel. For these “great hunts” very often several clans would combine. Chieftains would send word to the clansmen that such an event was planned and when and where they should assemble.

For several days the greater part of the clansmen assembled would go out into the mountains and begin driving the red deer and other animals in front of them in a gradually tightening circle. Soon the animals were driven off the mountains and through the passes where the waiting armed huntsmen would make the kills. After such a successful hunt a great feast and celebration would be held and venison would be sent to everyone who was unable to attend.

Then the rival clansmen would relax by testing each other’s prowess at various sports, such as running, jumping, wrestling, or primitive forms of weight putting with stones, or divided into roughly equal sides vying against each other in a very early form of camanachd or shinty.

Lastly the clansmen would vie with each other in piping and in dancing, the pipers taking it in turns to demonstrate their skills and the clansmen to demonstrate their agility and neatness of movement by dancing complicated steps to the pipe music.

These relaxations were in effect the forerunners of the modern Highland games. From the very earliest times Chieftains would arrange races among their followers to find the fastest man available for carrying urgent messages in time of war or clan battles.

Legend has it that Malcolm Canmore (1057-1093) organized one of the first races run for this purpose. It is said he offered a purse of gold and a fine sword, plus the post itself, to the first runner to make it to the top of Craig Choinich, one of the mountains above Braemar, and return to the starting point. [from “The Essential Guide to Highland Games,” by Michael Brander]

About bagpipes...
I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the manmade sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.
— Alfred Hitchcock

And about golf...
Sign at a Scottish golf course: “Members will refrain from picking up lost balls until they have stopped rolling.”

A Scotsman was playing golf with a church elder. On the last hole the Scotsman missed a six-inch putt which cost him the match but, out of deference to his playing partner’s status, he said absolutely nothing. “That,” said the elder, “was the most profane silence I have ever heard.”

Why are Scotsmen so good at golf? They realize that the fewer times they hit the ball the longer it will last. [see more of these wee tidbits at ElectricScotland.com “humor.”]

Highland Games

ARIZONA

Prescott Highland Games
May 21 ~ Watson Lake Park ~ Prescott, AZ
(928) 771-1218

Arizona Highlands Celtic Festival
July 16 ~ Foxglen Park, Flagstaff, AZ ~ (928) 556-3161


CALIFORNIA

Angels Camp Calaveras Celtic Faire
March 12-13 ~ Calaveras County Fairgrounds, CA
www.calaverascelticfaire.com

Kern County Scottish Society’s Annual Scottish Gathering & Games
April 2 ~ Stramler Park, Bakersfield, CA

Fremont Tartan Day
April 6 ~ Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont, CA

Sacramento Valley Scottish Games & Gathering
April 22-24 ~ Yolo County Fairgrounds, Woodland, CA

Livermore Scottish Games & Celtic Festival
May 14-15 ~ Robertson Park, Livermore, CA
manager1@livermoregames.com

United Scottish Society of Southern California Scottish Festival
May 28-29 ~ Los Angeles Fairplex, Pomona, CA

Modesto Highland Games
June 4 ~ Modesto, CA ~ (209) 538-0821

Campbell Highland Games & Celtic Gathering
June 18 ~ Campbell, CA ~ scotnono1@aol.com

San Diego Scottish Highland Games & Gathering of the Clans
June 25-26 ~ Vista, CA ~ sdshgchief@earthlink.net

Oakland Dunsmuir Highland Games
July 9-10 ~ Oakland, CA ~ www.dunsmuir.org/scots

Monterey Scottish Festival Highland Games
August 6-7 ~ Salinas, CA ~ www.MontereyScotGames.com

Pleasanton Scottish Highland Gathering & Games
September 3-4 ~ Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA
www.caledonian.org

Fresno Scottish Festival & Highland Games
September 17 ~ Madera, CA ~ www.scottishsociety.org

Dixon Scottish Highland Games
September 24 ~ Dixon May Fairgrounds, Dixon, CA
www.dixonscots.org (707) 678-8814

Loch Lomond Highland Games
October 2 ~ Highlands Park, Ben Lomond, CA
www.lochlomondceltic.org

Seaside Highland Games
October 7-9 ~ Seaside Park, Ventura, CA
www.seaside-games.com


OREGON

Oregon Scottish Heritage Festival
April 9 ~ Lin County Fair & Expo, Salem, OR ~ www.oregonscottish.org

Klamath Basin Scottish Games & Festival
June 18 ~ Running Y Ranch Resort, Klamath Falls, OR ~ (541) 883-1601

Athena Caledonian Games
July 9-11 ~ City Park, High School Grounds, Athena, OR
www.athenacaledoniangames.org

Portland Scottish Highland Games
July 16 ~ Mount Hood Community College, Gresham, OR ~ www.phga.org

High Desert Celtic Festival & Highland Games
August 13 ~ J Bar J Boy’s Ranch, Bend, OR ~ www.hdcs.net/festival.htm

Douglas County Celtic Highland Games
August 13-15 ~ City Park, Winston, OR ~ (541) 673-7463

Sweet Home Celtic Festival & Highland Games
August 20-22 ~ Sweet Home, OR


WASHINGTON

Washington State National Tartan Day
April 6 ~ Western Washington Fairgrounds, Puyallup, WA
tartandaywashington.org

Tri-Cities Scottish Highland Games
May 7 ~ Columbia Park, Kennewick, WA ~ sunland@3-cities.com

Bellingham/Whatcom County Highland Games
June 4 ~ Ferndale, WA ~ www.bellinghamhighland.org

Prosser Scottish Fest
June 18-19 ~ Prosser, WA
www.prosserchamber.org/scottish_games.htm

Tacoma Highland Games
June 25 ~ Graham, WA ~ (206) 939-8413

Fort Vancouver Caledonian Gathering, Games, Fair, Festival
July 2 ~ Lark County Fairgrounds, Ridgefield, WA ~ www.swsha.org

Skagit Valley Highland Games & Scottish Faire
July 9-10 ~ Edgewater Park, Mount Vernon, WA ~ (360) 416-4934

Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games
July 30-31 ~ King County Fairgrounds, Enumclaw, WA

Spokane Highland Games
August 6 ~ Spokane Countgy Fair & Expo Center, Spokane, WA
www.spokanescots.org

Whidbey Island Highland Games
August 13 ~ Greenbank, WA ~ (360) 331-5437

Olympia Scottish Games Festival
August 19 ~ Thurston County Fairgrounds, Olympia, WA

Kelso Scottish Festival & Games
September 9-11 ~ Kelso, WA ~ clandiana@adrlphia.net

In Memory
Lorna Mary Johnson was born in 1932 in Clark, South Dakota. The oldest of three children, she married at 16, trained as a nurse and worked with polio patients.

She was an enthusiastic volunteer for several groups and once famously survived being hit by a train while escorting a group of Girls Scouts. No one was seriously injured, but she dined out on the story for years.

A family move to the Samoan Islands in the mid-1970s forced her to consolidate her household into three sea bags. She faced it gracefully and later fondly recalled those days of living in a thatched-roof hut with no electricity, running water or walls, showering outside under a cold-water spigot, and fighting off the occasional nine-inch centipede.

After returning to the U.S., she was transportation coordinator for a school for blind adults until health problems forced her to retire in 1988. She was a devoted deacon at her church, and was proud to have brought together leaders from several Christian and Jewish denominations to launch an inter-faith food bank and social service agency.

She is survived by her ex-husband, David Hanna, and four children: Jeanne, Scott, Dawn and Gigi, as well as 11 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son Douglas, who died as an infant.


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