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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2006
Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song Week and Gaelic Immersion

ACGA, the Gaelic Society of North America, will be combing two of its annual Gaelic events this year to mark the 10th annual ACGA Gaelic Immersion Course and the golden (50th) anniversary of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. For just this year, the Gaelic Immersion Weekend will take place in conjunction with the Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Language and Song Week.

Originally founded in the Washington, DC area in the 1980s, An Comunn Gaidhealach  America has grown to include members from all over the United States and Canada. In fact, its most successful Immersion Weekend so far was held in Toronto in 2004. The combined Gaelic event this year will be held at Lees-McRae College, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina near Grandfather Mountain. The fun will take place on 2nd -7th  July 2006, the week prior to the Highland Games there.

The week will include three levels of Gaelic song and five levels of Gaelic language instruction. This will be augmented by Gaelic conversation groups and special interest sessions. For those who love the great outdoors, there will be organized hikes every afternoon. The line up of teachers this year includes some of the world's leading experts on Gaelic and Gaelic song.

Kenna Campbell and Fiona MacKenzie will be our main Gaelic song teachers during the week. Kenna is a native of the Isle of Skye and has been principal tutor in Gaelic song at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama since the inception of the degree course in Scottish Music. Fiona holds the Miri Mhr Gaelic Song Fellowship for Highland Council, a post designed to promote and develop the participation in Gaelic Singing throughout Scotland and further afield. Both Kenna and Fiona are holders of the most prestigious award in Gaelic singing - the gold medal from the Scottish National Md

Gaelic language classes will be taught by Catriona Parsons and Sorley MacDonald. Catriona is a native of the Isle of Lewis and is a professor of Gaelic at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. She also teaches Gaelic courses in the summer at the Gaelic College in St. Ann's, Cape Breton. Sorley MacDonald is a native of the Isle of Skye and grandson of the great Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean. He has his MA in Gaelic and History from Glasgow University and is currently enrolled in Gaelic medium teacher training at Strathclyde University.

Dr. Jamie MacDonald will teach beginner level Gaelic language and song. Dr. MacDonald is also a professor of Gaelic at St. Francis Xavier University. Jamie founded the Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week in 1999 and this will be its seventh anniversary. He is an outdoors enthusiast and will be leading the daily hikes into the surrounding mountains.

The week is very reasonably priced. For as little as $405, you will receive a private room, three great meals a day, and plenty of instruction in Gaelic and Gaelic song. This is not to mention all the other fun things that go on as well, like cilidhs, hikes, camaraderie, and the Highland Games. As someone once said - this is just like summer camp for adults! To find out more, contact Libit Woodington at or Cam MacRae at If you have access to the Internet, then go to the ACGA website at: If you are not computer minded and would like to call someone for information, you can contact Libit at 803-695-0307 or Jamie at 902-867-5426.

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