This article, written by Eric Badertscher, was previously published in The Pibroch the newsletter of the St. Andrews Society of Baltimore.
Seventy-eight attendees gathered at the Annapolis Elks Lodge No. 622 on Saturday, January 24, 2015, for the society’s 38th annual “Burns Supper,” honoring the life and legacy of Scotland’s bard. In addition to the formal program, a Raffle & Silent Auction took place throughout the evening.
Some of the evening’s highlights are provided below—other than the “Preliminaries” section, the activities are ordered thematically. For a more complete “photo gallery,” check out the RBSA website: http://robertburnssocietyofannapolis.org/.)
Introductions: Master of Ceremonies Clarke Ross started off the evening with introduction of the special guests representing a local Scottish organization, the St. Andrews Society of the Eastern Shore.
Welcome, Invocation, Candle Lighting: RBSA President Nancy Badertscher then provided a warm welcome to everyone present, and Eric Badertscher gave the Invocation. Following the prayer, Sarah Badertscher lit the candle on the table set in memory of Robert Burns.
Toasts: Martha Walls, president of the St. Andrews Society of the Eastern Shore, led to the toast to President Barack Obama, while [name] led the toast to Queen Elizabeth II.
In Memoriam: Absent Friends: Julie Rottkamp then lit a candle in honor of each member and former member who have passed away in the last year. Piper Hal Cummings then played the air “Flowers of the Forest” in their honor.
- Members: Ann Clegg, Jean Hurd, Lou McAslin, and Bob Whyte.
- Former Members: Miles Wickman and Frank Conley.
Saying Grace: Sandra Shaw Hochstein then led everyone in the Selkirk Grace, to mark the transition to the dinner hour.
The Burnsian Program
The Parade of the Haggis / Address to the Haggis: The audience stood and clapped as the chef carried in the Haggis, led by piper Hal Cumings. Rod McAslin and George St. Clair delivered a very dramatic “Address to the Haggis.”
Bob Whyte of Carnoustie, Scotland, who had been scheduled to give the address, passed away just a month before the RBSA Burns Dinner. This would have been Bob’s 4th year of participation in the RBSA Burns Dinner program.
Immortal Memory: Sam Kistler, a long-time Burnsian scholar who belongs to the St. Andrews Society of Mid Maryland, gave this year’s address in honor of Burns’ life and work. Sam drew inspiration for his remarks, from the recent auction of a pocket watch belonging to Robert Burns. The watch, dated to 1786, contained a note from Burns’ wife Jean Armour. The watch sold in November 2013 for around 40,000 pounds; the auction house, Lyon & Turnbull, received bids from around the globe. Sam noted that this sale shows the continuing global interest in Burns’ life and works.
Web links for more information about the sale of Burns’ watch:
- BBC News story: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-25119366
- Lyon & Turnbull auction house: http://auctions.lyonandturnbull.com/auction-lot-detail/395/206
Entertainment: Aaron Halevy of Baltimore, who has brought his rich, opera-trained voice to several past RBSA dinners, sang several Burnsian songs in Scots dialect, including “Scots Wha Hae” and “My Luv Is Like a Red, Red Rose.”
George St. Clair adapted the Burns’ poem “Twa Dugs” into standard English for a dramatic reading by two teenaged girls: Sarah Badertscher and her friend Rachael Ward. The girls portrayed Caesar, a dog living with a rich family, and Luath, a dog living with a poor family. The two canines consider “how the other half lives,” and comment on the joys and sorrows of each other’s condition.
To the Lassies and the Laddies: David Dent gave the Toast to the Lassies, and his wife, Heather Dent, gave the Reply from the Lassies. Both toasts were brief poems written by David.
Awards & Recognition
Special Presentation: a “Burns Medallion” to Pat Troy for her very significant contributions to the Society, in helping to revise the bylaws. The medallion was handcrafted by Doug Palmer, local metalsmith and longtime RBSA Board member.
Recognition of Clan Buchanan: The clan was also recognized for having given financial support and encouragement to the RBSA founding members. The clan tartan drapes our podium at each year’s Burns Dinner.
Recognition of Past Presidents: George St. Clair (2000-2004) and Don McGloo (2004-2007) were asked to stand and be recognized for their work as past presidents of the RBSA.
Awarding of Scholarship: A check for $250 given to the Chesapeake Caledonian Pipe & Drums Band. Hal Cummings, our evening’s piper, accepted on behalf of the group, which is a non-profit organization. The band uses the money for teaching and training of new pipers.
The evening concluded with Group Singing, led by Betty Hutton. As in past years, everyone in the room linked hands in a big circle around the room and sang the Bard’s famous song “Auld Lang Syne”—a song now linking people around the world.
Web site for the Burns Society is www.robertburnssocietyofannapolis.org and photos of previous Suppers can be seen there.
These photos taken by Eric were also provided.