Bergen Scottish Society


Here is an overview of the Society's events that have taken place in 2013. Links to photos from some of these events can be found on the menu to the left.

• Autumn Ceilidh
Saturday Oct. 19th, Krokatjønnveien 11C

Along with the Burns Supper this is one of our bigger events on the Society's calendar.  This year's live music was provided by two talented Scottish keyboardists, John Sikorski and Archie MacFarlane,  who interchanged between the accordion and piano.  They were both excellent at calling out the dances and besides the old favourites of Dashing White Sargeant, the Canadian Barn Dance and Gay Gordons, we learned some new moves to some new tunes.  Everyone who attended were up on the dance floor multiple times.

A Bergen Scottish Society ceilidh would not be complete without the sounds of the drones and snares of the Bergen Pipes & Drums.  The band treated us to their 4 song routine which they played at the World Bagpiping Championships in Glasgow in August this year in addition to the their now standard tunes; among them, Scotland the Brave, Cullen Bay and Nystemten.

There were a few special events at this year's ceilidh: i) John performed a step dance routine for us.  Fascinating!  He can really move his feet!  ii) John's and Archie's friend from Bergen, Anne Sofie Linge, graced us with her vocal abilities, singing some lovely ballads.  iii) Snare drummer Willie Dawson was awarded an honorary membership, receiving a framed Bergen Scottish Tartan piece as a token of appreciation for all he has done for the Society and the Pipe Band.  A well deserved honour!

• Historical 'walk'
Wednesday Sept. 4th, kl 1830-2000

This year's guided walk took us through the oldest part of Bergen, starting at Fløiebanen's lowest station, along Øvregaten, once the main road in Bergen, through Bryggehagene, past Schøttstuene, down to Kroken, past the ruins of St. Catherine's hospital and the old city hall, down to the site of the explosion in the harbour in 1944, behind Håkonshallen and then up to Sverresborg, before heading off for a pint at Dr. Weisners pub.

Our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, Bjørn Kahrs, offered up very interesting stories and historical facts, and many of us learned of statues, plaques, and stairs we'd never seen before.  A well worthwhile tour of Bergen!

• Summer event
Sunday 16th June, Rongesund, Øygården

A great big thanks to Christine, one of our members, and her husband who graciously invited us out to their home on the islands for a barbecue.  Upon arrival, our host and hostess made us feel right at home, greeting us with a velkomst drikk and letting us loose on their large property within throwing distance of the Rong bridge.  After fulfilling our appetites with a large selection of grilled meats and salads, a lone piper accompanied by a tenor drummer, both from the Bergen Pipes & Drums, played a few tunes out on the rocks, with the sea as the backdrop.  Then we split into two groups; the fishermen who tried their hand at rounding up some dinner, and the hikers, who followed our host to the well-marked trails at Ormhilleren he himself has put countless hours of time towards in their creation and up-keep.

Gathering together one last time for some laughs over a wee bit of cake, strawberries and coffee, we thanked our hostess with some Solheim Kjøtt famous haggis and left with the invitation to return next year!

• Constitution Day Parade
Friday 17th May, Bergen main parade

It was nice to see a good number of Society members and friends who found us at Koengen and joined us for the length of the new parade route. The shorter route was a welcome change from the perspective of the members of Bergen Pipes & Drums and the weather was perfect for marching. The band was included on the evening NRK news as they played Nystemten, always a favourite here in Bergen!

• Spring Ceilidh

This event is generally the mini-version of the Autumn Ceilidh, where the surroundings are less formal, and we use recorded music. This year's event was cancelled due to the inability to find a venue in the city centre for a reasonable price which will allow us to serve alcohol. We welcome suggestions for venues which fit this bill so we can bring this fun event back to our regular roster. Please Contact Us! with any suggestions.

• Dance Workshop
Friday 5th April, Nordnes Bydelshus

We had a smaller turnout for this workshop than last (nice weather?) but as always, those in attendance bore smiles as they worked off a little of the Easter holiday goodies. Our resident instructor, Laura, did a brilliant job teaching us the basics of Strip the Willow, Dashing White Sargeant, Canadian Barn Dance, The Cumberland Reel and the Military Two Step. Food and refreshments were on offer and BA was there to photograph and interview the participants. The article was featured in the mid section of BA's April 13th newspaper.

• Annual AGM
Wednesday 13th March

There was a decent turnout of members for this year's Annual General Meeting. A slideshow of photos both from past BSS events and Scotland welcomed the group, and after the formalities during which there was a wee shuffle of roles by existing committee members and the election of one new committee member, Evelyn, there was a quiz about things Scottish. Congratulations to the winners who each received haggis as their prize.

• Burns' Supper
Saturday 26th January - ABB Kantine
Krokatjønnveien 11C, Fyllingsdalen

We tried out a new venue for this year's Supper; the ABB kantine in Fyllingsdalen, and despite being an informal setting, all the tradition and formality of a Burns night was present.

There was the traditional fare of neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes), served along with haggis made expertly by the staff at Solheim Kjøtt. Once again the partnership between Solheim Kjøtt, the Bergen Scottish Society and Findlay's of Scotland produced results enjoyed by all in attendance.

The haggis was piped in Thomas de Ridder, pipemajor, and borne by the chef-of-the-day, Robert, who incidentally did a fantastic job at preparing all the food, including the making of trifle for the first time in his culinary career.

The traditional speeches were also in force. David MacLeod delivered a dramatic and entertaining (and memorized!) Address to a Haggis, James Hosea outdid himself once again as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, and both the Toast to the Lassies, by Willie Dawson, and the Reply to the Toast, by Evelyn Sutherland, were contemporary. This writer believes Burns himself would have approved of the candour of the words spoken.

A special moment for us this year was the recital of "Mons I Urda", the nynorsk translation by Hartvig Kiran of Burns' "Tam O' Shanter". Our guest speaker, Håkon Grønstøl, delivered the poem in a compelling rhythm and tone and it was a joy to see the Norwegians in the room thoroughly enjoying the nuances built into the translation.

Besides the typical traditions, the Bergen Scottish Society included our own, in that musical entertainment was provided by both Grendakoret (7th year in a row!), who joyfully sang three of Burns' songs to a captivating audience, and Bergen Pipes & Drums. Their sound is fantastic and the Society wishes them well on their upcoming endeavours at the World Bagpiping Championships in August, to be held in Glasgow.

And of course, Scottish country dancing was the way to end the evening, just before the playing on the pipes and the singing of Auld Lang Syne, as we stood in a circle, hand-in-hand, grateful for the opportunity to be with friends for an enjoyable evening.