Bergen Scottish Society


• Autumn Ceilidh
Saturday Nov. 8th, Chagall

The big event on the Society's calendar in the second half of the year is the annual Autumn Ceilidh.  Chagall bar was well-received as the venue, with its many advantages; it's located in the city center, has a great dance floor and very good acoustics.

Musical direction was given by Crowded Croft, who were invited back this year after a few year's haitus, to lead us in the dancing of the old favourites, like Dashing White Sargeant, the Canadian Barn Dance and Gay Gordons.  It was hard to sit down on the sidelines, as so fun was being had out on the dance floor.

As usual, Bergen Pipes & Drums also performed a few tunes, but there was an added treat of the sounds and talents of Anne Sofie Valdal who played various instruments and danced (not at the same time). And in true ceilidh fashion, an impromptu accapella rendition of "Flower of Scotland", sung by guest Will Wilson, stirred the crowd.

• Women's Rugby 7's - European Championship
Saturday June 7 - Sunday June 8, Fana Stadium (daytime) and Finnegan's Pub (evening)

Although we were few in numbers at Fana Stadium in support of the Scottish team playing under the Rugby Sevens Tournament, our voices were heard and the Scottish flags seen (hopefully) by the women on the field.  They gave it their all, eventually only losing one game; the final against the team from Ukraine, who appear to have recruited some strong runners.

The Norwegian team were gracious hosts, ending up in 10th place, thereby keeping their place in their current division.  Hats off to the local Rugby association for their hard work and dedication in putting on this event!

On the Saturday evening, the rain held off and the atmosphere outside at Finnegan's was festive.  The six members of the Bergen Pipes & Drums were well received, with the crowd not only singing along to 'Wild Rover' but throwing out requests as well!

At the event's national song contest at Zacchen, the unofficial national anthem of Scotland, and adopted song of the Rugby Federation, 'O Flower of Scotland',  was beautifully rendered on Saturday, kicking it through to the finals on Sunday evening.  In the end, however, it lost out to the leg-kicking, joyful presentation of a well-loved Moldovian song by that country's rugby team.

• Constitution Day Parade
Saturday May 17th, Sentrum

Once again the Bergen Scottish Society banner flew high and the Bergen Pipes & Drums were heard on the streets of downtown Bergen during the annual Constitution Day parade.  As 2014 marks of the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, the parade route and Festplassen were packed, and the festive atmosphere was contagious.  This could also of course be contributed to the fantastic weather experienced that day.  Thanks to all who joined us on the route!

• Cooperation with Borealis Festival
Wednesday 19th March - Sunday 23th March

The collaboration between the Bergen Scottish Society and the Borealis Festival was a great success.  Four bagpipers from the Society's associated pipeband, the Bergen Pipes & Drums, played an astounding rendition of Steam Train at the opening festivities on 19.march at Bergen Kuntshall, and pipe major, Thomas de Ridder, gave a late night concert on 22.march at Østre.

And fun was had by the Festival volunteers who participated in the round of Scottish dancing led by our own Bjarne, during their round-up party at Verftet on 23.march.   Whether it was Bjarne's fine instruction, the festival volunteers' fantastic sense of rhythm, their enthusiasm, or all the above, the troupes caught on quickly, making for a fun evening for all.  In particular, two gents jumped right into the mood (and each into a borrowed kilt) and Thomas and Roger were cheered on as they gave a mini-concert, finishing off with Scotland the Brave in honour of the out-going director of the Festival, Alwynne Pritchard, who hails from Glasgow and has put in an astounding 10 years with the Festival.  We wish her all the best in her future endeavours, and hope she enjoyed the Scottish sendoff of Robbie Burns' Auld Lang Syne, which Thomas presented as all joined hands in the traditional circle and sang the immortal words, "We'll drink a cup of kindness yet, in days of Auld Lang Syne."

• Annual AGM
Tuesday 11th March

The formalities of this year's Annual General Meeting was taken care of in a concise manner, with the Election Committee working their usual magic to fill all vacant posts;  Social Secretary (1 year), Treasurer (2 years), Secretary (2 years), Keeper of the Tartan (2 years) and Information Co-ordinator (2 years).   Thanks (and flowers!) were given to those committee members leaving their posts;  Charlotte, after 3 years as Social Secretary, Laura, after 2 years of Secretary and resident dance instructor, and Barbara, after 5 years in various roles. 

Laura's last contribution (besides the taking of the minutes) was to create and give a tough but deciding quiz about things Scottish, with the new twist of a music round.  Congratulations to the winning team.

• Burns' Supper
Saturday 25th January - Tracteursted, Gamle Bergen

Tracteursted staff are to be commended, along with the current Society committee, for making this year's annual Burns Supper an enjoyable evening! The large dining area upstairs and the cosy atmosphere downstairs, used for coffee and cakes while the upstairs was cleared for the dancing portion of the evening, allowed the guests to appreciate the venue's historic ambience.

There was lots of time for dancing at the end of the evening; a great way for everyone to participate. Yet although part of the tradition, a Burns Supper is so much more than dancing.

The focus on Burns was kicked off with the singing of four Burns' Songs by Grendakoret, the choir in Bergen with the largest selection of Burns song in their repetoire. All were sorry to hear that the choir is considering disbanding, thus bringing wet eyes to this writer on the presentation of "My Heart's in the Highlands". Thank you, Grendakoret for your long-time association with the Bergen Scottish Society!

Burns was with us in spirit the entire evening, from the masterful reciting of the Address to a Haggis by Jim Fulton, the saying of the Selkirk Grace by our ever versatile and reliable Master of Ceremonies, James Hosea, and the delivery of a thought-provoking Immortal Memory by the current director of Bergen Nasjonal Opera, Mary Miller, right through to the lightness and poetic references of this year's Toast to the Lassies, presented by Society member Stephen Erskine and its Reply, presented by the Canadian Consul in Bergen, Karin Pittman.

All these formalities were taken inbetween the enjoyment of yet another successful Findlay's haggis expertly crafted by the staff at Solheim Kjøtt, served with tasty neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) prepared by the staff at Tracteursted, as well as the lovely trifle which nicely rounded off the evening's fare. Again Tracteursted came to the fore, as a staff member aptly bore in the "Addressed" haggis to the music provided by Bergen Pipes & Drums pipemajor, Thomas De Ridder.

Thomas had more opportunities to delight the guests, both with support from a few members of the Bergen Pipes & Drums, playing in two different sets during the evening, and in an astounding duet with piper Gregor Campbell.

Gregor's mother, Ann, the pipeband's and the Society's kilt maker extraordinaire, was present as a guest this year, and the committee took the opportunity to present her with flowers, as a token of our appreciation for all she has done for the two organizations over the years. Susan George, past treasurer of both the Society and pipeband, and founding member of the tenor drumming section of the pipeband, was also recognized for her contributions with the presentation of flowers. We're going to miss you in Bergen, Susan!

Burns helped us to close the evening after the dancing was finished, as we all joined hands to form a circle and sang Auld Lang Syne to the sound of Gregor's bagpipes.

Congratulations to all!  And we look forward to equal success at the Society's 10th annual Burns Supper next year!