Scottish music, heritage, and poetry will be celebrated at the Great North Woods Center for the Arts in Columbia later this month with a tribute to the Scottish poet Robert Burns. People are invited to attend this afternoon event dedicated to this longtime cultural icon and his legacy in word and song, as shared by local performers.
Gerry Tobin of Lancaster, and formerly of Scotland, will be bringing a selection of works of Robert Burns’ poetry. “I just thought I’d have fun–I’ll read a few lines, and say to the audience, ‘what do you think it means?’” she said. “‘Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie, Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie!’” she recited, from Burns’ famed 1785 poem “To a Mouse.”
Robert Burns is regarded as “The Ploughman’s Poet,” due to the humility and the nature of his works, which see him lauded as the national poet of Scotland. “He was a man who was not impressed by lords, royalty, anything like that,” said Gerry. “And his poems reflect that. ‘A man’s a man, for all that,’” she said, quoting another of his works.
Gerry’s son Bill, an established harpist in the area, will be performing a selection of harp numbers during the event. Other performers include Gerry herself, along with members of the Islay Mist Ceilidh Celtic group, which has been performing Celtic concerts in the area for decades under Gerry’s leadership–most recently appearing in their annual performance at First Night North in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Of the music performed, attendees may be interested to learn a version of the New Year’s Eve staple “Auld Lang Syne,” which was written by Burns, performed to a melody that was more in line with his original intention for the song.
The inspiration for the event is the annual Burns supper, celebrated on the poet’s birthdate of Jan. 25. Gerry laughed that this upcoming event will not go as all-out as a typical Burns supper does. “It’s so formal–they have the piping-in of the haggis, a toast to the ladies, it’s all humor and banter, bagpipers come in…” she laughed. “Maybe next year!”
The tribute to Robert Burns event will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22, at the theater space of the Great North Woods Center for the Arts in Columbia. Admission is $20. Snacks and tea are planned to be served.
For more information about this and other events at the Great North Woods Center for the Arts, visit www.gnwca.org or call 603-246-8998.