A small team from e-Sgoil visited New York City as part of a trip by Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band. Celebrating 20 years since Tartan Week began, the young people had been invited to join in this year’s events. And they took full advantage!
They started off on Ellis Island, the first place many immigrants to the US from Scotland and other places would reach. Accepting an invite from Clan Currie, there were performances of songs and tunes in the main building on the island which now acts as a museum, before the pipe band played on the lawn outside in front of the famous Manhattan skyline and with the Statue of Liberty off to the side on the next island. The following morning saw an early start in order to appear on the breakfast show of one of the local tv channels. Two concerts in Bryant Park followed and another one in The Explorers Club, before parade day and the famous march down 6th Avenue in front of thousands of people. There can be no doubt that all eyes were on the young pipers and drummers, all in full highland dress, and the three dancers leaping in front of them and waving to the crowds.
The trip also included a visit to the infamous site of the World Trade Centre. While many of the school pupils were too young to remember the events of September 2001, a tragic loss in their own midst last year due to terrorism had inspired this visit.
With a team from MacTV close on their heels at all times, a programme about the trip will be shown on BBCALBA later on in the year around Mòd time. In the meantime you can see short clips produced by the Comhairle’s Multi-media Unit here: https://bit.ly/2GGPNmc
As well as supporting the young musicians and adults accompanying them, the team from e-Sgoil took the chance to speak to people who are involved in Gaelic and Scottish societies in New York and the United States as a whole. The Caledonian Club offered a warm welcome at their Pre-Parade Ceilidh and Post-Parade Brunch and it is hoped that the connections that were made can be expanded on and grown into friendships in years to come.
While it is a long time since some of the Americans’ ancestors left the old country, the blood is still strong!