Beloved Celtic Christmas Concert Returns to NYC for 15th Anniversary

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The Pipes of Christmas scholarship fundraiser returns to NYC for its 15th joyous anniversary. The concert presents the music of the season performed on pipes and drums, harp and fiddle, organ and brass and more!

“I am delighted that proceeds from the Pipes of Christmas will result in these important gifts which ensure that the future of Scottish culture is safer with these generous scholarships.” - Stage and screen star Alan Cumming.

"The Pipes of Christmas" will celebrate its fifteenth season with performances in New York City on Saturday, December 14 at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, located at 921 Madison Avenue (at 73rd Street) with performances at 2 and 7PM. The concert moves across the Hudson River on Sunday, December 15 to Central Presbyterian Church located at 70 Maple Street in Summit, NJ for a 2PM performance.

For those weary of the ceaseless stream of secular holiday music from department stores to TV, the "Pipes of Christmas" offers a spiritual and traditional take on the season that connects concertgoers to the holiday in a fresh, meaningful way. The show features tunes such as "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Joy to the World," and "Amazing Grace," all performed live on pipes and drums, harp and fiddle, and organ and brass. Not only does the performance define Christmas cheer, but also it inspires those of Celtic descent to retrace and reconnect to their ancestry.

The concert presents the music of Christmas accompanied by readings taken from the Celtic literature of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Featured performers include James Robinson from the film “Braveheart,” New England fiddle champion Paul Woodiel, “Riverdance” uilleann piper and flutist Christopher Layer, Gaelic Mod champion harpist Jennifer Port of Golspie, Scotland, and the Pipe Major Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Pipe Band from Redlands, CA.

The concert will also feature the world premier of "Lullaby for a Prince," specially commissioned to mark the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge. The piece is written by Scottish composer Steve Gibb of Inverness, Scotland. Concert-goers will recall Gibb’s beautiful tune, “Balmoral Snow,” which had its World Premiere at the 2012 concerts to mark HM Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. There will also be a new work featured by a music student of Edinburgh Napier University as part of the university’s Alexander McCall Smith Prize for Composition contest.

Honorary Chairs for the 2013 concerts are acclaimed Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith author of the highly successful “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series and Mark Standish, Co-Group Head, Capital Markets and Investor & Treasury Services, Royal Bank of Canada.

Proceeds from the concert support an extensive music scholarship program which includes annual gifts to the National Piping Centre and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (both located in Glasgow,) the Gaelic College of Nova Scotia and Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. The Clan Currie Society, producers of the concert, also sponsor the US National Scottish Harp Championship, the Children’s Literature Prize at the Royal National Mod in Scotland and an annual academic research prize at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye.

The Society also produces the Harp Glen – a festival of the Scottish harp – at the Seaside Highland Games in Ventura, CA, and participates in Scottish Highland Games and Festivals in the US, Canada and Scotland.

Commenting on the Society’s music scholarship program, stage and screen star Alan Cumming said, “I am delighted that proceeds from the Pipes of Christmas will result in these important gifts which ensure that the future of Scottish culture is safer with these generous scholarships.”

An experience that has become a tradition for many can be a special event for anyone. As cool weather arrives, tune into the holiday spirit and prepare to be inspired by the "Pipes of Christmas."

Named one of New York City’s “Top Ten” holiday events, the concert is made possible by a generous gift from Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Capital Markets and the Grand Summit Hotel in Summit, NJ.

Tickets Available Now

General admission tickets start at $50 and are available online and via mail order. A downloadable ticket order form can be found on the concert’s website at http://www.pipesofchristmas.com. Tickets for the NY concert may also be purchased online through SmartTix at http://www.smarttix.com or by phone at (212) 868-4444. Reserved patron seats are available at both venues.

About “The Pipes of Christmas”

Since making its debut in 1999, the "Pipes of Christmas" has played to standing room only audiences. Now a cherished holiday event, the concert provides audiences with a stirring and reverent celebration of the Christmas season and the Celtic spirit. Audience-goers return year after year to experience the program, many reporting that the "Pipes of Christmas" has become part of their family’s annual Christmas tradition.

The concert has been lavished with critical acclaim. In his review for Classical New Jersey Magazine, Paul Somers wrote, “The whole evening was constructed to introduce gem after gem and still have a finale which raised the roof. In short, it was like a well constructed fireworks show on the Glorious Fourth. The Westfield Leader described the concert as “a unique sound of power and glory nowhere else to be found.”

About the Clan Currie Society

The Clan Currie Society, based in Summit, NJ and Edinburgh, Scotland is an international, non-profit cultural and educational organization. It is the preeminent Scottish-American cultural society in preserving and promoting Highland heritage at Scottish Games, ethnic festivals, as well as community groups and classrooms. The Society has over 2,000 members worldwide that gather via the Society’s website and at special events and clan gatherings.

The Society was originally formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1959 to further the knowledge and appreciation of the MacMhuirich (pronounced MacVurich) Bardic dynasty. The MacMhuirichs served for over 700 years as professional poets to the Lords of the Isles and later to the MacDonalds of Clanranald among other prominent Highland clans and families. The Red Book of Clanranald, one of Gaelic Scotland’s literary treasures, was penned by successive generations of the MacMhuirich family.

Today, the Society is a respected producer of programs and events to honor Scotland’s rich culture and heritage. The Society’s signature events include The Pipes of Christmas, the annual observance of Tartan Day on Ellis Island – the largest attended Tartan Day event in the world, and the annual MacMhuirich Academic Symposium. The Society is also a founding member of the NY Tartan Week Alliance with oversight for many of the anchor events of Tartan Week including, Whisky Live, From Scotland With Love, and Tartan Day on Ellis Island.

To commemorate the 10th annual observance of Tartan Day on Ellis Island, the Society commissioned and launched the Ellis Island Tartan in April 2011. The tartan is designed primarily for all Americans whose ancestors came to the United States through Ellis Island. The Society’s growing scholarship program provides financial support for students wishing to further their studies in music, poetry, and Gaelic history.

The Society has spearheaded the construction of two permanent clan monuments in Scotland. A MacMhuirich Memorial Cairn has been built adjacent to the 15th century ruins of Bale nam Bàrd, the Chief Bard’s home at Stilligarry on the Island of South Uist. A carved stone, commemorating the bard Lachlan Mòr MacMhuirich, has been installed at Makars Court alongside the Scottish Writers Museum in Edinburgh.

Clan Currie is an outstanding producer of exhibitions and documentary films. Past exhibitions have included “The Life and Legacy of John Muir,” “Tartan – Scotland’s Enduring Icon,” and “Loyalty and Rebellion: The Jacobites and America.” The Society received one of its many awards for video production excellence for “The Crafter’s Song”, a documentary film narrated by Cliff Robertson.

The Arms of the Society were granted by the Court of the Lord Lyon, Edinburgh, Scotland on June 30, 2006. The star, or mullet, is a heraldic symbol frequently found on individual Currie family coats of arms in Scotland. The thistle wreath, or chaplet, represents the international community the Society has created in “promoting Scottish heritage in general and Clan Currie heritage in particular, involving domestic and international matters.”

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Robert Currie

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