78th Fraser Highlanders celebrate St. Andrew’s Day

Photo: Shirley Nadeau

Julie Laliberté, accompanied by Sebastien Tremblay on guitar, sang Scottish ballads. 

Saint Andrew himself would have been impressed with the concert given in his honour by the Fort St. Andrew's Garrison of the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipes and Drums at Chalmers-Wesley United Church last Saturday evening. Coincidentally located at 78 Rue Sainte-Ursule, the venue was acoustically perfect for such a concert, according to Pipe Major Alan Stairs.

Now you might think that a concert with 11 pipers piping and five drummers drumming in a confined space would deafen anyone with good ears, but it was music to the hearts and souls of those gathered in the church sanctuary. 

St. Andrew's Day is normally celebrated on November 30, however November 19 was closest to the date for which the 78th Fraser's could find a facility, when there weren't too many other community events going on. 

The cross of Saint Andrew is featured on Scotland's flag and on the flag of Nova Scotia (New Scotland), with the addition of a golden crest and a red rampant lion in the centre. 


The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipes and Drums presented a rousing St. Andrew’s Day concert at Chalmers-Wesley United Church. (Photo by Shirley Nadeau)


In Scotland and in many countries with Scottish connections, St. Andrew's Day is marked with a celebration of Scottish culture with traditional food, music and dance. Well, there was all that and more on Saturday evening.

Before the concert started, Chalmers Wesley's organist Gordon Brown entertained guests by playing the grand piano, which was highly appreciated by all. 

Crépuscule, a Quebec City traditional Scottish music group, played pieces from their recently produced album Horizon, joined by two Irish (yes, Irish... why not?) tap dancers. Singer Julie Laliberté sang beautiful ballads accompanied by Sébastien Tremblay on guitar. 

After intermission, a haggis was paraded with great ceremony as James (Hamish) Williamson and Matt Thompson took turns reciting verses from Robbie Burns' "Address to a Haggis" to the delight of those assembled. Thompson cut it up with great skill, digging into its "gushing entrails" with a long dirk (knife). 

Organist Gordon Brown accompanied the pipes and drums as they played "Amazing Grace" and the final, majestic "Highland Cathedral." 

The concert was followed by a reception in the lower hall, where guests had the opportunity of joining the musicians in a glass of wine, beer or other beverage. A taste of haggis with Drambuie "sauce" was also offered. 

Everyone who attended the concert agreed this was the biggest and best St. Andrew's Day concert put on by the 78th Fraser Highlanders. Alan Stairs said, "Everyone was absolutely charmed by Chalmers-Wesley. For a good many it was their first visit there."

Will ye no come back again next year? 


(Photo by Shirley Nadeau)
James (Hamish) Williams (centre) and Matthew Thompson (right) had fun reciting Robbie Burns’ “Address to a Haggis.” Is it dead yet?  



(Photo by Shirley Nadeau)
Charmrock Irish dancers Andréanne Juneau and Isabelle Simard-Lapointe kicked up their heels, accompanied by Crépuscule musicians: Christian Haerinck (pipes), Dominic Haerinck (guitar and vocals), Daniel Fréchette (violin).