January 2016

In this Issue:

 January Meeting  2015 In Review
 Letter From the President  Coming Events & Celebrations
 Robert Burns Supper  Society Officers
 December Historical Events  A Word from our Advertisers

January 14 Gathering

Join us as we take a break from the Holiday madness at
a Mellow Mid-Winter Mixer.

Wine & Cheese

6:30 - 7:30 - Mingle with Wine and Cheese                            
7:30 - 8:30 - History of Scotland Episode 3 "Bishop Makes King"
8:30 - - - - - 50/50 Raffle and Door Prizes                            

Thursday January 14, 2016 - Irish Cultural Center - 6:30 pm
Free to CSA Members; $5.00 donation for non-members
RSVP by Sunday January 10 to: president@arizonascots.com
with the number attending

Letter from President, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians,

Another calendar year is coming to a close, as is my first year as your President. You’ll recall that I took over from Mark Clark in January when he relocated to Dallas, and the Board made formal my appointment following the Highland Games 

The Society’s financial condition is very positive. Our summary numbers as of the fiscal year ended June 30th, 2015 are:

2015 Financials

Gatherings and Events
All of us have many opportunities to socialize with friends, family, co-workers and others who have a common interest in sports, hobbies and recreation. The Caledonian Society of AZ is made up of a group of people who love Scotland and its history, music, arts, and athletics. Curiosity in our family roots through genealogy has also brought us some new members.

We’ve been organizing unique and different events, trying to attract a broader audience than our 50-60 core members. Here’s a list of our 2015 functions:

              2015 Event List

We’d really like your ideas on what would appeal to a wider audience. Please email your suggestions to:  president@arizonascots.com

In 2016, we’ll begin using the term Gatherings to identify our social events, reserving the term Meetings for Board Meetings, Games Meetings, etc. We also plan to hold a least 4 of the monthly Gatherings on weekends, and will try to find venues more convenient to many than the Irish Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix.

Comings and Goings
You’re Board agrees that it is important to be pro-active in our quest to grow our membership base across the state. To that end we’ve ‘shown the CSA’s flag’ at the Sedona, Flagstaff and Tucson Highland Games; accompanied our favorite gal Nessie in the St. Patrick’s Parade & Festival, the Avondale-Goodyear Parade plus the Tempe Library’s Cultural Fair. Games Chairman Paul Bell visited the iconic ‘Scotfest’ in Estes Park, CO and the Association of Scottish Games & Festival’s 34th annual meeting in Alexandria, VA to get new ideas and ‘best practices’ as we continue towards our goal of making our Annual Scottish Gathering & Highland Games the best in the country. I was also able to attend the Canmore Highland Games near Banff in Alberta over the Labor Day weekend; and Trustee and Athletic Director Michelle Crownhart visited and competed in numerous Heavy Athletics competitions across the country.

Friends and Neighbors
We’ve also been pro-active in renewing past relationships; mending fences; and pursuing mutually beneficial activities with the other Scottish and Celtic groups in the state. We’ve worked with State Representative Kelly Townsend on preparing a bill that will recognize Tartan Day annually on April 6th.   We’re getting to know the new management team at the ICC, and are currently working with them to understand their new usage fee structure, which will increase our future costs of meeting there.

We’re  looking forward to new challenges, opportunities and celebrations for 2016, especially the Robbie Burns Supper on Saturday January 23rd – and – the 52nd Annual Glenmorangie™ Scottish Gathering & Highland Games, March 19th  & 20th at Steele-Indian School Park.

Don Finch Two final thoughts. Buy your Burns Supper tickets on-line; there’s a new form where you can also let us know who’s in your party and who you’d like to sit with. The second one – in January we’ll be forming a Nominating Committee, so start considering if you’d like to run for one of the Board positions. The Nominating Committee will be announced in the next newsletter.

On behalf of the Board, best wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year!
Don Finch, President

Celebrate the Society's 52nd Annual Robbie Burns Supper

The annual Burns Supper s a wonderful opportunity to join with other affecionados of the famous Scot’s poetry to enjoy Highland Dancing, bagpipes, whisky tasting, live entertainment, Scottish Country Dancing, and the chance to take home one or more raffle prizes.

The evening begins at 6:00 pm with cocktails on the patio and a demonstration of Highland Dancing. At 7:00 pm, gthere will be a tasting of several of Glenmorangie’s™ finest whiskies, followed by several toasts, and then the highlight of the evening, the presentation of the Haggis.

Dinner will be 5 courses starting with Leak & Potato Soup, a Mixed Salad and Dinner Rolls, Steak Pie, Neeps & Tatties, and Mixed Vegetables. There is also a vegetarian option. The final course is Sticky Toffee Pudding with Whisky Crème Anglaise, followed by tea and coffee. Don’t fret; there will be bowls of Haggis brought to each table with the plated dinners.

Music for the evening will be provided by Alan Reid founding member of Scotland’s celebrated Battlefield Band, accompanied by Rob van Sante. The night continues with more toasts, the reading of Tam O’ Shanter by Gordon Stevenson (who did the Immortal Memory last year), and the distribution of the raffle prizes.

But wait…there’s more! Kick up your heels to the jigs and reels of Scottish Country Dance music until we join arms together and sing Robbie’s greatest hit, Auld Lang Syne.

A full bar will be available, including wine for your table. Tickets are $75.00 p.p. and are available in advance at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2468005
For additional information, please contact: Victoria L. Phegley, the 2016 Burns Supper Chair, at 602-526-2313

Formal Evening Attire is encouraged so gentlemen, wear your kilts, tuxedos  or suits and ladies, evening gowns with a tartan sash ‘wid mak' ye th' belle o' th' baw’ .

Scottish Historical Events
by Jo Ramsdell

Scotland's Beginning

The first written records of Scottish history date back to the arrival of the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD.  The Roman province of Britannia reached as far north as the Antonine Wall, which once ran across central Scotland from the River Clyde to the Firth of Forth.  To the north lay the territory of Caledonia, which was ruled by the Picti people.

Known as "Picti" by the Romans, meaning "Painted Ones" in Latin, these northern tribes constituted the largest kingdom in Dark Age Scotland.  They repelled the conquests of both Roman and Angles, creating a true north-south divide on the British Isles, only to disappear from history by the end of the first millennium.  The Picts took part in one of the most decisive battles in Scottish history—the Battle of Dun Nechtain (Dunnichen).  If the Picts had lost, Scotland might never have existed.  For the Angles of Northumbria, it was simply a disaster—ending their domination of Scotland.

The Battle of Dun Nechtain was fought in 685 AD and is one of the best recorded events in Dark Age Scotland.  The kingdom of the Angles under King Oswul had rapidly expanded north. 

Since 653 AD many of the major groups of people in Scotland—Britons, Gaels and much of Pictland—had been subject to the overlordship of King Oswul. 

In 672, after the death of Oswul, the new King of Northumbria, Ecgfrith, wasted no time and many Picts were massacred at a battle near where the rivers Carron and Avon meet. 


The defeated Picts took Bridel as the king of the much depleted Pictland.  An almighty battle was on the cards.  The Chronicle of Holyrood gives the best account of the battle:  "In the year 685 King Ecgfrith rashly led an army to waste the province of the Picts, although many of his friends opposed it…and through the enemy's feigning flight he was led into the defiles of inaccessible mountains, and annihilated, with great part of his forces he had brought with him."

Mapr circa AD 802The political map was altered.  The Picts, Gaels and many Britons were freed from Northumbrian overlordship.  The Angles never fully recovered as a major force in Scotland. 

It is no coincidence that the Picts mysterious disappearance occurred at the same time as the creation of the kingdom of Alba.  For many years Gaelic influence in Pictland had been on the rise.  The Gaelic religion of Christianity had spread throughout Pictish lands and with it many Gaelic traditions. 

Furthermore, through a mixture of conquest and inter-marriage Gaelic or Gaelicised royalty had succeeded to the Pictish throne, a notable example of this being Kenneth MacAlpin.   

2015 - The Year in Review

2015 Pictures 1 2015 Pictures 2 2015 Pictures 3 2015 Pictures 4 2015 Pictures 5 2015 Pictures 6

Upcoming Events and Celebrations
If you would like your special date recognized in our monthly newsletter, we need to hear from you. Please let us know your correct birthday and anniversary information by email to anjrams@cox.net and it will be included in our Celebration list.

January 7 Board Meeting - ICC - 7 PM
January 14 Midwinter Wine & Cheese Gathering - ICC - 6:30 PM
January 19 Games Committee Meeting - ICC - 6 PM
January 23 Burns Supper - Phoenix Country Club - 6 PM
February 11 February Gathering - ICC - 6:30 PM
March 10 March Gathering - ICC - 6:30 PM
March 19-20 Arizona Scottish Gathering and Highland Games
  Save the Date

Membership Renewal Reminder

Dues are still only $25 Single and $40 Family. This admits you to all our wonderful monthly events with food and entertainment provided. Join now and your dues will cover the remainder of 2015 and all of 2016

It’s easy to pay by credit card or PayPal, just jump to the Membership Page

Society Gatherings
Regular membership gatherings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. beginning at 6:30 pm. Come join us or log on to www.arizonascots.com.

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Don Finch
Immediate Past President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President & Membership Chair: Ian Warrander
Secretary Vicki Phegley
Treasurer: David McBee
Games Chair
Paul Bell
Trustee 1: Mark Pelletier
Trustee 2: Michelle Crownhart
Trustee 3: Thom von Hapsburg
Newsletter Editor:

Don Finch
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller

A Word from our Advertisers

Kilt Rental USA

Bagpiper USA
Len Wood

Lois Wallace


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