May 2017

In this Issue:

 May Gathering  Meet Our Members
 Letter From the Editor  Items for Sale
 Second Scottish Independence Vote  Society Officers
 New Society Members 2017  Coming Events: Valley & Other
 A Blast from the Past  Odds & Sods
 From the Archives  A Word from our Advertisers

May Gathering - History of Scotland
Episode 5 - Project Britain

History of Scotland DVDNeil Oliver describes how the ambitions of two of Scotland's Stuart monarchs were the driving force that united two ancient enemies, and set them on the road to the Great Britain we know today.

While Mary Queen of Scots plotted to usurp Elizabeth I and seize the throne of England, her son James dreamt of a more radical future: a Protestant Great Britain.

Thursday May 11th at the Irish Cultural Center
1106 N. Central, Phoenix
6:30 pm ------------- Social half hour
7:00 pm --------- Video Presentation
8:00 pm ------------------Discussion
8:30 pm -------------- 50/50 drawing

Members ------------------- Always Free
Non-members -- $5.00 donation requested

Letter from the Editor, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians:  

It’s heating up – the month of May is the beginning of the annual ‘hot times in Phoenix’ season. Many of the outdoor fairs and festivals are over and art walks, wine tastings, and concerts are scheduled for the cooler evenings.

But the Scottish community takes it all in stride. Here in Phoenix, our Society’s monthly Gathering will be on Thursday evening May 11th at the ICC, where we’ll continue with ‘The History of Scotland’ DVD series. More details are included on our homepage and on Facebook.

The Prescott Area Celtic Society is holding their annual Highland Games on the weekend of May 13/14 at Loch Watson. Click for more details

Then for the next two weekends in May, the Albuquerque Games are on May 20/21, followed by Costa Mesa’s Scottish Fest on May 27/28.

A couple of follow-up items from April; the Society was honored to receive a Declaration from the combined Arizona State Legislature and Senate stating that April 6th was officially named Tartan Day. Board member Mark Pelletier and myself, along with legendary bagpiper and Society member Michael McClanathan met with Senator John Kavanagh and Representative Kelly Townsend prior to the reading in the Senate. Special thanks to Representatives Townsend (District 16) and Don Shooter (District 13) for co-authoring the Resolution.  

Arizona Senate

I also wish to thank Board Member Ian Warrander for stepping up to organize two of our upcoming Monthly Gatherings – the Pub Crawl in July and Curling Bonspiel in September.  

Don Finch As you see from the ‘Future 2017 Gatherings’ on the homepage, we’ve got an impressive lineup, varying from our first ‘Celtic Book Fair – Meet the Authors’ night in June, a Genealogy workshop in August, and the return of our annual Christmas Party in December.

Looking forward to meeting our new members at the May 11th Gathering at the ICC. Membership VP David McBee has signed up a combined total of 61 Singles and Families since the first of the year!

Cheers! Don Finch, Editor

Second Scottish Independence Vote
Give me liberty, or…..

Scotland a happy place? Don’t make me laugh
Excerpts from an April 22, 2017 article in The Guardian, By Kevin McKenna

A campaign, insidious in its stealth, has been under way for some years to make Scottish people feel significantly happier and more content than we actually are or truly want to be. As a nation, we are in dire peril of being engulfed by waves of unbridled optimism and it’s not a pretty sight. This is not what we signed up for and, quite frankly, it diminishes us all. Dark forces are spending a great deal of poppy to engender feelings of dazed and sloppy wellbeing among us.

Hardly a month goes by when some part of Scotland has not been voted the happiest or most desirable place in the known universe. The latest neighbourhood to have been revealed as the most ebullient on God’s Earth was the Outer Hebrides. Apparently, its islands scored 8.24 out of 10 in the UK government’s national happiness survey….

Happiness Map of Britain……
If any of this stuff was true, it would suggest that not only is Scotland brimming with joy and happiness, but that the whole world wants to come here and mate with us. It is heady and dangerous stuff and makes me feel a little queasy and uncomfortable.

It’s not that my heart doesn’t do a somersault whenever fair Caledonia triumphs at something or even just gives a decent account of itself. It’s just that, well… disaster is never far from befalling Scotland whenever we begin to get carried away with ourselves.

…. You don’t have to look far to discover the authors of all this artificial feel-good nonsense with which Scotland is being love-bombed. It’s very obviously the dark forces of the British establishment…… who are responsible. Very probably, they all have shares in those marketing companies that say that Scotland is not just the best small country in the world, but the best country full stop and no messing about.

Their purpose couldn’t be clearer or more sinister. They are hoping lots of us will pause and ask ourselves: “Why do we need independence when Scotland is quite palpably as happy as Larry?” And even if you’re feeling a bit shite, owing to small things like long-term unemployment, substance addiction and early death, then pull yourself together because everyone else in the country is walking down the street caring not a jot. Yes, even Dundonians: “Sorry, Angus, to hear that your wife had her disability payments stopped because she hasn’t committed suicide yet. But look on the bright side – we’ve got one of the best young universities in the world.”

It won’t work, though, all this manufactured merriment and reported glee; Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale will see to that. According to them, Scotland has a junk economy and the nation will descend into violent, civil chaos if another independence referendum takes place. We are Greece on speed, Afghanistan on steroids and we must be perpetually monitored lest we do harm to ourselves. Thank God they are here to warn us about the perils of getting carried away.

Welcome New Members

A big welcome to dozens of new members. We hope to see you all at our Gatherings and look forward to your ideas and energy for the Society.

Adams, Rose Loeffler, Anne
Anesi, Charles Logan, Scott & Ferrigan, Kelly
Bair, Barbara Cameron & Darryl McAuley, Jim
Bliven, John & Dawn McDonald, Harvey
Bogle, Kathie Downie & Michael McGuire, Linda
Cameron, William & Susan Metcalf, Renee, Richard
Campbell, Susan K & James C Jr Mottley, Helen
Clark, Brenda Patterson, David & Norma
Cowie, Robert Pretlow, Teresa
Cunningham, Janet Ritter, Joy
Curry, Vanessa Sarcinella, Antoinette
Davis, Robert Livingston  Sitarz, John
Eglinton, Kelsey Smith, Paul
Epperson, Karen Smith, John
Glass, Robert Thompson-McHugh, Susan & 
Glasscock, Sandra   Max R. Mchugh
Gould, Larry A.  Phd Tso, Bethany
Gulyas, Mike Waple, Vivian R
Guernsey, Valerie & Charles Swan Williams, Steven
Hasselbring, Kurt Williamson, Todd
Hightower, Laura Williford, Thomas & Brenda
King, Anita Wilson, William and Jami
Kremb, Robert & Muriel Wood, Steve
Lake, Mack Zangari, Vincint & Karen,  &
Lambie, Linda J   Katherine Doot, Pamela Gottliev

A Blast from the Past
From the November 1992 Newsletter, Alan Ramsdell, Editor


The Arizona Opera Company will perform Sir Walter Scott’s concert/opera “Lady of the Lake” at 7:00 p.m., November 29, 1992 at Herberger Center. It will be proceeded by a ‘Scottish Dinner’ and preview at 5:00 pm at the Arizona Club, 201 N. Central, Phoenix (top of the Valley Bank Bldg.)

A post-concert champagne reception will be held at the Arizona Club, also. Tickets for the concert are $18, $26, $34, and $50. The tickets for the combined dinner and reception are $50. Tickets for the reception only are $10.

Laura Schairer, Director of Marketing for the Arizona Opera Company, will attend our November 12th membership meeting to tell us more about this event.

Linda Lambie (see Meet our Member) is the Associate Concert Master of the Arizona Opera Company. Although there are no performances scheduled with a Scottish storyline, take a look at their performances for next season

From the Society Archives
by Don Finch

In the beginning…. there were two Scottish organizations in the Valley. The Highland Society of Arizona, which put on the annual Highland Games, and the Arizona Scottish Society.

The Arizona Scottish Society (aka Scottish Society of Arizona) was organized on September 26th 1953 as a social and cultural club for Scots in the Valley, and its big annual event was the Robbie Burns Dinner on the Saturday closest to January 25th each year.

It appears that the first Highland Games were put on in 1964 or 1965 (I have two different versions!) by members of the Phoenix Scottish Pipe band, which included Joe Leonard and James Grant, and a young piper named Len Wood. The Highland Society was formed shortly thereafter to take over the Games and to hold an annual St. Andrew’s Day Dance. It became a 501[c]3 Non-Profit in 1976.

I haven’t been able to trace the date when the SSA merged into the HSA, but there is a reference on the Arizona Corporation Commission’s website showing the dissolution of the Highland Society of AZ on January 30, 1981, and the formation of the 501[c]3 Non-Profit, Caledonian Society of Arizona at the same time.

So, while it’s true that the Highland Games will be celebrating their 54th anniversary in March of 2018, it’s also a fact that the Scots in the Valley have been meeting as an organized group for 64 years!

Same old song!

Here’s an excerpt from the SSA’s February 1975 Newsletter, written by President Alex Gordon, M.D.

We of your Board of Trustees all recognize that enjoyable social functions are the heart of the club and we few workers who remain, or who have recently joined the ranks to hang on until we can get a nucleus of dedicated younger and older members; members of any age. Your club has not been as active as we would like it to be the past couple of years. This is because there are so few of us who have been participating in keeping the club moving. We definitely need new blood in our social affairs and at our executive and business meetings.”

In my ‘Letter from the Editor’ above, its mentioned that we’ve got a full complement of monthly Gatherings in place for 2017, and 61 new members have joined since the first of the year. I think Dr. Gordon would be pleased!

Meet Our Members - Linda Lambie

Linda LambieLinda, born in Scotland, is a very accomplished woman.

Immediately upon joining, she worked at our recent Scottish Games.

Trained as an EMT, Linda is a former violinist with the Phoenix Syphony Orchestra. and is currently concertmistress of the Arizona Opera.

She is now learning the bagpipe. In the photo, Linda even entertained on the chanter briefly at a recent Society meeting.

Items For Sale

Robin Lowe itemsAll of these items are handmade/forged by Society member Robin Lowe.

They are part of his personal collection, but he would like to find new, good homes for them.

Please contact Robin directly; the Society is merely posting this listing as a courtesy.

Clockwise from Top left:

Dagger / leather sheath - $100
Wooden shield with metal center hand guard - $75
Dirk / leather sheath - $100
Battle Axe leather sheath - $60
Sword / metal & leather scabbard - $200
All are priced OBO.

Robin Lowe - - 501-984-2364

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

Don Finch
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller
Chief Genealogist & Historian: Robert Wilbanks

Coming Events: Valley, Arizona, and Nearby States
North American Highland Games Calendar available at Clan Campbell Society

April 29-30 Las Vegas Highland Games
May 11 May Gathering at the ICC
May 13-14 Prescott Highland Games
May 20-21 Rio Grande Celtic Festival & HG (Albuquerque)
May 27-28 Scottish Fest (Costa Mesa CA)
June 8 June Gathering at the ICC
July 15-16 Arizona Highland Celtic Festival (Flagstaff)
November 3-5 Tucson Celtic Festival

Odds and Sods

BBC logo The Scotsman

New baby helps boost Isle of Eigg's population

The lost glamour of the Clyde-built Cunard liners

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.

It’s easy to pay by credit card at our On-Line Shopping Cart - just jump to the Membership Page

Society Gatherings
Regular membership gatherings are usually held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. beginning at 6:30 pm. Please check our website for further details.

A Word from our Advertisers

Kilt Rental USA

Len Wood
Bagpiper USB

Lois Wallace


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