ANTIGONISH, N.S. - The Antigonish Highland Society wants you.
That’s the message coming from the society as they prepare for their annual general meeting (AGM) as well as the St. Andrew’s Evening Gala, Nov. 30 at the East Coast Credit Union Social Enterprise Centre on St. Ninian Street.
“A welcome mat is being put out,” society president Harley MacCaull said, adding it’s also a good time to “raise the profile” of the society.
“What’s really helpful with membership is when we’re talking to government or other parties of interest, membership matters,” he said. “It’s not a fundraiser we’re looking for, it’s a commitment to the idea.”
In fact, there is no membership fee this year, according to society executive director Tammy Beaton.
“We’re not charging; normally there would be a fee to be a member, but we’re waving that to try and increase our membership,” she said, while also expanding on MacCaull’s ‘profile’ remark.
“We’re starting to get out there more with different events like St. Andrew’s Evening and Robbie Burns Night, which is in January. There is Tartan Day and we’re also planning other events within that, and, of course, the Highland Games. So, basically, getting out there and letting people know this would be an excellent week and opportunity for them to find out more about [the society],” Beaton said.
She talked about a younger demographic coming on-board with the society since there seems to be a growing interest in the Gaelic language and traditions such as Highland dancing and Celtic music remain popular in the area. She noted younger folks’ participation in activities such as those could translate into an interest for a society which helps “to keep our Scottish heritage alive.”
“They’re choosing to take Gaelic instead of French, so it would be great if people who have either graduated or are graduating from the Gaelic programs – language, Highland dancing, music, those types of things – joined,” she said.
“They may not even know they could be members of the Antigonish Highland Society and, maybe, eventually become a committee or board member.
“We’re always looking for ideas; obviously we want to keep the Highland Games going and it’s going to have to be a younger crowd who will have to carry that on, basically,” she added.
Interested person can contact Beaton at 902-863-4275 or go online to visit the society’s website and Facebook page.
St. Andrew’s Evening
After the AGM which starts at 4:30 p.m., there is the dinner slated for 6 p.m. which will then be followed by a dance – new to this year – at 9 p.m., all at the East Coast Credit Union Social Enterprise Centre.
Beaton noted tickets must be purchased for the dinner, which will include a serving of haggis ceremony, but the dance is free.
“Those who choose not to come to meal can still come to dance,” she said, noting Brian and Abbi MacDonald will be playing, as well as “a few others.”