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The 14th Annual Tartan Day Dinner and Scot of the Year Award was conducted on April 6 at Casa Loma in Toronto under the auspices of the Scottish Studies Society. The evening began with the serving of cocktails plus hot and cold hors d'oeuvres in the Main Hall, the Library and the Conservatory.
Thanks to Alastair McIntyre for taking this photo of Pat and me when we arrived. We are indebted to him for three other photographs which I marked with an "A.M." in one of the corners, including the photo which he took of Dr. Graeme Morton's group below.
The first two photos below show Michael Danso (singer, dancer and actor extraordinaire), one of the first persons whom we met upon arrival. Naturally, we had to check the photo afterwards as theatre producer David Warrack looks on!
Michael Danso's mother, Pinkie Mackenzie, was a Scots big-band singer, and his stepfather was drummer Billy George, who broke the colour barrier in Glasgow nightclubs. Danso's career has taken him from the London cast of Hair to L.A. to Toronto (where he settled down and raised a family with wife Cyrel). His symphonic-jazz approach got a test run with his earlier Gershwin tribute White Tie And Tails. Michael also wrote, produced and performed "From Harlem to Hollywood", an orchestra-backed jazz show which tells tales from the careers of Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen and Cole Porter, and the music which debuted at New York's Cotton Club and made its way to the movies in the '40s. CLICK HERE
to visit his website.
A Tribute to the Music of Scotland
The Pipes and Drums Band led us down the hall at the beginning of the programme, and Jim Marshall took this photo of Pat and me as we entered the Great Hall; I have marked this picture plus five more with a "J.M." in one of the corners. While your CRA-Canada webmaster was busily taking pictures of the audience on one side of the Great Hall of Sir Henry Pellat's castle completed during the 1920's, I noticed Alastair McIntyre of Electric Scotland with his camera in the shadows on the opposite side of the room. As the pipe band completed their march down the hall, David Hunter (President of the Scottish Studies Foundation) announced the presence of four members of the Scottish National Party who had travelled from Scotland to join us for our Tartan Day celebration.
Members of the SNP, seated in the photo to the right above, are Lily Hudghton, Linda Fabiani MSP, Ian Hudghton MEP and Duncan McLean.
David Hunter, President of the Scottish Studies Foundation, served as MC as the programme proceeded. Peter McCutcheon, Tenor, was accompanied by Margaret Mikelait, Pianist. Catherine Anne MacPhee (Mezzo-soprano) gave a rousing rendition of traditional Scottish songs. The final photo proves that folks were enjoying the entertainment, including Nola Crewe (President of the Scottish Studies Society).
The Tartan Day Dinner
The haggis was a tad dry, but the conversation at Table #3 was anything but. Seated in picture ONE are Janice Richardson (in charge of tickets for the Lucky Draws, Alastair McIntyre (Owner and Manager of Electric Scotland), Linda Fabiani (Member of the Scottish Parliament) and Pat Ross (President of the University of Toronto Branch of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society). Picture TWO shows Ian Hudghton (Member of the European Parliament from Scotland), Nola Crewe (President of the Scottish Studies Society), Harold Nelson (Nola's spouse), and Lily Hudghton (Ian's Spouse). Then in photo THREE we have Harold Nelson, Lily Hudghton, Duncan McLean (another honoured SNP member from Scotland) and Janice Richardson. Photo FOUR was taken while Pat and I were chatting with Ian about the upcoming conference of the SNP, and we later learned that he had been elected President. The final photo, number FIVE, shows Linda listening to the conversation.
The "Head Table" at this formal "informal" dinner consisted of the honoured "Scot of the Year" and his family plus representatives of the Scottish Heritage Foundation. Representatives from the programme of Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph were at nearby tables . . . as were the participants in the Tribute to Scottish Music.
Presentation and Acceptance
Members of the Scottish Studies programme at the University of Guelph explained their role in connection with the Foundation. Then it was time for Nola Crewe to present this years award of "Scot of the Year for 2006" to Hugh Boyle, who gave a brief acceptance speech.
This was followed by lucky draws for 2 bottles of Aged Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky and 2 Travel Vouchers for trips to Glasgow on ZOOM airlines. Before the final draw for the travel voucher, someone shouted, "Make sure that you mix the tickets up well!" Guess who won. After the dinner and presentation, a band played the "Gay Gordon" and Scottish Reels in the Conservatory until late evening.