Civic Chorale sets Scottish dinner

Contributed report

January 23, 2014

“My Heart’s in the Highlands” an evening of song, food and pageantry will be presented by The Choral Society of West Georgia and The Order Of The Tartan will be presented at 6 p.m. on Feb. 1 at the Highland Country Club. This event will be a traditional Burns dinner and concert held in conjunction with The Order of the Tartan, the district Scottish American organization.

The Choral Society will feature Atlanta violinist Sam Lee as well as piper Rusty Tate and the Celtic Ties ensemble. The program will feature choral settings of Burns’ poetry in addition to the readings, traditional toasts and songs which accompany a Burns dinner. Cindy Brown is the Choral Society accompanist and Order Of The Tartan member Brian Wilson will be the master of ceremonies.

Meriwether County resident Rusty Tate and Celtic ensemble Celtic Ties will provide music during dinner and perform during the concert. A graduate of the Atlanta Institute of Music, Tate lives in Gay and teaches full time in the Newnan area.

The great and celebrated poet, Robert Burns, often wrote of love, both the joys and the sorrows, as he struggled to survive in 18th century Scotland. In the aftermath of the Jocobite Rebellion, Scots were forbidden by the English to sing the old songs of their homeland. Burns, in his effort to save the disappearing song heritage of Scotland, often set his own poetry to these tunes in hopes of preserving them. Choral composers throughout the years have found Burns poetry as a wonderful setting for their music.

In 1801, on the fifth anniversary of the death of Robert Burns, nine men who knew and loved him met for dinner in the Burns Cottage in Alloway, Scotland, to celebrate his life and works. The master of ceremonies was a local minister. The supper centred on a fine fat haggis; with recitation and singing of Burns’s works and a toast – in verse – to the memory of their friend and hero. It is a unique legacy. No other poet is fêted or immortalized across the world on his birthday as is Robert Burns.

Tickets are $45 and reservations must be made in advance by calling Highland Country Club at 706-884-1727 or email:

The Choral Society of West Georgia is an independent, 501C3 non-profit organization committed to choral musical excellence throughout West Georgia and East Alabama. Repertoire includes a wide range of stylistic choral selections from Renaissance to Contemporary. Membership is available to individuals of any age but an interview for voice placement is required. For further information regarding membership, please contact Bettie Biggs at or by phone 706-882-2734.

The Order of the Tartan, founded in 1983 in Columbus, is a philanthropic and social society with the purpose of celebrating Scottish culture and educating members and non members on the Scotish contribution to American life. The Order supports an array of unique Scottish events such as St. Andrew’s dinners, kirkings at local houses of worship, Robert Burn’s suppers, Hogmanay celebrations, burning of the witch parties and Highland games. The order also teaches Scottish dancing, Celtic and Appalachian folk lore, the playing of the great Highland bagpipe in addition to providing college scholarships and financial support for those learning Scottish music and/or dance.

Membership is open to Highland and Border clans and to those who would actively support the goals of the order. The motto of the order “Keep Forrit the Tartan” means “Parade the Tartan.” The order believes clan colors should never be kept in the closet. They should be presented with pride and treasured as living evidence of one’s family heritage. The Order of the Tartan exists for that purpose.

Annual dues for The Order of the Tartan are $25 and petitions for membership to the order may be mailed to: The Order of the Tartan, P.O. Box 4313, LaGrange, GA 30241

Additional information is available by calling 706-845-0503 or 678-340-2527 or “friending” the order on Facebook.