April 6, 2004
Thursday morning (April 1) we loaded up in front of Brown Chapel for our much anticipated NYC trip. The purpose of the trip was the Tartan Day Parade down 6th Avenue on Saturday, April 3rd. Many of the participants had additional plans, with the various Broadway shows, and shopping high on the list. The band members had several functions where we were slated to perform, so all had a full schedule.
We arrived at the Memphis airport with plenty of time to spare. A few minor delays with our flight did not dim the spirits o'er much. Arrival at LaGuardia was only a couple hours late. New York is indeed a 24 hour city, so when we got there was not important.
I had a nice evening with on old bandmate, now a senior ADA in Brooklyn. He showed me some of the sites around town. I spent a considerable amount of time in NYC as a yoot (not a misspelling), but much has changed, and for the better. A description of New York as a northern Disney World, is not too far off. Much improved in the past 10 years, with even the subways safe. Cops all over the place.
Friday night we had the honor of performing at the NYCC ceilidh. There was a packed house over at the Armory, with he only drawback being that the elevator was not working. The party was on the 4th floor. We played first, with Thurso and Campbelltown coming on later. All were sad to see it end at midnight. They had a rousing series of dances going, and it seemed the whole crowd was up for one or two. I was glad to make a few new contacts for the Scotland trip next year as the Lord Provost of Edinburgh was there, as well as a few other local tourism folks.
Saturday was the actual parade down 6th Avenue. Very well attended the entire way, and we got on the NY news that night. We had a beautiful banner made up, that two of the ladies carried in front of the band. A large contingent from the Batesville area were marching just behind the band. This was followed by a reception at Shelly's, the famous NY seafood house. Excellent food, as you would expect. After that, it was back to the hotel for a rest before the remainder of the night's activities. Photos courtesy of Claudia Marsh.
Sunday saw several of the group attend 1st Presbyterian for services, with the rest of us sleeping in. A brunch at Tavern on the Green was scheduled for 11:30, so the remainder took a limo over to the park. Absolutely excellent food.
Monday morning we got on the bus back to the airport, but not before we took a tour of the city. The usual highlights were covered including "Ground Zero". This in fact is not the name used by the locals. The Site, or The Towers is the name they use.
Back to the airport early enough to have a bite to eat. I was surprised to see an old Parlin lad working the ticket counter for Northwest. He was doing a time study for the company (I guess), and asked if I was with the group. I answered in the affirmative, and was immediately assigned a first class seat. Nice to know people.
(Looking down on the Scottish Heritage building, over to the left, APR26 2004)
April 27, 2004
This being just after the 25th Arkansas Scottish Festival, I have a lot to fill you in on. Most of April was filled with practices for the bands, as well as soloists, and meetings, meetings, meetings, about the festival.
We've done quite a bit of radio and print interviews during the past several weeks, with the culmination coming when Ken Adler and I, along with Claudia "the Church Lady" Marsh, had a live interview with Gary Bridgeman of WRD. Gary is also a Patron of the festival, and quite well versed in what goes on here. To make a long story longer, we had talked for several minutes, when we began to discuss the Sunday events. the bonniest knees contest came up, and Kenton, wearing his kilt for yet another engagement, stood up to show the microphone his knee, and to then tell the audience that he was going to win the thing. Gary kindly reminded him that, "Yes, Ken, we are doing radio today". I knew we had had enough at that point. Gary then told us he would run the interview as we did it in 6 minutes. We headed out of the studio, and listened and laughed as we drove back to the college. We had KATV from Little Rock calling, and they wanted to do a "live" broadcast on the Friday morning of the festival. At 4:30 AM. Nope, too early for live TV. We did get recognized as one of the top 10 things to do in Arkansas the weekend of the games. All in all a HUGE success. As you may have heard my gentle readers (stole that line) we were deluged by rain the whole week. Not to be daunted, we proceeded on with the festival. It promises to be even bigger and better next year. Isn't it still September?