Scottish-themed fundraiser to benefit youth group trip
Before high-schoolers from First Presbyterian Church leave for Scotland this summer, the church plans to bring a bit of Scotland to the church.
Bagpipes, kilts, shepherd’s pie and traditional Scottish music will take center stage Saturday evening during the church’s inaugural “Scotland Night Dinner and Entertainment,” a fundraiser to help pay for a high-school youth group trip to Scotland in July.
“Every four years we take a high-school group for about 10 days to Scotland, and this is part of our fundraising for that trip,” explains Jeanette Quick Sandlin, director of Christian education at First Presbyterian, and one of the trip’s organizers.
“It’s not a mission trip — it’s more of a religious education trip. The Presbyterian Church traces its roots back to Scotland, so we take a group every four years. We worship at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, where (Protestant Reformation leader) John Knox worshipped. We’ll spend a day at Iona, where Christianity got a foothold in that part of the world. We also spend a year leading up to the trip studying some of the Reformers like John Knox — people and places that are important to how Presbyterianism developed.”
Another event organizer, Elizabeth Gulley — who serves as the church’s director of music — says fundraisers in years past have had a Scottish theme, but this year’s event breaks new ground.
“We’ve done events that gave a nod to that tradition many times, but this is the first time we’ve done a dinner with Scottish food and Scottish music,” Gulley explains. “The whole feel of the evening is just purely Scottish. I even know of some people who are planning to wear kilts.”
The evening will include lots of Scottish music, according to Gulley. For example, the Triad Scottish Fiddlers and Friends will perform traditional Scottish folk tunes, dance music and ballads. The church’s parish associate, Jim Wilson, will perform the instantly recognizable patriotic song, “Scotland the Brave,” on the bagpipes.
In addition, the program will include music performed by various members of the First Presbyterian congregation. Among those performers are Ryan White, who former sang with the Clef Hangers, an acclaimed male a cappella group at the University of North Carolina, and David Williams, a local folk musician and songwriter whose music was featured in the North Carolina documentary, “With These Hands: The Story of An American Furniture Factory.”
Gulley and Donna Baker will be featured in a medley of tunes from the classic musical “Brigadoon,” and Paul Charlton will be featured in the chorus favorite, “I’ll Go Home With Bonnie Jean.”
The evening will also include readings of poetry by the famed Scottish poet, Robert Burns.
All proceeds from the event will go toward this year’s trip to Scotland, which will take place in July. Eighteen youths and seven adults will be making the trip. The cost is approximately $3,000 per person, and the youths are required to pay half of their costs; money from this fundraiser and others will pay the remainder of the costs.
The trip will be a life-changing experience for the youths, says Jeanette Quick Sandlin, who has gone on previous trips.
“They talk about how amazing it is to go back to these locations and how it opened to their eyes to not just their church history, but the history of where their faith comes from,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for them, and I think they feel really lucky to be able to go.”
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Want to go?
First Presbyterian Church’s inaugural “Scotland Night Dinner and Entertainment” will be held Saturday, from 6 to 9 p.m., in the church’s Family Life Center, 918 N. Main St.
Tickets are $15 apiece, with a $30 per family maximum.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call the church at 884-2248.