Call of the pipes

Wearing tartans and practicing Scottish music and dance, people of all ages filled the cafeteria at Merrimack High School last weekend to keep their Scottish heritage alive.

The annual Indoor Scottish Festival kicked off last Friday night with a piping competition. On Saturday, there were competitions and performances featuring solo piping, Highland dancing, and fiddle and pipe bands. Lining the room were vendors offering amulets, shawls, Celtic jewelry and woolen goods, including hose to wear with kilts.

In the parking lot, license plates showed people came from Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maine and Connecticut.

But it seems as though New Hampshire is the center of the Scottish heritage universe, at least for New England.

"Think about who settled this area," said Jim Dillahey, the pipe band director at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, one of the judges. "Scots are thick as thieves here."

Judging from the many smiling faces, those in attendance were having a good time, but they also take the competitions seriously.

As 13 bands took turns performing on the stage during the more than two hours of pipe band competition, four of the world’s leading pipers sat at the judging table taking notes.

One of them was Andrew Carlisle, Carnegie Mellon University’s director of piping, who said he consider tone, harmony, transition and the tune selection in his evaluations.

The festival has been held every year for 16 years by the Scottish Arts, which runs the New Hampshire School of Scottish Arts in Manchester.

The traditions move outdoors later in the year when the Highland Games & Festival take place in Lincoln the weekend of Sept. 16. There will be athletic competitions and sheepherding demonstrations, in addition to music and dance.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

Call of the pipes

Wearing tartans and practicing Scottish music and dance, people of all ages filled the cafeteria at Merrimack High School last weekend to keep their Scottish heritage alive.

The annual Indoor Scottish Festival kicked off last Friday night with a piping competition. On Saturday, there were competitions and performances featuring solo piping, Highland dancing, and fiddle and pipe bands. Lining the room were vendors offering amulets, shawls, Celtic jewelry and woolen goods, including hose to wear with kilts.

In the parking lot, license plates showed people came from Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maine and Connecticut.

But it seems as though New Hampshire is the center of the Scottish heritage universe, at least for New England.

"Think about who settled this area," said Jim Dillahey, the pipe band director at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, one of the judges. "Scots are thick as thieves here."

Judging from the many smiling faces, those in attendance were having a good time, but they also take the competitions seriously.

As 13 bands took turns performing on the stage during the more than two hours of pipe band competition, four of the world’s leading pipers sat at the judging table taking notes.

One of them was Andrew Carlisle, Carnegie Mellon University’s director of piping, who said he consider tone, harmony, transition and the tune selection in his evaluations.

The festival has been held every year for 16 years by the Scottish Arts, which runs the New Hampshire School of Scottish Arts in Manchester.

The traditions move outdoors later in the year when the Highland Games & Festival take place in Lincoln the weekend of Sept. 16. There will be athletic competitions and sheepherding demonstrations, in addition to music and dance.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

Call of the pipes

Wearing tartans and practicing Scottish music and dance, people of all ages filled the cafeteria at Merrimack High School last weekend to keep their Scottish heritage alive.

The annual Indoor Scottish Festival kicked off last Friday night with a piping competition. On Saturday, there were competitions and performances featuring solo piping, Highland dancing, and fiddle and pipe bands. Lining the room were vendors offering amulets, shawls, Celtic jewelry and woolen goods, including hose to wear with kilts.

In the parking lot, license plates showed people came from Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maine and Connecticut.

But it seems as though New Hampshire is the center of the Scottish heritage universe, at least for New England.

"Think about who settled this area," said Jim Dillahey, the pipe band director at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, one of the judges. "Scots are thick as thieves here."

Judging from the many smiling faces, those in attendance were having a good time, but they also take the competitions seriously.

As 13 bands took turns performing on the stage during the more than two hours of pipe band competition, four of the world’s leading pipers sat at the judging table taking notes.

One of them was Andrew Carlisle, Carnegie Mellon University’s director of piping, who said he consider tone, harmony, transition and the tune selection in his evaluations.

The festival has been held every year for 16 years by the Scottish Arts, which runs the New Hampshire School of Scottish Arts in Manchester.

The traditions move outdoors later in the year when the Highland Games & Festival take place in Lincoln the weekend of Sept. 16. There will be athletic competitions and sheepherding demonstrations, in addition to music and dance.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.