SUMMIT, NJ - Sunday afternoon, the Central Presbyterian Church was filled to capacity as hundreds of people gathered to see the 14th annual Clan Currie Society’s Pipes of Christmas show.
The Clan Currie Society is an international nonprofit cultural and educational organization that spreads Scottish and American cultures through games, festivals, community groups and classrooms. There are more than 2,000 members and it has a scholarship program supporting students who wish to pursue their studies in music, poetry and history.
The production featured traditional Celtic music and holiday songs and the performers came from Scotland, London and the U.S. The bagpiping, vivacious drumming, harping and singing had the audience captivated the entire time. The show originated at the church in Summit and they also played at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City Saturday as well.
The members of the company were Christopher Layer, Susie Petrov, Paul Woodiel, Jenifer Port, Steve Gibb, Sarah Hewitt-Roth, Paul McCallum, James Robinson, Evan Cattanach and the Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Pipe Band. Some of the songs played were “Highland Cathedral,” “Joy to the World,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Amazing Grace,” “A Medieval Fanfare,” “Pipe Band Set” and “O Holy Night."
Many of the performers have played at the event for years, while others are relatively new like cohost James Robinson. Robinson, who is an actor in Scotland, said after participating a couple years ago he was itching to return.
“You couldn’t keep me from coming back,” he said. “It’s just a great pleasure to be here. It really sets up Christmas for people.”
One of the younger members of the production was 19-year-old Phillip Coyle of Scotland, who was has been drumming since he was12. Coyle plays in the Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Pipe Band and goes to school, but said he loves playing in the Pipes of Christmas.
“It’s the best,” he said.
Fellow drummer Eli Fugate of San Diego has participated in the show several times, but has missed the past few because of work. He started playing in a pipe band at the age of five and fell in love with music, he said.
Susan Buldiger from Susquehanna took the trek down to Summit to see the show for the first time and said it was amazing. She said it was well worth the drive and was quite impressed with the harpist and the hosts.
“I was hoping for a good show and I got more than I expected,” she said.