Pipe Bands and Highland Dancers Coming to Saline Celtic Festival

Sheila Pursglove's picture

The Saline Celtic Festival attracts the state's top pipe and drum bands and Highland dancers from Canada and the United States to Mill Pond Park Saturday.

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Cabar Feidh Pipes and Drums from Royal Oak, Glen Erin Pipe Band from Lansing, Grand Rapids and District Pipe Band, and the Flint Scottish Pipe Band will perform at the Saline Celtic Festival, July 12 at Mill Pond Park.   

“These bands represent the best in Michigan and generally place in the top positions in local competitions such as the games at Alma, and the St. Andrew’s games in Livonia,” says Tom Todd, long-time chairperson for the band performances. “It’s a joy to see them here in Saline each year, and I usually encounter them at the various Celtic events throughout the state, as well.”

Frederick Merritt is pipe major of the Grand Rapids and District Pipe Band that is bringing about a dozen members to the festival. 

“The Saline festival has long been one of our favorite places to play and visit,” he says. “We’ve always been welcomed and the crowds have been enthusiastic.  We’ll play a variety of music to include slow aires and marches with various time signatures.  We have a new quick march medley and I’m hopeful this new music can make its debut in Saline.”

Bill Collins is pipe major of the Lansing Glen Erin Pipe Band that this year has traveled across Michigan from Lansing to Detroit to the straits of Mackinac to perform, compete, and entertain. “Glen Erin has been proud to participate in the Saline Celtic Festival for over a decade,” Collins says. “The Festival organizers have been good hosts, and we enjoy sharing our performances with the Festival crowd.”

  • The massed bands will lead the Opening Ceremony with a processional at 11 a.m.
  • The bands will perform individually on the Glasgow Stage throughout the afternoon:  
  • 1:00 p.m. Flint Scottish Pipe Band
  • 2:00 p.m. Glen Erin Pipe Band
  • 3:00 p.m. Cabar Feidh Pipes and Drums
  • 4:00 p.m. Grand Rapids and District Pipe Band
  • 5:00 p.m. Massed Band

Highland Dance competitions will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dancers from across U.S. and Canada, in age groups from 4 to 28 years, will dance Highland dances such as the Highland Fling and Seann Trews, and Scottish National dances including Flora McDonald and Scottish Lilt.

“Highland dancing is an integral part of Scottish history and culture,” says Cindy Kopenski, a former dancer and currently a teacher and judge who has been organizing the SCF event for five years, and has organized many other local competitions. “Our dancers are of the pre-Premier and Premier category, which represents various levels of experience and degree of difficulty.”

Performances on the various music stages will include:

  • Tartan and Thistle Scottish Country Dancers
  • Damhsa Ulsce Ban Mor from Grand Rapids
  • Ann Arbor Celtic Harpers
  • Commonwealth Dance Collective
  • Irish Dance Company of Lansing
  • Dancin’ with Delia Irish Dance School
  • Celtic Jam
  • Dancin' Feet School of Gaelic Culture and Dance
  • Ann Arbor Morris
  • Celtic Connections

Friday evening’s “Saline ShamRocks the Park” community party, also at Mill Pond Park, opens its gates at 5 p.m., and closes at midnight. Admission is $5. The evening includes music from Barleyjuice and The Square Pegz, an Irish Seisun, an Irish Ceili dance, and an English Country/Contra Dance.

The gates open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 12, and the fun runs until midnight. Tickets at the gate are $5 for ages 13 through 17; $15 for adults; free for active military, seniors, and children 12 and younger. Adult tickets are $10 when purchased online at www.salineceltic.org or purchased at Saline City Hall this week. Visit the website for more information on festival events.

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Sheila Pursglove is a long-time Saline-area resident, and a freelance writer for several publications in Michigan, around the U.S. and abroad.

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