In an evening of Scottish food, drink, poetry, jokes and music, the bagpipes stole the show. The North American champion amateur bagpiper, Andrew Hutton, performed for the 8th annual Andover Robert Burns Supper.
The Burns Supper is a celebration of Scottish culture, and music with an emphasis on the life and poetry of Scotland’s most beloved poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). The 2017 event in Andover was at the Andover Presbyterian Church.
Piper Andrew Hutton, a native of Bradford Ontario Canada, won the prestigious Nicol-Brown Chalice invitational competition in Albany last October. He also won the top amateur prize at the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville Ontario, Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina as well as a number of other top prizes at competitions in the US, Canada and Scotland.
Steve Walker, the organizer of the Burns Supper, is also a sponsor of the Nicol-Brown piping competition, won by Hutton. “Each year I make a sterling silver kilt belt buckle that is awarded to the winner of the 6/8 march category. Andrew won the buckle and also won the top prize, the Nicol-Brown chalice.”
Mark and Kate Cushing also provided entertainment with bagpipes, accordion, flute and vocals. Mark Cushing is a master bagpiper and accredited piping judge.
One of the highlights of a “Burns Supper” is the marching of the haggis into the dining room, lead by a bagpiper. The haggis, a Scottish dish made of ground sheep parts, oatmeal and onions, is then ceremoniously addressed, or praised by the recitation of Robert Burns’ poem “Ode to a Haggis”.
To Scots, Robert Burns is “The Bard” and is remembered and celebrated by Scots and their descendants worldwide. His birthday, January 25, is observed as a holiday for over 200 years. Although he was a celebrity in literary circles and high society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, in late 18th century, his poetry was often in the vernacular Scots dialect and was the product of the rural, rustic farm folk of Burns’ life as an Ayrshire plowman. January 28, 2017 was the 8th annual Burns Supper held at the Presbyterian Church in Andover.
Among the traditional features of a Burns dinner is “The Immortal Memory” which is a tribute to Robert Burns touching on his life and times, loves and poetry. Dr. Joseph Flynn, professor emeritus at Alfred State College and an enthusiastic Burns scholar made this presentation.
The meal was prepared by sisters Chelsea and Katie Wallace. Their family has a long culinary tradition in Andover and Wellsville. In fact in 1981, when Steve and Sue Walker were wed, the Wallace girls’ grandmother made the wedding cake and their other grandmother did the catering for the rehearsal dinner.
Chelsea Wallace is recently engaged. Her custom wedding ring, made by Walker Metalsmiths, was delivered to her at the dinner.
Piper Andrew Hutton is currently a junior at nearby Houghton College. He plans on attending the Andover Burns Supper again in January of 2018 for a repeat performance.