Columbia’s First Christian Church hosted its first ever Burns Night Supper and Ceilidh Dance yesterday evening. The event featured a traditional Scottish meal, live music, various toasts and readings, dancing and a raffle. To raise money for their annual middle school and high school service trips, young people in the church helped serve soup, neeps ‘n tatties, vegan haggis, salad and sticky toffee pudding to guests. At least 95 people, along with the church’s youth and their families, were in attendance.
Gail Fitzgerald plays “Bonnie Charlie,” which is also known as “Will ye no come back again?,” on the bagpipes during the Burns Night Supper and Ceilidh Dance on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at First Christian Church in Columbia. After she finished playing, a guest came up to her and complemented her rendition of the classic Scottish song.
Burns Night is a traditional Scottish holiday marking the anniversary of Scottish poet Robert Burns’ birth on Jan. 25, 1759. The origin of the celebration traces back when some of Burns’ friends gathered to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his death. A romantic era poet from Scotland, Burns is credited with helping to popularize the Scots’ language and English dialect and is now considered the national poet of Scotland.
From left: Heather Foote, Carol Leigh Brack-Kaiser and Rose Martin dance to live Celtic music on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at First Christian Church in Columbia. “I’m a member of the Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers, and [I’m] on the board there,” said Brock-Kaiser, who visited Scotland last June, “so when we were told about this event, obviously for the dancing and for the Scottish history, there are many things that got me tied into it.”
With help, Rev. Dr. Topher Endress worked behind the scenes and as the evening’s host. Rev. Dr. Endress lived in Aberdeen, Scotland, for a little more than four years during his doctoral program before moving to Columbia to start his new position as Associate Minister with the church. He said there has been some culture shock this past year adjusting to the pace of life and some cultural norms in the U.S. as opposed to Scotalnd.
Sue Petter and John Petter demonstrate a dance move for the Ceilidh while Christine Harker explains the dance to the audience on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at First Christian Church in Columbia. “We love Ceilidh dancing,” John Petter said. ”Most country dancing, Scottish country dancing, Ceilidh dancing, is a lot like American traditional contra dancing. So it’ll look very similar.”
“I thought this was a really wonderful opportunity to not just share this cultural piece with people here but also to have an excuse to put people together at tables and share a meal when it’s just gross and dark and cold outside,” Rev. Dr. Endress said.
Ryley Silverwood works in the kitchen ladling bowls of cock-a-leekie soup during the Burns Night Supper and Ceilidh Dance on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at First Christian Church in Columbia. Along with soup, the night’s menu included neeps ’n tatties, vegan haggis, salad and sticky toffee pudding.
Violinist Tim Langen performs with members of the Central Missouri Celtic Arts Association on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at First Christian Church in Columbia. Instrumentation for the live music during the dance included a guitar, a flute and whistle, a violin and a concertina.