The annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration is a major event for the descendants of Celtic immigrants in Rapid City, South Dakota. The local SIS (Scottish and Irish Society) of the Black Hills honored the Patron Saint of Ireland with dance and song on the weekend prior to March 17th.
Traditional Irish Music was performed by the Chadron, Nebraska band, Fanny O’Lynn, while original tunes, standard sea shanties and haunting Gaelic melodies were performed by Rapid City’s very own Rocking Stones. The Chophouse provided a fine venue for the festivities with a full buffet featuring Irish cuisine and desserts. An Irish social dance was instructed by Pat Hamilton with step dancing instructed by Aliyah Sanders.
The Irish word for party is celiedh (pronounced: kay-lee) and during a celiedh one is expected to get up in front of the crowd and perform a song, a joke, a poem or whatever comes to mind. The loveable Siaryn Duggan owner of the Celtic Connection, and her adorable daughter Heather provided comic relief with a down home Irish ditty about wearing rubber boots. The audience was not sure whether the duo was referring to the need to wade through muddy Irish terrain or through the tomfoolery of your typical Celiedgh, but it was taken with humor by all.
The evening’s agenda was highlighted by the honoring of founding member Carol Conrad for 12 years of undaunted volunteer work. Carol has chaired various committees for the Highland Games and other annual events, such as the Robert Burns Dinner and the St. Pat’s Day Banquet since 1998. Carol, an active Treasurer and board member, was recognized by an adoring crowd for her tireless service to SIS. Due to her efforts, the organization was able to acquire non-profit status in 2005. Active President, Jim Byrne, presented Ms. Conrad with a small token of the society’s appreciation for the fabulous job she has done in keeping the group together and inspiring new members to explore Celtic heritage and history.
The Scottish and Irish Society looks forward to many great meetings this year. There will be some well-researched and very informative presentations about Celtic history and culture, traditional dance demonstrations and lessons, society sponsored events and involvement in community events. The best part is that everyone is invited to come to meetings and get to know about Celtic heritage. As Carol Conrad has been heard to say, “It’s all about having fun!”
SIS will display a booth at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology’s annual Cultural Expo on March 27th this year. This is something the Scottish and Irish Society loves to participate in for the education of the elementary school kids that attend during the school week prior to Saturday’s main Expo. Kids from local grade schools come in and are required to ask a question related to the culture of each of the countries represented. Each student tries to record the most answers for his or her class. It is a great opportunity to educate kids about various world cultures.
Please contact the Scottish and Irish Society about these and other events scheduled for the year or about membership by visiting their website at: www.blackhillscelticevents.org