Friday, April 2, 2010

Maine Scots-Irish Heritage Experience


The University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College will be holding a Maine Scots-Irish Heritage Experience event on Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and takes place in the Upstairs Lounge. The event's special guest will be BBC Radio Ulster host and author Alister McReynolds.
The day's events will include live music with performances by Castlebay, Maine Public Broadcasting's Frank Ferrel and the Maine Highland Fiddlers. Lectures by Alister McReynolds from BBC Radio Ulster's "A Kist o Wurds", Author and Maine St. Andrew's Society Ulster Scots Project Chairman, John Mann, and a panel discussion of the exciting collaborative archaeology project on the Kennebec River featuring guest speakers and USM Professor and archaeologist Barry Rodrigue, Archaeologists Pam Crane and Peter Morrison, Principal of Robbins Historical Research Jay Robbins, and Humanities Student Rebecca Graham. A coffee social hour will provide opportunities to meet the authors and presenters.
Celtic & Maritime folk duo Castlebay will present a special historically informed concert featuring will feature songs and tunes honoring the Scots-Irish immigrants who came to mid-coast Maine in the 1700's. These colonists brought their music with them to the new world as heirlooms and many of their songs and dance tunes appear in Maine's traditional repertoire. In addition, the adventures of these people in their new home provide ingredients for new songs in the traditional style.  
Frank Ferrel is considered to be one of the leading North American fiddlers performing today. Widely regarded as a composer - the classic Cape Breton jig, Spin-N-Glo, is one of his compositions - Frank Ferrel is considered to be one of the leading North American fiddlers performing today. In a recent Boston Globe article, music critic Scott Alarik referred to Mr. Ferrel as "One of the finest living masters," of that genre.
Maine Highland Fiddlers are part of the traditional Celtic music revival that thrives throughout the north Atlantic rim.  The band includes fiddles, guitars, keyboard, concertina, bodhran and occasionally some stepdancing.  The members gather from throughout southern, central and mid coast Maine to perform and pass on the fiddle tradition.  Their dance tunes recapture the kitchen party atmosphere that is central to the Celtic culture.  The music of Scotland, Cape Breton Island and Ireland renews the heart beat of Maine's early Celtic settlements and gets everyone's feet tapping.
Alister McReynolds has written extensively on Scots-Irish history and culture, and in particular about the achievements of the diaspora in the United States. He is the author of the recently released book Legacy: The Scots Irish in America. His articles have been published in numerous journals including, The Ulster Scotsman and The Pine Tree Highlander as well as in The Belfast Telegraph and The Newsletter. He has appeared in BBC local history television and radio programmes and acted as a commentator and consultant on Scots-Irish matters for various media projects.
Professor Wilson studied at the Ulster Polytechnic, The University of Nottingham, and Queen's University Belfast, where he received his PhD in 1984. He is currently the Director of the Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies at the University of Ulster. His main research interest is in language in society, in particular political language. He has published a variety of journal articles in this area and a major text, Political Language (Blackwell:Oxford).
John T. Mann is chairman of the Maine Ulster Scots Project (MUSP) and the founder and president of Mann Associates, Inc.; a land surveying and consulting firm working primarily within the 18th century "Kennebec" and "Casco Bay settlement" areas of the State of Maine.  John is also the author of "Ulster Scots on the Coast of Maine - Vol. 1, The Means Massacre Background and Location" and various other articles printed in The Pine Tree Highlander. He has designed programs to bring into schools with a goal of enhancing the learning of local history in Maine's public school system.
Author and USM-LAC professor Dr. Barry Rodrigue is the Scholar for USM's Franco-American Collection, and is director of French North American Studies and co-director of Global Studies. A Fulbright Scholar, Barry studied in Ireland, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Alaska, as well as in Maine and Canada. He is trained in cultural research as an archeologist, geographer, historian, biologist and ethnographer. Dr. Rodrigue is the founder of the Kennebec-Chaudiere Heritage Corridor. Barry has worked extensively with Humanities student Rebecca Graham who  has been studying the Cork Colony as part of an independent research project since 2007.  Her interest in Irish Studies and her desire to pursue a doctoral degree abroad led to involvement in this project and has remained the focus of her Humanities studies. Both Barry and Rebecca spoke in Savannah at the Frontiers and Fringes conference on the Cork Colony research that has been accomplished to date.

Pam Crane and Peter Morrison of Crane & Morrison Archaeology of Freeport, earned their degrees at the University of Maine at Orono. They have worked on the Popham Colony building footprints, the 19th century fortifications project at Fort Knox, and other early settlements in Maine. Pamela Crane obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Vermont in 1986. She received her Master of Arts Degree in History, Historic Archaeology Option, from the University of Maine in 1997. Peter Morrison earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Maine in 1986,and his Master of Arts Degree in History, Historical Archaeology Option, at the same institution in 2002 Both have worked in archaeology for more than 20 years throughout the northeastern United States. Their research interests includes New England historical archaeology, historical landscapes, ethnicity, and material culture.
John A. Robbins, Jr. is the principal of Robbins Historical Research, Inc. specializing in property research and genealogy.  He also serves as Executive Director of the Lincoln County Historical Association overseeing three National Register of Historic Places properties including the 1761 Pownalborough Court House in Dresden. Jay currently serves as Treasurer of the Kennebec-Chaudiere Heritage Corridor Corp., Vice President of the Arnold Expedition Historical Society and co-coordinator of the Lincoln County 250th Steering Committee.

For more information about the event please email or phone Rebecca Graham at 207-882-7323 ext 135 or Dr. Barry Rodrigue at 207-442-7779.

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