A nicht to remember

M.V. Scottish Society holds annual tribute to Robert Burns.

Master of Ceremonies Chris Scott. —Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Scottish Society held its 30th annual Burns Nicht Supper at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown on Saturday. The event mirrors the night in 1796 when his friends gathered to pay tribute to Scottish bard Robert Burns’ memory through music, traditional toasts, and a keynote address. Dinner included favorites such as finnan haddie, chicken in heather, and, of course, haggis.

This year’s auction and raffle raised more than $3,000 for the society’s scholarship fund, $1,000 more than last year.

While usual bagpipers Tony Peak, Jamie Douglas, and James Joyce weren’t available that evening, the Scottish Society recruited pipe major Sheldon Hamblin from the Highland Light Scottish Pipe Band on Cape Cod. Founding director and past president of the Martha’s Vineyard Scottish Society Duncan MacDonald was honored this year with her photograph on the cover of the auction/raffle program.

Below, Edgartown poet laureate Steve Ewing shares a poem he wrote for the occasion.

T’was a Braw Bricht Moonlicht Nicht

Men dressed up like ladies

women tartan sharp

Pipe major leads the haggis

made up of cheap sheep parts

Where whisky flows like water

fresh as Highland streams

The pipes they screech and holler

songs rise in Scottish dreams

In the dead night of winter

we toast our Rabbie Burns

The Bard of our sweet homeland

where Highland hearts return

A tiny rugged country

full of feisty stubborn folk

Where freedom rang out proudly

before this country woke

The night is bright with music

old songs lift to the skies

Auld Lang Syne Loch Lomond

the bagpipe howls and cries

We wind down with a blessing

Gaelic is our native tongue

We bless our bonny homeland

where freedom’s bell first rung

Tho sure as Scots have scattered

around our wider world

We sing of peace for all mankind

and pray this song is heard