Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ceilidh: Do Not Sound It Out

Constance and Jalon, Balent
Sitting in a muggy, midge infested tent in the garden of Eddie and Donna's beautiful and peaceful home, we took a company vote to elect the "fir-an-tighe" [Gaelic: Man of the House] [English: Master of Ceremonies] of our Pepperdine hosted Ceilidh. To pause a moment from the narrative and explain, the word is pronounced like the female name "Kaylee" and is much a like a talent show but has a greater depth of tradition and is steeped in cultural richness. Everyone comes--typically with drink in one hand and a fiddle in the other--to share their folk stories or music or dance or any other talent they possess with the community. So, let me hit play and return you to the stuffy tent in the garden.

Hands were raised, persuasive arguments expressed, and yours truly became the co-host of the procession alongside the hysterical Jalon Mathews. As Friday night approached, Jalon and I gleaned what we could from Eddie as to what exactly was required of us: kilts, or bag pipes, or log tossing? Luckily, none of the latter was requested, just an ability to make people laugh between the mind-boggling talent of the individuals in the room and to figure out how to arrange the running order so as to make it flow seamlessly. Friday night came, and I was quite nervous. Why you might ask? Putting on a traditional Scottish event without really knowing what it was, how to pronounce-much less spell-the event title, and doing it all as Americans without a concept of what highland spirit and tradition truly encompassed is not the most calming of thoughts. But, we were going to at least take a swing at it. And swing we did.

Company member Caleb Wright performs at the Ceilidh
We gave the Glenelg community our very best, which included: patriotic music and tales, songs that held relevant meaning to our experiences there, steamy serenades and romantic dance numbers, passionate poetry, uncensored jokes, colorful paintings, heartfelt professions of love, brilliant humor, and we can't forget "boy sheep." Moments of laughter and tears (throughout the span of even a single performance) were readily had. I continue to be blown away by the magnitude of talents that each company member hides beneath a thin layer of "average Joe" skin.

 In return the incredibly generous and warm village of that twinned Glen shared their stories, music, traditions, and very own hearts with our humbled, young company. (That includes you Cathy!)

Glenelg Locals join in our ceilidh

We were made to feel like insiders on an intimate secret, trusted with a rare glimpse into the ravishing beauty known as the Highlands of Scotland and the natives who guard its sacred history. There, one is made to believe in magic, in wishing on shooting stars, and the joy of catching faeries in the moonlight.

Wander on my friends, for there is much beauty to be explored and flabbergasted at in this world.

With God's big grace I am yours truly,

-Constance "Consty" Egli

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