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A toast to Robbie B.
The life and poetry of Robert Burns will be honoured at Coquitlam’s Place des Arts on Saturday when it hosts its first annual supper and Celtic music show for the Scottish bard born 254 years ago this month.
Organizer Michael Fera, the Maillardville centre’s program and events co-ordinator, said he’ll be whipping up a feast that includes roast beef, “tatties” (mashed potatoes), “neeps” (mashed turnips), peas and gravy as well as a whiskey-soaked sponge cake with sweetened cream for dessert; a cash bar with single-malt Scotch, UK beers and wine will also be available.
And, of course, that savoury pudding of sheep intestines and suet that makes many Scots salivate and others cringe — better known as haggis — will be served up on oat cakes, near the intermission of the Blackthorn concert.
Fera said dinner-show combos are typically featured at Place des Arts in March during Festival du Bois, the annual French-Canadian arts and culture event at nearby Mackin Park; however, since fiddler Rosie Carver was scheduled to play in January with Blackthorn as part of PdA’s faculty series, Fera tied her Celtic party with a Burns Night supper.
“We’re almost sold out for the dinner/concert,” Fera said. “We’re excited because there seems to be a real appetite for this sort of thing in the Tri-Cities. We’re hoping to do more.”
Fera, who used to work on Tony and Tina’s Wedding, an interactive theatre production that ran in Vancouver, has access to a commercial kitchen and will be cooking the traditional Scottish dinner for 35 revellers.
As for the musical set that starts at 7:30 p.m., Carver said it’s a secret. “We like an element of surprise for our audiences,” said the fiddler/violinist who has about two dozen students at Place des Arts. But she hinted Blackthorn will be piped in by Kyle Maloney who will later deliver the tongue-twisting Address to a Haggis, a famous Burns’ poem.
Fera hopes participants will don their tartans for the special occasion. “It’s a full evening so I’m sure people will put on their finery and come out and have a good night at Place des Arts,” he said.
• Tickets at $35/$33 for the 6 p.m. dinner and concert or $$15/$13 for the 7:30 p.m. Blackthorn show are available by calling Place des Arts at 604-664-1636 or online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/264674. Tickets for the Jan. 19 event can also be bought in person at the centre (1120 Brunette Ave.).
• Coquitlam seniors’ centre Dogwood Pavilion (624 Poirier St.), will toast Robert Burns with a luncheon on his birthday — Jan. 25 — from noon to 3 p.m., that will include roast beef, haggis and turnips. Scottish pipers and Michelle Carlisle of Blackthorn will entertain. Tickets at $19 are to be bought before Jan. 18; tickets won’t be sold on the day of the luncheon. Call 604-927-6098.
• Six-time world champion Simon University Pipe Band, led by Coquitlam pipe major Terry Lee, and its reigning Grade 3A world champion Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band, under the direction of Coquitlam’s Rob Menzies, will be featured at a dinner on Jan. 25 at Bonsor Banquet Hall in Burnaby. Tickets at $55 can be bought by calling 604-436-1080, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.sfu.pipeband.com.
• Meanwhile, SFU’s Centre for Scottish Studies will host a poetry recital at Harbour Centre in Vancouver on Jan. 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the aim to surpass last year’s record of four hours, nine minutes and 24 seconds. And at the Surrey campus, staff, faculty and students will parade a haggis at 11 a.m.