Popularity forces expansion
Gaelic College to offer two sessions for March break
The popularity of its annual March break activities prompted the Gaelic College to offer a second session.
“This is a first for the Gaelic College,” said director of school operations David Rankin. “We’ve had some pretty full to capacity sessions the last couple of years. In order to man- age the demand, we decided to offer two. We’ll take a look at it once March break is over, but there was certainly enough interest to warrant a second session.”
The deadline for online registration is Wednesday for both sessions (March 10-13 and March 16-18).
Each year students from across Cape Breton, Antigonish, Halifax and other parts of the mainland make their way to the Gaelic College to learn more about the Gaelic language and culture, the only one of its kind in North America.
“We also get students from outside the province, some from New Brunswick, Ontario and we have one girl who usually makes the journey each year from British Columbia, but the majority are local.”
This year’s sessions feature instruction in fiddle, piano, piping, guitar, highland dance and step dancing. The sessions will also offer instruction in Gaelic language, song and drama.
Students ages five to seven can take part in the Fás, a program specifically geared for younger participants to give them a gentle introduction to the Gaelic culture. The children can expect to learn new Gaelic words and sing Gaelic songs. They are also encouraged to try step dancing, along with classes in fiddle, piping and piano and can take part in arts and crafts, games and a variety of outdoor activities.
A popular aspect of the March break program are evenings filled with activities like jam sessions, games, a square dance and sock hop, talent show and fun in the snow.
Along with its regular programs, the Gaelic College offers Gaelic immersion courses, Gaelic weekends, online and after-school programs, to name a few.
“We do have new programs going on this year that we haven’t in the past such as the master weaver course in June. This course is already full, so we’d be looking for expressions of interest in offering another version of that program,” said Rankin.
“There are still lots of opportunities in the summer with our youth, family and adult sessions. This summer we will have five new classroom spaces ready to go and that’s exciting. We are definitely growing in a big way.”
From left, Mairinn Campbell, Malcolm MacMaster, Logan MacLellan, Leah Morrison and Eilidh Campbell, long-time students at Colaisde na Gàidhlig/ Gaelic College take part in a Gaelic language class during March break, 2016.
Colin MacDonald, Gaelic director and instructor (wearing glasses), and his students take part in a Gaelic song class as part of March break 2016 at the Gaelic College in St. Anns. A capacity crowd of youth from across the province, the Maritimes and as far away as British Columbia, came to the educational sessions last year.