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Press Room Archive

December 19, 2006

Currie Society Launches the Alex Currie Memorial Scholarship for Bagpipe

Alex Currie – the Clan Currie Society will honor the late Cape Breton piper with a memorial scholarship at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

The Clan Currie Society has announced their first in a series of educational scholarships to help preserve and promote Highland culture and heritage – the Alex Currie Memorial Scholarship for Bagpipe. The $500 scholarship, named for the famed Cape Breton piper, will be administered annually by the staff at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Nova Scotia.

The Society made the announcement at the New York premiere of their highly popular “Pipes of Christmas” concert on Saturday, December 16, 2006. “We are delighted to be announcing this evening the first in what we plan will be a series of educational scholarships in partnership with some of the leading Scottish arts organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Scotland,” said Society president Robert Currie.

There are no eligibility restrictions to applying for the Alex Currie scholarship. “We’d never want to prevent a deserving student from being awarded this scholarship simply because of his or her name or clan affiliation,” said Currie.

“We are extremely honored that Clan Currie chose the Gaelic College as their partner for this wonderful scholarship or bursary,” said Sam MacPhee, Executive Director for the College located on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. “Through their generosity, and that of many other dedicated Scottish heritage organizations, we can offer assistance to deserving students. We think Alex Currie would be quite pleased with this recognition.

“We are extremely honored that Clan Currie chose the Gaelic College as their partner for this wonderful scholarship or bursary” – Sam MacPhee, Executive Director

About the Gaelic College

The Gaelic College, founded in 1938 by Rev. A.W.R. MacKenzie, is situated in the heart of the earliest Scottish settlement in Cape Breton. The College began as a school of Gaelic language in a small log cabin overlooking St. Ann's Bay and to this day it’s mission remains:: To Promote, Preserve and Perpetuate through studies in all related areas: The Culture, Music, Language, Arts, Crafts, Customs and Traditions of immigrants from the Highlands of Scotland.

From its humble beginnings, this unique institution has expanded and gained an international reputation for its contribution to the maintenance and preservation of the language and culture. The only institution of its kind in North America, students of all ages and ability travel here from around the world to study. The college employs some of the most respected instructors, offering programs in Scottish traditional disciplines including Gaelic language and song, music, dance and crafts.

Further information can be found on their website at www.gaeliccollege.edu.

About Alex Currie

For some today who love the Scottish pipes, Alex Currie is an anachronism from a bygone era, but to those who know his story, he was the last of the true Scottish pipers. “As far as I’m concerned, the most important piper I ever met was Alex Currie from Cape Breton,” said pipe maker Hamish Moore. “He was part of that MacMhuirich (Currie) tradition of the bards and the pipers. They were a very important clan in that respect. And very important culturally with respect to the arts. I think it’s just part of the clan’s heritage that’s been passed along, that very high cultural awareness that exists in certain families. That is, it’s been passed down from generation to generation.”

“Not only did his style of playing reflect an undiluted Gaelic oral tradition dating back to 19th century South Uist, but his knowledge of tunes – some locally composed and others forgotten in Scotland – was unmatched by many of his contemporaries.”

He was a living representation of one of the many different styles that existed in Cape Breton among the highland immigrants and their descendants – styles that have disappeared from the piping landscape of Cape Breton. Not long before his death, Currie was honored for his contributions to traditional piping during the Celtic Colours celebration at the Gaelic College in St. Anns, Nova Scotia.

The Clan Currie Society is honored to dedicate their first Scottish heritage scholarship in memory of this exceptional musician and clansman.