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September 2, 2011 > Scottish Games in Pleasanton

Scottish Games in Pleasanton

Submitted By Floyd Busby

Seven stages of continuous entertainment is high on the list of many who will attend at the 146th Scottish Highland Gathering & Games, set for September 3 and 4 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

The entertainment includes a wide variety of styles with something for everyone.

High on the list of favorites is Celtic Rock. Many prefer the traditional folk style entertainers, and others hold the Celtic Heritage stages with the Scottish Fiddlers Rally and Celtic Harpers in their favorite check off list. Add Scottish Country Dancing exhibitions and Scottish and Irish songs in ancient Gaelic by Kirsty Fitch, and you have a well rounded musical experience.

Four of the Celtic Rock groups vie for top billing, each bringing a solid fan base to the Games.

Perhaps the most visible of the groups is Tempest. Tempest has performed at all but one of the 17 Games held at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton. They are also different from the other rock groups in that they do not include a bagpipe in the five-man ensemble. Norwegian-born Lief Sorbye is the lead singer and electric mandolinist. Fiddler Michael Mullen blows the crowd away with his "hot fiddle" renditions.

From Australia, Brother has grown with a world-wide following. The group includes the use of the Aboriginal didgeridoo.

The "Tribal" element of Celtic Rock is provided by Albannach (an ancient word for Scotland), direct from Scotland. Consisting of all percussion and one bag pipe, the ensemble's pounding beat has attracted many new American supporters.

Molly's Revenge brings a standout trio of musicians to the pulse-driving Celtic Rock genre.

Outstanding vocals in the more traditional venues include Scotland's TV personality Isla St Clare, The Brown Sisters with George Cavanaugh, Golden Bough and soloists Ed Miller, Neil O'Neill and Peter Daldry. The Browne Sisters produce a lively program of beautifully arranged vocal harmony, with cousin George on guitar.

Five of the stages have continuous 45-minute sets with two groups rotating on each stage. The entertainment begins both days at 10 a.m., followed by another set at 11 a.m. Entertainment returns at 1 p.m. and continues at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.

The two Celtic Heritage stages run a similar schedule with fiddlers, harpers, Scottish country dancing and vocal soloists.

Dancing is also of high priority with the Western U.S. Championship Highland Dancing competition and the Irish Pavilion with exhibitions of the rapid-fire step dancing.

Additional information is available on the Games website: The Games are hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco.

Scottish Games
Saturday, Sept 3 & Sunday, Sept 4
8 a.m.
Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton

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