Blackthorn at Place des Arts for 2020’s Robbie Burns Day Celebration

For many years, Place des Arts has hosted a Robbie Burns Day celebration with music from the band, Blackthorn.

Since we are not able to hold the concert this year, we wanted to catch up with Blackthorn band member and Place des Arts teacher, Rosie Carver. Find out more about Robbie Burns Day and what Blackthorn is doing this year to celebrate below!

What happens during a Robbie Burns Day celebration?

The celebrations often include:

  • The piping in of the guests
  • A reading of Selkirk Grace, if there is a meal
  • Immortal Memory, which is a speech or presentation remembering aspects of Robbie Burns life, his poetry and songs
  • Address to a Haggis, a bagpiper leads the haggis parade into the room where it is placed on a table and then addressed with the poem by Robbie Burns
  • Toasts, stories and songs are enjoyed with Scotch whisky throughout
  • Bigger events include Scottish-style dancing or showcase Scottish dancers

If you want to find out more about why we celebrate, you can read this news article we wrote last year. 

What does Robbie Burns Day mean to you?

Robbie Burns Day celebrates the coming together of mankind.  In this dark, bleak time of year, it’s a way for families & friends to get together and share stories, sing together and simply put – a gentle reminder to be kind to others regardless of their station in life and be thankful for what you have. I have been performing on Robbie Burns Day for approximately 17 years and it holds some great memories.

What are you doing this year to celebrate?

I will be joined by my partner and member of Blackthorn, Michael Viens, to perform for a few online concerts:

    • January 23 – 7pm: ScotFestBC – A Robert Burns Celebration on Zoom. Tickets are free but you must register by 6pm Friday.
    • January 24 – 2pm: Clan MacLeod of Greater Vancouver’s Wee Bit O’Burns on Zoom. All Clans welcome. Register here. 
    • January 25 – 4pm: Brock House’s Robbie Burns Celebration on Zoom .
    • January 25 – 7pm: Michelle Carlisle of Blackthorn will also be hosting an event on her YouTube channel. View here. 

What are some of your favourite past performances?

Some of the most memorable performances for Robbie Burns Celebrations took place at the Evergreen Theatre with MC Will Stirling, piper Jim McWilliams and the Tartan Pride dancers led by Joan Murray.

We also had a wonderful time performing at Toddish McWong’s fusion event: Gung Haggis Fat Choy a number of years ago.

We were pleased to be part of the Centennial Theatre’s Robbie Burns Celebration the past few years where we teamed up with Shot of Scotch Vancouver dancers, Tim Fanning on bagpipes and our MC, the well-spoken Ed Mornin who presented wonderful stories of Robbie Burns.

Our most favourite and intimate style of concert is at our beloved Place des Arts. The true dinner and show experience that featured a rustic Scottish meal that one would expect and enjoy at a celebration of Robbie Burns followed by an evening of Scottish tunes, stories, poetry and let’s not forget the haggis!


Be sure to check the Blackthorn Website for future concerts or join them this Robbie Burns Day! Rosie is one of our violin and fiddle teachers. You can sign up for one of her classes today!

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