Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week (GSLW) is held annually at Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina – the “high country” of NC. It’s just minutes from Grandfather Mountain where the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games are held on the 2nd weekend in July (immediately after GSLW). Banner Elk is located between Boone and Linville in western North Carolina. Lees-McRae College is near the intersection of Highways 194 and 184. The nearest airports are Tri-Cities and Charlotte.
We have three experienced and wonderful teachers for this year, all returning by popular demand! They are Angus MacLeod, Alasdair Whyte and Anne Lorne Gillies!
Angus MacLeod is a Gaelic speaker, singer, storyteller, artist, writer and actor. He was born to Gaelic speaking parents in a Cape Breton Gaidhealtachd. He learned Gaelic on his own through song and by speaking with local elders, augmented by classes at various institutions in Nova Scotia.
Angus began teaching in 1998. Since then he has taught Gaelic language and song at the Gaelic College of Arts and Crafts, St.Francis Xavier University, and Cape Breton University and at many venues throughout Canada and the U.S.
He is a renowned story-teller and also an accomplished Gaelic singer who conducts Gaelic song workshops in Nova Scotia and online. We offer him the heartiest of welcomes back to Beinn Seanair!
Alasdair Whyte was brought up in Mull and his family home is in Salen. He developed a passion for the language and for Gaelic song at a young age and was awarded the An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal at the National Mòd in Dunoon in 2006 at the age of 19. He is now a regular adjudicator at the National Mòd. Alasdair is a composer of verse and song and his debut album, ‘Las’, which includes both local traditional songs and self-penned Gaelic songs, was released in December 2012.
Dr. Anne Lorne Gillies is a singer, broadcaster, writer, public speaker and Gaelic activist. Raised on a croft in Argyll she was immersed in Gaelic culture, and in a broad range of musical styles. She won the Women’s Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd in Scotland at the age of 17 in 1962 and has since performed at numerous venues and events.
She wrote a definitive book on Gaelic song, “Songs of Gaelic Scotland,” now in its third edition and has recorded many albums, as well as producing the famous “Speaking Our Language” television series.
Dr. Gillies is also a life-long advocate for Gaelic. She is a former National Education Development Officer with Comann na Gàidhlig, and in 2009 the Scottish Government named her Tosgair na Gàidhlig, a “Gaelic language ambassador.”
All three are highly experienced teachers and lovely people. This will be an exceptional week – come join us!
When? July 2rd through July 7th
Where? Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC.
What? From Sunday to Friday the sounds of Gaelic, the first language of the Scots, will resound in the splendid mountains of North Carolina! Songs, stories, jokes, and fun galore!
Who? You! Absolute beginners to fluent speakers are welcomed! Our experienced teachers come from Scotland and New Scotland (Alba Nuadh, also known as Nova Scotia, Canada).
Why? Sing with us and learn some of the most beautiful songs in the world! Learn Gaelic with us, improve your language skills, or have conversations with other fluent speakers. We offer a great learning experience for all language levels. Enjoy the company of fellow Gaels and join our cèilidhs! Share a song, a poem, a joke, a story — or just listen and enjoy! Folks are friendly and will help you if you don’t understand! Come and join our very welcoming community!
What does it cost, this wonderful week?
1. Private Room and tuition with meals US $525
2 .Private Room and tuition without meals US $400
3. Day Student with tuition but no lodging or meals US $275
4. Family Member with lodging and meals but no classes US $350
5. If you register by June 1st, the prices above hold. After that, $50 will be added to these fees! Be an early bird and save!
If none of these categories fits, let us know! Please email john Grimaldi at email@example.com or call him at 917-756-3643
Check in from 2:00PM to 5:00PM Sunday afternoon. Dinner is available for those who arrive before 6:00 PM. Classes begin Monday morning and run through noon Friday. There are opportunities for recreation and free-time in the afternoons and evenings, including Scottish Country dancing, hiking, swimming, fishing, and tennis.
Room and board are provided by Lees-McRae College, where GSLW is held. Basic single and double dorm rooms are available (all rooms are the same rate). WiFi is available to all students. Cafeteria meals are quite good and a salad bar and dessert/ice cream bar are available at most meals. Meals are provided from Sunday dinner to Friday lunch. Additional cafeteria meals and dorm room nights are available for a reasonable charge from the college for those staying for the Highland Games. Unfortunately, the cafeteria can not provide gluten/wheat free meals, but there are other possibilities to meet your needs!
Temperatures range from low 60s to mid 80s during July – normally beautiful and cool. However, it can be very warm or wet and cold. It is advisable to bring a fan for your room and blanket for your bed. Shorts and lightweight long pants are appropriate, as are t-shirts, light weight sweaters, and sun hats. Fleeces and heavy sweaters may be needed as well. A raincoat or umbrella is advised, just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Items to Bring
Bed linens, pillow, blanket
Towels, wash cloths, toiletries
Casual clothing for cool / warm weather
Walking / hiking shoes
Swimsuit/ fishing equipment
Raincoat / umbrella
Gaelic reference books
Sound recorder and/or pen & paper for note-taking
Props for cèilidh
Items to donate for Silent Auction
Cash or checkbook for Silent auction—great bargains!
Dancing shoes (if you are a dancer and would like to attend any of the evenings of social dancing at the Thistle School of Scottish Country Dance, $5.00 per night)
Gaelic Language videos to share with the group at night (examples are An Ceasnachadh, An Cridhe Cabaireach & The Blood is Strong)
Directions to Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC
From Johnson City, Tennessee, and the Tri-Cities Airport area:
Take 321 northeast from Johnson City to Elizabethton. Continue east on 19E across the state line to Elk Park, NC. At Elk Park, go left on 194 to Banner Elk. As you come to the top of the hill and enter Banner Elk, Lees-McRae College is on your right. Total driving time: approx. 1 hour.
From Charlotte Douglas International Airport:
Take I-485 to I-85 West. Take I-85 to 321 North.Follow 321 through Hickory & Lenoir to Boone. At Boone, turn left onto Rte. 105 at large intersection. Take Rte. 105 approximately 15 miles and turn right at traffic light onto Rte 184 (Tynecastle Hwy). Rte 184 ends at Rte 194 in Banner Elk. Turn left. Lees-McRae College is on the left.
From Rte. 421, Boone, NC:
Take Rte. 105 South approximately 15 miles. Turn right at stoplight onto Rte. 184 (Tynecastle Hwy.) Rte.184 ends at Rte. 194. Turn left. Lees McRae College is on the left.
From Rte. 221, Linville, NC:
Take Rte. 105 North and turn left at stoplight onto Rte. 184 (Tynecastle Hwy.) Rte.184 ends at Rte. 194. Turn left. Lees McRae College is on the left.
***Banner Elk is a small town and you should have no trouble finding the college and the dorm. There will be signs.