The celebration and interpretation of Scottish heritage – as presented by the incomparable Flora MacDonald Gammon – will be among the featured festivities Saturday, May 2, as Western Carolina revels in May Day @ Folkmoot.
As Director of Music at the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Gammon is regarded by many as a leading authority on Scottish dance, music and heritage in North Carolina – a region which boasts a long and deep connection to Scotland.
Gammon and her troupe of Scottish dancers will perform at 12:30 pm. on Saturday – just part of the international celebration of Folkmoot’s inaugural May Day festivities – which will also feature a huge sale of Folkmoot memorabilia, treasures and equipment from the historic Hazelwood School.
A native of Eastern North Carolina, Gammon was reared in a family still very close to its roots: the strong Highland Scots heritage of her mother’s family in the eastern Carolinas and the equally strong Scots-Irish line of her father’s family in the mountains of Tennessee and Virginia. Gammon moved to Western North Carolina in 1970 after receiving her BSN from East Carolina University.
Since her teens, she has been involved in performing at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and devoted many years to promoting the traditions of Scotland and the Scots through concert performances at festivals and games, lectures, Road Scholar (Elderhostel) classes and residencies in schools. She has been a touring artist in North Carolina.
Gammon been elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, FSA Scot, and is an Honorary Member of Celtic Women International. She was accorded the honor of the Exceptional Celtic Woman Award at the Conference of Celtic Women in 2008. Both Gammon and her late husband, John A. Dall, were recipients in 2010 of the Agnes MacRae Morton Award from the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games for their service to the games.
She has been involved with Folkmoot since its beginning, first as Chair of the Interfaith Worship Service, then Chair of Programming and Production, emcee and Director of the International Band. She also served on the Board of Directors for many years. Deemed a “Cultural Missionary” by Dr. Richard Blaustein of East Tennessee State University in his book, The Thistle And The Brier, Gammon continues to be a bridge between the cultures of Scotland and Appalachia.
Enjoy this short video of one of Gammon’s dance troupes:
Although just over 7 minutes long, Gammon speaks eloquently and thoughtfully about her own Scottish heritage: