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Talent, determination, passion honored at 21st Scottish Heritage Awards

Four individuals with a strong passion for Scottish Heritage were honored during the 21st Annual Scottish Heritage Awards held at St. Andrews Presbyterian College on March 18, 2011.

Scottish fiddler Bonnie Rideout and noted Highland Games coordinator Ross McKinnon Morrison Jr., were honored with the Flora Macdonald Award and Scottish Heritage Center Award respectively. These two previously announced winners were joined by surprise Highland Award winners Donnie McDonald and Charles Hensey.

“These noted individuals are really worthy of recognition,” said host Bill Caudill of the Highland Award winners. “These gentlemen always know the scoop and have very active and distinguished careers in communicating the Scottish Heritage information to the region. They know a great deal about Scottish Heritage and I hope to get to share in just some of that knowledge.”

The Flora Macdonald Award is presented to a woman of Scottish descent who has made an outstanding contribution either to Scottish affairs or to the human community. Rideout, with her unique style of Scottish fiddling charming audiences across the globe, has met the criteria for both the arts and the Scottish community. She has been featured on the BBC, CPS, NPR’s Performance Today and Morning Edition. She is also consistently played on NPR’s The Thistle and Shamrock. Additionally, her recent release received a Grammy nomination.

“We honor Bonnie’s musical abilities and achievements,” said Caudill. “Her talent, determination, drive and passion have brought her many successes while bringing an appreciation of Scottish music to new audiences. She has an interest and a passion in digging deeper to reveal something new as a musician and music scholar to keep Scotland’s musical traditions alive.”

Rideout accepted the award with expressions of strong gratitude.

“I am so very honored to be here,” she said. “I attended the Scottish Heritage Symposium here years ago and was greatly impressed and humbled by the knowledge present. The audience asked such knowledgeable questions and the amount of knowledge and understanding was overwhelming. I am very honored.”

In addition to her award, Rideout also received a bottle of rare whiskey following the annual whiskey auction to support the Scottish Heritage Center.

Morrison received the Scottish Heritage Center Award for outstanding contributions to the preservation and perpetuation of Scottish History culture and traditions due in large part to his work with Scottish athletics. He first assisted with the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in 1959 and has been instrumental in the development of the Scottish Heavy Events circuit in the Southeast, serving as an advisor, athletics coordinator and judge for up to 18 Scottish Games per year. He has been honored with the Honorary Kentucky Colonel and the most distinguished North Carolina award, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. He currently serves as president of the now world-famous Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

“Ross has provided over 50 years of dedicated service to Scottish Heritage,” said Caudill. “He is a student of the history and traditions and he has helped to keep the new traditions of ours organized and moving forward at Highland games. To a great degree it is a labor of love. The pursuit of things Scottish has become a family affair as he spends 18 weekends per year judging and providing logistical support for Highland games across the country.”

Morrison expressed his gratitude in a short acceptance. “I am not a talker,” he said. “I’m a nuts and bolts person. It’s been a hell of a ride and I have really enjoyed it all. Over the years I have met some wonderful people and I will keep doing it as long as I can walk.”

Check out photos of the evening here.

Return to Scottish Heritage Symposium Page

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