Manhattan’s annual Pipes of Christmas concert, a joyous celebration of Celtic music and poetry produced by the Learned Kindred of Currie, returns for the 22nd year.

And with the benefit of its new online platform you can join in without having to fly to New York.

Traditionally held in packed out venues, the 2020 production will instead bring this much-loved ‘festival of the soul’ to a worldwide audience in a new, unique and creative way.

A “Festival of Advent”

This year, in light of Covid-19 restrictions, the Learned Kindred is introducing their Video Advent Calendar – a festive series of video webcasts – a much needed helping of Christmas cheer in these difficult times. To complement the new format the production team commissioned a series of inspirational films from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Nova Scotia and New York. 

The first webcast will air on the Kindred’s YouTube channel on 29 November 2020, the first Sunday in Advent, with more videos on the following Sundays, culminating with a one-hour production on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

For a complete schedule of broadcasts, visit the concert website

Harpist Jennifer Port from Golspie. A National Mod Gold Medalist performing in English and Gaelic at Dornoch Cathedral. 

Supporting the creative and performing arts

In this year, too many livelihoods have been severely impacted, with the creative and performing industries particularly hard hit. With many traditional St Andrews Day, Christmas and other productions cancelled, lights have gone off in theatres and halls across the world. 

Robert Currie, President of the Currie Family Society, a not-for-profit organisation, said:“While the making of this new video production has brought badly needed employment to creative people who might not otherwise be working, the Learned Kindred wanted to do more.

“In 2020, we will use part of the proceeds from our Pipes of Christmas Festival of Advent to support the artists working in the beleaguered creative industries.

“This is in addition to our continued support of young people in education in Scotland, Canada and the United States through scholarships and sponsorships.

“it’s a small gesture, but during Advent, a time of hope and anticipation, it was important to us that we didn’t sit this one out.”

Learned Kindred’s only fundraiser

This annual concert is the Learned Kindred’s only fundraiser, generating their operating budget for the year ahead. Losing the concert income is financially devastating to their outreach programmes which support young people in education in Scotland, Canada and the United States through scholarships and sponsorships.

Recipients of concert funds have included the Royal Conservatory of Scotland, the National Piping Centre, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Royal National Mod and the Gaelic College in Nova Scotia.

Donations will be gratefully accepted

Currie added, “It is our hope that via a crowdfunding programme, our friends, family and followers will consider making a donation to help defray production costs and provide us with some funds to operate in 2021.”

A minimum donation of £20 or $30 is suggested but viewers may donate as much as they wish. The concert website will include a PayPal link. The organiser say donations can be made there and will be gratefully accepted at any time.

Joni Smith, Counsellor for the Scottish Government USA and a former Honorary Chairman for the concert said: “The Pipes of Christmas has, over two decades, become a treasured part of our holiday season and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, I am delighted to see the innovative programme planned for 2020. I applaud all the hard work that has gone into its production and wish it every success.”

The Reverend Canon Dr. Joseph J. Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms said:“The joy this concert is marking at the season of Advent will be something of a glimpse of God’s Glory as well an anticipation of the coming of the surprise of God in bringing heaven to earth on Christmas Day. I applaud and celebrate all the hard work by the many individuals in making this event happen and I wish it every success.”