Springtime Entertainers

OUR ENTERTAINERS

We are very excited to have Jennifer Licko and Highland Echoes join us during the days PLUS evenings on Friday & Saturday.

Behind everything we do is the belief that bringing the Scottish diaspora together and passing on the legacy to future generations is valuable.

We do this by telling the story of our heritage through Scottish music and dance performances and educational programs.

We believe experiencing cultural heritage is beneficial for all ages. We believe that a thriving Scottish culture amongst the Scottish diaspora starts with education and inspiration. Collectively, our Scottish heritage makes our culture stronger. We believe that united, we can have stronger individual communities and can have a long-lasting effect on a thriving presence of Scottish cultural traditions.

In Education, we believe that students deserve the opportunity to benefit from cultural heritage to build self-confidence, increasing awareness of diversity and give an opportunity to connect to Scottish heritage. It’s our dream that every child has the opportunity to engage in culturally responsive educational and artistic experiences.

In Performances, we believe that cultural arts provide inspiration that moves people to take action and become a part of something greater than themselves.

Highland Echoes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to promote Scottish Culture and Traditions. We have a focus on reaching the youth through educational programming in the schools and by providing inspiring shows with our world class group of dancers and musicians.

~Jennifer Licko & Highland Echoes

The Highland Echoes Show

A Dramatic work telling the story of Scotland in the 1700s and the movement of the Scottish people from then to now. All the legends, mystery, and history that surrounds the Story of the Scottish Diaspora.

The show began in 2018 after founder and Producer of Highland Echoes, Jennifer Licko, had experienced over 20 years of touring as a Celtic singer with musicians and dancers all over the world. The same thing kept coming back to her vision "I want to feature more Highland Dancers and more of the Scottish history story".
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In 2018, with the encouragement of the Saint Andrews Society of North Carolina, Jennifer began the nonprofit Highland Echoes to give audiences what she knew they wanted..
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Highland Echoes featured 4 Highland dancers and a full band of award winning musicians. The dances were choreographed by Highland Fitness instructor and dancer, Sandra Gribbin. The music was written by both Jennifer Licko and Patrick Mangan from Riverdance..
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The small yet mighty show was a success. Audiences up and down the United States Eastern seaboard had 5 star reviews for the band, the dancers and the show itself..
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During the planning stages of the 2020 tour, the Pandemic of Covid-19 hit and everything came to a halt - Everything except for Highland Echoes. The video footage from past shows were edited and new footage was shot to share the stories from every dancer and musician in the show. That video have a live viewing in 2020 via YouTube and Facebook reaching thousands of new fans..
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Jennifer quickly got to work on expanding the show based on comments, surveys and feedback from all the audiences reached with Highland Echoes..
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So what is in the works? The BIG SHOW scheduled for July 2022 in Boone NC. Held at one theater for two weeks in conjunction with the largest gathering of Scottish organizations in the world, The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

What will be different from the original Highland Echoes show? Mostly the size. Going from 4 dancers to 25 dancers. Bringing in a lighting and design crew to create more atmosphere. More music has been written and traditional music arranged to specifically tell the story of Scotland in the 1700s and the movement of the Scottish people from then to now. All the legends, mystery, history that surrounds the Story of the Scottish Diaspora.

"I owe this to my community - the community of people I don't even know, but I know we are connected through our cultural belonging to the diaspora. I have to make this happen because the world needs to know that Scottish dance, music and culture is vibrant, strong and healthy - and it will live on with the support of those who believe in it"

Jennifer Licko

Joining us for two very special performances, KIR, the Kirk McLeod Seven Nations Trio, will be taking to the stage on Thursday evening! In addition, they will be performing for us intermittently throughout the day on Thursday!

Kirk McLeod is founder, leader, song writer/composer and lead singer for internationally famous SEVEN NATIONS CELTIC ROCK BAND…with nearly 30 years performing across the country and around the world. Kirk and his 7N band were the first to introduce Celtic Rock music to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games many years ago and continues to be the headliner band both at the Games Celtic Rock Concert & on the MacRae Meadows Grove 2 stage.

A professional Great Scottish Highland Piper trained by several renowned master pipers, Kirk first introduced the bagpipe to his rock band in the mid 1990’s and created a whole new genre of music that combined traditional Celtic instrumentation with pop/rock music. With a very few exceptions of existing Scottish songs, all of the music recorded and performed since then by Seven Nations has been written and composed by Kirk. The total library of original music includes over 19 albums.

Kirk’s father was Scottish and his mother was English. His Scottish family immigrated from the Isle of Skye and Glasgow beginning in the early 1800’s; journeying along with the thousands of other Scots who first landed along the coasts of North Carolina.

After his parents met and began a family, Kirk ended up living, going to school and working in the U.K. during part of his youth and teens; moving back and forth between the U.S. and U.K. until eventually being hired to perform at Walt Disney World Epcot Center at the young age of 19.

Since childhood, music has been my driving force. I started playing my mother’s piano at age 4. Next came the Scottish Highland bagpipes at 12, and the guitar soon after. From my late teens on I played with bands doing Celtic music on weekends and rock music during the week. But it wasn’t until the mid-90’s that I got the idea to add bagpipes to the rock music. That was the advent of the Celtic Rock genre in the US. And that was the inspiration for Seven Nations.

For nearly 30 years, I’ve traveled the globe performing with Seven Nations at festivals, stadium concerts, and even a 2001 performance at the Palace Theatre in Albany, NY.

Our music has been featured on ESPN, CNN, the Discovery Channel, the BBC, NPR, PBS, plus various US and Canadian TV shows. Probably the proudest moment was when it was played on the International Space Station in 2001. Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield—a music lover and guitarist—took our Seven Nations’ “Factory” CD aboard the Space Station on several occasions as one of the few personal items he was allowed to bring along.

~Kirk McLeod
(A brief autobiographical excerpt from Kirk’s “Cultures Collide” ™ TV series production)

KIR MUSIC & TRIO

“KIR” is a Scottish Gaelic word that has many meanings depending on its use. It is often found as the prefix for a variety of Gaelic words and just happens to be the first three letters of Kirk’s first name. The musical concept was inspired by Kirk’s Scottish family heritage and was officially given birth in 2014.

As a solo expansion from his Seven Nations band, Kirk wanted to draw upon his Scottish culture and Gaelic language roots to create music that incorporated more of that ancient Scottish Gaelic and “vocables” into the lyrics of his songs. He was also looking to explore the opportunity to reach out beyond the specific Seven Nations band identity, dig deeper into authentic Scottish/Celtic musical influences and, once again, venture into a new musical genre arena.

The KIR Trio offers the flexibility to blend Kirk’s original “KIR” compositions along with popular Seven Nations’ music for fans in both large and more intimate settings. Although the KIR Trio is technically a smaller lineup of musicians than the 5-person Seven Nations Band, it, nonetheless, continues to feature the same full sound. The Trio typically includes Kirk (on lead vocals, guitar, keyboard and—when not singing—bagpipes), plus his fiddler and drummer. KIR fans always come away richly entertained and with a whole new appreciation for the cross-over connection between the sounds of traditional Scottish/Celtic music and its contemporary interpretations.

Kirk & KIR will be performing on Thursday!