My wife and I first met with Ardlair when the Penola Pipe Band was asked to play in a fundraising festival for the Millicent Hospital. Participants were required to march down the main street to the show grounds and later to play at the grounds. When the band was forming up prior to the march I noticed a group of highland dancers across the road and asked if they would care to follow directly behind the band to make a bigger, better and more spectacular Scottish entrant. This led later in the day at the show grounds to both parties forming a partnership to perform. Ardlair, at that time, was Miss Lisa together with a group of enthusiastic, excited, small kilted learners.
From this introduction, my wife and I have always thought of the Ardlair group and made contact to invite them when any Celtic/highland engagement or private function was being organised, as pipers and dancers go together like haggis and whisky! We have always endeavoured in our invitations to generate an interest with children and adults hoping the sight of the dancers to stir up Scottish heritage, or a “want to do“ with other youngsters to keep and increase the highland heritage to which Mount Gambier was so strongly involved in from its foundation.
Since that first introduction ( 2002 ) we have seen the children grow from learners, through the grades, dancing competitions, displays, pageants, and private exhibitions to later, teenagers and adulthood, when they eventually leave, knowing their highland interest and enthusiasm has rubbed off onto others with wee ones coming forth onto the floor. Both Margaret and I have been involved in our Scottish heritage for many years and we were becoming a little concerned that in all our family members nobody was “taking up the sword” of our ancestry.
Till – one day – a little lass from China ( Li-Xin ) became our one and only granddaughter. As an infant she attended the parties and highland society outings we and Ardlair attended and somewhere along the way the dance spirit was awakened with Li-Xin, now a senior dancer, helping out with the little ones of Ardlair. As grandparents of an Ardlairian, we can only offer our sincerest thanks to the Ardlair school in providing the family, comradery, training in a healthy lifestyle, kindness and social interaction which is provided to all the dancers and families who attend. Lixin’s Grandparents