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New Iona Celebrates Its Celtic Roots With Music From Scottish-Folk Band Emerald Accent

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New Iona Presbyterian Church is celebrating its second anniversary this weekend. The event will feature the Celtic band Emerald Accent, authentic Scottish dishes, and more to honor the church's connection to Scotland. 

Early settlers of Irish and Scottish-descent arrived on the American east coast in the early 17th century. Soon after, they began to establish some of the first Presbyterian churches in the Americas as early as the 1630s. Betty Goss, choir director at New Iona, explains how the name of the church is connected to this history.

She says, "Iona is an island off the western coast of Scotland where the early Celtic chruch founded an important monastery that serves as a Christian pilgrimage. Two years ago, we decided to name the church 'New Iona' to honor the Celtic roots in America and abroad."

With the anniversary of new Iona's founding and the retirement of Reverend George Wortham fast-approaching, the church is hosting a musical celebration of its early-Celtic traditions. Emerald Accent, a local Celtic band, are set to perform.

Emerald Accent was founded in the spring of 2010 for the advancement of Celtic music in the southern states. The four-piece folk band specializes in Scottish-Irish music and utilizes a wide range of traditional instruments like the bouzouki and bodhran.

After the celebration, New Iona will have a reception featuring a traditional Scottish dish called haggis. Dr. Ruth Smith, a member of the church, describes haggis as a mixture of beef, lamb, and more.

She says, "Rev. Wortham has a unique approach when he cooks his haggis. The food in itself is a reason to come out and have a little taste of something that we normally do not have around here."

The Celtic Celebration will be held at New Iona Presbyterian Church on Saturday, January 25, from 1-3 p.m., and admission is free to the public. The church's address is 1403 Wellerman Road near Highland Elementary in West Monroe. 

For more information about the event, click here