Meet bagpiper Joseph MacDonald, who has performed at the past 7 years of Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners – photo Jaime Griffiths.
It's the 10th anniversary of Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish MacWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.
Expect lots of new surprises + some of the best moments from past Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners.
At the first dinner in 1998, 16 people dined on tables and chairs set up in a North Vancouver townhouse living room. I cooked most of the dinner courses, and some people brought some food dishes as well. We truly had no idea what we were doing.
In between each dinner course, somebody would read a poem or play some music. There was no set program, except some photo-copied pages from a library book on how to organize a Burns dinner. We made the rest up as we went along, or when the bagpiper arrived. And it was BEAUTIFUL.
Will the same concept work for 400 people at the Floata Restaurant on Sunday, January 27th? Probably not… but we'll try…
For one thing… the food is much more organized. The special “haggis dim-sum buffet” will greet our early arrivals soon after the 5:30 reception time… in time for the show time of 6:00pm. Deep-fried haggis won-ton is our signature food dish. We love it! We will serve it with some of our favorite dim sum dishes for appetizers.
Floata Restaurant is one of Vancouver's best Chinese restaurants and is “the place” for banquet dinners. It offers us a great stage and audio visual equipment.
There will be video. Gung Haggis Fat Choy was featured this summer in the CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy. Produced and directed by award winning Halya Kuchmij, the documentary celebrated the life of Rev. Chan Yu Tan – one of Canada's first Chinese-Canadian Christian missionaries, and his 6 generations of descendants including his great-great-grandson, Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong. We will play some of the scenes from The Chan Legacy that feature Gung Haggis Fat Choy events.
There will be poetry. George McWhirter is Vancouver's inaugural Poet Laureate. But is he Irish or Scottish or Canadian? Does it matter? George loves the Gung Haggis concept and especially loves Todd's red waistcoat with golden Chinese dragons on it. He wants one.
There will be music. Traditional celtic band Blackthorn will make their Gung Haggis debut. This is the band that opened the Kidsbook's Harry Potter book launch at Van Dusen Gardens back in July. Over the past few years, I have gotten to know some of the bands' members. This is a great chance to bring us together on a stage together and have some great fun. Just wait until you hear their renditions of Loch Lomand and Auld Lang Syne and other traditional Scottish songs!
That sounds great… a Scottish band, a Scottish-Irish-Canadian poet, and haggis won ton… anything Chinese?
That's where the surprises come in. We are culling some of the best memorable moments of past Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners, adding some new ideas and new performers, then inviting the performers to be our guests… and PRESTO! they will spontaneously make their performance contributions to the dinner event. Sounds great eh? Easy… almost?
We do regret that performer Rick Scott and his buddy Harry Wong from Hong Kong will not be at the 2008 dinner. That was a very memorable event in 2005 when they performed songs from their 5 Elements cd and CBC radio's Shelagh Rogers co-hosted the event. We nabbed them on their way to a performance at the Toronto Music Conservatory.
Then there was the time a Chinese bagpiper named Zhong Xi aka “Jonesy” came and performed not only bagpipes, but also a reed flute – making wonderful bird noises.
Back in 2003, keyboardist Pat Coventon and guitarist pd wohl led a spirited rendition of the Proclaimers' song “500 Miles”
Who can forget when opera soprano Heather Pawsey sang the traditional Chinese song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower) with Silk Road Music duo of Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault in 2004?
Oh – and remember when accapella female ensemble The Shirleys came and performed their very cool arrangement of Mo Li Hua?
and last year… jazz singer Leore Cashe swung the tin pan alley classic “Chinatown My Chinatown” with Harry Aoki on stand up bass, and Todd Wong on accordion.
And how about when Joy Kogawa came and read a new story to an enraptured audience that included a character names “Toddish MacWong”?
Memorable moments all… but sorry we won't be re-presenting them. There will be other surprises. As I say in my poem “What is Gung Haggis Fat Choy” – something old, something new, something borrowed, something b-r-e-w-e-d!
And then there are the guests… we always bring guests up on stage to read a few verses of Burns poetry. Remember when Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, MLA's Jenny Kwan and Joy MacPhail read “A Man's A Man For A' That” – Jenny was wearing Joy's plaid, Joy wear Jenny's cheongsam, and Larry wore both a Chinese jacket and his kilt!
So watch out for the special surprises in 2008. They are going to knock your kilted argyle socks off!
Doors open 5:30 pm
Dinner start 6:00 pm
#400 – 180 Keefer St.
Children (13 and under): $43.50
Call Gung Haggis Fat Choy Productions at 604-987-7124 by January 20 to reserve a table for 10.
ORDER ON-LINE: WWW.TICKETSTONIGHT.CA
ORDER BY PHONE: 604.231.7535
Additional $2.50 per ticket for phone orders
ORDER your tickets SOON – to get the best seats…
Limited amount of tickets at door – if available – so please order in advance!
BEST BET – reserve a table of 10 and bring your friends!