HIGHLAND BALL TRADITIONS AND DRESS
Scottish Country Dancing instruction is available free of charge in advance of all Grand Highland Military Balls at the Mewata Armoury Officer’s Mess.
In keeping with the traditions of the ball, guests are warmly encouraged to wear formal attire if desired, though business attire is certainly acceptable. Medals and decorations are to be worn if applicable.
Appropriate dress can include black tie, highland formal kit, military mess kit or a business suit and tie for men, or a cocktail dress, a full length ball gown, or military mess kit for women.
The Grand March
The Grand March is a rather curious and circuitous walk which ends in a photograph of the massed attendees of the Highland Ball each year. These photographs eventually land in the archives of the Glenbow Museum and are an important piece of the Regiment’s history in Calgary as well as for the citizens participating in the Ball each year.
Singing the Glenwhorple
The Glenwhorple tells the story of the Calgary Highlanders from their beginning aboard Noah’s Arc through to today. The verses are sung by a Calgary Highlander soldier ; the chorus is sung boisterously by all who gather around him and its tempo is set by the heavy crash of every foot in the room. Here is our chorus :
Heuch! Glenwhorple Hielan' men!
Great strong whusky-suppin' Hielan' men,
They were hard- workin', hairy-leggit Hielan' men,
Slainte mhor Glenwhorple.
It’s roundish and shiny and good...ish and those who like it, like it a lot. It is, of course, presented to the Highland Ball by a kilted, knife wielding and decidedly poetical Highlander… which makes perfect sense.
It is simply not a military dinner without port and the appropriate toasts, including the “Loyal Toast” to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Regiment’s Colonel-In-Chief.
A massive and most ancient ram’s head, fixed with silver fittings, and filled with something that will clear your head if you know what to do (and an obliging serving soldier of the Calgary Highlanders will be on hand to show you). Bring a tissue.