Originally Published: May 20, 2005 5 a.m.
PRESCOTT -- People would be hard-pressed to find someone more into his Scottish heritage than David McNabb.
His latest venture is the weekly Celtic Corner radio show on Prescott's KJZA-FM radio from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays. It features Irish and Scottish music, although to no one's surprise, McNabb enjoys the Scottish music more.
It all started back in college at Pepperdine when McNabb started going to Highland Games that feature age-old competitions from the Scottish Highlands. McNabb is three-fourths Scottish and his clan hails from the rugged Highlands of northern Scotland. His wife Elizabeth is a native of Scotland who also came from the Highlands. He met her at a Highland Games event.
So it was only natural that he soon was competing in Highland events such as the stone throw. Then he became president of the Scottish club at the university. Then he became involved in the Clan MacNab Society of North America. Then he started producing Celtic concertsÉ.
"I was just up to my eyeballs," he said.
It appears he still is. He just brought in one of Scotland's best-known bands, Old Blind Dogs, to Prescott, and he has plans for more concerts.
He organized the Highland Games in Prescott that will take place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Watson Lake. While McNabb organized a much smaller version of the games this past year that focused mostly on the games, this year's event features quite a bit of entertainment, too.
The entertainment includes some of his favorite Scottish bands such as Ed Miller, and the Flagstaff-based Knockabouts. It also includes Celtic harpists, four bagpipe bands, Scottish fiddlers, Highland dancing demonstrations, sheep dog herding demonstrations, storytelling, tug-o-war, a battle re-enactment, and one of the three Highlands clan chiefs who live in the United States.
McNabb started hosting the Celtic Corner radio show on KJZA 89.5 FM on April 30.
"Celtic music has a sound of its own," McNabb said. "It's a happy sound."
Celtic music often tells a story, too.
"It's feed-your-soul kind of music," McNabb said.
He tries to interview someone active in Celtic activities each week. For example, he talked to the leader of the Scots of Prescott during his first show, and coming up is Brian Lowe, one of three bagpipers in Prescott who also happens to own Brian's Irish Pub.
McNabb also lists a Celtic calendar of events during his weekly show. It's surprising just how many events take place in Arizona. For example, Highland Games took place in Camp Verde in April and will occur in Flagstaff in July, followed by Tucson and Mesa.
McNabb hopes to start featuring local bands on his show in the future. Brian's Pub features the local Celtic band Crosswinds on the first Wednesday of each month. The tri-city area also is home to other Celtic bands including the Granite Creek String Band and Wild Thyme.
After talking to McNabb, it becomes apparent that Celtic events and music are popular with more local people than just McNabb.
"You look in the phone book and there are tons of Scottish and Irish names there," McNabb said.
And some of those without Celtic heritage are sure to claim it at least one day of the year.