Robert Burns

Alexandria Burns Club
Annual Festival

Saturday 26th January 2013

Burns supper top table
Top Table: John Hardie, Les Reynolds, Gary Weir, Colin Lawrie and Chairman Fergus McLellan

2013 marks the 20th year in succession that we have celebrated the Annual Festival at the Masonic Temple in Gilmour Street Alexandria. An audience of around 150 people were in attendance as our Chairman for the evening, Fergus McLellan led in the top table guests accompanied by Malky Gilmour on the pipes.

After the guests were seated the Chairman asked for a one minute silence for members, David Collins and Eddie Gaughan, who had passed away during the previous year.

The evening's ongauns then commenced with the piping in of the haggis by Malky Gilmour. Burdened with the beast was our caterer, Robert Mills. The chairman then offered the Selkirk grace and before dinner was served John Hardie addressed the haggis in his usual way, putting it to the sword very efficiently.

Burns Club top table
Top Table: Fergus McLellan. Andrew Lockhart, Bill Kean, Lennie Moore and Jim McNiven

After dinner and the first interval, the second part of the evening commenced with the main toast of the evening, the Immortal Memory, which this year was delivered by long standing member, Andrew Lockhart. His toast was both informed, entertaining and very well received by the audience and guests. Andrew's delivery was also excellent.

Willie Stewart, a new face on the local scene then sang for us in the first of his two spots. Willie has a quite different and very original approach to Burn's Songs. He has a really powerful and melodious voice and also plays guitar. When he started to sing, the obviously favourable audience reaction told its own story. Willie was a revelation. Hopefully we can welcome him back again at some time in future.

Gary Weir was next up with the Toast to John Barleycorn. Gary is one of our members that is starting out on the circuit and his well researched toast and props were "rock" solid. We look forward to seeing Gary performing again in future.

In recent years Inverness based fiddler and Vale "ex-pat" Stuart McLean has become a fixture at our supper. Stuart was next to entertain us with his selection. He is quite simply an amazing violinist and his interpretation of Burns' music and his other selections were once again superb.

Les Reynolds was next to perform with the eternal favourite Tam o' Shanter. His introduction to Burns' epic poem included a mention of the debt he owes to our late Vice Chairman Eddie Gaughan, who sadly passed away last year. Continuing with "The tale", he effectively built the poem up to its crescendo in another great performance.

We were taken up to the second interval with Sangs and Clatter from the inimitable Lennie Moore. Lennie entertained us with one of Burns' less well known but very beautiful songs "Ay Wauken O" (see words in right column) followed by his usual jokes.

The "Piper o' the Vale", Malky Gilmour started the final part of the programme with his selection on the pipes followed by more songs from Willie Stewart before the next toast, which was "The Lasses" delivered by past chairman of Dumbarton Burns Club, Bill Kean. Bill has a unique, quick fire delivery. He was very entertaining, shaving will never be the same again!

John Hardie then presented his interpretation of A Man's a Man but before doing so he passed on the thanks of Eddie Gaughan's widow Jean, who had expressed her gratitude to the club members and others who had helped and supported her during the last few months, John performs A Man's a Man as a poem as opposed to a song and his emotional delivery was, as usual, excellent.

Stuart McLean entertained us with another selection of Burns' music on the fiddle before Jim McNiven offered his toast to the artistes. This is often seen as a routine toast, which is included as no more than a courtesy but coming at the end of the evening it can be one of the difficult ones. Jim got it just right in his humourous appreciation.

Finally, some of the guests and members went out of their way to comment on the excellent order from the body of the hall during the evening's ongauns. It has to be said that we have what must be one of the best and most orderly audiences any artiste could hope for here at Alexandria Burns club. The committee would like to thank the members and their guests for this and for contributing to what was another excellent evening.


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