Alexandria Burns Club
Saturday 25th January 2014
Top Table: Andrew Lockhart, Robert Phillips, Willie Kelly, John McKenzie, Chairman Fergus McLellan,
Dumbarton Burns Club President Charles Anderson, Keith Macintosh, Lennie Moore and Bryan Weir
A gathering of around 150 people attended the annual supper in the Vale of Leven Masonic this year. The members and their guests applauded the arrival of the top table guests in the traditional way as they made their entry. As always their arrival was accompanied by Malky Gilmour on the bagpipes. Chairman Fergus McLellan welcomed members and guests then asked for a one minute silence for the members who had passed away during the previous 12 months. These were John Wood (a past president), George Allison, Alex Bilsland, John Bilsland, Iain Mathieson and Lister Lever.
The evening then got started with the delivery of the Haggis, borne by our Caterer Robert Mills and piped in as usual by the Piper o' the Vale, Malcolm Gilmour. The chairman offered the Selkirk Grace before the address "To a Haggis" by Andrew Lockhart. An excellent meal was then served followed by the Loyal Toast.
After dinner and a short interval, the second part of the evening commenced with the main toast of the evening, The Immortal Memory, which this year was delivered by John McKenzie. John has been a "weel kent face" at our functions for a few years now and his "Memory" was very well received by an appreciative audience, which included Robert Muller, a guest all the way from Canada. John comes from the local farming community, which perhaps gives him a fuller understanding of the bard's works.
The Barber o' the Vale, James Thumath, was next up. James is an excellent musician and singer who plays several instruments. He has been around the local folk music scene for many years. On this occasion he was accompanied by a member of the club, Tom Brown on the Bodhran. It was clear that James's haunting music and singing went down very well with the audience.
The Toast to the Lasses was next. It was presented this year by Keith Mackintosh, who has spoken for us in the past. Once again Keith offered a knowledgable and humourous toast.
Our next artist was Andrew Gordon on the accordion. Andrew is a young man who is well known in the higher echelons of accordion music having won several Scottish and British titles. Needless to say he did not disappoint. his performance was excellent and we must wonder why he has not been asked to entertain us before. He will certainly be asked back again.
Andrew Lockhart, who had entertained us earlier with his Address to a Haggis now read Willie Wastle, one of Burns's most humourous poems, before one of our most consistently popular artists, Lennie Moore treated us to some sangs and clatter.
After an interval Malcolm Gilmour announced the start of the second half of the evening's ongauns with some stirring pipe music. This was followed by more songs from James Thumath again accompanied by Tom Brown.
Another eagerly anticipated toast, was the Toast to the Lasses from Willie Kelly. Willie is a another regular at our evenings and his toast was very much appreciated,
Robert Phillips is fairly well known on the local circuit as a speaker, particularly for his version of the "Twa Dugs". This was the first time he had entertained with his version of the well known poem. Robert uses two puppets to represent Caesar and Luath in his performance keeping many of the audience spellbound in what is a very difficult poem to perform.
This was followed once again by another reading from Andrew Lockhart who was also accompanying Lennie Moore's sangs and clatter on the keyboard for the evening making him one of the busiest of the artists.
Bryan Weir then Toasted the artists appropriately as the evening drew to a close. At this stage Fergus McLellan, our chairman for the evening, thanked the members for their support during his three years as club president before passing the chain of office to Bryan, the incoming President.
A successful evening then concluded with the company singing The Star o' Rabbie Burns followed by Auld Lang Syne.
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