Robert Burns


St Andrews Night Celebration 2010

St Andrew's Night Top Table GuestsEddie Gaughan, Jim O'Hare, Gary Weir, Mike Taylor, Chairman Harry Summers,
Jim McNiven, Andrew MacAuley and Fergus McLellan

Our annual celebration of St Andrew’s Night was held in the Vale of Leven Bowling Club, Alexandria on Friday 26th November 2010. Harry Summers, President was in the chair for what was one of the best St Andrew’s Nights in a long time. As the night progressed we were all oblivious to the snow which had begun to fall outside and which is only now, a month later, beginning to disappear. As the Bard said:

“The storm without might rair and rustle
Tam did nae mind the storm a whistle”

And no wonder, as all the artists excelled themselves to provide an evening of outstanding entertainment. We were welcoming three artists performing at the Club for the first time and while the other three were “old hands”, one was turning to music for the first time.

That was Jim McNiven, who opened the evening with a selection of Scottish songs. While Jim has delivered many Toasts including an Immortal Memory this was the first time that he had sung at the Club. There was a strong rumour beforehand that Jim was a good singer, but the rumour did him less than justice as he delighted the audience. He finished his solo session with The Valley Where the Leven Flows, which was the first time in many years it had been heard at the Club, prompting the thought we should finish with it or Beautiful Vale immediately before Auld Lang Syne at future St Andrew’s Nights.

A young club member, Gary Weir, was up next to give us the Toast to Our Toon, The Vale. Gary was first of the three artists making their debuts at the Club and is a star in the making. Covering everything from Isabella Countess of Lennox in Inchmurrin Castle to the Vale Hospital with confidence, humour and a deft touch it was a bravura performance which augurs well for the future of the Club.

Gary was followed by the second artist making his debut at the Club, Andrew McAulay. Andrew is a local farmer who was pitched into singing at Young Farmers concerts, which is as tough an apprenticeship as the old Glasgow Empire. His choice of Scottish country songs and bothy ballads was sung unaccompanied just as they were originally sung. Andrew’s singing was sheer pleasure which deserved the great response which it got from the audience.

Jim O’Hare, Club member and well known piper was the third person to be making his debut at the Club – not playing the pipes, but playing the mouth organ. When he was playing his wide selection of Scottish tunes it was uncannily as if Jimmy Shand and his band were playing in the room. Fourth artist up, four stars in a row and another from whom we’ll be hearing again.

It wouldn’t be a St Andrew’s Night without the contribution of The Bard o The Vale, Duncan McLean. This year Duncan gave us not only one of his own poems but also Andrew Stewart’s Quiz for Jeely Eaters. As ever, Duncan left the audience with much to think and talk about.

The Toast to Scotland was given by Mike Taylor who has delivered many readings and Toasts at the Club over the years. Mike’s speech was not only a tour of Scotland, it was a considerable tour de force which brought rapt attention from the audience as Mike covered every part of Scotland from his native north-east to the south, giving everywhere its character as he went. His learning and humour combined perfectly to honour Scotland.

As the Night was drawing to a close there was a final bonus as Andrew and Jim combined to give us a duet of Bonnie Wee Jean McColl with which the audience joined in.

So ended a night of outstanding entertainment and pleasure, which was greatly appreciated by a very happy audience. Wrapped in the warm pleasure of the evening we went out to partake of another Scottish delight – the Scottish winter’s first, early blizzard. The snow and ice might be slowly melting away, but the memory of such an enjoyable evening is not going to fade anytime soon.

Some images from the evening are shown below. If you place your mouse pointer over them you can see a larger version.

(Apologies for the poor quality of images. The nominated photographer, Bryan Weir, was enjoying himself too much to remember to use his camera.)

St Andrews night 02 St Andrews night 03

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