Members of Alloway Burns Club had a great day on their club outing to Dumfries. The weather was great, the company was great, food was great, even the driver was great. Being a Burns Club more acquaint with Burns’ early life it was interesting and enjoyable to learn more of his later life. We visited Burns Museum, paid our respects at the Mausoleum and visited that well-known public house that opened in 1610 and Burns was all too acquaint with, the Globe Inn. Before returning home we had an enlightening tour of Ellisland Farm where Burns wrote some of his best work including Tam O’ Shanter. The thought of which brought us happily back to Alloway.
Our recent Inter‐Club Night was a great success. People from Alloway Burns Club and members of other Ayrshire Clubs gathered to celebrate the works of the Bard and other Scots literature and song. It was a great night of entertainment where the very young to the, well ‘not so young’, participated together. There were songs and readings from varied sources including a thought-provoking piece written and delivered by a young person who had penned the words in Flanders Field and was later attached to a wreath laid at the Menin Gate in Ypres.
As well as a magic trick at the end there was a light‐hearted quiz during the evening and in the same vein as that well known television quiz show the team that scored fewest points won the prize much to their delight.
On the 20th July the club held their annual Friendship Evening to commemorate the first Burns Supper held in the cottage near to the anniversary of the Bard‘s death. A goodly number attended filling the Red Room in the Education Centre. Mr Angus Middleton was in splendid form and gave an enlightening, interesting and humorous talk. After food the entertainment was of a high standard, the participants being of all ages, some from far away, a lady opera singer who had travelled from America willingly participated with a rendition of Amazing Grace much to the enjoyment of all gathered.
Alloway Burns Club wishes to thank the many people who attended their coffee morning on Saturday 15th June. What a wonderful effort by all, tea, coffee and cakes were plentiful, and a lot of young plants headed off to their new homes. All this resulted in almost £700 being raised and helped to secure funding for the 2020 Primary 7 Burns Supper. This supper gives Primary 7 pupils from schools throughout South Ayrshire a tremendous opportunity to participate and to perform.
On 7th April, Alloway Burns Club had the great pleasure in hosting this years 20th Robert Burns World Federation Annual Lasses Lunch. The day was set in the beautiful surroundings of the Brig O’ Doon House Hotel and was a wonderful day of friendship, laughter and delicious fayre. Special thanks go to this years speaker Julie Griffiths as well as all who delightfully entertained. We were blessed to have such wonderfully talented youngsters, Celtic Voices led by Davey provided song, Sophie Craig, recitation and song and Daniel provided the ambiance with the bagpipes.
The final event of our 2018-19 programme was the Youth Night and AGM. This is always one of the highlights of the year and this year’s event didn’t disappoint the capacity attendance in Alloway Church Halls. The audience enjoyed contributions from the club’s own talented young people, from some performers at the recent Primary 7 Burns Supper and from some participants in the Ayrshire Schools Burns Competitions.
An impressive aspect of this year’s event was the variety of talent demonstrated. The poetry included some favourite pieces by Burns and a selection of other poems in Scots which were much appreciated by the company. There were some incredibly talented instrumental acts including pipers, trumpeters, twins playing a euphonium and a bassoon and a duet on fiddle and guitar. Three skilled young dancers performed a couple of sets including a sword dance. Finally, there were three songs - a solo of “Scots Wha Hae”, Annbank Primary’s haunting version of “Caledonia” and Dundonald Primary singing the beautiful Gaelic air “Crodh Laoidh nam Bodach”.
The success of the evening was very much down to the hard work of retiring Council member, Beth Kerr, who liaised with the parents of the young people and introduced all the acts. After the performances, everyone enjoyed an impressive supper provided by the Council members. Once the guests had left, the AGM got underway and Maureen Leitch was installed as the new President of the club.
The final event of January was our concert “Till a’ the seas gang dry” held in Alloway Church on Sunday 27th January as part of the Burns Hame Toun festivities. This is the new name for the traditional Alloway 1759 event. Piper, Daniel Nicol, welcomed an audience of over 150 to an enjoyable and varied programme of music and poetry.
Karin Stewart launched the afternoon in the most appropriate fashion by sing “My Luve is like a Red Red Rose”. There were two sets of songs from both the Alloway Burns Club Choir and the ever popular folk group, Luath. For the first time, we also enjoyed a duet from Fiona McLaren on the fiddle and David Linden on the keyboard. They played the Burns’ air “Lord Gregory”.
There were also recitations from three of our junior members, Oliver McGimpsey, Rebecca Hannah and Calum Hannah. Not to be outdone, four of our slightly more mature members also recited, Maureen Leitch, Bill Kerr, Bill Duncan and Martin Cassidy.
The concert was free but the audience could make a donation towards the cost of our Primary 7 Burns Suppers. We raised over £400 and are hugely indebted to everyone who contributed so generously.
As always, January was a very busy month for Alloway Burns Club. The highlight was our Anniversary Dinner hosted by Club President Andy Moynihan in the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel. The guests were ceremoniously piped into the venue by talented young piper Daniel Nicol, who later piped in the Haggis which was addressed impressively by another one of our younger members, Cameron Kerr. After a delicious meal, the guests were entertained by speeches, poems and music. A thought-provoking Immortal Memory was given by Donald Reid from Barrmill Jolly Beggars Burns Club. The amusing Toast to the Lasses was delivered by Brian Goldie, Vice-President of the Robert Burns World Federation, and responded to, in hilarious verse, by the Club’s own Carol Kennedy.
Bob Cameron gave an amazing rendition of “Tam o’ Shanter” while the Club’s webmaster, Bob Thomson, showed the range of his talent by reciting “The Ronalds of the Bennals”. The final element to a memorable evening was the music. The company enjoyed three songs from the Alloway Burns Club Choir and two sets from the popular folk group Luath, who also led the company in the traditional singing of Auld Lang Syne.
All who attended agreed that they had had a thoroughly enjoyable evening in a setting which is quite unrivalled for such an event.