COLDSTREAM Burns Club, celebrating its 125th year, held its annual Ladies Night Supper on Saturday in the British Legion Club.
The Ladies Night which is open to non-members was started in the 1960’s and has retained its popularity over the years evidenced by the full house.
In his 18th year as chairman Rob Smith got the proceedings underway in his usual confident manner. Following the ‘Selkirk Grace’ from the Rev Jim Watson the proceedings got off to an impressive start with the arrival of the haggis piped in by Pipe Major Rob Bell and carried high by Bobby Hanlon. Rob also gave the address to the “great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race” on which he put his own humorous slant much to the amusement of the company.
The traditional meal which followed was of excellent quality and a credit to Madge Scott and her helpers who prepared and served it in a friendly and efficient manner.
The principal guest for the evening was Helen Morrison from Airdrie, president of the Allanton Jolly Beggars Club in Lanarkshire and a leading light in the Robert Burns World Federation. Helen explained that the initial suggestion that she propose the ‘Tribute to Robert Burns’ at Coldstream was made to her by the late Graham Galbraith whom she had got to know well through their mutual involvement in the schools’ competition organised by the federation. Graham’s untimely passing had added a sadness to the evening for her but she was certain he was present in spirit.
Adopting the persona of Jean Armour, wife of Robert Burns, she told Jean’s story of her life with the bard. The authenticity of her tale coupled with Helen’s unquestionable sincerity enthralled the audience and earned her loud and lengthy applause.
The lament which followed, played by Rob Bell making his third contribution to the evening, was suitably moving and expertly performed.
Ian Buick that consummate Burnsian, then delivered a ‘Tam o’Shanter’ to rival any performed throughout the land. Ian has won a number of competitions with his rendition of Burns’ masterpiece as well as other poems by the Bard and experiencing this performance it was easy to see why.
The toast to ‘the Lasses’ was proposed by the Rev William Paterson from Gavinton whose amusing anecdotes and droll delivery went down extremely well with the audience. Whilst highlighting the age old problem that men have understanding women, he still managed to compliment the fairer sex sufficiently to gain the approval of the female members of the audience.
The reply ‘on behalf o’ the Lasses’, which was proposed by Janet Hodge, could only be described as hilarious. Originally from Burns country in Ayrshire, Janet revealed a life long interest in the works of the great man and the ability to articulate her knowledge to a wider audience in the most humorous of manners. A natural talent, her representation of the female point of view had the audience in stitches and drew a deserved ovation.
Ian Buick returned to the stage, this time in the company of Dave Scott from Duns a weel kent face in local Burns circles and another extremely talented reciter. The pair performed ‘Death and Dr Hornbook’ with Dave first explaining that Burns had written the poem to expose a local apothecary who sold useless and often poisonous medicines to the surrounding population. Again the performance was faultless.
Coldstream Burns Club is fortunate to have the finest of musical talent within its membership and they were on stage on Saturday night. Bobby Hanlon’s ability to deliver a Burns song is recognised by all who have heard him and Saturday was no exception. Singing songs like ‘Ye banks and braes’ and ‘Red, red rose’ he was at the top of his form. Taking time to praise the accomplished piano accompaniment played by the ever popular Ken Pritchard, Bobby explained that Ken had come across old arrangements of the songs which proved to be of the highest quality, leading to the enhancement of the performance.
The two Kennys, Brodie and Hilsley, added another large dollop of musical talent to the evening. They chose a gentle Donovan song ‘Catch the wind’ as their opening number followed by the ever popular ‘Green grow the rashes o’’. As usual the guitar playing was top notch with the melodic blending of the two guitars complementing the expressive singing of Kenny Hilsley. In the second half of the evening they were joined by Amy Anderson Law a young lady with strong Coldstream connections known for her excellent singing ability. Despite suffering from a heavy cold she performed two numbers, Burns’ ‘Ca’ the yowes’ and the more recently written ‘Songbird’ in flawless fashion and in an impressive style of her own.
The final recitation of the evening was delivered by Dave Scott. Dave chose to recite a non Burns poem called ‘A Scotch night’ written by the famous Borders born poet Will H Ogilvie who emigrated to Australia. It is an extremely funny poem set in that country about a typical gathering of Scotsmen enjoying an evening together in which the reciter gets more and more inebriated as the poem progresses. At least that’s the way Dave performed it to the extent that by the end, the whole company was doubled up with laughter.
Throughout the evening the audience had played their part, not only by giving the artistes the best of order but also by joining in the communal songs in wholehearted fashion. Piano accompaniment for these numbers was provided by the talented Ken Pritchard.
Rob Smith thanked all those who had made such a contribution to the evening’s proceedings and the evening drew to a close with Dave Anderson giving the vote of thanks to chairman. This was followed by the assembled company joining the artistes in the traditional singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.