Performers shine under 1514 spotlight

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THERE was no other place to be in Hawick on Wednesday night than the 1514 Club Hawick Sings concert, where an abundance of talent raised the roof off a packed town hall.

An audience of more than 600 people was treated to a special evening which boasted some of the town’s youngest, oldest, best known and newest performers – and after 28 years proved that not only does it remain a favourite in the local calendar, but that Hawick’s reputation for top-class songs and singers is in safe hands.

President Dougie Rae said it was a “pleasure and an honour” to be at the helm for the evening, which he went on to ably chair with great wit – along with humorous tales as a long-standing member of the Drums and Fifes. It was the ‘best band in the world’ which started the celebration of all things Hawick with the arrival of Cornet Michael Davidson and the official party – whilst Silver Jubilee Cornet David Nuttall with Lass and wife Gael, and their Acting Father and Mother Bert and Jessie Wear, also enjoyed front row seats.

John Tait’s rousing rendition of the 1514 Club Song got the concert off to a fine start, before the stage belonged to more than 200 primary children who delighted the audience in turn. Hobkirk were first with the lovely Soft Lowland Tongue, immaculately dressed St Margaret’s sang Bonnie Teviotdale, before Drumlanrig stirred the audience with Bonnie Banner Blue, and Trinity thrilled with The Border Queen. The Denholm Song proved a hit, followed by the catchy Home By Burnfoot, then Wilton and Left-Hand Lass Laura Peden’s class’s performance of The Lassie That Works in The Mill brought a twist of fate, it being written by her great-great grandfather, Walter Peden. Stirches put their hearts into Up Wi Auld Hawick, before a skilful drum solo and stirring medley from Hawick Junior Pipe Band closed the first half.

Hawick Saxhorn Band and conductor Greig Murray’s toe-tapping Common-Riding selection raised the curtain after the interval, with a clever arrangement that richly deserved its loud cheer. The inimitable Bert Armstrong then stole the spotlight with an empassioned Hail to The Banner, before YM star Chris Ritson was invited by the president to recite a poem entitled The Drums and Fifes – penned by former Hut regular Arthur Bouglas, now resident in St Margaret’s home. The band themselves then took to the stage, including Dougie, with their cherished repertoire. The president presented Cammy Renwick and Steven Domingo with mementos to mark 25 years’ service with the ‘Cornet’s Band’, before introducing the concert’s first newcomer, Davie Paterson. Best known on the opera stage, he gave a powerful performance of The Banner Blue, before yet another first, as Cheryl Brydon showed talent runs in the family performing her Dad Alan’s new song, Return from Hornshole. New face Darren Johnson also impressed with his own song and guitar accompaniment, with The Boy Wi’ The Flag, before all eyes were on gifted Laurie Coburn, who sang a note-perfect Old Mill Town. Liam Caswell captivated with Bonnie Teviotdale, before Ian Landles gave one of the performances of the night with his ode to local Italian families, to the tune of O Sole Mio, entitled Teelio. ‘Auld heids’ Joyce Tinlin and Michael Aitken, as described by the president, then brought their own touch of class to proceedings with Auld Hawick My Dreams, before young Sally Thomas gave an unfaltering rendition of I Like Auld Hawick.

In a heartfelt vote of thanks, Davie Scott, a well-known Robert Burns officianado, originally from Hawick but now living in Duns, said the town should be “very, very proud” of the talent which had graced the stage. He added: “It is fantastic how you can take an empty hall, make it a full hall, and fill it with talent. There was a beautiful rainbow shining in here tonight, and I’m standing in the pot of gold.”

All that remained was for president Dougie to wish everyone a great Common-Riding. And with Cornet’s Up, as official song-singer Michael Aitken led the hall in Teribus with his usual flair, it brought another hugely successful 1514 Club concert to a close.