A packed town hall was entertained to the full at the 33rd annual 1514 Club concert on Wednesday night.
The event, which has blossomed over the years into a not-to-be-missed precursor to the Common-Riding, was a great success, and taking their seats in the front row, Cornet Euan Reilly, his Lass Lisa McLean, left-hand Man Ross Gibson, his Lass Michelle Paxton, and the Acting Father and Mother, Stuart and Caja Sharkey must surely have marvelled at the extensive talent before them.
Superbly compered by chairman and club president, Kenny King, the concert was packed with highlights, and the Cornet’s band, the Drums and Fifes, opened on a stirring note with a cracking medley which had the hairs on the back of the neck standing on end.
Former club president John Tait then belted out the club song, Oo’ll Follow Oor Cornet Roond, and left the audience in no doubt as to where his allegiances lay.
As always, the various school choirs took centre stage, with Stirches and Buirnfoot delighting all with their performances of the Bonnie Banner Blue and Home by Burnfoot respectively.
Wilton pulled out all the stops with the foot-tapping And We Ride, while Drumlanrig evoked images of “fower hunder horsmen in yeh streekit line” with a spot-on rendering of The Mosstrooper’s Song.
Trinity, accompanied by Iain ‘Scocha’ Scott, raised the roof with The Anvil Crew, after which two of the school’s ‘pirates’ asked the Cornet to join their crew, an invitation Euan couldn’t refuse and he duly donned his pirate eye patch, much to the amusement of the audience. Denholm then concluded the choirs’ participation in matters with a note-perfect version of The Best o’ A’.
Bringing the curtain down on what had been a top-notch first half, Dave Finnie and Debbie Lyons were just splendid with the haunting Old Man’s Seat.
The Saxhorn Band, with conductor Greig Murray at the helm, restarted proceedings in fine fashion with a selection of Hawick songs.
Making her first appearance at the 1514 concert, teenager Philippa Robertson, better known as an impressive athlete on the games circuit, showed her singing talents can more than match her achievements on the running track, with a lovely version of I Like Auld Hawick the Best. Philippa had the audience in her thrall and is undoubtedly going to be a much sought-after performer.
Similarly, the ACT 1 youth theatre group also look to have a busy future ahead of them on the local entertainment scene, and had the audience swaying from side to side in Up Wi’ Auld Hawick.
Producing something different, concert regular Tam Knox’s self-penned In England conjured up thoughts of the Battle of Flodden, after which Katie Brydon, with dad Alan accompanying on the piano, hit the high spots with Where Teviot Tummles Doon, a delightful number written by Alan.
Next to grab the spotlight was Ben McCreadie, and things didn’t quite go to plan for the hugely talented Drumlanrig pupil. His voice gave way when singing And We Ride, but the youngster needn’t have worried, as two surprise backing vocalists in the shape of the Cornet and right-hand man Ross Gibson took to the stage, and the trio finished the song off in memorable fashion, garnering the loudest cheers of the night for their superb efforts.
Spanning the generations, 16-year-old Brodie Murray and 91-year-old Bert Armstrong ensured the first-class entertainment continued with the Bonnie Banner Blue and The Border Queen respectively.
And another highlight of the evening was Robert Scott’s beautiful singing of Meda’s Song, while young Euan Welsh, a popular reciter at local Burns suppers, was his usual animated self with his own poem, Frae May ti June.
Debbie Lyons and Dave Finnie, alongside ACT 1, made their second appearance of the evening, and Dave’s own song, Old Mill Town, went down a storm.
Silver jubilee cornet Gary Scott gave the vote of thanks in which he praised the performers, and the night came to a fitting end with Teribus, by official Common-Riding song-singer Michael Aitken, with seven “Cornets Up”. Among the pianists were Ian Landles and Drew Gibb.
The 1514 Club would like to thank Liz and Iain Logan for their continued sponsorship of the concert, Hamish and Sylvia Smith for their valuable raffle donation, Lyle & Scott for sponsoring the refreshments, and the Guides for serving tea at the interval.