CORNET Michael Davidson was treated to a world exclusive at the Bunfoot Common-Riding concert last Thursday night.
Organisers had rolled out the red carpet for this year’s man-of-the-moment and the rest of the Big Eight who were warmly welcomed by young and old for the annual celebration.
And pupils from the school pulled off an early surprise as they revealed a brand new verse to the popular song Home by Burnfoot.
Deputy head teacher Aileen Wilson explained: “As part of the Vision 2014 project our pupils have been involved in the Viewpoint project and every class in the school has been involved, or will be involved, in researching in and around Burnfoot in preparation for the Galalaw viewpoint.
“Our primary four class went with [head teacher] Mrs Chapman to visit Burnhead Tower and then did more research at the Heritage Hub and discovered that the area of Burnfoot has a rich history of its own!
“So following a lot of discussion and using the information we discovered, Ian Landles very kindly wrote a new verse for Home By Burnfoot which we sang last Thursday and at the 1514 concert on Wednesday.”
The new lines are: ‘In reiving days when beacons blazed the Borders to alarm, The Burnfoot folk in Burnhead Tower would shelter safe from harm, Then for revenge the Scotts would ride next night the moon was oot, And bring the stolen cattle hame again to Burnfoot’.
The choir also added a stirring rendition of Bonnie Banner Blue to great applause.
It was the first of several firsts for the traditional evening of Common-Riding entertainment, hosted by Burnfoot Community Council. Among the performers, who included Ian ‘Opera’ Scott, Joyce Tinlin and Bernie Armstrong, was Bernie’s daughter Evelyn, a hugely talented young singer who was making her inaugural appearance at the event.
When called up for their customary star turn the Big Four didn’t disappoint by singing Alan Brydon’s And we Ride in what was the first time they had performed the Reiver’s Moon song.
And it was also the first official engagement for newly-elected Honorary Provost Ron Smith, just 24 hours after taking over the role, who said he was “delighted” to be part of the evening.
All this helped create a fantastic event.
The Drums and Fifes – Ronnie Nichol, Ian Anderson and Kenny King – got proceedings under way in the best possible fashion, leading the Big Eight and then the school choir into the packed hall before performing a medley of songs.
The evening showers had given way to beautiful spring sunshine outside and inside, under the chairmanship of Derek Inglis, everyone was positively beaming.
Gifts were presented to the Cornet and his Lass Kirsteen by Billy-Jo Tennant and Ann Murray and the Acting Father and Mother by Deon Drummond and Louise Carr. And a special moment was reserved for Bryce Hume and Laura Makin who were drawn as this year’s Burnfoot Carnival Cornet and Queen.
There were impromptu turns from Councillor Stuart Marshall and Mr Inglis himself as well as the fair voices of Cornet’s Lass Kirsteen, Right-Hand Lass Stacey Brand, Left-Hand Lass Laura Peden and Acting Mother Wendy Nichol.
The popularity of the Cornet’s Party was there for all to see during the interval, when scores of excited children flocked to the top table to catch their autographs.
And the popularity of the evening continued after the break – which included a delicious buffet served up by Sharon Halfpenny and the catering staff – with more singing and more entertainment, accompanied by pianist Margaret Logan.
This carried on right through to the traditional strains of Teribus and Cornet’s Up as another superb evening was brought to a close.
Cornet Davidson said: “It’s been a great night, both the hospitality and entertainment have been first class.”
And so, while it may have been a first for many things, the customery enjoyment at Burnfoot continued in time-honoured fashion.
n Common-Riding Souvenir supplement, pages 11-14