Thursday night saw the club holding its annual celebration of the life and work of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. This is always a special evening and draws a capacity audience every year. Although ours doesn’t have the formality of a full-blown Burns ‘Supper’ we unquestionably did the great man proud. Jim Weatherston kicked off the proceedings with a rousing, (and occasionally quite dangerous) performance of the famous ‘Address to the Haggis’ and, as has now become customary, there was a real (and delicious) local haggis to share later in the proceedings (and also a vegetarian option for those who prefer a meat-free option). As with all our themed evenings Burn’s songs or poems were not compulsory, even those from south of the border – with distinctly non-Scottish accents were met with enthusiastic applause. There’s no partisan sentiments at Nitten – it’s all in the grand spirit of friendship that we’ve built up over the many years we’ve been together.
A few of the many highlights: Robert Mackie’s tremendous singalong ‘The Star of Rabbie Burns’ had everyone on their feet (then back down – then on their feet again. You know the drill). Ronnie Miller delivered a delicate rendition of ‘Green Grow the Rashes-O’, Rab’s peon to the importance of women in the lives of all men. Gordon Jamieson delivered a humorous ‘Toast to the Lassies’ and Gillian Anderson replied with a suitably witty response Paul Ashcroft sang a rattling version of ‘Ye Jacobites By Name’ and, to the delight of the audience, was joined in this by his lovely wife Marion. There were too many wonderful moments to list them all here but all contributions, familiar or otherwise, were greeted with the same warm appreciation that Nitten always provides. During the break there was, of course, the afore mentioned haggis, prepared by Janis and Ian Duncan and served with a tasty assortment of cheeses and snacks (as I said, it’s not a full ‘Supper’ so no bashed neeps & chappit tatties). Many thanks to May for organising the food and to Gillian for helping to dish it up to out guests and visitors.
As has become something of a tradition at Nitten, Jim rounded off the evening with a moving rendition of (what else?) ‘Auld Lang Syne, He had originally planned to sing the first half in the original tune, then switch to the more popular ‘party’ tune but, wisely decided to stick with the original all the way through – much to the approval of the audience. There’s a good reason this is one of Burn’s most widely sung pieces – there’s no other poem in any language that more clearly and accurately describes the true value of real friendship, particularly poignant in these complex and troubled times, especially when you take the time to listen to the full text, as sung by Jim. Auld Aquaintance must never be forgot and at Nitten Folk Club we have that in abundance. If you couldn’t make it this year make sure you come along next time – you’ll leave with a wonderful warm feeling in your heart – even on a cauld January evening. Congratulations to everyone who helped to organise the evening and warm thanks to everyone who joined us for what was a truly great night.