Arrochar a “land of savage hills, swept by savage rains, peopled by savage sheep, tended by savage people” in the words of Robbie Burns and our base at the hugely impressive Ardgarten Hotel on the banks of Loch Long for our week long tour of the lochs and glens of Scotland.
The Choir performed its first short concert at a rain soaked Broddick Castle on the Isle of Arran with no piano and rather cramped conditions, but thanks to Elaine’s pitch pipe we were able to produce a reasonable performance.
Reasonable is not good enough for the choir so a much improved attempt was made at our other informal concert in the fascinating setting of Glasgow’s Riverside Museum of Transport and attracted significant attention from visitors to the museum. On this occasion we were accompanied by Juliet Rossiter, the Conductor of our Pembrokeshire Group.
Our first formal concert took place in our hotel to the apparent delight of our many fellow guests. On this occasion our accompanist was Elaine and the compere Ian Powell.
The highlight and climax of the tour came in the magnificent setting of Dunblane Cathedral where we were supported by the 25th Sterling (Dunblane) Boys Brigade Band and Pipes. It was a real joy and privilege to perform for such a large, appreciative audience and to share the stage with such a youthful and accomplished group of musicians. The choir under the direction of Rhiannon Williams and accompanied by Sian Davies produced a stirring and emotional performance in line with its normal high standards. Further highlights of the evening were found in Scott Williams faultless organ solo of ‘Highland Cathedral’, and the band’s final item ‘The Gael’, a piece which stirred the blood. The audience were further entertained by the piano duet from Sian and Elaine and educated by the clearly extensive research done by the compere John Lloyd.
As for Robbie Burns one can only agree with regard to the savage hills and rain, the sheep were at a distance and we found the people charming and hospitable.
Written by Peter Edkins

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