The Ceilidh 2016

June 13, 2016 at 2:12 PM

With a birthday cake to celebrate the occasion, Saint Kentigern held its 21st consecutive Ceilidh on Saturday night; an event that attracts members of our community, and beyond, to an evening of tradition, pageantry - and hilarity!

The Pipes & Drums first Ceilidh was set up and run in 1996 as fundraiser to help boost the band on its way to its first tour of Scotland the following year.  According to Head of the Pipes & Drums, Mr Andrew Lightfoot, ‘It would have been a one-off occasion but it was such a tremendous success that it was unstoppable.’  It has remained an annual fixture ever since and is brought together by a team of Parents, Staff and Old Collegians who sponsor and coordinate the dance band, musicians, dancing and singing, as well as the prizes and auction items.  At its heart, it is still a traditional community event which attracts grandparents, parents, friends, staff and students who all look forward to a great meal, entertainment, traditional Scottish country dancing and a good sing along.

While the annual Ceilidh has helped the band to travel to Scotland on five occasions, this year, the proceeds have a new focus. Following the success of the band’s recent appearance in the 2016 Wellington Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, The Pipes and Drums have received an invitation from the Swiss Armed Forces to participate in the Basel Tattoo 2017!

The Basel Tattoo is presented annually in Switzerland. It takes place at the historical barracks in the heart of the city on the banks of the Rhine, and is recognised internationally as the second largest Tattoo in the world. In 2015 the event was staged to an audience of nearly 120,000.  Being in the centre of Europe, spectators come not only from Switzerland but also from many other countries such as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.  It is an exceptional opportunity for our students to perform on the international stage and to be a part of something quite unique. If all goes according to plan the band will be able to travel to Europe via London to firstly take part in the Old Collegians' annual dinner there.
Despite the lure of an All Black test on the same night, there was a fantastic turnout for this year’s Ceilidh with every seat spoken for. It was a pleasure to welcome the Boys’ School Pipes and Drums to join with the College 2nd Band to open the evening.

MC, as always, for the evening was Head of Middle School, Mr Duncan McQueen who, with the help of an old-fashioned loud hailer, managed to inject some military precision to the chaos of a Grand March that that brought couples into fours, then eights and finally into lines of sixteen across Elliot Hall – in an amazingly smooth manoeuvre this year! We concluded that we have many guests who are willing to return and now know the routine!

When Wee Jock’s Ceilidh Band struck up, few could resist the urge to take to the floor for the dancing. Guests quickly learnt that to prevent spending the evening tripping over their own feet, not to mention their partner’s, they needed to listen out for instructions! It was fabulous to see our prefect team and fellow students, right down to the youngest from the Boys’ School, joining in on the floor and seeming to thoroughly enjoy it all          

Our drummers stepped to the front to give an amazing display of precision drumming before the haggis was paraded in. Year 13 student, James Milner gave his rendition of Robbie Burns ‘Ode to the Haggis’ before said haggis was put on the dinner table for all to try. Following dinner, Mr McQueen asked for a show of hands as to who had not added haggis to their dinner plate – then suggested they should be put on detention to write lines – ‘I must eat haggis!’

During the evening, Lewis Hoggard, James Milner and William Eaddy each came forward to solo pipe and they were superb in their delivery as was Olivia Nobbs, the soloist who sang ‘Hector the Hero.’

After much fun and laughter, the evening concluded with a spirited Auld Lang Syne.  If laughter is a good measure of success, then the Ceilidh surely succeeded in providing an evening of fun-filled entertainment, mixed with a fine meal and a surprising amount of exercise!

We would like to sincerely thank all our parents and staff on the organising committee and especially to our students and supporters who performed on the night and assisted in the great success and smooth running of the event. 

The Pipes and Drums would also like to express heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our sponsors who generously donated goods for auction and families and friends for their continued support of our Ceilidh! 

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