Glasgow Letter – 9.1.20

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Dancing Shoes at the Ready…

Those of you who have not yet bought tickets for Donnie Maroot’s Strictly Come Cèilidh Dancing event will perhaps be persuaded by the offer of a free drink on the door.

Yes, half the population have committed themselves to “dry January” but Donnie assures me that there will be plenty of dry options – such as dry white wine, dry gin, and dry martini!

I understand many of the competitors have been engaging in fitness classes and dance lessons in order to prime themselves for the event.

The stakes are incredibly high as 10 Highland ‘celebrities’ face up for this prestigious prize adjudicated by three esteemed judges: Rachel McLagan (the only professional dancer in the whole production!), Darren MacLean, and yours truly. Competitors on the evening will be Mànran’s Ewen Henderson, Skerryvore’s Martin Gillespie, Sian’s Ceitlin LR Smith, Trail West’s Seonaidh MacIntyre, Alba Choir’s Joy Dunlop, Iain Beggs and Mairi MacLennan from BBC Alba series Bannan, Shona Masson (presenter on BBC Alba), Helen MacInnes (who’s sister, Alana, was due to dance but only recently dropped her poor sister in it!), and Lorne MacDougall – possibly the biggest celebrity of all of us having featured in Doctor Who, Brave, Still Game, Whisky Galore, and Strictly Come Dancing… the actual Strictly Come Dancing as opposed to this cèilidh version!

The most important thing is that this event is fundraising for a very good cause, so will hopefully attract a big audience. The evening begins at 7.30pm in the Glasgow University Union. Tickets are £25 and are available by contacting Donald on donniemaroot@hotmail.co.uk

What’s on at Celtic Connections

There are far too many Celtic Connections performances to list but here is a selection from the first weekend of the festival that I felt would interest Oban Times readers…

Thursday January 16: Opening Night with the GRIT Orchestra performing “The Declaration” in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at 7:30pm.

Friday January 17: Duncan Chisholm in the City Halls Recital Room at 5pm

Friday January 17: Breabach @ 15 with Seamus Egan Project in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at 7:30pm

Friday January 17: Dìleab Air a’ Chuan in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, New Auditorium, at 7:30pm

Saturday January 18: Coastal Connections Festival in a Day in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at noon.

Saturday January 18: The GRIT Orchestra – Martyn Bennett’s Grit and Bothy Culture in The Barrowland Ballroom at 7:30pm.

Saturday January 18: Blazin’ Fiddles and Special Guest Emily Smith and Support in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at 8pm.

Saturday January 18: Celtic Connections Cèilidh with the Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band in the Maryhill Community Central Halls at 8pm.

Sunday January 19: New Voices – Pàdruig Morrison in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde Suite, at 1pm.

Sunday January 19: Bruce MacGregor – The Highlander’s Revenge and Other Tall Tales in the City Halls Recital Room at 5pm.

Sunday January 19: A Celebration of Women in Piping in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde Suite, at 8pm.