Glasgow Letter – week 25

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Last Saturday evening was the opening night of the Wellington Arts Festival 2022 in Wellington Church on University Avenue.

It was an opportunity for audience members to swap the West End for the West Coast as they were treated to a fantastic programme of Gaelic songs, pipe and accordion music by two good Lochaber men – Calum MacColl and Màrtainn Skene.

I was in London at the weekend so, unfortunately, couldn’t make it along but I have read a number of good reports on social media including one from highly renowned Argyllshire mouth organ player Donald Black, who described the concert as ‘wonderful from beginning to end’.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, there are many events throughout this week of the festival – from choral and orchestral music, to Shakespeare and poetry – all organised by organist Alan Kitchen, no doubt in collaboration with the Reverend Richard Baxter.

Richard, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, was, until recently, the minister back home in Fort William at the Duncansburgh MacIntosh.

Another event in Glasgow recently that seems to have been a great success was the GG’s first annual concert post-covid which they used to remember and celebrate their former member and friend Gordon McKeeve.

Gordon was a great guy and I am sure the night, in Hyndland Parish Church, was a fitting musical tribute to him. Donations on the evening were to cancer research and there is still a justgiving link on the choir’s Facebook page for anyone who wishes to contribute in Gordon’s memory.

Now that I have returned from my recent travels, I am looking forward to the rare occasion when I manage to attend a concert I write about in this column, namely the Niteworks and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the Royal Concert Hall on Wednesday night which will be happening as this week’s paper goes to press. I shall report back on the concert next week.

While away with Tide Lines over the last couple of weeks, I had the most remarkable ‘small world’ experience in Hamburg.

Having enjoyed a dinner of fried and pickled herring at the docks, we headed to the famous Reeperbahn to sample a Hamburg night out. Music was blaring from a number of bars and, as we considered where to go, I heard a strong Irish accent say: ‘Goodness me – are you the Robertson fellow?’

I turned to discover one of the lads from Jigjam – a fantastic band from Tipperary who will be familiar to regulars of Tiree Music Festival (TMF). Inside the bar, we caught up with all the lads in the band and toasted how great it is to be back out on the road after the last couple of years. The lads are heading to TMF again this year, July 8 to July 10, and, as always, the line up is impressive.