Yesterday I accompanied a small group of NBHS pupils to the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference held in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC). This short promotional video gives some idea of what the conference is about:
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Our remit was to round the opening ceremony with some culture of the host country and we performed four songs by Robert Burns. As a result of various trips we were reduced to a skeleton crew (4 missing from a group of 7 seniors) and I was really impressed with the pupils’ ability to cope with the extra pressure – not the least of which was the jetlag experienced by one pupils who had returned from a school trip to China the previous evening! This pressure was in no small way reduced by the quiet, friendly and assured professionalism of the EICC team who were fantastic. The sound in the venue was clear as a bell and it was a pleasure to play there.
The Lea Rig:
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John Anderson My Jo; Ca’ The Yowes; The Deil’s Awa’ Wi’ The Excise Man:
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Many thanks to Libby Jones for inviting us to play and to Caroline Davis for minibus driving, filming, recording and general joie de vivre.
Thanks also to Zoë (vocals) who, in her last two years of life at NBHS, transformed the life of the senior Guitar Ensemble members. In that time we’ve done more gigs in and out of school than one could ever have imagined. We’d all like to wish her luck with her musical future.
This short film, made in North Berwick High School, is a late contribution to Don Ledingham‘s series, Speak Up For Scottish Education:
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Towards the end of last term a small team of musicians from North Berwick High School were invited to play at East Lothian Council’s Head Teachers’ Conference. A little earlier in the day than they are used to performing, and 3/8 of the team down due to exams and university interviews, they nevertheless gave a great and very well received performance. Here are some excerpts:
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Although the end of term finished, somewhat frustratingly, with the Knox Spring Concert having to be postponed* due to weather conditions, the NBHS Spring Concert was a great success.
The Guitar Ensemble opened their set with Choro: choro (right-click red link to download)
Then Zoe, who has worked with us extensively over the last two years, joined us for two songs by Robert Burns:
The Lea Rig (some mic noise interrupted Verse 1 and so this fades in at Verse 2): the-lea-rig1 (right-click red link to download)
The Deil’s Awa’: the-deils-awa (right-click red link to download)
Although public, in-school engagements are pretty much over for NBHS pupils this term, we are hoping to represent the school at the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference on 28 June. Performing music of the host country at this event would be a great honour for us in addition to being a great end to the school year.
* the Knox Spring Concert has been rescheduled and will take place at 19:00 on Tuesday 20 Apr – the day we return to school
Continuing to experiment with video…here is a hurriedly shot, and appallingly lit, rendition of Now Westlin’ Winds. This is basically an instrumental version of what Dick Gaughan does with Burns’ original on his excellent Handful of Earth album. I did this arrangement a few years ago and a couple of pupils played it their Advanced Higher programmes. The tuning is DADGAD i.e. strings 1, 2 & 6 tuned down a tone (2 fret’s worth).
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Just after writing this, I discovered that this is Dick Gaughan’s “favourite song of all time.”
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New midis of Ca’ The Ewes for the NBHS PTA Burns Supper (Fri 30 Jan) have been posted on the Guitar Group Midis page