Echoes of Scotland at College Ceilidh

June 13, 2024 at 12:34 PM

The resonant echo of bagpipes filled Elliot Hall on the chilly evening of 8 June, beckoning guests inside to the warmth and heralding the triumphant return of the annual College Ceilidh. As attendees crossed the threshold into the hall, grouped in eights for the traditional ‘Grand March’ they were enveloped by the stirring melodies and the palpable anticipation of what promised to be an anything-but-boring-night.

Duncan McQueen, with his customary charm, welcomed the gathering. The hall buzzed with excitement as guests settled at their tables, eyes alight with anticipation, knowing they weren’t to get too comfortable in their chairs. And then, as if summoned by the very heartbeat of Scotland itself, the first and second pipe bands emerged, a force of perfectly synchronised melodies.

The air crackled with energy as the pipers, dressed in their resplendent regalia, reverberated through every corner of the hall. Their stirring performance featuring the skirl of the pipes intertwined with the thunderous rhythm of the drums, was a shadow of the incredible music that will be a part of at the Basel Tattoo in July.

As the last notes faded, a wave of applause erupted, a thunderous ovation to honour the skill of the pipers who have poured hours of practice into the band. Yet, this was only the beginning of the evening’s festivities. With infectious laughter and an all-in attitude, guests took to the dance floor.

Amidst the whirl of tartan and twirl of feet, there was a palpable sense of joy, as dancers of all ages and backgrounds endeavoured to master the steps of Scottish country dancing. Laughter bubbled as novices attempted to navigate the intricate floor patterns, their determination matched only by their sheer enjoyment of the experience.

Throughout the evening, the spirit of Scotland permeated every aspect of the celebration. In the grand tradition of Scottish gatherings, Charles Adams delivered an energetic rendition of the Ode to the Haggis, the perfect homage to the Great Bard before guests sat down to eat a hearty meal complete with haggis.

Silent auction items were available to bid throughout the night, tempting guests with the promise of some incredible prizes. The proceeds garnered from this auction were dedicated to supporting the forthcoming journey of the College Pipes and Drums to the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland – a prestigious event where they are slated to make their second appearance. 

As the night drew to a close, and the echoes of laughter and music lingered in the air. Though Elliot Hall pales in comparison to a lively bar amongst the misty moors and ancient castles of Scotland, the spirit could be felt thousands of kilometres away. The College Ceilidh, with its display of music and dance, once again reignited the spirit of Scotland in a celebration of Saint Kentigern’s heritage.

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