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annual rallY - 2017


Garioch Fiddlers’ Rally 2017

 The Garioch Fiddlers’ Strathspey & Reel Society Annual Rally took place on Saturday 22 April 2017 in Inverurie Town Hall. It was once again an exciting and entertaining evening of traditional Scottish Fiddle Music played before a packed and enthusiastic audience. The programme was put together for the first time by Susan Simpson, the Society’s new Conductor. 

Susan is an established music teacher in the Grampian area, having taught here for many years. During this time she has also lead and conducted the Ythan Fiddlers based in Ellon. We were particularly pleased when Susan accepted the invitation last autumn, on the retirement of Colin Dempster, to become the Conductor of the Garioch Fiddlers. 

The regular fiddles and accordions of the orchestra were augmented by Callum Malley, a young local drummer, and Kenneth MacBeath, a former Garioch Fiddlers’ Young Fiddler of the Year, this time on the pipes for a very stirring rendition of “Highland Cathedral.” Once again we were pleased to welcome players from several local Strathspey and Reel Societies, with one returning guest coming all the way from Dundee. 

The theme for the “novelty set” this year was “The Beatles” which provided an excuse for all the Junior Fiddlers to dress up in sixties outfits and parade around the hall with a colourful replica of a “yellow submarine.” 

It was again a privilege to present the prizes for our Young Musician Competition which was judged this year by Paul Anderson from Tarland. Chloe Barber won the Alex Garden Memorial Trophy for the best young Fiddler under 15 years of age. Rhona Fraser was presented with the Bert Morgan Cup for the best Slow Air, and Katie Machray won the George Smith Trophy, donated by Moira Smith, in memory of her late husband, for the best competitor entering the competition for the first time. Finlay Morse, who now attends the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, once again won the Bill Johnston Memorial Trophy and entertained the audience with a lively rendition of his winning programme. The Juniors, ably led by conductor Nicola Tierney, enthralled the audience with their own programme at the beginning of the second half. 

Another ‘first’ was for a junior member to conduct one of the Rally numbers. A very confident Mark Simpson (11 years old) stepped up to the podium and conducted the orchestra and its three “spoon ladies” Margaret McLaren, Moira Smith and Gladys Thomson through a lively Virginia Reel. The Junior Players add so much joy to the evening and help with their talents to keep the Society refreshed. 

Our Guest Artistes were Mairearad Green and Anna Massie, traditional young musicians from the Highlands, who sparkled as they sang and played accordion accompanied by guitar and fiddle. Anna added to the entertainment with her witty anecdotes and droll “patter.” 

Our own Colin Dempster was not to be outdone as he compered proceedings in his indomitable couthy manner. His singing skills came to the fore as he led the audience through the community singing number. 

It was another successful and enjoyable Rally, in this the Society’s 35th year, and we look forward to welcoming you all to the 2018 Rally on Saturday 21 April at Inverurie Town Hall.


Joe McDowall Chair