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May Club Night Report

 The Highland Club met for the final meeting of the season in the usual venue and once again the large crowd was treated to another superb evening of top quality entertainment.

Graham Wilson had fought off various bugs and other things to take his place on the stage. With drummer John Brander from Elgin behind him, Graham started proceedings with some lively tunes.

Hamish Macdougall followed Graham and had Jacquie Macdonald at the keyboards and Mike Smith at the drums. Hamish has been associated with the Highland Club for many, many years and is standing down from the committee at the AGM in June. Terrific servant to the club and really good to know that his playing skills will still be heard in seasons to come. Although relinquishing his committee duties, Hamish intends to keep visiting and playing. Good decision Hamish, and thanks for all your help over all these years.

Donnie West has been a regular in the front row of the hall for many moons now and had taken in a 3 row button box which he had not played for almost as long as he has been using that seat. He asked Fraser Maclean if he would give it a blast and Fraser duly obliged. Fraser had Mike Smith at the drums, Callum Mackaskill on guitar and Jacquie Macdonald on keyboards. Huge smiles of pleasure from Donnie as the master of the three row did the box credit.

Alex Mackenzie from Garve completed the line up of local players for the first half and played a couple of very lively sets. He was accompanied by John Brander on drums, Jacquie Macdonald on keyboards and Callum Mackaskill on the guitar.

Time for the guests now and Iain Cathcart and his band filled the spot with a display of high quality musicianship. The timing was impeccable and hugely entertaining.

Iain had Jennifer Cruickshank on keyboards, her husband Brian Cruickshank on fiddle andDuncan Christie on drums.

Iain and the band took us up to a very welcome half time cuppa.

After the break Susie Simpson led a quartet with good friend Jock Fraser on second box, Jacquie Macdonald on keyboards and Bob Wares on the drums.

All sing a long stuff from Susie and she is a great favourite with the Highland faithful.

Susie moved over to the keyboards and allowed Jock Fraser to take the lead and Heather Fraser joined them on the drums.

The quality of our local players at the moment is exceptionally high and any one of them could hold down a guest spot on their own merits. Such a treat to have them all on board and attending faithfully almost every club night. Thanks guys.

Disappointing to see one of our local players has sadly suffered a broken shoulder whilst tplaying football. We wish Colin Donaldson a speedy recovery and sincerely hope it won’t have an adverse effect on his box playing skills. We look forward to having you back amongst us Colin.

Back to the guests now to bring the evening and indeed the season to a climax.

Iain Cathcart and the band maintained the quality and precision of the first half and even found time for a fiddle solo from Brian and a tune on the box from Jennifer. All highly entertaining from a really fine bunch of people who certainly know their way in the Scottish Dance Band scene.

A huge thank you must go to all the players who have joined us on stage over the season just finished and also to the many fine musicians who have joined us as guests.

Lastly a huge thank you also to the audience at the Highland Club, because without them we really don’t have a show worth putting on.

The end of a fabulous season for the Highland Club and we look forward to seeing you back with us on the third Monday of the month from September onwards.

Enjoy your summer break.

 

The Highland Club met in the Waterside Hotel, Inverness for their April meeting and once again the faithful were not to be disappointed.

 

A smaller than usual crowd and a diminished number of local players did not distract one iota from the quality on offer.

 

Graham Wilson had missed the last two Club nights with illness but was fighting fit this time round. Ian Anderson was visiting from Keith with his wife and found himself at the drums.

 

Welcome back Graham.

 

Hamish Macdougall followed Graham onto the stage, and Ian Anderson stayed at the drums. They were joined by Ian's Mum Ena Brian on the keyboards.

 

A really busy night for Ian Anderson as he stayed on the drums with the next player. Jean Millwood had the box with her and formed a trio when Jacquie Macdonald took to the keyboards.

 

Time for the guests now and The Ewan Galloway Trio filled the spot with fantastic energy, enthusiasm and a huge amount of skill, sheer musicianship and pure entertainment.

 

The safe hands of Bill Ewan on keyboards and an equally safe pair of hands in Kyle Innes at the drums, had the crowd in raptures from the off and postie Ewan delivered on all fronts with a first class performance. The performance included a solo rag spot from Bill Ewan and the crowd were ready for their half time cuppa after that.

 

The man from Garve, Alex Mackenzie  kicked the second half into action with some rousing sets and able backing from Ena Brian on keyboards and Bob Wares on the drums.

 

Fraser Maclean completed the local players spot, but not with his usual 3 row button box. Instead he had borrowed the 2 row box from Hamish Macdougall. Fraser's versatility shone through and he coped admirably with the loss of a whole row of buttons.

 

All the local players excelled tonight and let's not forget the valuable contribution made by our visitors Ian Anderson and Ena Brian. The quality of all on display was of an exceptionally high standard and we consider ourself blessed indeed with the quality on offer.

 

Ewan Galloway brought the show to an end with a varied performance. We had an accordion solo spot from drummer Kyle Innes and the crowd demanded an encore, which was duly completed. Once again Ian Anderson took to the drums to let Kyle have a tune on the box.

 

Ewan joined Bill Ewan at the keyboards for a piano duet and the variety on offer from this trio was really enjoyed by the crowd.

 

Ewan and the boys played a huge selection of all things Scottish and even managed a wee continental waltz and also a bit of classical, before sending the faithful home with their heads buzzing from a performance that was straight out of the top drawer.

 

Yet another super night at the Highland Accordion and Fiddle Club

 

 

Bob Wares

March Club Night Report

The Highland Club met in the usual venue for the March meeting and despite a lower than usual attendance due to inclement weather, and a diminished local players list, the meeting still managed to reach the highest levels.

Hamish Macdougall led the charge with Susie Simpson at the keyboards and Mike Smith on drums.

Susie remained on the keyboards to allow Nichol Mackay to take the lead with his 5 row button box. Great sound from this instrument and Nichol has mastered it to perfection and even managed to slip in a wee strathspey which is not something heard of too often these days.

Jean Millwood completed the local players spot and Susie kept her place at the keyboards and this time John Brander took to the drums. John is a fairly frequent visitor to the club from the Elgin area and is a welcome addition to the players spot.

Time for the guests now and the Colin Garvin Trio had made the trip north from the Livingstone area. Colin on lead box had travelled with drummer Alan Irvine and they were joined by local lad Colin Donaldson on second box.

Colin Garvin is a very experienced player and the leader was in exceptional form and the tunes just kept coming. No story telling of any sort and just top quality playing from start to finish which had the crowd very impressed indeed.

Superb stuff from the guests before the half time cuppa.

After the break Susie Simpson returned with the box and played some cracking wee sets as a soloist. It had been a busy night for Susie so far and she had earned a rest.  Thanks Susie.

Fraser Maclean followed on and had Calum Mackaskill on guitar and John Brander returned to the drums. Fraser is a master at storytelling and managed to insert a great deal of humour involving a couple revisiting their honeymoon hotel. All good (and clean) stuff.

Back to the guests to close the show. Straight into top gear for Colin and the boys and they just stayed in cruise the whole way through. A really splendid display of top notch music, including a wee modern waltz by way of a variation, was very well received and they managed very comfortably to send the faithful home in a great frame of mind.

Yet another very good evening's entertainment at the Highland Club.

Bob Wares.

 

The Highland Club met for the February meeting at the usual venue and once again another first class evening of quality entertainment was to unfold.

The evening opened on a sad note when Club secretary Jacquie Macdonald announced the passing of one of the great servants of the club almost from its inception over 40 years ago. Marion Mackenzie, a former committee member, had been ill of late and sadly passed away earlier in February. Marion will be greatly missed and has not managed to be with us at all this season. Our thoughts are with her family. Marion's late husband Angus was a former chairman of the Club.

John Ross assumed the roll of MC after Bob Wares was taken ill by one of those annoying bugs doing the rounds. John let nobody down and did a great job.

First up was Susie Simpson with Jock Fraser by her side on second box and Mike Smith at the drums.

Hamish Macdougall was next on stage and Susie Simpson moved over to the keyboards and Mike Smith remained at the drums.

Alan Smith from the Lanark Club had made the trip north and had the box with him. Alan played a couple of sets with Jacquie Macdonald at the keyboards and Mike Smith stayed at the drums. Thanks for the visit Alan. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Colin Donaldson was a welcome visitor and can't manage along as often as he would like to. He had Heather Donaldson with him on drums and Matthew Maclennan was borrowed from the guests on the second box.

Time for the guests now and the Hector Macfadyen Scottish Dance Band had made the trip north.

Hector had a familiar line up with fiddler Morris Duncan, Matthew Maclennan on keyboards and fans favourite Kevin McGlynn on the drums. Hector and the band just let loose from the word go and had a very appreciative audience responding loudly and very favourably. Great stuff from the guests as we went for the half time cuppa and a welcome break from the high tempo.

Back to the music and Fraser Maclean started the second half with Mike Smith at the drums and Callum  Mackaskill on the guitar. The second half just picked up at the same level as the first half had finished.

The man from Garve, Alex Mackenzie made his way to the stage and with Calum Mackaskill staying on the guitar and Mike Smith on the drums, Alex once again played to his usual high standards.

Susie Simpson returned, this time as a soloist to complete the local players and once again a huge thank you goes out to all those players who took their turn on the stage. It is really much appreciated.

Back to the guests to bring the evening to a close and Hector and his band hit all the high spots very quickly and then just stayed up there. Fantastic show from the Hector Macfadyen Scottish Dance Band and he is right up there amongst the very best. Our audience certainly think that and gave them a long and loud round of applause as they brought the evening to a close.

Yet another fabulous night at the Highland Accordion And Fiddle Club.

January Club Night Report

 

The Highland Club met for the first time this year and another large crowd were once again treated to an extravaganza of top notch entertainment. 

Graham Wilson assumed his now customary position at the head of the pack and led with Ian Joseph Macdonald on second box.

A great start by these guys had the feet tapping instantly and Nichol Mackay with his five row button box kept them tapping. Jacquie Macdonald was at keyboards as Nichol made a welcome return to the Club after a brief spell away. Welcome back Nichol.

Hamish Macdougall followed with Ian Joseph Macdonald on second box, Susie Simpson on keyboards and Mike Smith on drums.

Jock Fraser has been a regular visitor over the last 3 or 4 months and he was present in the hall once again. With Susie Simpson moving over to second box, Jacquie Macdonald at keyboards and Mike Smith on drums, Jock just gave it laldy and had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.

Fraser Maclean completed the line up of floor players. Ian Joseph Macdonald was at the keyboards this time round, Calum Mackaskill was on the guitar and Mike Smith retained the seat at the drums. Fraser managed to relate yet another story involving the poor folk of the village of Tore near Inverness. Such a den of iniquity and there is always something going on, according to Fraser at least. Fraser is a great story teller and no mean box player either. Thanks guys.

Time for the guests now and The Andrew Macdonald Ceilidh Band had made the trip up the A82 from the Fort William area.

Andrew Macdonald on piano accordion, with Robert Nairn on fiddle and Hugh MacCallum on drums just wowed the crowd right from the off. What a wonderful display of pure musical genius from these guys. No music , no stories and straight from the heart. It doesn't get any better than that.

Jigs, reels, waltzes, marches, it really didn't matter what they played, the standard remained exceptionally high right the way through and the crowd were ready for their cuppa at the interval.

Susie Simpson got the second half under way with Jacquie Macdonald at keyboards, Jock Fraser on second box and Bob Wares at the drums. Susie played us into Burns season with a medley of Burns tunes which enticed the audience into song.

Ian Joseph Macdonald finally managed to get into the band leaders seat and Graham Wilson joined him on second box. Sitting in the back row were two long standing friends of Ian's. Sheila Henderson was at keyboards and her brother Ewan Henderson was at the drums.

Ian is sadly now not available for most of the remainder of this year and is busy on the entertainment front. Enjoy it all Ian and hurry back to see us. You know you are very welcome.

One more local player took to the stage before the return of the guests. Jean Millwood had Jacquie Macdonald at keyboards and a Mike Smith on drums and turned in her usual high quality performance.

Once again a huge thank you has to go to all the local players. Without them there just would not be a Club Night and the standard on offer within the Highland Club at the moment is of a very high standard indeed. Thank you guys.

Back to the guests to bring the evening to a close. Andrew Macdonald and the boys just lifted the tempo up another wee bit and played a stormer. A few solos from Robert Nairn on the button box completed a fabulous evening and brought a few people to their feet at the end.

Yet another really good nights entertainment at the Highland Accordion and Fiddle Club.

Bob Wares

January Club Night Report

 

The Highland Club met for the first time this year and another large crowd were once again treated to an extravaganza of top notch entertainment. 

Graham Wilson assumed his now customary position at the head of the pack and led with Ian Joseph Macdonald on second box.

A great start by these guys had the feet tapping instantly and Nichol Mackay with his five row button box kept them tapping. Jacquie Macdonald was at keyboards as Nichol made a welcome return to the Club after a brief spell away. Welcome back Nichol.

Hamish Macdougall followed with Ian Joseph Macdonald on second box, Susie Simpson on keyboards and Mike Smith on drums.

Jock Fraser has been a regular visitor over the last 3 or 4 months and he was present in the hall once again. With Susie Simpson moving over to second box, Jacquie Macdonald at keyboards and Mike Smith on drums, Jock just gave it laldy and had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.

Fraser Maclean completed the line up of floor players. Ian Joseph Macdonald was at the keyboards this time round, Calum Mackaskill was on the guitar and Mike Smith retained the seat at the drums. Fraser managed to relate yet another story involving the poor folk of the village of Tore near Inverness. Such a den of iniquity and there is always something going on, according to Fraser at least. Fraser is a great story teller and no mean box player either. Thanks guys.

Time for the guests now and The Andrew Macdonald Ceilidh Band had made the trip up the A82 from the Fort William area.

Andrew Macdonald on piano accordion, with Robert Nairn on fiddle and Hugh MacCallum on drums just wowed the crowd right from the off. What a wonderful display of pure musical genius from these guys. No music , no stories and straight from the heart. It doesn't get any better than that.

Jigs, reels, waltzes, marches, it really didn't matter what they played, the standard remained exceptionally high right the way through and the crowd were ready for their cuppa at the interval.

Susie Simpson got the second half under way with Jacquie Macdonald at keyboards, Jock Fraser on second box and Bob Wares at the drums. Susie played us into Burns season with a medley of Burns tunes which enticed the audience into song.

Ian Joseph Macdonald finally managed to get into the band leaders seat and Graham Wilson joined him on second box. Sitting in the back row were two long standing friends of Ian's. Sheila Henderson was at keyboards and her brother Ewan Henderson was at the drums.

Ian is sadly now not available for most of the remainder of this year and is busy on the entertainment front. Enjoy it all Ian and hurry back to see us. You know you are very welcome.

One more local player took to the stage before the return of the guests. Jean Millwood had Jacquie Macdonald at keyboards and a Mike Smith on drums and turned in her usual high quality performance.

Once again a huge thank you has to go to all the local players. Without them there just would not be a Club Night and the standard on offer within the Highland Club at the moment is of a very high standard indeed. Thank you guys.

Back to the guests to bring the evening to a close. Andrew Macdonald and the boys just lifted the tempo up another wee bit and played a stormer. A few solos from Robert Nairn on the button box completed a fabulous evening and brought a few people to their feet at the end.

Yet another really good nights entertainment at the Highland Accordion and Fiddle Club.

Bob Wares

DECEMBER CLUB NIGHT REPORT

The December meeting of the Highland Club saw another large crowd in attendance and they were again treated to an outstanding night of Scottish music which was just truly superb.

First up was Jean Millwood who had Jacquie Macdonald at the keyboards and Jock Stephen on the drums. Well done Jean as it is always a challenge to set the bar from the off and you most certainly did.

Graham Wilson was next up and with John Brander from Elgin on drums, played a couple of very lively sets which certainly kept the high bar still very firmly in position.

Time now for a man who has not been seen on the club trail for many months, but found the time to come in on this occasion. Archie Macphee made a very welcome appearance with John Brander remaining on the drums and Jacquie Macdonald returning to the keyboards.

Archie is hoping to be able to visit club nights a wee bit more often, and he most certainly will be very welcome.

Another player of very high standing was next up. Jock Fraser, a band leader in his own right for many successful years, was joined by Susie Simpson on the keyboards, with Archie Macphee remaining on second box. Gillian Stevenson was on fiddle and Bob Wares was at the drums. Terrific sound from Jock and the gang.

Dougie Stuart also managed in on a cold December night with the fiddle. Been a wee while since we had the pleasure of Dougies company and with Jacquie Macdonald at the keyboards, Dougie displayed just what we have been missing all these whiles.

Guest artiste time now and Matthew MacLennan had made the journey to fill the spot.

With Nicky McMichan on second box, Iain Anderson on fiddle and Neil Macgregor from Thurso on drums, Matthew hit all the high spots. Musically brilliant just about sums up Matthews performance. He covered everything Scottish, with a wonderful display of talent and skill. Timing was spot on and how the dancers in the hall managed to remain seated, we will just never know.

What a cracking first half and the bar was still very firmly in place when Fraser Maclean  set the second half under way, with his now traditional rendering of the Jimmy Shand classic “Welcome Christmas Morning”.

Fraser had Susie Simpson on keyboards and Bob Wares on the drums. Also on stage was Calum Mackaskill, this time with the steel guitar as many of the members had been asking for it to have an airing. As a Christmas treat, Calum duly obliged and played a nice wee waltz and then stepped the pace up to a quick step to rapturous applause from the very appreciative audience.

Janet Graham was enjoying a wee break in the area and had the box with her. Jock Fraser on second box, Jacquie Macdonald at the keyboards and Gillian Stevenson on fiddle, made for a very powerful line up and Janet led the assembly with aplomb and expertise. 

Time for another favourite before the guests returned. Alex Mackenzie from Garve had Archie Macphee on second box with Calum Mackaskill on guitar and John Brander at the drums.

Alex very successfully completed the line up of local players and what a line up it had been. Some exceptional playing from some exceptional musicians and every one of them either has been a guest artiste at some time or most certainly could be. Fantastic stuff.

A really busy night for MC Bob Wares and sincere apologies are intended for the players who were not able to have a turn on stage. It’s always a disappointment to leave somebody out, but we would have needed to play on till midnight to give everybody a tune. Sincere apologies to these players, and please don’t let it put you off and come back and see us.

The Matthew Maclennan Scottish Dance Band returned to bring the evening to a close. All his band members are seasoned campaigners and very experienced in all they do. The quality of playing was really outstanding and Matthew managed to finish with a wee Christmas number which sent the crowd home for the break in really good spirits.

What a really terrific night we had the Highland Accordion and Fiddle Club.

Bob Wares

NOVEMBER CLUB NIGHT REPORT The Highland Club met in The Waterside Hotel, Inverness for their November meeting. The atmosphere within was warm and convivial in direct contrast to the cold, frosty night outdoors. Susie Simpson, fresh from her stint at the Highland Showtime, lead the show and played to her usual very high standard to get the feet tapping and the evening underway.

The ever present Jean Millwood followed on and had Jacquie Macdonald on keyboards with Bob Wares on the drums. Jean is a very welcome addition to any play list with her easy going and very competent playing.

Jock Fraser, band leader extraordinaire made a very infrequent visit to the club and was welcomed onto the stage with Susie Simpson on keyboards and Mike Smith on the drums. They were joined by Alastair Macdonald from Thurso on second box. Jock is one of the old school and plays with terrific timing and composure and it was great to have him with us. Jock was also with Susie Simpson as part of her trio at the recent Highland Showtime.

Graham Wilson completed the local line up for the first half with Iain Joseph Macdonald beside him on second box. Graham is an ever present and has a huge inventory of tunes all stored in his head. Thanks Graham Time for the guests and Gordon Patullo, the world renowned accordionist and Malcom Ross, the equally renowned drummer, famous for using the full kit, were both on stage. These guys are top of their particular tree and gave an absolutely astounding performance with ease. No music on stage, other than a few sheets for Malcolm on new tunes they were performing.

Great stuff from the guests who never stopped the whole time they were playing. Very little time for stories and just top quality playing kept the crowd very well entertained indeed. After the break, Alex Mackenzie from Garve led a 4 piece with Susie Simpson on the keyboards, Calum MacKaskill on guitar and Bob Wares back on the drums. Couple of lively sets from Alex set the second half under way. Iain Joseph Macdonald, from Beauly is a much sought after entertainer and only manages a visit to the club on very rare occasions.

Tonight was one of those rare occasions and was certainly worth waiting for and he was joined by Graham Wilson on second box. Bob Wares retained his place at the drums and Jacquie Macdonald resumed her place at the keyboards. Great sound from this band and such a pleasure to have Iain join us when he can.

Alastair Macdonald had made the trip from Thurso for a tune. Alastair is better known as second box with Brandon and Daniel Mcphee but displayed his talents superbly. Thanks for taking the trip Alastair and come back and see us any time you can. Once again the local artistes all did a sterling job and apologies go out to those who didn’t manage to get a wee shottie.

Back to the guests to bring the show to an end, and Gordon and Malcolm just picked up exactly where they finished off. Everything straight out of the top drawer and even time for a few wee drum solos from Malcolm as part of an arrangement of tunes. The boys finished the show with a medley of sing along tunes before sending the crowd home in high spirits. Bob Wares