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Shetland Fiddlers Society Trip to John OGroats

3rd November 2015

Photograph of Shetland Fiddlers Society Trip to John OGroats

On Saturday night, 24 October 2015, in John OGroats there took place something of a Shetland reunion, when Shetland Fiddlers Society entertained in the Seaview Hotel. Many of the audience with Shetland family connections had travelled from far and near in Caithness, the fiddlers performance was understandably well welcomed and much appreciated, especially Charlie Simpsons historical tune events and tales.

The visit came about through the friendship of the Fiddlers late president Clair Sutherland from Bressay - who lived in Caithness for many years - with Gordon Shearer of Canisbay. Gordon plays with the Fiddlers when he and his wife Marilyn come to Shetland on holiday, so the October weekend trip was in response to a long-standing invitation.

The Fiddlers travelled south via Kirkwall, Stromness and a stormy passage to Scrabster; then to John OGroats and their base in the Seaview Hotel. They performed over two nights in the hotel to enthusiastic audiences; on Friday, 23 October 2015, the theme was the music of old-time Shetland weddings, and on Saturday, 24 October 2015, a musical tour of the islands. In addition to the fiddle music, the fiddlers, alternative mandolin quartet entertained, and Gordon Shearer's accordion solos included a tune specially written to mark the visit, and tunes on a melodeon that was last played for dances in Stroma more that 50 years ago. One of the best treats of both evening performances was Seaview Hotels’ very own local talented fiddler, Michael Mowat, playing Runrig and the Concertina reel.

Well-attended fiddle workshops were held on Saturday afternoon, for young local fiddlers ranging all the way from Wick, Keiss, to Canisbay. Their solo / duet performances on Saturday evening were another highlight: -
Erin Miller, Leane Cormack played a duet o Da Headlands;,
Joanna Shearer played Da road to Inverie;,
Emily Morrison played a Judi Nicolson tune, Sailing South ; Gladstone;,
Sister duo, Andrea , Beth Cormack played Faded Love

Apart from a couple of young fiddlers missing from the afternoon workshop, Avie Harper ; Alice Dunnett, there was a great showcase of joint fiddling involving everyone in a Shetland & Caithness Fiddle Stramash: -

Boannie Polka, Seven Step Polka, Sister Jean - One o the original sets from 1960 Shetland Fiddlers’ Society concert.
Ronas Voe, Sunset ower Foula, Scalloway Voe - Local Tutor, Addie Harper is doing a great job with teaching tunes by Shetland Composer, Ronnie Couper
A Trowie March for John O'Groats - Newly composed by Fiddlers’ member, Christine Hughson

A local raffle raised £500 for two local good causes - Macmillan Cancer Support and Kayden’s Wish 2 Walk -

The return trip via Orkney on Sunday, 25 October 2015, gave time for an evening session in ‘The Reel’ in Kirkwall with local players before the final boat trip home.

The Society’s thanks are due to Gordon and Marilyn Shearer, Andrew and Walter Mowat at the Seaview Hotel for superb hospitality, Jennifer Wrigley and family for the great Kirkwall hospitality and left-luggage facilities, with final thanks to Northlink for travel sponsorship.

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