Scottish Tattoo 2002

Scottish Tattoo

2002 was the fourth year in which the "Scottish Tattoo" was staged at the Royal Albert Hall in London and in Bournemouth on the south coast of England, providing a showcase for the skirl o' the pipes and Scottish singers and dancers. Each year, up to 400 pipers, drummers, Scottish country dancers, Irish dancers, a brass band and Scots and Gaelic singers have brought the culture of Scotland and the Celts to the south of England, allowing expatriates and locals alike to hear and see the sights and sounds seen more often north of the Border.

In 2002, for the first time, a show with a similar format was performed in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Sunday, 11 August - the day after the World Pipe Championships on Glasgow Green. I was fortunate enough to be on the front row of the stalls and the photos in this feature were taken on that most enjoyable occasion.

Mora Kerr and Stuart Barbour

The show was hosted by singer/entertainers Moira Kerr and Stuart Barbour who narrated some of Scotland's history - and sang a few of their best loved songs. Moira Kerr is best known for "Bravest Heart" and the video series "Where Eagles Fly" (she wrote both songs).

The theme this year was "Scotland Forever" and it had a wee look at some of the people who may have helped shape the Scottish psyche and who have certainly done us proud. Heroes of war but also of discovery and invention were featured. The show lasted over three hours and the audience departed well satisfied after joining hands and singing "Auld Lang Syne."

Dumbarton and District Pipe Band
Dumbarton and District Pipe Band

This Pipe Band was established in 1969 in the ancient capital of Strathclyde. Their Pipe Major, Donald MacPhee, is also a top solo player and he also accompanied the Highland Dancers. The band is well travelled - they've been to Canada, France, Germany, Estonia, Russia and Finland.

Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band
Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band

There were two pipe bands performing during the course of the evening. Glasgow Skye were formed in 1968 and takes its name from one of the last remaining Highland Associations in Glasgow. They are a Grade I pipe band, having won the Grade II "Champion of Champions" in 1986. The band wears the MacLeod of Skaebost tartan. Their Pipe Major was Craig Campbell.

Senior Drum Major
Drum Major Virginia McLennan

On this occasion, the two bands were co-ordinated by Drum Major Virginia McLennan who is normally the Drum Major of the Ringwood Pipe Band from the south coast of England. She looked most impressive and since all the marches on and off the stage went smoothly, she must have kept everybody in order!

Solo Piper
Piper Olivia McLennan

Piper Olivia McLennan has a degree in music and acted as musical advisor to the Tattoo. She has been the Lone Piper at a number of New Year's Eve celebrations, including Birmingham in 1998 in front of 50,000 revellers. She performed a number of solos throughout the evening, including of course "Amazing Grace".

Scottish Country Dancers
Scottish Country Dancers

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society has more than 20,000 members across Scotland though the majority come from the central Lowlands. The demonstration dancers performing at the Tattoo dancers were an élite group assembled from all over Scotland by Anita MacKenzie of Stirling RSCDS. The older members of the audience no doubt had pleasant memories revived of the TV series "The White Heather Club" during the course of these graceful dances.

Edinburgh Tattoo Highland Ceilidh Dancers
Edinburgh Tattoo Highland Ceilidh Dancers

Formed in 1992, this group of sprightly dancers have created a mixture of traditional Scottish dances together with a more modern approach. They were asked to perform before the Commonwealth Heads of Government in October 1997 and have appeared at the London Palladium. And, of course, they delight over 200,000 people every year at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.


Cliar were formed at the Highland Festival in 1998, taking their name (pronounced "clear") from the itinerant poets and musicians who once roamed the Highlands of Scotland. The six members of the band live and work in the Highlands of Scotland and individually and collectively they create a mixture of stunning Gaelic vocals and beautiful sounds of Gaelic love-songs, tongue-twisting mouth music and energetic fiddle reels.

Irish Dancers
Irish Dancers

The Taylor Academy of Irish Dance were all mainly youngsters dressed in bright, multi-coloured Irish costumes. Although a bit nervous, their enjoyment of what they were doing communicated itself to an appreciative audience. Irish dancing with its energy and rhythms has become very popular in recent years and the Taylor Academy certainly demonstrated that to the full.

Moira Kerr and Stuart Barbour
I have to confess that I am a fan of Moira Kerr - she is particularly good when singing her own compositions and she has produced nine CD albums to date and Celtic Soul is particularly good. She frequently performs at concerts in North America and her videos of the BBC series "Where Eagles Fly" still sell well. She provided the narration and linking with Stuart Barbour throughout the evening but I was getting a bit worried that she was not going to sing some of her lovely songs. I needn't have worried - though it took to the second half of the concert before she gave a solo performance.

Stuart Barbour and Piper Olivia McLennan

Stuart Barbour is also a singer songwriter. He spent his teenage years in Port Glasgow, overlooking the Firth of Clyde and sings and plays the guitar with Alvin Stardust. He sang a number of songs from a recent album - including "Loch Lomond" and others accompanied by Piper Olivia McLennan.

Scottish Tattoo 2003
The new tour for 2003 will be based on the story of "The Massacre of Glencoe" - which will be organised to allow the audience to choose who was to blame for the massacre - maybe a way of allowing the organisers to avoid coming down on one side or the other? Venues will be Glasgow 10 August, Nottingham 6 Sept, Liverpool on Saturday 13th September, Birmingham 28 September and Sheffield 11 October. They are also trying for Edinburgh Usher Hall and Manchester. Whew! See the Scottish Tattoo Website for details.

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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