It’s Friday evening and I’m heading out to Govan to Play with the Govan Schools and Community Pipe Band for the crowning of the Queen ceremony at the Govan fair.
It’s not my first trip out with the band but it’s the one at a very prestigious event in the Govan area.
The Govan Fair can trace its origins back to the late 1400’s but its present form dates from 1757 and mirrored the industry of the time. Back then it was an agricultural fair and was the responsibility of the Govan Weavers when there was a thriving textile industry in the area. Latterly it mirrored the shipbuilding pat of Govan but presently the fair has gone into decline because of the decline of industry in the area.
So, history aside, the band formed up outside the Pearce Institute on Govan Road. The band members looked resplendent in their new uniforms (their current tartan is ancient hunting Thomson) with the bass drum sporting its new skins with the Govan coat of arms emblazoned across them, ‘NIHIL SINE LABORE’ ‘NOTHING WITHOUT WORK’. A very apt motto as the youngsters have put in a lot of work and effort to get to their current position.
The band kicked off proceedings the ‘Rowen Tree’ followed by ‘The Atholl Highlanders’. We waited patiently for the newly crowned queen to exit the Pearce Institute and make her way on to the open topped bus to greet her new subjects. The new queen emerged being played out by our very own Pipe Major Thomas Rankin! Thomas resumed his position within the band, and we played the new queen on her way with ‘The Hielan’ laddie’ (a traditional salute for any chieftain or v.i.p.)
It was a fantastic evening of pipe band music with a very talented bunch of musicians and I look forward to our next gig.