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In the blink of an eye, Easter 2018 has come and gone and we are almost half way through the year! Summer is imminent! Fingers crossed for a good one.

Speaking of Easter, we had a little Easter egg treat at our March show (although we had no takers for dressing up as the Easter bunny to hand them out!). What a brilliant night it was too with Manson Grant and the Dynamos, along with Western Rhythm.

Sandy began by welcoming those new to the club and welcoming back those returning! Robin Young's granddaughter, Natasha Frazer, being one of those new faces. Sandy went on to remind everyone that memberships were due in February. Last chance to vote for the Scottish / Band of the Year 2017 will be at the April 2018 show. Money raised from the night's raffle (£530) would be donated in its entirety to the MS fund raising, taking place the following day.

Ivan and John from Western Rhythm had started out to Thurso at 9am and had a bad journey north; heavy traffic caused by two accidents and detours. They were glad to get some space from each other having sat side by side in the vehicle all day. However, space between them became a problem when communicating on stage! One of the duo allegedly can only remember three songs at a time and the other is getting deaf. I can't remember which one was which!! They did a great job entertaining us, singing some great tunes, "I Recall A Gypsy Woman", "You Were Always On My Mind", "Cold Windy City Of Chicago". We also got a set of jigs on the accordion!

Sandy went on to introduce the next act, Manson Grant and the Dynamos. We love them and are delighted to have them back at our club. "Love Bug" (Keith), "There Goes My Everything" (Brandon), "Day Dreams About Night Things" (Manson). "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (Keith) was dedicated to Isobel Beattie.

During the interval Sandy went on to announce a double award ceremony. Chairman Alan Miller announced the first; a Wall of Fame, dedicated to Dennis McIntosh who loved photography. The Wall of Fame would display photographs of life time members, as voted by the NNCMC committee. Alan went on to announce Robert Cameron as the first winner of this award for his tireless work; often behind the scenes. Robert stated that the work was a joy to do, then and now and thanked Alan and the NNCMC.

The second award was for the Scottish Band of the Year 2016, dedicated to Sandy Swanson. Alan thanked Sandy's wife, Jenny and her daughters for coming in and presenting this award to Manson Grant and the Dynamos. This is the first time they have appeared in our club since winning the award! Alan stated that the band were also close to being Band of the Year. Well deserved winners!

At April's show we were entertained by The Duke Boys, with a new line up: regulars Nigel Slater on drums and Alistair Wordie on bass guitar/vocals, and new band members, Davie Adams on steel guitar, Pete James on vocals/acoustic guitar, Jimmy on vocals/lead guitar.

In addition to the two scheduled bands we were treated to a couple of numbers from a guest all the way from Vermont, USA; banjo playing George Seymour. George joined The Duke Boys on stage. 62 years young, he won the state banjo competition at the age of 22. George said he didn't usually dance but he and Mrs Rhona Macgregor danced very well to "Bad Moon Rising"!

Also appearing at our April show was Texas Back, who are a brother and sister duo from County Durham. They have been playing as Texas Back for 11 years but have been singing since they were children. Gavin is a music teacher and Debbie is a barber/hairdresser. They travel all over the country. This was their fifth visit to Caithness; they love coming here.

Retirement congratulations were extended to John Nicolson, Henry Ross and John Swanson at the March show, and Sandy Cowan and George Macdonald at the April show. All the very best to each of you for a long, happy and health retirement.

Snowball update: Congratulations to Linda Johns who won the £70 March snowball. April's snowball was not won; John and Freda Calder were not in the hall. We have ourselves a rollover in May!

It was also great to see the line dancers back at the club; out in force at the April show, with their designated area next to the stage. Hope you enjoyed the dancing!

Sandy reminded everyone at both shows that bookings are being taken for the Friday 29 July show with Ruby Rendall as there is currently much interest in it. (£12 members/ £17 non-members) Book early to avoid any disappointment!

Other local shows have been taking place. Stephen Smyth appeared to a sell-out audience in the Triple C, Wick.

Slightly further afield, John Rafferty, backed by Northstar appeared in Invergordon. It was another great performance from John. Invergordon also hosted an Irish spectacular with Anthony Mcbrien, Matt Leavy, Sean Corrigan and Ray Murtagh; with some of the backing from Northstar. What a great show! All of the acts took to the stage at the end and performed a tribute to Big Tom who sadly passed away recently.

Even further afield, Derek Ryan performed two sell out shows at Eden Court. Derek was recording for a new live DVD; some of the crowd might be in it! Look forward to seeing it. Supporting Derek was a young lady called Cliona Hagen.

Breaking news: NNCMC Band of the Year 2017 - John Rafferty and Northstar; Scottish Band of the Year 2017 - Johnny Bremner. Many congratulations!

Our May show is looming; Northstar, along with Country Features on Friday 25 May. For those who like to plan ahead, in June we have High and Dry, along with Buzzard Creek. It would be great to see you at both!

Until the next time…………

(with special thanks to Mrs Rhona Macgregor and Mrs Veira Sutherland for their ace reporting during the Secretarial absence at the April show - I could be out of a job!)


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