Auld Spice near their practice hall at Colinton Church, by the new statue of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Auld Spice Band is one of many groups and bands that owe their existence to the encouragement given in Scots Music Group classes to go out and do something with the music they have learned as SMG students: Auld Spice was formed back when SMG was still part of the Adult Learning Project, and met in Downfield Place. They did their first live gig in 1997, so yes, the band is now 20 years old, and celebrating.

Sadly however, some of the former members have gone to the big ceilidh band in the skies, and others have left for personal reasons: these include fiddlers Dick Rutter, Jim Coutts, Ann Cannon, Dave Gifford (also whistle), Kate Meek, Alec ?, keyboard players Margaret Ramsay and Peter Williams (also accordion, flute and bass guitar), drummer John Scott, Lowland piper and whistler Jim Buchanan, and Elizabeth ? on whistles. Nigel Gatherer and Seonaid Lynn have also guested with the band, and we have been lucky to have the following people as callers: John & Ruby Wilkinson, John Watkins, Janet Johnston and Christine McIntosh.

(Can anyone supply the missing surnames above, please? Contact the office if so.)

The band still includes some founder members, and current line-up is: fiddlers Anna McFadden, John Robertson and Claire Murdoch (also whistle), accordion Allan Gray, flute Donald Easton, drums Tom Bullimore, concertina Ted Tracey-Bower and keyboard Trish Santer. We play for all sorts of gigs, not only ceilidhs but Care Homes and Day Centres. Our biggest one of the year is the Military Ball in the Assembly Rooms in George St, a challenging venue to play! We also played for the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry Ball at Blair Castle in November 2015: that was a sair fecht getting home through heavy snow!

To mark the occasion and longevity of the band, we are holding a celebration Family Ceilidh at Colinton Bowling Club on Friday 27th October, from 7.30.- We would love to see any former members, supporters and ceilidh addicts there!

Tickets available from 07722 171277.

Prices £10 adult, £5 children or £25 for a family ticket, inclusive of light supper. Cash bar.

All proceeds going to Macmillan, Marie Curie and Drum Riding for the Disabled.

Trish Santer