Published by Mr Macdonald
Thursday 18 February 2016
Castle Douglas High School’s annual Burns’ Verse Competition produced the usual high standard of entries this year as pupils from S1, S2 and S3 faced the challenge of memorising at least 30 lines of the Bard of Ayrshire’s poetry. On Monday, 1st February they presented their pieces in front of an audience consisting of their teachers, peers and – most important of all – four highly experienced members of the Castle Douglas Burns Club.
Old favourites ‘To a Mouse’ , ‘To a Louse’ and ‘To a Haggis’ each received several renditions while the audience were also treated to a number of extracts from Tam o’ Shanter. There was the occasional crisis of nerves but the knowledgeable judges (veterans of many competitions themselves) were on hand to provide a sotto voce prompt when required.
The competition was divided into three categories, a prize being awarded for the best entry in S1, S2 and S3. In the youngest category, Chelsea Young’s feisty rendition of ‘To a Louse’ got the nod from the judges who remarked that they had seldom seen this piece performed with such passionate outrage. The S2 winner was Ayaat Yassin-Kassib with her wholehearted performance of ‘Tam o’ Shanter. In the final S3 category, the prize went to Ian Boyd, Daniel Wilson-Fraser and Ben Calderwood who teamed up to produce a ‘rap’ version of all 42 lines of ‘To a Mouse’. The judges (a few of whose feet had been tapping along to the catchy beat) applauded the energy of the group’s delivery and said they were always on the lookout for novel approaches to Burns – which this rap version certainly was!
Whether Rabbie himself would be turning in his grave can only be guessed at but more than 200 years after his death his poetry is clearly alive and well and rapping it up in Castle Douglas!