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    Close of Merchiston pupil playing the bagpipes

    Merchiston normally has an annual fundraising Burns Supper to celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns, Scotland's National Bard. This year, we have had to do things a little differently, but the talent and enthusiasm of the pupils has shone through. It has been wonderful to share the celebration with Merchiston families across the world.

    Microphone and a sound track

    Four Sixth Form pupils in Laidlaw South House produced their own podcast to celebrate Burns. Christian gives a beautiful performance of 'My love is like a red, red rose', Head of House Tristan reads an introduction to Burns and the 'Selkirk Grace', and then John reads ‘Tae a Louse’. Finally, Arran - a wonderfully talented musican and passionate piper - gives an expert piping performance of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘A man’s a man for a’ that’. You can listen to their podcast here.

    Merchiston Juniors pupil at home ready for the Burns Night Celebration

    The Merchiston Juniors held a Celebration of the Life and Work of Robert Burns over Zoom.  All the Merchiston Juniors' parents and families were invited, and were able to enjoy the evening together. Here two pupils - Toby and Callum - share their experience of the evening. It sounds like it was lots of fun!

    "Yesterday, Monday 25th January, was Robert Burns' day. Every year, on this date (his birthday), people across the world celebrate the Scottish poet's life.
    Last night, the Merchiston Juniors held a special Burns' Celebration over Zoom. All of our families were invited and we showcased our learning. Each year group performed together, and throughout the evening there were various poems, speeches, music and recitals. My year group wrote a couple of amusing skits, using Scot's language. We made it into a dictionary, by defining the Scottish phrase that had been used by the previous person, before saying our own. My line was: “I am calm, my head is going nowhere. If you keep on like that, I’ll gie ye a skelpit lug!”

    A haggis on a tartan table cloth

    My family all dressed up for the event. I wore a tartan shirt, my dad wore a kilt and my brother wore tartan trews! It is tradition to eat haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) and to drink a wee dram of whisky on the night. I had all of this, except the whisky of course... I replaced it with Iron Bru, a famous Scottish soda.
    It was a fantastic evening, full of laughter and celebration for our special Scottish legend. 

    I pressed the button to join the meeting. And then I sat and waited, with nervous excitement! Tonight was the night we had all been waiting for... the Merchiston Juniors Burns' Celebration on Zoom. We had been told that there would be over 150 people in attendance... and I was going to have to perform! 

    A family Burns Night meal

    The darkness of the meeting room lifted and I was on screen! It was about to begin. I heard some Scottish music playing in the background and I immediately started to scroll along to see who was already in the meeting. I saw quite a few of my friends and I instantly spotted my dad, who was on another screen. My tummy was jumping up and down, but my mum and dad had both told me that I would be great, so I was keeping positive. The music started to go quiet and I heard Johnny (our Head of House) start to speak. He welcomed us all and then told us to look around at everyone on screen and appreciate being able to come together, even on Zoom. I looked around at everyone's faces and it made me smile. 
    Rohan introduced the J4 poem, 'My Heart is in The Highlands', which they performed really well. Once they had finished, Stepan introduced the J5 poem, 'To a Mouse', which they took turns saying. And then it was us.... our moment to shine....And I was starting! I said the three lines that I had been practising for 2 weeks: “Welcome to First Form's Scots Dictionary....... (pause).....Och it's a dreich day, I dini fancy taking the dogs oot in this.” My part was over and I could relax and enjoy the rest of the evening!

    Burns supper

    Second Form made a Toast to the Lassies and recited Auld Lang Syne, and Third Form made the Address to the Haggis, which was piped in by Calum, in our class! Xander and Henry played music. After Rev Blair and William said the Selkirk Grace, we headed off for our own Burns' festivities at home. My mum started to prepare dinner and it only took about five minutes because me and my sister helped. What an amazing evening! 

    Lucy Campion