Maid Of The Loch Concert – Mitchell Theatre 28 th Jan 2018
The Maid of the Loch was the last of the great paddle steamers built in the UK. Built on the Clyde and launched in 1953 it carried thousands of passengers in its many trips across Loch Lomond. The ship was retired from service in 1981 and has since been moored in Balloch. Over the past few years a team of dedicated people have strived to raise money to restore this once beautiful vessel back to its best and ultimately get her sailing again. After gaining a lottery grant this team have very nearly reached their target and this show was put together to raise awareness of the fund raising and to raise funds for the cause.
And what a show it was. Under the musical directorship of Siobhan Miller and Phil Cunningham a star studded group of musicians were brought together for this one off concert. With a large screen located at the back of the stage some spectacular images and video of the Maid Of The Loch sailing on Loch Lomond were projected onto it throughout the concert. Not only was there fantastic music to listen to but wonderful scenery to watch also.
The singers that contributed to this show were Siobhan Miller, Arthur Johnstone, Jimmy Macgregor, Findlay Napier and Eddi Reader. The backing band included Phil Cunningham (accordion) and Euan Burton (double bass). With veterans such as Jimmy Macgregor and Arthur Johnstone, and dare I include Phil Cunningham in that category, the banter and laughs were guaranteed. The trio regaled us with stories and tales relating to the Maid of the Loch and the Loch Lomond area. All the music had links, albeit tenuous at times, to ship building on the Clyde, to the Loch Lomond area and specific to the Maid. There were three separate songs/tunes called “Maid Of The Loch”. The first one was composed by Phil Cunningham to raise awareness of the fundraising, the next which was sung beautifully by Siobhan was written by Karine Polwart and the third written specially for the concert and within four days by Eddi Readers husband John Douglas and sung by Eddi Reader in her own inimitable style. Other songs that were sung in this very entertaining night included “The Braes Of Balquihidder” by Siobhan, “Tramps & Hawkers” from Arthur, “Doon The Water” from the entire cast and not forgetting the rousing rendition in the encore of Loch Lomond”
Siobhan Miller is showing more and more often that not only is she one of Scotlands finest singers but also a very talented musical director. This was a show of the highest standards and was deservedly a sell – out. A special mention must go to jimmy Macgregor who at age 86 is still as sharp as a tack, still has a wonderful voice and looks as fit as a fiddle.