The South Coast Highland Gathering took place the weekend before last in Hutchison Park, Amanzimtoti (Toti), KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, writes Ken Mustard of the Durban Regiment Pipe Band. There had been a lot of concern about this year’s event because of the the unusually large amount of rain that fell on the east coast of the country causing a lot of flooding, damage to property and infrastructure, and loss of life.
Fortunately, the rain stopped a day of two before the gathering. The roads to Hutchison Park were undamaged and the field and parking area drained sufficiently to hold the gathering.
The band contests were held on Saturday, April 27 and the solo contests the following day. Saturday dawned bright and sunny with occasional cloud cover. When the cloud cover moved, sunburn became a possibility. The rain held off until the massed bands display and prize giving when a few drops of rain added to the atmosphere.
We were fortunate in having Jim Campbell of Aberdeen at Toti to judge both the band (particularly on ensemble) and solo events. Jim was very knowledgeable person who was keen to pass on his knowledge. He gave a well received talk on ensemble on the Monday night to the KZN bands.
The band competitions ran smoothly. For most of the spectators at a Highland Gathering in South Africa, massed bands is the highlight of the day and they expect almost a mini Tattoo! The bandsmen and women, on the other hand, have had a long day and would like to get their brogues off their aching feet … and something liquid down their parched throats!. Nevertheless, the bands always put on a good display to thank the spectators who have come to support them and this year was no exception.
One of the items at this years Toti massed bands was a combined rendering of Amazing Grace started off by the Durban Caledonian Society Pipe Band and featuring singing by Keeley Crocker. A video of this can be seen at the link below. There was not a dry eye among the audience!
The soloists were back at the field early the next morning. We were concerned at the possibility of rain but again we were fortunate in having good weather. The solos went off smoothly and finished shortly after lunch.
It was a wonderful weekend and thanks go to the Lions Club of Amanzimtoti, The Pipe Bands Association of Southern Africa, the KwaZulu Natal Piping and Drumming Society, all the judges and other officials who helped the day to go smoothly and all the bands who came from all over South Africa to take part in the event.
The full results were:
March, Strathspey & Reel – 1. Transvaal Scottish; 2. Benoni MacTalla; 3. Knysna & Districts.
Selection – 1. Transvaal Scottish; 2. Knysna & Districts; 3. Benoni MacTalla.
Overall – 1. Transvaal Scottish; 2. Knysna & Districts; 3. Benoni MacTalla.
March, Strathspey & Reel – 1. Glen Allen; 2. Pretoria Highlanders; 3. Cape Town Highlanders.
Selection – 1. Cape Town Highlanders; 2. Pretoria Highlanders; 3. Glen Allen.
Overall – 1. Pretoria Highlanders; 2. Glen Allen; 3. Cape Town Highlanders.
March, Strathspey & Reel – 1. Transvaal Scottish; 2. St Andrew’s; 3. Durban Regiment.
March Selection – 1. Transvaal Scottish; 2. Knysna & Districts; 3. Durban Caledonian Society.
Overall – 1. Transvaal Scottish; 2. Durban Caledonian Society; 3. Knysna & Districts.
March, Strathspey & Reel – 1. St Benedict’s; 2. Benoni.Selection – 1. Benoni; 2. St Benedict’s.
Overall – 1. Benoni; 2. St Benedict’s.
March, Strathspey & Reel – 1. Pretoria Boys; 2. Jeppe; 3. St Andrew’s.March Selection – 1. Pretoria Boys; 2. King Edward VII; 3. Jeppe.Overall – 1. Pretoria Boys; 2. Jeppe; 3. King Edward VII.
Open – 1. Deon Bester; 2. Terrence Mzyk; 3. Kabelo Mokoala.
Juvenile – 1. Kelsey Joe Spiers; 2. Kabela Mokoala; 3. Keira Tucker.
Ceòl Mor (Silver) – 1. Gordon Grossett; 2. Michael Irwin; 3. Arran Hepburn.
Ceòl Mor (Gold) – 1. Thomas Fuller; 2. Richard Payn; 3. Sean Campbell.
Under 17 – 1. Arran Hepburn; 2. Jeffrey Liu; 3. oshua Yipp.
17-21 Years – 1. Sean Cameron; 2. Emma Bellingan; 3. Kelvin Dixon.
Open – 1. Thomas Fuller; 2. Richard Payn; 3. Scott Schultz.
Open MSR – 1. Dylan Chadwick; 2. Sebastian Potgieter; 3. James Penberthy.
Junior MSR – 1. Sebastian Potgeiter; 2. Joshua Langley; 3. Matthew Kirk.
Novice MSR – Esona Dyantyi.
Novice March – 1. Arav Sookdeo; 2. Esona Dyantyi; 3. Likhona Rulashe (St Andrew’s).