In any language, Doors Open day is a success
September 18, 2012 by Grace Franklin
More than 500 people attend the Gaelic speaking church during Doors Open weekend. ‘We’d love to have that number every Sunday!’ said the St Columba’s Church elder, Donald MacKechnie at the St Vincent Street ‘B’ listed building.
Despite their Doors Open day banner being ‘pinched’ and despite major repair work still underway following the storms early this year, the church welcomed visitors in true Gaelic style with tea and home baking in the hall and quiet time to walk around the sanctuary and savour the atmosphere. A Gaelic language service is held at 10am and one in English at 11.30am each Sunday in a worship tradition going back to 1770. But the forward looking congregation is on facebook as well as in the history books so have a look at their artistic pages.
This was one of more than 100 buildings taking part in this year’s Doors Open festival in Glasgow. Seminars, talks, walks and artistic events were woven around the core weekend of 15 and 16 September 2012.
And the rain did not deter people from attending or taking part. The East Glasgow Concert Band played under a canopy at the Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre off Kelvin Way. And they needed the cover as the rain came down through most of their very tuneful 30 minute set. Conductor Kirsty Martin, a music teacher, said: ‘We’ve played in worse weather! It snowed last year at the Fort shopping centre.’ With their music ranging from Elton John to Queen and from film themes to ‘Yakety Sax’ it was real top tapping stuff. ‘It’s really good to be playing here, ‘ said Kirsty. ‘The more people who hear us the better.’ The wind band was started almost 25 years ago by people who’d learned an instrument at school and wanted to continue to play as a hobby. Now covering a wide age range from school pupils to retired – but mostly early 20s – the band welcomes interested new players. Check their Facebook page or turn up on Tuesdays for the 7pm start to rehearsals at St Andrew’s Secondary School in Carntyne.
Among the bystanders enjoying the playing in the rain were 9 month old Millie Fleming whose mum Cheryl was in the band, and retired librarian Olivia Scott who remembered attending concerts in the Kelvingrove Bandstand in summers past.
‘I’ve still got all the programmes,’ said Miss Scott. ‘You could follow what was being played through the numbers on the programme which were supposed to be matched by a number on the stage. But often the man on the stage would forget to change the number as each new piece of music was played.’
Such memories of music in the Bandstand are likely to become fact in the future if a dedicated partnership led by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust has its way. The derelict site is to be redeveloped in time to be used for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. ‘Fundraising is going quite well,’ said Anne McChlery Director of the Trust who was standing at the Bandstand site throughout the rainy Doors Open Sunday to inform visitors about the project. ‘We’ve raised £900,000 to date and are confident we can reach the £1.5million target.’
Closed in 1999, the site became derelict and is on the Buildings At Risk Register. But a band of valiant supporters kept campaigning to bring the place back into use. Built in 1924, it could accommodate 3000 people seated and 7000 standing for open-air performances. Earlier this year an agreement was reached with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and Glasgow Life on a plan to develop the site, access funding and confirm users. Page/Park lead the design team. Further details from Miranda Lorraine at GBPT : 0141 221 6061 www.gbpt.org or email: firstname.lastname@example.org