A quite different event from the others already reported took place on Friday 15th January in Wellington Church when music students from the University of Glasgow who had been working with Glasgow primary schools brought their classes to the church for the celebration of “Mungo’s Bairns”. Eleven schools took part and it was a fantastic celebration which showed just how brilliant our children (and their teachers) can be. It was also great to see how many different nationalities make up our “dear family”.
The theme for this year’s event was “pilgrimage”. We started with a visit from “St. Mungo” and his mother “St. Enoch”, courtesy of St. Monica’s Primary. St. Mungo told us (in a clear declamation that many adults could learn from!) about his life as a pilgrim spreading the Gospel in Scotland, Northern England and as far as Wales. The school then sang a song in honour of St. Enoch who doesn’t often get more than a passing mention, followed by a song about a much more recent event, the visit to Glasgow by Nelson Mandela in 1993. The song by well-known Glasgow songwriter Ian Davidson was called “Mandela danced in the Square” and St. Monica’s had their own “Nelson” in characteristic Mandela-style colourful tunic.
This was a hard act to follow but the children of Our Lady of the Annunciation did well with a song about Nessie which they sang with enthusiasm while some of their classmates acted out the parts of Nessie, a canoeist and a snorkeler! St. Conval’s primary then gave us the Hue & Cry song “Mother Glasgow”, complete with cards showing the four symbols of our City Coat of Arms, and finishing with a cry of “Let Glasgow Flourish!”
Bankhead primary produced a new song on the life of a typical Glasgow wean to the tune of “Charlie is my darling” which they had retitled “Glasgow is my darling, a great place to live”. Dalmarnock Primary brought us a more familiar song – The Red Yoyo – complete with the various characters of the song. St. Mary’s Primary reminded us of the theme of pilgrimage, singing “These are my Mountains” – the song of someone who had travelled far and wide but had come home to Scotland to find it was the most beautiful place of all.
Garscadden Primary took the song “Journey back to Arran” and made it into “Journey back to Glasgow” with references to many of the most famous sights in the city. St. Brendan’s primary sang the well-known and loved song “Caledonia “ but got in a last verse about their school and its values! St.Benedict’s primary managed a nice bit of self-promotion too when they sang “Glasgow, you’re my mother” , reading from cards with their school coat of arms and name clearly visible.
The last two schools were St. Patrick’s and St. Paul’s, Whiteinch. St. Patrick sang another Ian Davidson song “Going Home to Glasgow” which St. Monica’s clearly recognised as they could be seen, singing along in the background. St. Paul finished off the individual performances with a brilliant modern presentation of “Hey Johnny Cope” complete with one young pupil ably playing drum and the whole group giving us the actions to fit the words.
In addition to the individual items, the children also had a chance to sing together a number of classic songs – The Jeelie Piece Song; Ye canny shove yer Granny aff a Bus; Coulter’s Candy; and Three Craws. They were ably led by the students who had also provided the musical accompaniment for the songs.
A collection was taken up and presented to Dr. David Sinclair, minister of Wellington Church who thanked them and everyone else who had helped to make this such a great event. He added his own bit to the proceedings by explaining to the children that St. Mungo had not spoken English or Scots or Gaelic but British (Welsh) and he thanked them in that language.
Former Glasgow Baillie Cathy McMaster also congratulated the children on their energy and singing which she hoped would help to bring them to fulfilling lives. The event finished with another Ian Davidson song which has become very popular “Glasgow my home and my city”.
The older “weans” in the audience came away from the event feeling encouraged and indeed overwhelmed by the talent displayed by “Mungo’s bairns” and by the students who taught them. The future of Glasgow in hands of these “bairns” looks good indeed.