In 2014 we had 80 musicians together for the Aqua Ceilidh but we knew we could do a lot better – we needed over 250 musicians to set a record. A key part of achieving this was working with the Scottish Culture and Traditions (SC&T) group in Aberdeen. Sandy Tweddle, our musical director, is a fiddle tutor there. He chose the tunes and set the pace for the dancers. For dancers we enlisted the help of the SC&T ceilidh dance class and friends. All the tunes were taught at SC&T that year as common tunes so we already had a good body of musicians who could take part.
We also promoted it at several Feis events, Festivals, word of mouth sessions etc etc plus of course Facebook. To keep some tabs on everything we set up a "ticket" for everyone the register before the event. Once we had 250 registered we started to relax a little, once we had over 300 we were sure we could do it. We also needed a hall big enough for the event - the Festival venue of the Town Hall wasn't big enough so we used the local Academy.
On the day the excitement and atmosphere was incredible, people started to appear and gather outside the school, lots of chatting and many old faces catching up with long lost friends. We had a practice run before the event which went surprisingly well. One of the fears was keeping everyone in time and also getting through the tune changes.
At 5 O'clock on Friday the 6th of July, everyone was in the hall, the doors closed and attempt started. The MC Martin Kasprowicz did the introduction and Sandy introduced the first dance. Once the band struck up the sounds was incredible - all in tune, in time and everyone was smiling. Hard to describe the feeling of elation in taking part. The whole event was over in about 30 minutes and everyone was on a high. We knew we had established a new world record - 288 musicians and 22 dancers.
There was a great feeling all over the town afterwards and all the musicians and dancers proudly wore their T Shirts and concerts and sessions. (I'm still smiling thinking about it all)
A big thanks to everyone who took part in what was a fantastic fun event, we couldn't have done it without you.