Farewell and thanks to Peter Elmes

From Kristin Downey, President Johnsonville Scottish Country Dance Club

Applauding Peter at his last time playing for Scottish Country Dancing

Welcome all to our final night for 2018 and thank you for joining us tonight.  It is wonderful to have a hall full of dancers.

Our final night is an opportunity to celebrate another year of Scottish country dancing here at Johnsonville. We celebrate dances, dancers, and also our music and musicians. And tonight we recognise and applaud the very special role that Peter Elmes has played in the musical history of Johnsonville Club.

Peter has been a part of my journey through Scottish country dancing right from when Rod and I started in 1991. He was of course involved long before our time – club documents show he was already playing for Johnsonville events around a decade earlier.

In a letter written at the end of 1980, Peter wrote to the Region, advising that The Scotsmen were available to play for annual dances “on a flexible basis as a trio or quartet to suit requirements”.

It is unclear exactly when he started playing for Johnsonville, but from at least 1984 there began a long musical association between Johnsonville Club, and Peter as band leader. Musicians John Smith, Merren Simmonds, and more recently Lynne Scott, then Don McKay, Aileen Logie and Hilary Ferral have lined up with Peter and given us their best.

Over the years Peter has also generously welcomed many young or visiting musicians to play with the band and get to understand the music. Some are now playing in their own right, others may return to the fold in years to come, and we all benefited along the way.

Again on a personal note, our son Carlton was encouraged to play along with the band and learnt by being immersed in Peter and John’s musicianship. He will never lose that.

Our thanks go to Peter for all he’s contributed to our dancing lives, and tonight we enjoy Peter’s company and his music one more time before he retires from playing.

Click here for more photos of the final night

See Loralee Hyde’s photo history of Peter Elmes playing

26 November 2018

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