The 1996 Masterclasses

Four 'explorations'

Held in 'Wellwood', four knowledgeable Burnsians explored four aspects of Burns' works - a resource for today

The Songs of Robert Burns

Bill McCue, OBE, worked with six local singers, demonstrating a range of songs by Burns.

The Music of Burns

John Mason travelled all over the world playing, composing and arranging fiddle music.

The Poetry of Robert Burns

Sam K Gaw became internationally known as an expert on the poet's life and works,

The Guid Scots Tongue the day

Dr George Philp had a passionate interest in Scots language, literature, music and song.

Bill McCue

The Songs of Robert Burns

Bill McCue, OBE, (1934-1999), for many years a regular with Scottish Opera, never missing a production, and famous as Scotland's Fiddler on the Roof, was also a favourite with Irvine audiences. An OBE, he was awarded an Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music, he was still involved in the training of students at RSAMD, and was an honorary member of the Saltire Society. In this Master Class, he worked with six local singers, demonstrating a range of songs by Burns.

Filmed by James Willetts, and transferred to CD and web by John Matthews

John Mason

The Music of Burns

John Mason, MBE, (1940-2011), well-known through the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, was founder of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, and received an MBE for his contribution to Scottish music for charitable purposes. Orcadian by birth, he was a solicitor in Troon, but travelled all over the world playing, composing and arranging fiddle music. His Class took the form of a talk on the history of fiddle music in relation to Burns, followed by a demonstration. John was also an Honorary Member of Irvine Burns Club.

Filmed by James Willetts, and transferred to CD and web by John Matthews

Sam K Gaw

The Poetry of Robert Burns

Sam K Gaw (1932-2018), a Past President of Irvine Burns Club and a Past President of the Robert Burns World Federation, became internationally known as an expert on the poet's life and works, giving spirited renditions at events and on television. Sam was also an Honorary Member of Irvine Burns Club.

Filmed by James Willetts, and transferred to CD and web by John Matthews

George Philp

The Guid Scots Tongue the day

Dr George Philp (1931-2012) had a passionate interest in ensuring that Scots language, literature, music and song became more widely known and available to everyone. Over 25 years, he, with others, founded the Scots Language Society, the cassette series 'Scotsoun', and The Robert Henryson Society. In 1995 he was awarded The Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun Award for his services to Scotland. Sharing the Master Class evening with him was Mrs Frances Hendrie, who taught Scots to her primary pupils at Lennoxtown.

Filmed by James Willetts, and transferred to CD and web by John Matthews


  • Wellwood Burns Centre & Museum
  • 28 Eglinton Street,
  • Irvine, Ayrshire, KA12 8AS

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