Storm-delayed tattoo at RGC

December 13, 2021

Robert Gordon’s College CCF Pipe Band and Highland Dancers held a St Andrew’s Night Tattoo.

It was the most impressive musical event this term from a Piping, Drumming and Highland Dancing point of view, and was held on school premises on December 6, after the original 26 November event had to be postponed due to Storm Arwen. 

The term “tattoo” derives from a 17th-century Dutch phrase doe den tap toe (“turn off the tap”) a signal to tavern owners each night, played by a regiment’s Corps of Drums, to turn off the taps of their ale kegs so that the soldiers would retire to their billeted lodgings at a reasonable hour.

With the establishment of modern barracks and full military bands later in the 18th century, the term “tattoo” was used to describe the last duty call of the day, as well as a ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed by military musicians.

The RGC highland dancers and 100+ pipers and drummers participated in their first full public performance in almost two years.

Around 200 guests attended this outdoor event, giving Governors, representatives of the Gordonian Association, parents and family members the opportunity to experience a full performance after such a lengthy break in appearances.

The cold was kept at bay by haggis, neeps and tatties provided by the College caterers and by mince pies and hot drinks supplied by a team of parents and senior pupils.

Seeing and hearing these pupils, ranging from P5 to S6, in the wonderful setting in front of the Auld Hoose, was a highly memorable experience.