Sales of blister plasters may have rocketed in Dundee after MacKenzie Caledonian's exhausting but successful trip to Orléans in France.
The band, under the direction of Pipe Major Neil Nicholson, made the journey to perform in the Joan of Arc Festival. As well as taking part in the celebrations, the band were called upon to take part in the reaffirmation of the twinning of Orléans and Dundee. This is the 70th year of this association and Provost Bob Duncan travelled with his wife to take part in this reaffirmation.
After the twinning ceremony, in temperatures reaching 26 degrees, there was a commemoration of the Auld Alliance which entailed the band parading with a re-anactment group from Scotland to the medieval part of town where there is a plaque in honour of the Scots soldiers who came over from Scotland to fight alongside Joan of Arc and her troops, against the English.
On Sunday the band took part in a full parade which was the climax of the celebrations. MacKenzie Caledonian were afforded the honour of leading the parade, marching past the beautiful Orleans Cathedral. The final task was more formal with a commemoration and thanksgiving for the liberation of Orléans during the Second World War. When this concluded, the band marched the dignitaries off to the Mayoral residence where both MacCals and Dihun joined for "Bonnie Dundee", a fitting end to the formalities.
This was a tremendous trip with the MacCals representing Dundee and, in my opinion, being excellent ambassadors for the city and Scotland. Pipe Major Nicholson said that he was happy with the band's performances and felt that it has set MacKenzie Caledonian up for a good season ahead.