Top Glyndebourne Opera stars come to Kippen

Top Glyndebourne Opera stars come to Kippen


On Saturday 23rd March the “Classics @ Kippen” audience were treated to an utterly sublime concert given by Hannah Sandison (soprano), Annabella Ellis (mezzo soprano) and pianist Chavdar Mazgalov. Hannah and Annabella, both now based in London, studied with Kathleen McKellar Ferguson at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. They both met at Glyndebourne in 2015 and are now forging very successful singing careers.  We are so grateful to them for making the trip north and for giving freely of their time and services.


The programme included operatic arias and duets by Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart and Rossini, songs by Schumann and Mahler and ended with some classic musical theatre. It was a case of “the show must go on” when Hannah’s back “went” during the first half of the concert. As a result Hannah, 5 months pregnant, didn’t have the physical strength to sing her two Puccini arias at the beginning of the second half so, with no fuss at all, Bulgarian born pianist, Chavdar, who studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London, added an exquisite solo piano piece by Schubert and Annabella sang an extra impromptu aria! Thankfully, the paracetamol kicked in and Hannah was able to sing the lighter, last few, pieces at the end of the programme. This was a performance of the highest calibre and was received and acknowledged as such by an extremely enthusiastic audience. Many people said that this would even “convert” them to listening more to opera!


Our eighth C@K concert since 2012, this was the first concert using our own staging, which was purchased with the proceeds of the concert last Summer. The staging now lives under the stairs in the Church and is there to be used in our community at other Church- based events. After expenses, we have raised just under £700 and have decided that the priority is to use this money to buy some simple lighting for the stage and then, if possible, either an extra set of steps or an elegant backdrop/curtain for the staging. Our next concert will be for charity. Watch this space for further details!


A concert like this doesn’t just happen. “Classics@Kippen” are eternally grateful to all those who helped in so many ways to make this event the huge success that it was. A huge thank you goes to those who made time on Saturday morning to help set up the stage and move the piano (no mean feat!) and then clear up after the concert, those who gave meals and hospitality, sold tickets, distributed leaflets, took photographs of the event and helped on the night greeting people at the door and serving wine. A very special thank you goes to Kevan Leith ( who maintains our website and helps with all things IT, John Fulton and Grant Coubrough for being on hand throughout the day to help with everything in the Church and to a very generous donor who gifted all the wine for the interval.  Also, and not least, a huge thank you to all of you who came to the concert because without an audience there is no concert! We do indeed live in a very “giving” village. Thank you to everyone who supports us. We appreciate it so much.


Classics@Kippen look forward to many more successful nights like this of high-class music-making in our beautiful Parish Church. Check out our website for more information and do contact us if you would like to be involved in any way or added to our mailing list.

Kathleen McKellar Ferguson




Kippen Craft Drink Club

Gin Tasting on the Go

A Gin tasting evening, hosted by The Grail, was held in the Reading Rooms on Friday 8th March. Attendees tried a range of Scottish gins, including a gin liqueur, accompanied by garnishes, mixers and nibbles. They were talked through each gin as they sampled and experimented with various flavour combinations. It was a lively, fun-filled evening and The Grail girls would like to thank everyone that came along to support the event.

Founded by Jennifer Laird and Rachel Grant in December 2018, The Grail – Whisky, Gin and Speciality Drinks shop- is the newest addition to Doune’s collection of boutique shops. The two friends have worked in the spirits industry for a number of years and decided to go it alone and open their own shop and tasting experience. Having worked in whisky distilleries they specialise in all that surrounds Scotland’s national drink. The growing plethora of craft drinks now produced in Scotland (and further afield) has sparked their interest to say the least and they quickly realised this couldn’t just be a whisky shop. Gin, due to its recent popularity, has become another area of expertise for the two. However, Rum, Vodka, Beer and Wine are things they find themselves learning more and more about all the time. They love to learn and love to pass on their knowledge.

One of the best ways to learn and try new things is to go to a tasting. However, having grown up in Kippen and now living in Fintry, Jennifer knows the problems of getting to and from these events that are normally held in the larger towns and cities. They decided that tasting events needed to be brought to smaller venues in rural locations so that people can enjoy them without having to worry about missing the last train or bus home or having to fork out for a massive taxi fare! As such, they have set up small Craft Drinks Clubs in Kippen, Fintry and Doune. The tastings are informative and eye-opening but mostly lots of fun!

The Gin tasting was the first event in Kippen, and the next will be a Whisky tasting on Friday 12th April at 7.30pm. There will be five single malts to try from across Scotland’s regions, showing the diverse range of flavours that can be created with just three ingredients. Jen and Rachel will talk you through a bit of whisky history and culture, as well as the production methods that result in the flavours you will be tasting in the drams. Everyone is welcome whether you are a beginner or a connoisseur (as long as you are over 18!). Tickets are £20 per person or, if you sign up for membership, it is £16 (£20 yearly membership gives you discounts in the shop, discounts on Craft Drinks Club tastings and on in-shop tastings and you will be able to sign up on the night if you wish). Please contact the shop by phone, email or social media to book.

They hope to make this a regular event with a different theme every time, so people might not want to come to all of them, although they are welcome to do so, but they might prefer to pick and choose the ones they are most interested in. They have lots of plans for upcoming events so keep your eye on their Facebook page or website for updates.

@TheGrailDoune on Facebook and Twitter

@The_Grail_Doune on Instagram


Tel: 01786 542 098


The Greatest Fayre  

Calling all circus lovers – the theme for this year’s Kippen Street Fayre on Sat 8th June 2019 is ‘The Greatest Showman’ so expect great street entertainment, music, fantastic stalls, fun dog show and great food and drink. There are also fantastic raffle prizes and the chance to sample a special edition Street Fayre sausage roll made by our great local butcher.  The event opens at 10am with a Street Parade and there is live music throughout the day as well as a few surprises. So, come along, bring your friends, family and dogs to enjoy a really great day out.  For more information visit or see the Kippen Street Fayre Facebook page for updates.


Elsbeth Campbell


Events, Uncategorized

Kippen Parish Church Guild

“One Journey, Many Roads”  –  “Seeking the Way”

The Stirling/Clackmannan Guilds Together Annual Summer Rally will take place in Bridge of Allan Parish Church, 12 Keir Street, Bridge of Allan, FK9 4NW on Thursday, 30th May at 7.00 p.m.

Please contact Joanna 01786 870681 regarding



The Guild Annual Gathering will take place in Dundee on Saturday,
7th September.

This event is worth a visit. 


Further information and free tickets are available from

Joanna M. McPhail 01786 870681 or


Guild Week is 8th to 15th September 2019







Burns Supper

Kippen Village Hall was packed out for the 2019 Village Burns Supper, organised as usual by the Friends of Kippen Kirk Trust, and chaired by Sir Michael Hirst.  135 guests sat down to an excellent supper prepared by Cameron Skinner.

The evening started with the Selkirk Grace from the Rev Ellen Larson Davidson.  Then the Haggis being piped in by Murray O’May, the talented young Kippen piper, and the Haggis Bearer was David Jenkins, a trustee of FKKT.  The Haggis was addressed by local toastmaster, Richard Patten.

After supper, Kelsie Hewines from Kippen Primary School gave an outstanding recitation of Burns’ poem “Willie brewed a peck o’ maut” with wonderful actions.  What a talented young lady is Kelsie.  We can be proud that Kippen Primary is so successful in teaching the children about our National Bard.

The Immortal Memory was proposed by Ian Young OBE of Clachan of Campsie who gave a thoughtful, informed and comprehensive speech.  Arnprior farmer Duncan McEwen toasted the lassies and brought the house down with some splendid remarks and jokes.  He was followed by Cllr Neil Benny of Stirling who recited Tam O’Shanter with a boxful of props.  Baroness Annabel Goldie replied to the toast to the Lassies and was hugely amusing as she demolished the men at the top table.

Kathleen McKellar Ferguson organised the musical programme and we were indeed fortunate to have two outstanding singers from the Royal conservatoire of Scotland, Karla Grant and Daniel Barrett.

The Trust is most grateful to the many helpers who set up the hall, assisted with the serving, donated raffle prizes and sold raffle tickets, and cleared up the hall at the end of a most successful and enjoyable evening.  Diane Loutitt’s tablet was enjoyed by all.



Sixty years of the Over 60s Christmas Dinner

Sixty years of the Over 60s Christmas Dinner

A wonderful time was had by all at the diamond celebration of Kippen Over 60s Christmas dinner. Mary Lawson opened the afternoon thanking all the organisations, businesses and individuals who came together to arrange this community event. Ellen Larson-Davidson said the grace. A delicious meal was provided by Cameron Skinner and his team with a musical accompaniment from pianist Annabel Gaywood. A special cake was shared, and entertainment followed. Graham Whyte also known as Silly Billy involved the guests in a fun cabaret enabling James Ballingham to read Sheila’s mind for the first time in 60 years of marriage. A splendid raffle ensued made possible by many generous donations. A commemorative mug designed by Julie McEachern and funded by a grant from Falck Renewables was presented to each guest and delivered to those unable to attend on the day. Music from Billy Hutton and Jim Burns was appreciated by enthusiastic dancers and the afternoon concluded with Auld Lang Syne. Anne Hillis gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the guests. Volunteer drivers, servers and hall decorators are thanked as are the many other supporters who made the day possible.

An album of photographs is being collated as part of Kippen heritage. A selection is presented here.

Tracy Hepburn


Classics at Kippen

classics logo

The brainchild of Kathleen McKellar Ferguson, singing teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, “Classics at Kippen” was born in 2012. Its purpose is threefold – to provide much needed performing experience for young music students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, to raise money for charity and to provide a high-class concert performance which makes for a lovely community event for the people of Kippen and further afield. To date “Classics at Kippen” has raised over £20,000 for charities including Crossroads,” Raucous Rossini”, Erskine and Kippen Parish Church.


The next Classics at Kippen Concert will take place in Kippen Parish church on Saturday 23 March at 7.30pm. This will take the form of a duet recital by two former students of Kathleen’s from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Soprano Hannah Sandison and mezzo soprano Annabella Ellis have both sung at Glyndebourne and are forging very promising and successful international singing careers. The concert will include light classics and some “fun stuff”! Tickets can be obtained via our website  , where you can also be added to our mailing list, or you can contact Kathleen at

unknownAward winning soprano Hannah Sandison is a graduate of The Royal College of Music International Opera School and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she won The Governers Recital Prize. She was the recipient of several awards throughout her studies, including from the AHRC, The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, and Help Musicians UK.

Hannah has since gone on to sing for English Touring Opera, Mid Wales Opera and most recently Glyndebourne Festival Opera where she made her debut as The Cockerel in The Cunning Little Vixen, and also covered the role of Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Other operatic roles include Fiordiligi (Cosi Fan Tutte), Micaela (Carmen), Drusilla (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), and Metella (La Vie Parisienne). As a busy oratorio and concert performer, recital venues include the London Handel Festival, The Oxford Lieder Festival, at the Pushkin House, London, and The Rachmaninov Hall, Moscow. She has performed Gala’s with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, two Gala’s in Corfu, and Mahler’s Second Symphony with the London Mahler Orchestra. Hannah has performed as a soloist at St. Martin’s in the Field, the Royal Festival Hall, The Sage, Gateshead and The Royal Albert Hall.

She has performed live on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 3 In Tune. She looks forward to several concerts including Elijah (Mendelssohn), and a Haydn Harmoniemesse. In 2019 she will sing Tatiana (Eugine Onegin) and Lisa (Pique Dame) with the Milton Keynes City Orchestra.

English bio

Annabella Ellis was born in Norwich, Norfolk. At the age of six Annabella commenced her studies at Central School of Dancing and Performing Arts, where she specialised in theatre and dance. She continued her education at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, gained her Master of Arts at the Royal Academy of Music, and completed her Master of Music in Opera Studies at the Royal Conservatoire Scotland.

Annabella has participated in Masterclasses with Dimitr Vdovin, Elizabeth Vidal, Jennifer Larmore, Irina Gavrilovici, Kathryn Harries, Helmut Deutsch, Christoph Prégardien, Rachel Nicholls, Benjamin Luxon, Edith Weins, Susan Youens and Emma Kirby.
In 2012 Annabella is awarded First Prize in the Competition “Norfolk Young Musician”, in 2014 she is a finalist in the Maureen Lehane competition and obtains Second Prize in the English Song and Third Prize in the Isabella Jay Aria competitions at the Royal Academy of Music.

From the opera repertoire she has performed Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Orlovsky (Die Fledermaus), Fiordiligi (Cosí fan Tutte), Mrs Coyle (Owen Wingrave), Mercédes
(Carmen), Tonina (Prima la music e poi le parole), Sirene (Rinaldo), Drusilla/Amor (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Belinda/ Second Witch/ Sailor (Dido and Aeneas) in festivals like Dorset Opera, Longborough Festival Opera, British Youth Opera or Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

In the realm of the symphonic repertoire she recently made her French début singing alto solo in Mozart’s Requiem at the Halle aux Grains in Toulouse and has also appeared as alto solo in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Bach’s C Minor Mass, amongst others. Notable recital performances include performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in the Sighisoara Music Festival, Britten 100 and at the Wigmore Hall.


Dr Railton Scott Annual Whist Drive

The annual Whist Drive to raise money for Cancer Research will be held in the Village Hall on Friday 1st February at 7pm. This year, entrance money will be collected as you arrive (£3 per head with no charge for those hosting tables). If you would like reserve a table please contact Stuart Thomson on 01786 870529, 07736 362011, or This is a great village occasion with a long history of raising money for this very worthy cause.

There will be some practice Whist sessions in the Reading Rooms on Tuesdays 15th, 22nd and 29th January at 7.30pm. Come and learn how to play or have a brush up session. All are most welcome.

Naomi Hirst


Burns Supper

Tickets are selling well for the Village Burns Supper in the Village Hall on Saturday 26 January, and a capacity audience is expected. The event is hosted as usual by the Friends of Kippen Kirk Trust which helps to maintain the building and fabric of the Village Kirk.

There’s a great slate of speakers and performers. The Immortal Memory will be proposed by Ian Young of Campsie Glen; the Toast to the Lassies will be proposed by Duncan McEwan of Arnprior and the reply on behalf of the Lassies will be given by Baroness Goldie, whose hilarious replies have won her a place on the international circuit of Burns Suppers. After the Selkirk Grace by Rev Ellen Larson Davidson, the Haggis will be addressed by Kippen’s Richard Patten and Neil Benny will give his own unique recitation of Tam O’Shanter. Local lad Murray O’May, who piped so impressively at the Armistice Day Service in the Village, will be piping, and Kathleen McKellar Ferguson is organising the musical programme. Award-winning singers Daniel Barrett and Karla Grant from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will be singing. Cameron Skinner is catering the event.

Tickets, price £22.50, are still available from Micky or Naomi Hirst (870283), David Jenkins (870434) or Moira Turner (870705).


Classics @ Kippen “Summer Serenade”

On Friday 27th July we were delighted to welcome 8 singers and a pianist from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to the beautiful Kippen Kirk for an evening of light classical music. It was indeed a ‘Summer Serenade’ with music from opera, classical song, Scots song and music theatre wafting through the Church and raising the rafters! Wine was served at the interval, and it was delightful for our audience of around 170 to mill around outside on a balmy Summer evening.


I am thrilled to announce that we raised a total of £2600 on the evening, which included a generous personal donation from a London friend of £500. (The powers of FB!) This will be fund- matched up to £2500 from The Friends of Kippen Kirk Trust, to whom we are gratefully indebted, making a grand total of £5100. This will enable us to buy most of our own staging for future concerts in the Church. To say that I am thrilled is an understatement!

A huge thank you to all the very generous people of Kippen who helped with this event in so many ways……. setting up the church, catering, ticket selling, publicity, finances, photography and, not least, the most wonderful warm hospitality which the students loved. A very special thanks also goes to Kevan Leith at SAS Computing, who has very generously constructed our new website

Our next C@K Concert will be on March 23rd and will take the form of a duet recital by two former RCS students, Hannah Sandison and Annabella Ellis, both of whom are forging successful singing careers which began at Glyndebourne. This will be a high-class concert, not to be missed. The proceeds of this will enable us to buy the last bits and pieces of staging and some simple lighting for any future events in the Church.

Please get in touch via the website for more information, and to be added to our mailing list for future events.