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31 Jan 2020

Gregg violin mingles with the stars at the BAFTAs in Los Angeles

Written by David Hopes
A man holding a violin, with Lulu, the singer, in a black hat and tartan scarf
Lulu sings Auld Lang Syne accompanied by the Gregg violin
We arrived excitedly in Los Angeles to 20C sunshine – a marked difference to Boston and Chicago where temperatures had been way below zero. Our destination was the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, yards from Santa Monica Beach, the venue for a Burns-themed British Academy Film and Television Awards charity fundraiser.
Driving along a highway in the USA with a road sign. Taken from inside the car.
Arriving in Los Angeles

BAFTA LA used the evening to raise funds for scholarships for students interested in careers in the creative industries.

Ross King hosted, with contributions from a number of actors and entertainers, including Sam Heughan (star of Outlander, who was launching his new whisky, Sassenach) who ably addressed the haggis in a good-humoured, three-hour programme.

Alistair McCulloch played an upbeat Burns medley on the violin to 150 guests, ending with a vigorous Mason’s Apron.

To close the event, Lulu sang Amazing Grace, Shout, and then, to round off the evening, Auld Lang Syne, accompanied by Alistair on the Gregg violin.

Lulu singing Auld Lang Syne in Los Angeles, accompanied by the Gregg violin


Lulu: it’s too high, too high … Should auld … Two, three …

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
For auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


Who would have thought that the singer from East Kilbride, a big fan of Robert Burns, would ever perform in California with a fiddle which had moved Burns 250 years ago in a little village in Ayrshire? The violin has the power to affect people like few other things.

There was also a live link to ITV’s Good Morning Britain where Lulu, Sam Heughan and Ross King (and the Gregg violin) shared the love in the room with viewers on ITV.

What an amazing experience – made possible largely by the Scottish Government, through Rory Hedderly. Thank you to them, and to BAFTA for an unforgettable night.

Next stop, Washington DC!

Driving along a highway in the USA with a road sign. Taken from inside the car.
Sunset over Santa Monica
A video showing the itinerary for the Gregg violin tour

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