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Islay's Gaelic Choir at National Mod 2013

Susan Campbell wrote for the Ileach Newspaper: "This year has been a time of change for the choir, due to Iseabail Mactaggart and family having moved to the mainland. This lead to a collaboration between Iseabail Mactaggart and Arlene McKerrell, in preparation for handing over the baton to Arlene. The choir was also helped during summer rehearsals by Kenny Thomson of the GGs, and with a workshop on the new arrangement of 'Colla mo rùn' given by Sileas Sinclair. Sileas produced the choir's clever and challenging new arrangement which is a sung version of a pibroch, set for voice parts and telling the old Islay story of The Piper's Warning. The choir has come to especially enjoy singing this arrangement.


islay Gaelic Choir fronted by conductors, Arlene McKerrell and Iseabail MacTaggart, with trophies.
Photo: Oban Times

Following the competitions, Còisir Ghàidhlig Ìle's winning Puirt performance was broadcast on the Thursday evening of the Mòd week on BBC Alba. After the broadcast of the Islay choir's performances of the Rural Choirs Prescribed and Own Choice songs on Radio nan Gaidheal, Paul McCallum, introduced on the programme as an expert in music and Gaelic by Cathy MacDonald, singled out the Islay choir's tenors for special praise. What he actually said, verbatim (well, translated anyway) was: “It's strange. There are two places in the country, in the kingdom; Wales and Islay, for male singers, tenors in particular. They never lose that. There is something about the Islay male voices; direach alainn” (it means 'just beautiful')! Continue reading.....

And what are the Mòds all about, anyway, and why do they matter? Those people who aren't involved with Gaelic may wonder what all the excitement, Mòd magic or Mòd madness, is about. As the National Mòd organisation says, “Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd) is Scotland's premier event celebrating Gaelic linguistic and cultural heritage, which travelled to Paisley for the first time in its 121 year history. The eight day celebration of Gaelic music, dance, drama, arts and literature attracted thousands of participants and visitors.

“Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the world's oldest and most respected national Gaelic organisation, The Royal National Mòd is a competition based event which attracts Highland dancers, pipers, musicians, singers and many more competitors from communities throughout the world. Now in its 121st year, the Royal National Mòd has a long and impressive history and has evolved to become the most important festival of the Gaelic language in Scotland, regularly playing host to Gaelic speakers and international competitors from as far afield as Australia, the USA and Canada.”

The Mòd is comprised of competiions at all levels, open to everyone from the five year old learner child to the newest adult beginner, to native speakers or those just starting with Gaelic, and are intended to help in raising the standard of written, spoken and sung Gaelic, and to encourage use of the language throughout the Gaelic cultural diaspora as well as within the Gaidhealtacht and Scotland.

Còisir Ghàidhlig Ìle appreciates all the work that our conductors and Gaelic Reader Libby Morris put in to help singers get music and Gaelic pronounciations correct, and also the còisir's Committee and officebearers for managing the Mòd trip and other events so well. Most of all, the choir appreciates the community support given by Islay organisations and individuals which allows the choir to prepare for and attend both local occasions and nationally important events such as the Mòd.

Còisir Ghàidhlig Ìle results from Mòd Pàislig 2013
Rural Choirs Ladies A305 competition in Paisley Abbey: Prescribed song; 'Fiullaigean', Own choice; 'Chraobh nan Uabhal', placed 'in the middle' amongst ten entries.
Rural choirs Puirt-a-beul competition A306 in Coats Memorial Church: Puirt; Strathspey 'Haoidealan dubh, Reel 'Fear a' choire' - Winners, in a competition with twelve choirs entered.
Trophies: Aline MacKenzie Memorial cup and John Young Memorial Baton for winning conductor, Rural Choirs mixed voice four part.
A303 Competition in Paisley Town Hall: Prescribed song 'Och nan och 's mi fo lèireadh, Own Choice 'Colla mo Rùn' - Winners, in a competition with six choirs entered. Trophy: The Sheriff MacMaster Campbell Memorial Cuaich, Selma Shield 'Canan ar Cèol' for highest marks in Gaelic.
Open Men's Choral Singing A307 in Paisley Town Hall: Prescribed song; Bùth Dhòmh'ill'ic Leòid, Own Choice; Chruinneag Ileach. Six choirs competing, including Men's sections from large town choirs. Placed 4th Cumulative.
Hugh MacCowan Trophy for Highest aggregate points in Gaelic scored by an Argyll choir.

Tag: gaelic choir

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