News & Events
The Association of Gaelic Choirs (Comunn nan Coisirean Gaidhlig) is purely a representative body seeking to further the interests of all Gaelic Choirs. It is a governing body and does not interfere in any way whatsoever with the management or work of any individual choir. Our role is to negotiate on behalf of Gaelic Choirs and to strengthen the common bonds between us.
Inverness Mod 2014
Gaelic Choirs battle it out for ‘Mod-stermind’ title
Competition between Gaelic choirs has reached new heights with the launch of a new event to test the quality of choristers’ brain cells and their memories of the Mod as well as their voices.
The first ever Gaelic Choir challenge ceilidh quiz, or Mod-stermind, devised and directed by Mary Ann Kennedy and Maggie MacDonald of Inverness Gaelic choir, has drawn many of the best known singers and conductors from across the Highlands to compete for the title of Champion Choir.
Hosted by Bogbain Farm, the competition attracted teams from Inverness, Dingwall, Nairn, Melvich, Lairg and Coilich a' Chinn a Tuath Gaelic choirs and raised £700 for Royal National Mod 2014 in Inverness.
Renowned performers such as Kirsteen Menzies, Raymond Bremner, Ann Michie, and Nina MacKellar had their general knowledge of the Mod and its music grilled by quiz masters for the evening and stalwarts of the Gaelic music scene Hamish Menzies and Seumas Campbell.
Bogbain’s Yvonne Murray enhanced the sophisticated tone of the evening by creating some exotic Mod-themed cocktails to mark the occasion including the ‘French Murdina’ and ‘Black Marag-arita’.
In true Mod tradition extra marks were awarded for musicality to those who could sing the answers with further bonus points for quality of Gaelic and flattery of the quizmasters.
A close fought final between Inverness and Dingwall eventually saw Inverness pull through as winners on the night and claim the bragging rights in their ongoing friendly local rivalry. Mary Ann said:
“Choirs are very social entities in themselves but though we meet often in competitions ironically we rarely have a chance to relax with each other ‘off duty’. The quiz has been great fun to put together and shows the fun and enjoyment we all find and share in our music as choir members. Consolation to Dingwall but they did seem to do rather well in the raffle. Inverness can’t rest on our laurels though and we look forward to this year’s Royal National Mod in Paisley and defending our title away from home!”
Our thanks to Iain Hector Ross from Inbhir Nis Gaelic Choir for his unbiased report!
We are grateful to Angus Ferguson (local organising committe member and also a choirister with the GG's in his spare time) for submitting the following report:
The Local Organising Committee has now submitted its Competition Venues Plan to An Comunn Ghaidheallach. An Comunn will have the final say (possibly not until after the summer) but our proposal is to have all of the choir competitons centred around the three main venues: that is the Town Hall, Paisley Abbey and the Wynd Centre. All three of these venues are within a 5 minute walk of each other, and the Town Hall and The Abbey are right beside each other. All of the venues are also just a 5 minute walk from Gilmour Street Station. In other words everything for the choirs is right in the centre of Paisley and there is also a range of bars and restaurants in this area.
The plan is to allocate each choir a classroom for rehearsal/assembly in Reid Kerr College's Centre for Performing Arts Building which is also right in the heart of the Town Centre at the junction of New Street and the High Street. These classrooms will be available to choirs from the Wednesday right through to the Friday evening. This means that choirs can use them for rehearsals etc on the night before their competitions and on the days of their competitions.
Although these rooms will be available for rehearsals etc, some choirs (possibly those that are not planning to stay overnight) may be looking for bars/restaurants/bowling clubs or whatever to act as a base for the Thursday/Friday. If any choir wants some help in trying to find facilities of this kind they should contact me and I'll try to find something for them.
In terms of accommodation, there would still seem to be some hotel rooms available in the "Airport Campus" and in particular I think the Ramada Hotel is doing a special Mod deal (see website for details). The airport campus is just a 5 minute drive from the centre of the town and a shuttle bus service will be in operation during Mod Week. Enquiries about Accommodation should be addressed to Liz Macdonald via the Mod Phaislig website.
The Local Organising Committee would also like to make a few changes to try to improve things for the choir competitions. On the Friday morning for example we are asking An Comunn to consider the idea of centralising the Adjudications for the Male Voice, Ladies and Puirt a Beul competitions. These three competitons are planned to take place in The Wynd, The Abbey and The Town Hall but instead of the marks and adjudications being read out in the three different venues, we are suggesting that the three sets of adjudicators are brought together in one venue (probably the Town Hall after the Puirt a Beul Competition) to make their pronouncements. This will mean that all of the choirs will be able to assemble together to hear the results being announced and this should add to the excitement.
We also appreciate that choir competitions, particularly on the Friday morning have a tendency to run late - partly because competing choirs are often asked to appear in two places at the one time! To overcome this, the Local Organising Committee plan to schedule the three Friday morning competitions more tightly and give each choir a specific perfomance time for each competition. An Comunn will still make the draw and publish the running order for each competition as normal, but once the Mod Programme has been published the Local Organising Committee will then schedule specific performance times for each choir in each competition. Each choir will then be notified of their specific starting times. This will mean that all choirs will appear in the order in which they have been drawn and it will also mean that the competitons should finish on time. The Local Organising Committee will of course work closely with individual choirs and with the Association of Gaelic Choirs in communicating and implementing this.
Once all of the choir entries have been received by An Comunn at the end of May - the Local Organising Committee will contact all of the choirs and allocate them a "Choir Buddy". Choir Buddies will be people who are based in the Paisley area and who will be able to sort out some of the local logistical issues on behalf of their allocated choirs. These people will then become the main point of contact for each of the choirs and will also help choirs out during Mod week.
The Massed Choirs event on the Saturday morning will be in the centre of the town, probably at Paisley Cross and this will bring the Mod to its traditional close. There is also a major opening ceremony being planned for the evening of Friday the 11th of October. This will involve a torch light procession down the High Street, through the town centre and ending up outside the Town Hall/Abbey for the unfurling of the Mod Flag and the formal opening speeches. This is still being worked on but it promises to be a spectacular start to the Mod. I know that a lot of choirs won't be around for that, but hopefully the Glasgow/Central belt choirs will be able to get involved. There will be more details about this in the weeks to come.
If your choir need any more information or want clarification of anything please don't hesitate to get in touch with Angus or any of his colleagues via the Mod Phaislig website.