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21st October 2019
Royal National Mod, Glasgow 2019
So, it's our ultimate goal after a whole year's practice; it occupies our thoughts and actions for almost twelve months ... and is over in around 15 minutes. Got it? Yes, it's Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir's contribution to the Royal National Mod, the world's largest festival of Gaelic culture.
Held each year in a different location, this year's event took us to the grandeur of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall where we took part in two competitions. The first of these was for Puirt a Beul, or Mouth Music, with each of the 13 competing choirs performing the same prescribed piece. The tunes are deceptively simple, as are the words, but it's all to do with pronunciation as well as memory and musical ability. We finished in a very creditable eighth place against the native Gaelic speakers of the various Glasgow choirs, Inverness, Dingwall, Portree etc, beating some of them with an excellent Gaelic mark of 93 out of 100.
The afternoon found us competing for the Margrat Duncan Trophy, confined to choirs with fewer native Gaelic speakers (we have none!) We fielded 26 members, all of whom had learned the two songs - one prescribed, one own choice - from scratch thanks to the musical prowess of conductor May Brown and Gaelic tutor Gilliain MacDonald and lots of hard work and determination from all the Choir.
We sang really well in front of the live TV cameras but were pipped by 2 marks out of 400 by eventual overall winners Stirling Gaelic Choir. We did enough, however, to finish in first place for Music, beating Stirling and winning the prestigious Staffinders Quaich, setting the seal on a very successful competitive year for Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir.
No time for resting on laurels, however, with other appearances lined up to finish our year. As ever, new recruits are warmly welcomed and no knowledge of Gaelic or music is required.