Gaelic Choir - Aberfeldy & District Gaelic Choir
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28th June 2007


John Swinney (MSP North Tayside) has hailed the Aberfeldy & District Gaelic Choir’s 40th Anniversary Ball in Castle Menzies last weekend (23/6) as “an impressive celebration” and he threw his support behind the only Gaelic Choir in Perthshire. “It is so important that the great oral tradition of the Gaelic language is fostered,” he said “and I am so proud that this Aberfeldy Choir is making that contribution here in Perthshire!”

Members and former members of the Choir, as well as fellow choristers from the Dingwall Gaelic Choir, and invited guests and dignitaries, enjoyed an evening of sumptuous food, provided by local caterer Morag Tulloch, followed by dancing to the strains of the well-known Fife band, Conundrum. The fabulous castle surroundings provided the space and the atmosphere for the much-heralded local event, and the celebrations were punctuated by various speeches.

Guest speaker was Jean Graham, introduced warmly by the Choir’s Musical Director and Conductor Frances McCallum as “a highly respected and dearly loved music adjudicator”. Jean regaled the guests with anecdotes about Mods and other international competitions and festivals at which she had adjudicated. One hilarious story was of a Russian choir who sang their ‘own choice’ song then walked off the stage….and when asked by Jean if they weren’t going to sing the ‘set’ song as well, they replied “Oh no, we haven’t learned that one….it was far too difficult!”

Recently appointed Provost of Perth John Hulbert, accompanied by his vivacious wife Sara, said he thoroughly enjoyed the evening – his first duty in Highland Perthshire, and in Aberfeldy. He emphasised how important Mods and Gaelic Choirs are to the survival and regeneration of the Gaelic language, and how personally dedicated he felt to that effort.

President of the Choir Lou Oppenheim also acknowledged the importance of the Choir’s Gaelic affiliations, but pointed out that being a member of this particular choir was more than just promoting the Gaelic language and culture.

“What has made this choir so special to each member over the past 40 years is the people” said Lou. “It’s like a strong extended family…we help each other through crises, through bereavements, through illness – and we celebrate each others’ joys – engagements, marriages, new babies, being a granny for the first time, or getting the “all clear” after a health scare.” Lou added that the fabulous evening had been partly funded by the Choir itself, but also through fundraising enabled by the support of local businesses. “So many local people and businesses have been hugely generous,” she said “it’s wonderful that the Choir is cherished and supported locally in this way, and we are very grateful!”

One guest, Anne Stewart, had her mind on other things and her ear to her mobile for most of the evening. A former soprano in the Choir, Anne shows and breeds Hovawart dogs – and just before leaving her home in Auchterarder for the Ball, her bitch “Jaunty” decided to go into labour 4 days early! Fellow dog lover and neighbour Mark Tyerman and Anne’s father Bob both stepped in as midwives, and by the end of the Ball (and many phonecalls later!) Jaunty had produced 9 healthy pups! “It’s made my day – and these pups’ granny won the Hovawart breed classes at Crufts this year, so it’s even better!” said Anne – and she decided to give each of the pups a Gaelic name in honour of the Choir’s 40th anniversary!
Anyone wishing to join the Aberfeldy & District Gaelic Choir – and anyone who can help Anne with some Gaelic names! – contact Kate Coaton on 01887 830315.

The Aberfeldy & District Gaelic Choir would like to thank all the local businesses and individuals who so kindly sponsored the 40th Anniversary Celebrations held at Castle Menzies on Saturday June 23rd. Their generosity is much appreciated. Also our thanks to John Jack, Custodian of Castle Menzies, for providing such a magnificent venue.

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"Scots Wha Hae": Aberfeldy & District Gaelic Choir - past and present - at Castle Menzies, celebrating the Choir's 40th anniversary

Frances McCallum speaks, alongside John Swinney MSP, Mrs Sara Hulbert and Provost John Hulbert

Gaelic names required for Jaunty's 9 puppies, born during the Ball

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