Glasgow Gaelic choir entertains Campbeltown in fund-raising concert

Kenneth Thompson and GCMA

On  Saturday evening – 1st June – around 200 people were treated to an excellent programme of entertainment from Ceolraidh Gàidhlig Ghlaschu, the  Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association, or the GG as the choir is commonly known.

A predominantly Gaelic repertoire, with a pleasing mix of both choral and solo performances, was appreciated by the large audience in the Lorne and Lowland Church in Campbeltown.

The concert was held to raise funds for the local care home, Auchinlee.  It succeeded in generating a significant sum, through both donations at the door and sponsorship from local businesses.

kenneth thompsonThe choir’s connections to Campbeltown run deep, many of them evident on Saturday.  The conductor, Kenneth Thomson, is a native of Campbeltown and there are several choir members who also hail from Kintyre.  Kenneth also regaled the audience with the story of how he met his wife in Southend, and that it was she who introduced him to the then president of the GG, leading him to join the choir in 1968.  This year marks the Association’s 120th anniversary, and Kenneth’s 45th with the choir, 30 of them as conductor.

The first half opened with two choir pieces, Àirigh a’ Chùl-chinn and An Eala Bhàn, the latter the exquisite love song composed by Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna during the Battle of the Somme.  There followed solo performances by Amanda Millen originally from Lochaber, and Ruaraidh MacIntyre, South Uist, both regular competitors in Gold Medal competitions at the National Mòd.

Ruaraidh also claimed credit for the exciting arrangement of the final choral piece of the first half, Òran na Cloiche, the relatively recent song about the Stone of Destiny’s removal to Scotland in 1950.  Crowd-pleaser Carradale Glen by James MacTaggart, fondly remembered by many in the audience, also featured before the interval.

Conductor Kenneth Thomson opened the second half with a solo rendition of Down by the Salley Gardens, the Benjamin Britten arrangement of the Yeats poem, appropriately chosen as 2013 marks the centenary of the composer’s birth.  The choir then continued with a lively puirt-à-beul, Seònaid NicGumaraid, an arrangement by Obanite Sìleas Sinclair.

Gordon McKeeve

Other second half soloists were Fiona Mackintosh, whose parents were from Campbeltown and Islay, and Gordon McKeeve, above, who sang a delightful Skye song in memory of his mother who came from near Waternish in the north west of the island.   Both have won Silver at the National Mòd.

The final piece of the evening was the rousing Miann Cridhe, a now much requested choral arrangement by Kenneth.  It was a fitting finale, as the song celebrates the joyful return to homeland.  Judging by the audience reaction it was a big hit with everyone present.

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