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While their energy and youthful enthusiasm might point to a choir in the first flush of youth, Taynuilt Gaelic Choir will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
It was late 1996 when Margaret McLellan, formerly of Harris but then resident in Taynuilt, asked around for like-minded souls to join her in some singing, some Gaelic and perhaps some competing. The rest is history.
Còisir Ghàidhlig Thaigh an Uillt competed in its first National Mod in Inverness in October 1997 under the guidance of its first conductor, Neil Sinclair.
Joy McAllister and Ann Barlow have also both taken the reins before its current conductor, Audrey Paterson.
The choir competes in a category which has no fluent Gaelic requirement and as a result many choir members need a bit of phonetic guidance, which has been ably provided by five Gaelic tutors over the years, with John MacFarlane currently holding the post with great skill and diplomacy over Oban Gaelic versus Mull or Lochaber pronunciations.
Over the years the choir has seen significant success at the National Mod, winning the Sheriff McMaster competition for the first time in Dunoon in 2000, which has been followed by other successes.
Individuals within the choir are a talented bunch too and the choir can boast a gold medallist, three silver pendant winners and three Oban Times gold medallists within its number, while Joy Dunlop, Audrey Paterson, Nicola Pearson and Rachael Deans have all tasted success in the duet and quartet competitions at National Mod level.
It’s not only Scotland where the choir has tasted success: it has enjoyed sunny days at the Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival in the Isle of Man as well as twice participating in the Pan-Celtic International Festival in Ireland.
Wanting to reach out beyond Taynuilt, they were the first Gaelic choir to set up a website and this led to an association with the Alma Choir from Michigan, USA, which always includes Taynuilt on its tour itinerary when it visits Scotland.
For 20 years the choir has aimed to further an appreciation of the Gaelic language through the beauty of its music and the fruits of its voices
can be found on the two stunning choir albums they’ve produced.
Choir members continue to work together and laugh together and look forward to celebrating 20 years with supporters of the choir in the
Argyllshire Gathering Halls.
With friends old and new, with good food and great music Saturday March 25 should be a night to remember.