Young talent to the fore at Mull and Iona Provincial Mòd

Mull Choir, pictured above outside Tobermory's Aros Hall, drew third alongside Oban Choir in the puirt-a-beul.

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Tobermory again hosted the Mull and Iona Provincial Mòd last Friday and Saturday.

With more than 160 individual children competing in the solo, poetry and conversation competitions, as well as 10 children’s choirs and 13 school and preschool action songs, the Junior Mòd on Friday was one of the busiest in the Mòd’s history. Saturday brought the adult competitors, with more than 30 soloists and nine choirs.

Despite a rather miserable weather forecast, Friday turned out to be a lot drier than anticipated and the Main Street was filled with children rehearsing and rushing between competitions. The action songs in Aros Hall on Friday morning were, as always, hugely entertaining.

Every school on Mull was represented, as well as Lochaline Primary School, with pupils coming over to Mull for the day to compete. There were four entries for the pre-five action song, as well, which organised described as ‘delightfully cute’.

On Friday afternoon there were two competitions running concurrently in Aros Hall: the U13s choral unison and the U13s choral puirt-a-beul competitions. Ten choirs competed in the unison – three choirs from Bun-Sgoil an t-Sàilein, Tobermory Primary School Choir, Kilchoan Primary School Choir, Oigridh Shuaineart, Bunessan School Choir, Iona Primary School Choir and two choirs from Oban: Rockfield Choir and St Columba’s Primary School Choir. Both competitions were won by choirs from Bun-Sgoil an t-Sàilein, conducted by Kirsty Blackhall.

After all the hard work, many of the prizewinners and mòd-goers attended the Prizewinners Ceilidh on Friday evening. The committee were delighted to welcome Ian Smith of Trail West and Robert Robertson of Tide Lines, who provided wonderful dance music, and Dr Alistair Whyte as Fear an Taigh for the evening.

Organisers said: ‘The ceilidh was the busiest Children’s Ceilidh we’ve had for many years at the Mull Mòd; the dancefloor was full all night with both children and adults, and there were many wonderful performances by the prizewinners of the day, including the winning action song and choir from Bun Sgoil an t-Sàilein.’

The committee would like to thank Mrs Jennifer McGhee, the new head teacher at Tobermory High School, for presenting the trophies to all of the winners.

Tobermory Primary School Choir

On Saturday morning, Eileen Duncan of Thurso won the Open Solo competition, which is the largest adult solo competition at the Mull Mòd and the local song competition was won by Janet Campbell of Tobermory.

As well as the solo, duet and quartet competitions, organisers were pleased to be able to offer Gaelic Testing for several people wanting to get their Bronze, Silver or Gold Cards, which enable them to compete in specific solo competitions at the National Mòd, as well as helping their choirs meet requirements of Gaelic speakers.

Tobermory primary 5,6 and 7 perform their action song

On Saturday afternoon, the men’s choir competition had only two entries, and was won by Còisir Ceann an Tuirc, but there were seven choirs in the ladies’ competition. Glasgow Islay Ladies’ Choir won, with Còisir Ghàidhlig an Eilein Mhuilich ladies placing second, and Atomaig Piseag and Oban Gaelic Choir placing drawing for third place.

After the ladies’competition, the seven mixed voice choirs battled it out in two concurrent competitions. Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir placed first in the Mixed Voice competition, with Glasgow Gaelic Music Association (the GGs) placing second and Oban Gaelic Choir placing third. The puirt-a-beul competition was won by the Glasgow Gaelic Music Association, with Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir placing second, and Oban and Mull Choirs drawing for third place.

Salen School Choir

Saturday evening’s ceilidh was also very busy, and music was once again provided by Sandy MacAulay on the accordion. All of the available prizewinners performed their winning songs, and the choristers all joined together for some massed choir singing at the end of the evening.

Tobermory Primary School’s P1s and 2s sing their action song

The Mull Mòd was once again a huge success, the committee said, thanking all its sponsors, supporters, and volunteers: ‘The two day event would be impossible to run without them, and we are always looking for more people to help. If you might be interested to join us in 2018, either as a steward, a raffle ticket seller, a tea maker, a chairperson or a committee member, please e-mail us at: enquiries@mullmod.org.uk and we will get in touch next year.

‘Most of all, thank you to the all of the competitors, tutors and schools: without you, we wouldn’t have a Mòd at all.’