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The Coisir Sgir a’Bhac from Lewis had a fantastic competition yesterday (Thursday October 19), winning the prestigious Lorn Shield and a host of other trophies.
Their conductor Avril Allen was given the Mrs Catherin C MacDonald Silver Baton, with the choir also winning the Dalriada Cup for the highest marks in Gaelic and the Captain Angus Stewart Trophy for the highest marks in music. They also won the Hamish Graham (Strath) Trophy for highest aggregate marks in Gaelic throughout competitions A300, A305 and A306 (qualifiers); and they shared the prize for highest aggregate music marks in the same competitions – having scored equal points with Còisir Ghàidhlig Mhealbhaich (Melvich Gaelic Choir).
Avril Allen commended soprano Carol MacDonald, who sang a particularly difficult high note that caught the attention of the audience.
The Sheriff MacMaster Campbell Memorial Quaich, the other main award of the day, was won by Bùrach, a choir from Lochaline led by conductor Riona Whyte. They also won the Selma Shield for highest marks in Gaelic, while the Grace Robertson Memorial Award for highest marks in music was given to the Còisir Ghàidhlig Ile (Islay Gaelic Choir).
Bùrach competed wearing ribbons of MacLean tartan, in honour of their late choir member, Iain MacLean who passed away on his return from a successful choir competition at the International Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland, earlier this year.
Speaking of Iain, they said: ‘His strong, melodic tone was a huge asset to the bass section, as was his encyclopaedic knowledge of Gaelic song. Quick witted and funny – he had a humorous anecdote for every occasion and his company and cràic was sought out and enjoyed by all choir members – without exception.’