Ceòlas summer school sees surge in students

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This week has seen the busiest summer school to date with more than 160 students in Uist to attend Ceòlas 2019.

The growth in interest has meant that additional tutors have been taken on to expand capacity.

Classes in piping, step-dancing, fiddling, Gaelic language, clàrsach and reels and quadrilles will be paired with an eclectic community programme of concerts, cèilidhs, walks and book launches, from July 7–12.

FilmG showcased Gaelic short films from the annual competition, including the Nova Scotian film Slighe Agnais, on Monday July 8, in Sgoil Dhalabroig at 4pm. Yesterday (Wednesday July 10), SNH, in partnership with Ainmean-àite na h-Alba (Gaelic place-names of Scotland) and Ceòlas, launched the latest booklet in their series collecting place-names in the Highlands and Islands.

The Isle of Eriskay was the focus for the project which represents the first area surveyed within the Western Isles. Those interested gathered at 3.30pm at the Eriskay Cooperative and walked to the football pitch, before ending at Am Politician for the book launch.

This year’s school welcomed tutors Ingrid Henderson (clàrsach), Iain MacFarlane, Fiona MacAskill, Robbie Greig and Shelly Campbell (fiddle) and Seonaidh MacIntyre, Kenneth MacKenzie, Allan MacDonald and Ashley MacDonald (piping). Step-dance was taught by Harvey Beaton, Mats Melin and Sophie Stephenson, with the class in reels and quadrilles being taken by Mats Melin. Cathy Ann MacPhee and Mary Jane Lamond joined Alasdair Whyte teaching Gaelic song.

The greatest boost in numbers was experienced in Gaelic language classes, with Catrìona MacIntyre, Catrìona Black, Alec MacDonald and Gillebrìde MacMillan. Angus John MacDonald also taught his class in Gaelic on Uist folklore for the second year in a row. Christine Primrose and Rachel MacPherson were taken on to teach during the Gaelic for All classes.

New this year was a rejigged afternoon programme after first and second choice classes. Students opted into either tutor lecture/recitals, Gaelic community conversations, multi-instrumental sessions called ‘Àm Fideil’, Gaelic poetry workshops and Gaelic drama.