Mull’s at home choir gives us a tune

Isle of Mull Gaelic Choir at last year's Royal National Mod. Photo by Graham Hood.

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Isle of Mull Gaelic Choir has gone online to help lift lockdown blues.

The rousing sound of the choir singing Mull anthem An t- Eilean Muileach had more than 3,000 hits on Facebook just 24 hours after it was posted by choir secretary Donna Dugdale.

Hundreds of people have also viewed it  on YouTube said Donna whose 15-year-old son Alexander, a pupil at Tobermory High School, pieced together song lines from videos sent in by members all over the island – and one from Sweden.

Donna put out a special request for contributions after it was suggested the choir might like to make some recordings to help lift people’s spirits during the coronavirus crisis.

‘At that point, it was just before lockdown but we’d already stopped weekly rehearsals  so it wasn’t possible to get the whole choir together. There’s about 30 of us who live from one end of the island to the other, so a lot of people would have to have travelled quite a distance and we would’ve needed a massive space to get all of us distancing 2ms apart!’ said Donna.

Inspired by other community choirs going online from their individual homes to perform, Donna decided to have a go on Mull.

Members stepped up to the challenge to appear in home-videos of them singing parts of the much-loved Mull song – including  singer-songwriter and part-time member Iain Thompson, known as The Singing Shepherd, who is away living in Sweden.

‘It was amazing what Alexander was able to do with the raw files of us all singing separately, I was gobsmacked at how well it merged together. Everything he’s been doing in  music technology at school was put to good use.

‘Originally we did this just to help boost moral on the island and so that people could see familiar friendly faces but it’s reached far beyond Mull now thanks to Facebook and YouTube,’ said Donna who lives in Tobermory.

COVID-19 also put pay to the choir’s hopes for this year at the now cancelled Royal National Mod.

At the 2019 prestigious event, the choir’s ladies section  won everything on offer in the rural choirs sing two-songs competition, including the Grampian Television Trophy, the Rod MacKenzie Sgir’ a’ Bhac Memorial Baton, as well as the Angus MacTavish Memorial Trophy and the Rotary of Blairgowrie Trophy for achieving the highest marks in Gaelic and music.

Donna said: ‘We’re all heartbroken there’s no Mod this year but our little video has cheered us up. It’s been lovely to feel united again even if it’s only online for the time being!’