Taynuilt Gaelic Choir head to Mòd in Inverness

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Taynuilt Gaelic Choir will perform at the Royal National Mòd in Inverness on Friday October 15.

The regional Gaelic choir, formed in 1997, is looking forward to performing live for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic in March last year.

Despite having had to switch to Zoom practices during lockdown, the group persevered with regular online rehearsals, believing frequent social contact as well as singing was crucial for their members’ wellbeing.

Conductor Audrey Paterson said: ‘I believe it has been key to contributing to mental and physical health that we’ve been able to keep something going, even if choir members are only listening to me and singing along in their own homes. At least we’ve been able to have a laugh together.

‘We’re really looking forward to rediscovering that sense of camaraderie and fun which we’ve always had at Mòds. To us, the most important thing is to experience again the global friendship and joy we have in singing together in Gaelic with our friends in other choirs. The showcase gives us a chance to say we’re still here doing what we love.’

James Graham, chief executive officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: ‘Choral singing is at the heart of The Mòd experience and we are delighted to welcome regional choirs including Taynuilt Gaelic Choir back in person for a singing showcase.

‘Like many of us, choristers have struggled during lockdown, and the number of groups who have made online or socially distanced rehearsals work is admirable. But it is wonderful to be able to have people once again singing together as usual. It’s an experience that is all the more joyous for its absence.’

The Royal National Mòd 2021 started on October 8 and runs until October 16. A hybrid approach will see a combination of in-person concerts and competitions at the host venue of Eden Court Theatre, as well as online performances to be broadcast throughout the week.

A number of COVID safety measures will be in place for this year’s Mòd in line with government guidelines to keep audiences and performers safe, including extensive cleaning and ongoing COVID safety checks, enhanced hygiene measures, use of face masks and track and trace check ins.

Highlights of the celebration will include the major competitions – the An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal final and the Traditional Gold Medal. There will also be unmissable performances from ‘the new sound of a traditional Scotland’ Duncan Chisholm, fiddler Lauren MacColl, new outfit Staran, the famous Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band, the legendary Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart and many more.

The prestigious festival, which was founded in 1891, is supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, EventScotland, The Scottish Government, HIE, Caledonian MacBrayne, The Inverness Common Good Fund and SQA.

The full programme for this year’s Royal National Mòd can be viewed at www.ancomunn.co.uk. Tickets are available to buy from Eden Court box office www.eden-court.co.uk.