Sun shines on Oban Mòd back in town

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All photographs: Kevin McGlynn


After an absence of two years Mòd Sgire An Òbain (Oban and District Mòd) returned and was enjoyed by all who attended, the weather no doubt enhansing the general feeling of being pleased to be back  and taking part in a well loved tradition.

Friday saw a good start to the gathering with everyone arriving early and keen to begin. Competitors and adults mingled outside awaiting the 9.30am start time and from then onwards it was all go.

Singing, piping, fiddle and accordion music could be heard throughout the day. Indeed the incidental audiences of tourists and many of them from abroad, were enthralled to hear the young pipers practising outside in the sunshine at the Scout Hall, said Oban Mòd secretary Ann Ferguson.

Many competitors had entered the oral and singing competitions plus the instrumental sections and it was apparent just how multi talented some of these competitors were.

All of the adjudicators in both Gaelic conversation and poetry and those judging the music and gaelic in the singing competitions were impressed by the high standard.
As well as being impressed by the range of abilities in all of the singing competitions, they were treated to such songs as Mo Sheanmhair a Spuineadair (My Granny is a Pirate), and were entertained by the opinions of young Gaelic conversationalists. The instrumental section certainly did not play ‘second fiddle’ to this feast of Gaelic language and music, with fiddle, accordion and piping entries being encouragingly high and especially in the piping section.

It was apparent that young musicians were happy to be back performing again after restrictions. Some had travelled from outwith the area and one young piper had come from Crieff.

Entrants were all given a badge for taking part and those who gained first, second and third places were awarded a Comunn Gàidhealach medal.

A new trophy, The Chrissie McLeod Memorial Trophy, donated by the family, was presented for the best performance in Gaelic conversation.

Many of the local competitors in the singing competitions had been tutored by Mary Catherine MacLean under the umbrella of Mòd Academy and many of the Oral competitors had been schooled by Duncan MacNeil of Furan Gaelic Centre and both had transferred their skills and enthusiasm for Gaelic to their young pupils.

A beautiful sunny Saturday saw the adult competitions start bright and early with Gaelic poetry, prose and conversation in one room in Oban High School and singing in the Main Hall. This year it was good to see a few new competitors in the oral section and the adjudicator was pleased to welcome them to conversation in particular. F. Ann Mac Lean from Lismore was the overall winner in the oral section. A very strong competition in the solo singing competitions had singers travelling from Mull, Edinburgh, Ayrshire, Glasgow as well as local areas.

In the competition to sing a song by an Argyll bard, it was interesting to hear some previously unknown songs.The singers were all pleased to be back singing in front of an audience, although slightly daunting having had two years of no live performances.
Donna Dugdale from Tobermory was the winner of the Iseabal Scott Memorial Trophy and Helen Pearson from Oban the winner of the Irene McCowan Medal. Everyone listening agreed that they had been been presented with some outstanding performances.

Enjoying this first opportunity to sing for two years in most cases, the choirs sang a variety of traditional and new songs which pleased the listeners. Coisir Ghàidhlig an Òbain won two of the three competitions they had entered and Coisir Ghàidhlig Thaigh an Uillt won the Puirt -a-Beul. All the choirs gave impressive performances and some sang multi-part arrangements which enthralled the audience. They sang to a high standard and that was reflected in the marks given by the adjudicators who encouraged them all towards the National Mòd, which is in Perth this year.

Ann Ferguson said: ‘Altogether we had a glittering two days of high achievement and all competitors should be acknowledged for their efforts along with their teachers, tutors and families.

‘It is wonderful to see the interest and enthusiasm for Gaelic which is alive and thriving in the area.

‘The success of these events is also largely dependent on the venues and their staff and on behalf of Comunn Gàidhealach an Òbain I would like to thank Live Argyll and in particular the staff at the Corran Halls and at Oban High School for their help in making the Mòd such a success- Mòran taing.

‘Please visit Comunn an Òbain Website and Facebook. All new and even not so new ideas are welcome!’