Around 18 months ago the ‘Care for a Ceilidh’ initiative was set up with the aim of musicians providing short concerts to residents of care homes in and around Glasgow.
Now the idea has migrated north, first of all going over a storm in Inverness during the Royal National Mòd, which of course featured Gaelic choirs visiting local care homes.
Donald Macleod, a former Stornoway man, who is now resident in Glasgow and sings with the Glasgow Gaelic choir, has been active in driving the project.
Describing how the Inverness concerts went across, he said: “They went really well, in fact they could not have gone better. The highlight for me was a chair-bound bodach who stood up, apparently for the first time in years, because he was ‘so uplifted by the music’!”
He continued: “At the Mòd, a few of the choirs asked me about setting up something in the islands, so that they could visit the local care homes.
“Since then, I’ve been in touch with all the Gaelic choirs in Lewis and Harris and they’re all up for it and speaking to the care homes, they’re all very keen to have the musicians along for a concert.”
“We’re very excited about the new initiative in the islands, and must thank everyone who will be taking part in the ceilidhs.”
The first event in this series of concerts is on November 14th when Iain ‘Costello’ Maciver takes the Sir E Scott choirs and the Ceòl na Cloinne musicians to visit Harris House.
In the next concert on December 4th Coisir Sgir a’ Bhac are confirmed to perform at Stornoway’s Dun Eisdean home, with the Laxdale Ladies performing at Bethesda Care Home and Hospice on January 10th.
Iain ‘Costello’ Maciver, conductor of Sir E Scott school choir, said of the initiative: “Sir E Scott School Choir and Ceòl na Cloinne are just delighted to part of this worthwhile project.”
And Avril Duncan, conductor of Coisir Sgir a Bhac, added: “For the last two years our choir has said that the ceilidhs have been one of the highlights of the Mod. We go to compete, but taking part in the ceilidh is a far more important event and we had such fun at the last one.”
This view was also endorsed by Cathy Hannaway, singer with Laxdale Ladies, who said they look forward to the ceilidhs, she explained: “It’s a wonderful feeling to watch the residents perk up and smile and tap their feet and hands when they hear the music and songs.
“I for one am a firm believer that music affects our general well being and that hearing music and song transports you often back in time and sometimes you can feel yourself back in that moment with songs from your youth and in the past. Music most certainly makes you feel so much better in yourself.”
To find out more about the Care for a Ceilidh initiative visit: www.facebook.com/CareForACeilidh
Pictured are the Laxdale Ladies taking part in the Care for a Ceilidh initiative.