Fantastic Ceòlas

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CEÒLAS 2011 was fantastic according to the student evaluations. Every concert, ceilidh and dance had capacity audiences of over 200 people, and the week was a highly rewarding learning experience for students and tutors within the formal classes and beyond in the many varied activities in the community.

T.V. star, Michelle McManus found learning Gaelic songs rather challenging but under the expert tuition of Kathleen and Rona she was able to record her song for television after two days!

Michelle delighted the community by singing at the Welcome Ceilidh on Sunday and again at a house ceilidh in Boisdale House on Tuesday in the presence of Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland.

STV are making a film about Michelle which everyone at Ceòlas look forward to seeing.

Internationally famous Seudan and Andrea Boyd were the stars of the Piping concert on the Monday evening - an unforgettable evening for all present.

Tuesday saw the arrival of Andrew Dixon at Ceòlas on his first leg of his Hebridean tour. He met with community members in Talla Chidhe and outlined his vision for Creative Scotland. He was also able to see the Michael Gilfedder exhibition of paintings.

Ceòlas students’ favourite event - House Ceilidhs- were held at DJ and Pat Peteranna; Penny Burgess; Mairi Wilmott; Eric and Jane Twelves, and Boisdale House. Catch a flavour of the event on Andrew Dixon’s Creative Scotland blog.

Singers night on Wednesday was a medley of the best singers in Gaelic as Margaret Stewart, Kathleen MacInnes, Rona Lightfoot, Sineag MacIntyre, Paul McCallum took the floor.

The evening was rounded off by fiddler Iain MacFarlane singing ‘Mo nighean donn boidheach’, supported by a chorus group consisting of: Angus Nicolson; Ivan MacDonald; Allan Henderson; Ewen Henderson; Iain MacMaster; Paul McCallum; Frank McConnell, and Alan MacDonald.

One of the 23 Irish visitors from Belmullet in Co Mayo also sang during the evening and the entertainment continued with a dance in Eriskay with Billy MacPhee band into the wee small hours!

On Thursday evening the connections with Ceòlas’ Cape Breton friends were reinforced as Fiddle and Dance were the focus of the evening.

Frank McConnell was dance caller for the evening and a host of musicians playing in different styles to make the evening varied. Margie and Dawn Beaton were stars alternating between playing and then dancing holding their fiddles.

On Friday afternoon the school closed with the traditional Crossover performances. Again the richness of our Gaelic tradition was demonstrated by the tutors and students in short performances.

Ceòlas Ceilidh Mor on the Friday brought the week to a suitable close as a wonderful display of music and dance was enjoyed by a full house. A special welcome was given to Liam MacGonigle the young Irish Box player with his friends from Belmullet. Emma MacInnes MC’d the evening with great panache.