A choir from Lewis won the coveted Lorn Sheild and a host of other trophies at the Royal National Mod in Lochaber yesterday.
The Coisir Sgir a’Bhac’s conductor Avril Allen was given the Mrs Catherin C MacDonald Silver Baton, and they also won the Dalriada Cup for the highest marks in Gaelic, and the Captain Angus Stewart Trophy for the highest marks in music.
The choir also won the Hamish Graham (Strath) Trophy for highest aggregate marks in Gaelic throughout competitions A300, A305 and A306 (qualifiers); and they shared the prize for highest aggregate music marks in the same competitions – having scored equal points with Còisir Ghàidhlig Mhealbhaich (Melvich Gaelic Choir).
Ms Allen praised soprano singer Carol MacDonald, who sang a particularly difficult high note that caught the attention of the audience.
The Sheriff MacMaster Campbell Memorial Quaich, the other main award of the day, was won by Bùrach, a choir from Lochaline led by conductor Riona Whyte.
They also won the Selma Shield for highest marks in Gaelic, while the Grace Robertson Memorial Award for highest marks in Music was given to the Còisir Ghàidhlig Ile (Ilsay Gaelic Choir).
Bùrach competed wearing ribbons of MacLean tartan, in honour of their late choir member Iain MacLean, who died on his return from a successful choir competition at the International Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland earlier this year.
The choir said: “His strong, melodic tone was a huge asset to the bass section, as was his encyclopaedic knowledge of Gaelic Song. Quick witted and funny – he had a humorous anecdote for every occasion and his company and cràic was sought out, and enjoyed, by all choir members – without exception.”
The competitions will end today, followed by the massed choirs tomorrow.
John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said yesterday: “We can’t believe this year’s Mòd is already nearing its close – we’ve had a fantastic week so far and its testament to the hard work of the local committee, and the skill of competing Gaels from across the world.
“We’ve seen some fantastic performances throughout, and last night’s Gold Medal was truly outstanding; huge congratulations to Alasdair and Rachel. As we reach the final few days in Lochaber, there are still some great competitions to come. The atmosphere has been electric, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing what the final few days will bring.”