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Mod 2021: Children take centre stage at the Royal National Mòd in Inverness - the sound of singing returns to the Highland capital

By Louise Glen

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The sound of young voices will once again fill the air as the junior competitions get underway at the Royal National Mòd in the capital of the Highlands today, Tuesday October 12.

The girls Silver Pendant and the boys Silver Kilt Pin kicked off proceedings live from Eden Court Theatre from 11am, with youngsters performing a selection of Gaelic material set by an esteemed panel of judges.

The afternoon will see the girls Traditional Silver Pendant and boys Silver Kilt Pin, with 13–15-year-olds singing their own choice of heartfelt Gaelic songs, with competitors from towns across Scotland, from the Isle of Lewis to Mull, travelling to Inverness to take part.

Fringe events today include the Là Spòrs Do Chlann at Cathedral Church of St. Andrew Hall, giving pre-school children the chance to join in with a range of fun activities including Gaelic stories, games and art, Mini Fèis at Inverness Gaelic Primary School, live music at Eden Court’s outdoor venue between 4pm and 6pm and a Family Ceilidh at Fairways, Inverness from 6.30pm.

Tonight’s entertainment, bringing together valued heritage with innovative composition, comes from Lauren MacColl who presents her newly commissioned work, ‘An Ear / East’.

This local fiddler and composer will perform a piece inspired by coastal happenings and stories from around the Moray Firth as part of the celebrations for Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.

Lauren will be joined by Mairearad Green, Anna Massie and Rachel Newton with songs from Arthur Cormack and Emma MacLeod. The concert also features exciting visuals by filmmaker Zoe Paterson MacInnes.

Picture shows Kirsty Nicolson, age 17, winner of the Provost of Falkirk Medal (Solo Singing Learner -Traditional - ages 16-18), at The Royal National Mòd 2021, in Inverness, Scotland.
Picture shows Kirsty Nicolson, age 17, winner of the Provost of Falkirk Medal (Solo Singing Learner -Traditional - ages 16-18), at The Royal National Mòd 2021, in Inverness, Scotland.

James Graham, chief executive officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: “The children's competitions are a very important part of Mòd week. They showcase the young talent that is starting to break through, and give an encouraging insight into the health of the future of Gaelic culture and song. We also have a lively programme of fringe events for all the family and are greatly looking forward to welcoming Lauren MacColl to the Empire Theatre stage for the long-awaited debut of ‘East’.”

Chairman of Highland Council’s Gaelic committee, Cllr Calum Munro said: “Good luck to all the young competitors in the junior competitions starting today. Participation in the local and national Mòds is an extremely valuable life skill which inspires confidence for our young people in public speaking and performing while continuing to foster cultural pride and growth in the Gaelic language.”

Shona MacLennan, ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “We are pleased to see the wide-range of events that the Mòd Inverness 2021 has arranged for children, which complement the competitions running on Tuesday. This aspect of the Royal National Mòd provides great fun and strengthens the children’s attachment to Gaelic, encouraging them to continue using it as they grow older. The events also contribute to the National Gaelic Language Plan aim that more people use Gaelic more often and in a wider range of situations.”

Yesterday in competitions, Naomi Graham (15) an S4 pupil at Nicolson Institute in Stornoway won the James C McPhee Memorial Medal for the C102 Solo Singing Learner - Girls ages 13-15. She said: “I’ve taken part in the Mòd for as long as I can remember. I started when I was in primary one so I’ve been doing it since I was tiny.

"It’s very exciting to win! I’m ecstatic and my mum is very proud. I was definitely nervous. There was a lot of trying to memorise it all and drilling it in. I practised a lot.”

Kirsty Nicolson (17) an S6 pupil at Nicolson Institute in Stornoway won the Provost of Falkirk Medal for C145A Solo Singing Learner - Traditional - Ages 16-18.

She said: “It feels really good to win. The preparation was pretty tough going up until the last minute, I was singing in the toilets before going on. I sing at home and get taught by a lady from town, Annie Macleod, she’s a gold medalist.

"I’d like to keep it going. I’ve been competing in fluent's [competitions] until now because there’s not been a learner's [competition[ so it’s what we’ve been waiting for.”

Mòd events still to come

Tuesday 12th

East, Eden Court and livestream, 7.30pm, £14/£7 for An Comunn Gàidhealach members

Wednesday 13

Gold Medal Final, Eden Court and livestream, 7.30pm, £14/£7 for An Comunn Gàidhealach members

Silver Pendant Final, Eden Court and livestream, 2.00pm, £14/£7 for An Comunn Gàidhealach members

The Clàrsach at the Mòd, 9pm, Online, 7.30pm, £TBC

Thursday 14

Traditional Gold Medal Final, Eden Court, 7.30pm, £14/£7 for An Comunn Gàidhealach members

Cuirm nan Còisir, Eden Court, 2pm, £14/£7 for An Comunn Gàidhealach

Friday 15

Cuirm nan Còisir, Eden Court, 2pm, £14/£7 for An Comunn Gàidhealach

Saturday 16

Massed Choirs Event, Northern Meeting Park, 10.30am, free

The Royal National Mòd will run until October 16 2021.

View the full programme and purchase tickets now at https://www.ancomunn.co.uk/.

READ: WATCH: All the results from the first day of competitions at the Royal National Mod 2021 with many Inverness winners - watch the video of all the best moments

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