A big birthday celebration at Stornoway Town Hall on Friday (27 January) saw members of Lochs Gaelic Choir pay tribute to those who have helped them to achieve a harmonious 65 years.
The choir’s 65th anniversary dinner dance included dining, dancing and – of course – a bit of song as choir members and stalwart supporters celebrated and reminisced over their impressive history.
Lochs Choir was first started by Catherine Macdonald as a female voice choir, competing as a mixed voice choir for the first time in at the 1957 Royal National Mòd in Inverness.
Since 1997 they’ve been conducted by Ronnie Murray, who steered them to a golden 65th anniversary year at the Royal National Mòd in Perth in October, where they lifted the Lorn Shield and Ronnie was awarded the Mrs C Macdonald silver baton, among other silverware – all on display for the evening.
On Friday evening Fear-Taighe Tom Maciver said that their rendition of Donald ‘Ruadh Chorùna’ MacDonald ‘s poignant love song, An Eala Bhàn (The White Swan) at the Mòd concert on BBC Alba had moved him to tears.
And there was a chance to revisit that experience after dinner, when the choir rounded off speeches and presentations by gathering together to reprise their Mòd performances of both An Eala Bhàn and An t-Aparan Goirid.
During speeches by Ronnie and choir president Angus Smith, tribute was paid to former conductors, the late Norma Scobie and the late Janet Burns.
Gaelic tutor Anne Macleod was praised for her patience and forbearance in ensuring perfect Gaelic in every song as she was presented with flowers by the choir.
And there was a special mention for long-standing member, the legendary journalist and performer Donnie ‘Gazette’ Macinnes, who was at the dinner and given a standing ovation.
Angus Smith also offered thanks to all the family members who endured countless repetitions of the songs each year, and Ronnie reminisced about the difficult times during Covid, when managing rehearsals by Zoom challenged everyone’s skills.
The evening was rounded off with music to dance to, from Iain ‘Spanish’ Mackay and Stephen Drummond.