DINGWALL GAELIC CHOIR 1954-2014

Dingwall Community Collage

Cover of CD issued 2014 [photo courtesy DGC]

In order to compile a history of Dingwall Gaelic Choir (1954-2014) Ross and Cromarty Heritage Society is grateful to the following:

Hamish Menzies, Kirsteen Menzies and many members of DGC for supplying photographs and information. 
Past editors of The Ross-shire Journal for faithfully recording events.
The staff of Dingwall Library who patiently provided microfiche reels of the newspaper for scrutiny.

RCHS has endeavoured to produce as accurate a history as possible and trusts that the public will be sympathetic if errors and/or omissions are found.

Mhairi Mackenzie
November 2015

To contact the choir - 

www.dingwallgaelicchoir.co.uk
info@dingwallgaelicchoir.co.uk

DINGWALL GAELIC CHOIR 1954-2014

DGC in Dingwall Town Hall 1955
Back row, l-r:  James Curr, Duncan Macrae, Alaisair Fraser, Jackie Fraser, Donald Macleod, Calum, Smith, Ian Grant, Alistair Maclean, George Montgomery, Ted Disbury
Front row, l-r:  Margaret Macritchie, June Robertson, Heather Maclean, Rita Ross, Mary Fraser, Cathie Mackenzie, Jean Maclean, Catriona Maclean, Catherine Lawson, Joan Lawrie, Susan Maclean


DGC in Tulloch Castle 2014
Back Row, l-r:  Will Campbell, Jim Howden,  Steven Maciver, Jim Mackinnon, Ross Brindle, Tony Billington, Michael Paul, George Paul,  Billy Mackenzie, Alex Mackay
Second row, l-r:  Fiona Fraser, Morven Mackenzie, Morven Macdonald,  Kate Cameron, Ashleigh Bell,  Ruth James, Noelle Murphy,   ?  ? Norma Christie, Anna Cathcart, Christine Matheson  Anna Macnaughton
Front row, l-r:  Jean Mackay, Jan Wilson, Alison Matheson, Kerrie Finlay, Kirsteen Menzies, Hamish Menzies, Marlene Yule, Phemie Cameron, Mairi Rigby,   Karen Cormack

1954-1964

For 50 years prior to 1954 there had been many attempts to form a Gaelic Choir in Dingwall, some of which began with great enthusiasm only to fade away in exceptional circumstances, such as two World Wars when members would have been on active service or involved in war work, and others perhaps through lack of fervour for Gaelic language and music.

After the appearance of an advert inviting those interested in forming a Gaelic Choir to hand in their names to Tom Maciver, further education officer, the birth of the present Dingwall Gaelic Choir followed rapidly with the first practice in the Old Academy on Friday 22 October 1954 under James Curr, county music organiser, as conductor, and Alistair Fraser, headmaster of Conon school, as Gaelic tutor.

The choir’s first foray into National Mod events was in Aberdeen  in 1955 when they won the Margrat Duncan trophy competing against eight choirs and with four marks ahead of their nearest rivals, Edinburgh.  The icing on the cake was the presentation of the trophy by HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother with Princess Margaret accompanying her. 




Aberdeen 1954

In 1956, at Largs,  the Choir repeated their success in the Margrat Duncan trophy, a competition which attracted 12 rival choirs.  During the competition the town hall clock struck 4.00 pm as the Choir was singing the last verse.  The adjudicator requested a repeat of the song!

Again, in 1957, at the Inverness Mod, the Choir secured the Margrat Duncan trophy but were not placed in the competition at the Glasgow Mod of 1958, although members Catriona Maclean and Kenny Ross entered for the Learners’ Medal.

Success followed in the Margrat Duncan competition in 1959 (Dundee) and 1960 (Edinburgh), when the Choir gained the John MacNicol memorial trophy for best Gaelic.  Kenny Ross was runner-up in the Silver Medal competition and Jean Maclean was 3rd in the Waulking song competition.


Dundee 1959

Stirling Mod in 1961 saw Kenny Ross win the Gold Medal in the Nova Scotia competition, against 40 competitors.  The Margrat Duncan trophy was secured again with the Choir comprising 13 men, 13 women and on the 13th October!

Lack of success in the Oban Mod of 1962 was attributed to several lady members having left the district but the Choir did gain the John MacNicol trophy for highest marks in Gaelic.   Kenny Ross was awarded the Dr John Cameron memorial quaich for the highest marks in the senior learners’ oral competition and followed this by reaching third place in the Gold Medal competition at the Perth Mod of 1963 when the Choir once more gained the Margrat Duncan trophy.  

Aberdeen Mod of 1964 brought victory to Kenny Ross who achieved his goal of the Gold Medal with 12 marks ahead of the runner-up.  DGC had entered  the Lovat and Tullibardine competition but did not feature in the first three.


Aberdeen 1964

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