Gaelic Singer, Author Anne Lorne Gillies to Adjudicate 29th U.S. Gaelic Mòd.
Registration is now open for the 29th U.S. National Mòd, our three-day competition in Scottish Gaelic singing, storytelling and poetry taking place September 23 – 25 in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
This will be an exciting Mòd. For the first time, Anne Lorne Gillies, well known in Gaelic as Anna Latharna NicGillìosa, will be our adjudicator. Dr. Gillies is an accomplished Scottish Gaelic singer, writer and activist, and author of the acclaimed anthology Gaelic Songs of Scotland.
We will also welcome special guests Donald-Iain Brown and Catrìona MacNeil, winners of the Gold Medal competition at last year’s Royal National Mòd in Oban. Since the 1990s, Scotland’s gold medal winners have attended the U.S. National Mòd courtesy of An Comunn Gàidhealach in Scotland, acting as cultural ambassadors to Gaelic learners and speakers in the U.S.
Gillies has been an educator, actress and performer, appearing on stage and on television since the 1960s. She is also a writer of children’s books and television programs, including documentaries. Gillies grew up on a croft in Argyll and attended Oban High School. She won the Women’s Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd in Scotland at the age of 17 in 1962 and went on to perform at many venues and events. She received an MA in Celtic and English from the University of Edinburgh in 1965, and then trained as a classical musician.
Gillies is also a life-long advocate for Scottish Gaelic. In 1983, she became the patron of Comhairle nan Sgoiltean Àraich, the Gaelic playgroup organization founded by Finlay MacLeod. She is a former National Education Development Officer with Comann na Gàidhlig, and in 2009 the Scottish government named her Tosgair na Gàidhlig, a “Gaelic language ambassador.”
Her visit is a fantastic opportunity for Gaelic learners and singers of all levels to meet Gillies and benefit from her adjudication, her conversation and her deep knowledge of Gaelic culture.
Brown originally hails from Crossapol on the isle of Tiree, one of the Inner Hebrides. He works for the BBC in Glasgow as head of talent and editorial opportunities. He had been the runner-up in the gold medal competition for four years before winning last October.
MacNeil, from Glasgow, won the gold medal on her second try. Her family originally is from Barra, and her father, Donnie MacNeil is the drummer in the The Vatersay Boys. In addition to singing Gaelic songs and studying Gaelic through Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, MacNeil is a piper.
The Mòd will begin Friday, Sept. 23, with a dinner at the Antiochian Village, our headquarters and lodging for the weekend. That night will feature our poetry and storytelling competitions, as well as a sight-reading competition, one of our newest events and a popular one.
The song competitions take place Saturday at the Ligonier Highland Games in nearby Idlewild Park, off U.S. 30. (Ligonier is about an hour east of Pittsburgh.) There are several competitions, including competitions for groups, choirs and solo singers, culminating in the song finals and our awards ceremony Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday evening, we relax at a cèilidh and banquet at the Ligonier Tavern. Sunday morning we will offer a song workshop with Anne Lorne Gillies.
Throughout the long weekend, there’s plenty of opportunity to use your Gaelic with old friends and new, whether you’re a fluent speaker or a fresh beginner. We have several attendees who come each year not to compete but to enjoy the event and soak up Gaelic song and story.
We’ve worked hard to improve the registration process this year based on recommendations of attendees last year. You’ll be able to register for the competitions of your choice, reserve lodging and make a banquet reservation from one site, and you’ll receive an e-mail confirmation detailing your choices. With registration, you’ll receive access to Mòd materials on our website, including this year’s prescribed songs for men and women, as well as other songs and materials you can choose to learn and use at the Mòd. We hope to see you there!
For more information, write to Michael Mackay, U.S. Mòd director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.