30th US Mòd to Feature First ACGA Fèis

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This year will be the 30th Anniversary of the U.S. National Mòd or Mòd Naiseanta Aimeireagaidh, an event born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1988, when An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach launched what was then called Mòd Virginia at the Virginia Scottish Games.

The event will take place over four days this year, from the evening of Thursday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 24, at Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

We’ve grown from small beginnings, adding competitions over the years and expanding to cover Scottish Gaelic language arts such as poetry, storytelling and drama as well as song. And we’re still growing. This year we will be adding special competitions to mark our 30th anniversary. Most important, we’re adding an entire new event that broadens focus on Gaelic culture beyond language arts alone and competitions: the First ACGA Fèis.

What is a Fèis, and how is it different from a Mòd? Both feature Gaelic song and music. Both provide opportunities to develop skills in the Gaelic arts. But while mòdan or mòds feature competitions, fèisean do not. A fèis includes classes and workshops, rather than competitions. By adding a fèis to our Mòd, we can open doors to those who want to learn about Gaelic culture, learn to play a tune, or sing a song, without entering a competition.

In Scotland, the Fèis movement got its start in the 1980s. Today there are 47 local fèisean throughout Scotland, focused on local needs and providing infor- mal education.

The First Annual ACGA Fèis will be held all day Friday, Sept. 22, at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, which has been home to the U.S. National Mòd since 1995. That means participants will be able to arrive Thursday night, Sept. 21, for dinner and an opening event at the Village. We’re still planning our day-long program for Friday, but it will certainly include presentations on Gaelic tradition, song and instrumental workshops.

Keep an eye out for more information about this year’s adjudicator, online registration, and the Fèis and Mòd program, soon. ACGA members receive an electronic newletter, An Cuairtear Ceòlmhor.

Report from 29th U.S. National Mòd

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Adjudicator Anne Lorne Gilles

The US Mòd was held on the last weekend of September, and we welcomed Anne Lorn Gillies, our adjudicator, as well as the Mòd gold medalists, DI Brown and Catriona MacNeil.  We had competitions in poetry, storytelling, unison singing, choir, and our biggest competition, the US Gold Medal.

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The 2016 Mòd Stage at the Ligonier Highland Games

About the choir: a local choir has been established in Ohio, called the Ohio Gaelic Choir, and they have visited the Mòd many times before. While they didn’t have another choir to compete with them, they performed two songs for the Mòd, and they received adjudication, encouragement, and advice from Anne.  Many people who heard them said they have really advanced through the years!

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Ohio Gaelic Choir

In the primary competition for the Mòd, at the end, Anne Alexander, who is also heavily involved in the Ohio choir, won the prize for the highest marks in the prescribed song category (one of the requisite competitions for the Gold Medal) and, finally, the Gold Medal itself.  James Ruff, from New York, the two prizes as well, for the men.  Congratulations to them both!

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The Mòd chair, Michael Mackay, said, “This is our 29th Mòd, and everyone who participated in the Mod exemplifies US learners – they are dedicated to the culture and language of the Gaels.  The competitors come here, not just for the chance to win prizes, but to advance and strengthen their Gaelic and without them, the Mòd would not be nearly as good as it is.  Anne Gillies has given them this advancement and strengthening to a very high standard, and we are much indebted to her.  We are also indebted to An Comunn Gaidhealach for the support they give us each year.

We can’t wait until the 30th Mòd!

Mòd 2015 – Mòr, math, misneachail!

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Our 2015 Mòd is now over, and, as our title says, it was big, good, and encouraging!  We had as many competitors over the course of two days as we’ve ever had (Mòr),  the competitions were at an excellent level of skill (Math), and our adjudicator, Gillebrìde MacIlleMhaoil, left all of us with advice, encouragement, and a renewed dedication to the language and song of Scottish Gaelic (Misneachail)!

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The Mòd is coming!

Mòd 2015 Logo
The 28th annual Mòd is just around the corner – September 26, at the Ligonier Highland Games, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A great time to listen to native Gaelic speakers, fluent learners, and adventurous newcomers tackling Gaelic songs, stories and poems in competition and at cèilidhs. A great time to soak up as much Gaelic as you can in a friendly, relaxed environment. A great time to be part of a Gaelic community – without the cost of a roundtrip airfare to Scotland!

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