The 117th Tiree Association Annual Gathering was held last weekend in Glasgow, with both The Concert and the evening Dance being hugely successful.
The traditional November gathering has stuck to the same structure for many years, with the concert being held on the Thursday evening followed by a dance on the Friday. This year’s concert was held in Partick Burgh Halls, with record numbers in attendance. There was standing room only as the crowd were kept entertained by their chairperson for the evening, Angus MacPhail. Angus did a fantastic job of introducing the evening’s performances, many of whom were treated to a witty poetic rhyme coined by the chairman himself. He talked proudly about the Association giving us an insight into past concerts and their chair people, which he had come across while researching information for the event. He spoke extremely highly of the quality of musicians who were due to perform, none of whom disappointed throughout the event.
The night was kicked off by our President Ian Smith, who extended a warm welcome to all in attendance, giving us a quick run-down of the evening’s activities and reminding everyone about the Songbook Project and Launch which was to take place the following Saturday. Throughout the evening we were treated to some very fine performances, tunes and sets from the highly talented Rowan Brothers, with Kyle on accordion and Alan on keys. Both boys have previously been awarded top spots at national Mods, and it was very clear to see why. It is also safe to say that the boys received their musical talents from their father, Gordon Rowan who was the Association Piper for the evening, introducing both halves of the event. Angus went on to congratulate Gordon on becoming the Director of the Army School of Piping and Highland Drumming, a position he took up in late 2016.
As Angus pointed out in his introductions, it is fair to say that the Tiree Association concerts have always managed to secure a fantastic standard of musicians to perform and the 2017 event was no different. We were entertained by three different singers throughout the evening, hearing from a man with strong Tiree connections, Norman MacKinnon who treated us to some beautiful Gaelic singing. Next up was one of this year’s BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist, Kim Carnie, who has a truly beautiful voice, again singing in Gaelic and English. Angus had plenty of interesting stories to tell about the last singer, Robert Robertson, who of course used to play alongside him in Skipinnish. Robert mesmerised the crowd with beautiful renditions of Gaelic and English songs. Many of the singers were accompanied by the regular Association pianist Kathryn Callander who did a fantastic job of accompanying the singers and also leading a sing along session, which the crowd all enjoyed and got involved in.
As the evening came to a close, we were reminded about the exciting Tiree Songbook launch which was taking place on Saturday (more about that below) before the vote of thanks from the Vice President, Margaret MacKinnon, who took the opportunity to thank everyone who made the concert so successful. This included all of the performers from the evening, Angus as chairperson; all of the committee who assisted in putting on another fantastic event; to Susan Weir who very kindly baked the dumpling and shortbread; to all who donated very generous raffle prizes; and to all those who came along to the event.
The following evening, we were off to another west end venue, the Glasgow University Union, where the annual dance was taking place. Again, numbers for this year’s event were at a record high, with the dance selling out on the Monday prior. Our very own Trail West were the band of choice, with President Ian taking to the box for the evening. He was accompanied by Alain Campbell on guitar and whistle, Seonaidh MacIntyre on whistle, pipes and vocals and Andrew Findlater on drums. The boys fairly entertained the crowd with the dance floor packed for each dance – young and old taking to the floor. The dance went on until the smaller hours of the morning, with committee members receiving excellent feedback about the event.
Much like all Island gatherings, the Park Bar is often a pit stop for islanders, with another Tiree band entertaining the crowd throughout the weekend. Gunna Sound, led by Campbell Brown and Johnny Scoular were in residence over the weekend, which proved to be very popular.
Another meeting point for many Tirisdich. The Saturday saw the launch of the Tiree Songbook, which was extremely well attended. Donald Iain has provided us with an update, within this edition. Overall, it is fair to say that the 117th Annual Gathering was another fantastic success. A great opportunity for many Tirisdich and connected Tirisdich to meet with old and new friends. The gathering weekend is a great testimony to The Tiree Association and its committee who do a fantastic job of creating such wonderful events.
The next upcoming event is the now annual Burns Supper which is taking place in Ralston Community Centre on Saturday the 28th of January. Stay tuned for more information regarding that.