|The view from Inverness Castle, which is actually|
just the town hall and court house. Still pretty cool.
The first major task was taking our Gaelic assessment tests over Skype. I had taken one of these tests back in 1997 when I went to my first Mòd (also in Inverness that year) so wasn't too nervous about it. With the eight hour time difference, we wound up scheduling our Skype calls for midnight and 1:00am. Luckily, we're both night owls. The test consisted of a conversation with a native speaker that was being listened to by a third party, who in our case was the talented young singer Seumas Greumach. He was marking off the required skills while we chatted. Within an hour after finishing up, we got the e-mails informing us that we had both gotten gold card, the highest grade.
|One of many selfie-with-castle shots from the trip.|
Guth nan Eilean arranged three Saturday rehearsals over the Summer so that we could attend. We always stay with Doug's Mum when we go over to visit, and I think she was happy about the extra time with us. The rehearsals were plenty of fun and it was great spending some time with whole group.
We met up in Inverness on Monday, October 13th when we checked into the Thistle Hotel. Doug and I had decided not to enter any competitions on our own, and in retrospect I think that was a mistake. We would have met more people and probably had an easier time locating the nightlife if we had!
|Outside Eden Court before our first|
We were entered into two competitions, the puirt-a-beul, and the Margaret Duncan. The puirt-a-beul competition was at 9:00am on the Friday, so that was an early start, but everyone made it in plenty of time. All choirs big and small participate in that competition, so when our group - with me pretending to be a tenor and two poorly basses - finished in the middle of the pack, I was quite happy.
The second competition, I had thought we were better prepared for, but the judges did not agree. We came in dead last in the Margaret Duncan. Our Gaelic coach, Anne Riley, though could certainly hold her head high - our Gaelic score was 96/100, but our music score was only 92/100. I don't think of us has having lost anything, though, but only as having gained. We have renewed, stronger ties with the community in Victoria, wonderful shared memories, and ambitions for the future.
|The view from the bass section looking up at the|
conductors and the glitterati of the Gaelic world.