Inverness Common Good Fund and The Highland Council are helping Inverness Gaelic Choir to fulfil their plans to be the first Scottish Gaelic choir invited to participate in the prestigious Celtic Colours festival in Cape Breton from 9 – 16 October.
The choir, which was booked to fly with Zoom Airlines, lost all their money and tickets when the airline recently collapsed, but after intense fundraising and publicity the choir have finally been able to confirm their new flights have been purchased enabling them to fly to Canada.
Yesterday, members of The Highland Council’s Inverness City Committee agreed to £4,000 funding from the Inverness Common Good Fund to help secure purchase of replacement flight tickets to Cape Breton. Funding from The Highland Council will also be providing a coach to take the choir from Inverness to Glasgow airport and return via Falkirk MOD at a cost of £1,550.
Depute Provost of Inverness City Committee, Councillor Alex Graham said: “As well as putting on many local performances the choir are great ambassadors for Inverness and the Highlands. The City Committee was very happy to make a donation from the Inverness Common Good Fund so that they can get to Canada.”
Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee said: “We are delighted to be able to assist the choir in their efforts to raise the necessary funds to enable them to travel to Celtic Colours in Cape Breton. The Highland Council and the Province of Nova Scotia have a Memorandum of Understanding that exists to organise cultural and linguistic exchanges between the two regions and the Inverness Gaelic Choir is representative of this initiative. Highland Council wishes the Choir every success both in Cape Breton and also at the Royal National Mod in Falkirk.”
Barchester Healthcare which owns Highview House Care Home in Inverness, has underwritten the purchase of new tickets which the choir will fundraise to pay back.
Fiona Mackenzie, the campaign’s co-ordinator, member of the choir and Highland Council’s Mairi Mhor Gaelic Song Fellow, explained: “When we originally purchased the tickets they cost £7,211 but now of course, replacement tickets are much more expensive, in the region of £18 to £20,000. By speaking to as many people as possible and contacting local and national businesses we have been able raise almost £13,000 to date.
“The choir has been overwhelmed by people’s generosity and kindness and find it hard to believe the response the appeal has had. Not only have we had monetary donations but also offers of venues to hold fund raising events, cases of Drambuie, a beautiful banner from a Glasgow company for the choir to use at events, companies holding raffles for us, bands offering to play for us and even the Skye band the Peatbog Faeries sold almost 100 CDs for us at the Blas concert in Eden Court Theatre at the weekend.
“We also performed three concerts within Inverness on Saturday – in the Town House, by kind permission of Highland Council as part of their Open Doors scheme, as well as in Falcon Square and outside Eden Court – and were absolutely delighted at people’s response to our singing.
“We will continue to fund raise to pay the ticket purchase back and to this end are holding a ceilidh dance on the 27th September in the beautiful venue of the Strathpeffer Spa Pavilion who has donated the facility to us for the event. Two ceilidh bands, ‘Meantime’ and the ‘Cnoc Ciuil Ceilidh Band’ have also offered to play for us free of charge which is a tremendous offer. The choir are delighted that we can at last get back to rehearsing and planning for the trip rather than worrying about the financial situation.”
The Council’s coach will take the choir back to Inverness via the Royal National Mod in Falkirk. Choir President Ola MacRae and General Manager of Highview Care Home, said: “It has been such a hard couple of weeks that we really feel that the only way to round off the trip will be to go and participate at the Mod in Falkirk. We will be well sung in after a week of singing in Canada and although we will be tired, we will probably be no more tired than the normal ‘Mod’ tiredness!”
Mrs Janet Macgregor, Gaelic tutor to the choir said: “The Council’s support of the Choir in this way reinforces its commitment to the Gaelic language and culture and the choir’s performances in Cape Breton will help to maintain already established links with the Highland capital.”
Further information please contact: Fiona Mackenzie tel: (01349) 868256 e-mail: Fiona.firstname.lastname@example.org or view the Inverness Gaelic Choir website at: www.invernessgaelicchoir.org