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Caithness News Bulletins June 2007

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Ṃd Ionadail Gallaibh 's Cataibh - Inbhir Thẹrsa

Caithness and Sutherland Provincial Mod - Thurso

Saturday 9th June 2007 - 9am start

Special Guest Artist at this years Caithness and Sutherland Provincial Mod taking place tomorrow, Saturday 9th June in Thurso will be Kenneth Nicolson, double gold medallist from the Royal National Mod 2005 in Stornoway. At the age of 22, Kenneth won both the Gold Medal and the Traditional Gold Medal in the same year for the first time in the history of the Royal National Mod. He has been asked to appear in Caithness at the Grand Concert and Ceilidh to be held in the RBLS Thurso as an inspiration to the young participants and to encourage them to go further with their efforts in local and national Mod participation. Kenneth is studying Gaelic and is currently on placement as a Gaelic Teacher in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. A fluent native speaker, Kenneth hails from Ceos in the Kinloch area of the island and has been attending the Mod since his junior years. He is one of a series of Mod Gold Medallists to have appeared in the Far North this year as part of the Ceol aig Tuath project - a series of performances and workshops by Melvich Gaelic Choir raising the profile of the language and culture of the Gael through music and song.

The Caithness and Sutherland Provincial Mod kicks off tomorrow in Thurso as the festival returns to Caithness for the first time since 1999 when it was held in Wick. With nearly 70 competitions taking place there will be a feast of activity with the venue being Thurso High School. Competitors are coming from all over the North of Scotland and the organisers are delighted that several vocal soloists will be representing Caithness singing competitively in the Gaelic language for the first time. Philip Todd and Joanna Harper both pupils at Thurso High School will be amongst the competitors taking part in the solo competitions after completing a busy week of competition at the local Caithness Music Festival. Having only recently taken up the challenge, local support in helping them with their preparation is being given to ensure they have something to make the adjudicators think about on Mod day. As well as vocal solo competitions there is a wide range of musical activity with choirs, quartets, action songs, folk groups and instrumental classes taking place. The Far North is well represented with choirs coming from Thurso High School and Farr High School. Croileagan Inbhir Theorsa (Thurso Gaelic Nursery) will be taking part with their teacher presenting an action song and other local competitors will be taking part in the rest of the competitions.

Organisers of this year's Provincial Mod are looking for a good support from the local community. John Thurso MP will be opening the day at 9am and Lady Margaret Thurso will be Patron of the Mod presenting the prizes and trophies to the competition winners at the Gala Concert and Ceilidh taking place in the RBLS Thurso starting at 7.30pm. Adjudicators will be coming from all over Scotland. Donald Barr will be returning to the county where he taught music at Thurso High School and conducted the Pentland Gaelic Choir. Rona Lightfoot will be one of the Piping Adjudicators and has visited the county on many occasions previously, noteably playing a piping duet with the late Bobby Coghill during the evening festivites when the Provincial Mod was last in the county in Wick in 1999. Norma Sinclair who conducts the Caithness Ladies Gaelic Choir will be adjudicating music entries and Beathag Morrison who is well known in the Gaelic adjudicating cirlces will be visiting the county having been adjudicating on the international scene in Ireland and Canada this year. Alasdair MacLean who is a good friend of the Far North choirs and the Rev Donnie MacSween from Evanton will be adjudicating Gaelic whilst Isobel Mieras and Ron MacLean complete the line up of this year's adjudicating team.

Local organisers are hoping that a successful day tomorrow will give a boost to the recent bid to An Comunn Gaidhleach by local members to bring The Royal National Mod to Caithness in the year 2010. To date there are no other bids but the county must satisfy critical criteria before it will be accepted as a host area for the National Mod. Organisers are confident that the facilities are available including accommodation and venues. They have also highlighted the key benefits to the county and the local economy should the National Mod come to the county in 2010. Local politicians and councillors have rallied to support the bid including Rob Gibson MSP, John Thurso MP and Jamie Stone MSP.

Local organiser and presenter of the bid to host the National Mod in Thurso, Raymond Bremner from Thrumster said that it is a great opportunity for the local area to embrace the wider aspect of Highland Culture of which Caithness is a part. The Provincial Mod is the culmination of a wonderful week of musical activity following on from the Caithness Music Festival. It is hoped that as many people in the local area attend and support all the events and the evening ceilidh and to especially ensure that the younger participants receive as much encouragement as possible.

Junior winners will be showcasing their best at the Grand Concert starting at 7.30pm in the RBLS Thurso and after the presentation of prizes the Senior winners will be guests along with Kenneth Nicolson and Beathag Morrison at the ceilidh following the concert with the Liz MacKenzie band.

Further information about competitions, programmes, tickets and events during Mod day will be available from the Mod office which will be situated in Thurso High School and will be open from 8.30 am onwards or by contacting Myrtle Gillies on 01847 891787.