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John MacNeil (Chairperson)

As you can see from the photo, I was born before colour was invented. From a very early age I only ever wanted to be a professional footballer. I particularly dreamed of scoring for Scotland against England at Wembley. I am still available for selection! As a teenager, my mates and I formed what we considered to be the best punk band in Glasgow, Scotland or the World. Unfortunately neither Glasgow, Scotland or the World agreed, so I came to Stirling to go to University instead. I have always been a Gaelic sympathiser and have attended more Beginners Gaelic classes than any other living person. My Grandfather was a native Gaelic speaker and in fact only ever spoke English at School until he was sent away to the First World War at the age of eighteen. My father spoke some Gaelic, but I think it was mostly swear words! I got involved in the Fèis because I genuinely believe that, after family, there is nothing more important in life than culture and language.
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Fiona Allen
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Diane MacIntyre
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Seamus Campbell
Fiona Johnston



Fiona Johnston

Those who remember “The Bulletin” may have seen this photo before… It was taken during a ceilidh at the National Mod in Oban when I was there with The Portree School Choir (those looking through the door were from that same choir). This photo got me into trouble – I “borrowed” the dress from another family member who was away at college. She saw the photo – you can guess the rest! I loved everything about the Mod except for having to stand up on your own to sing – I was petrified! The non-competitive ambience of the Fèisean would have been my dream. Being able to have a go on all these instruments too – wow! (Given that chance, I think I might have chosen an instrument that was easier to carry around!) I have enjoyed my involvement with the Fèisean both here and in Aberdeen immensely. I have been around long enough now to see many of our participants shine in their chosen field and come back to tutor. I know that this was what those who started the movement had in mind as the best way to keep our culture alive and share it with others. This is a really rewarding and enjoyable committee to volunteer with, so why not think about joining us?

Lucy Oman
Carolyn Paterson
George Stoddart



George Stoddart

Born and raised in an era when music was trying to reinvent itself, and fashion had not yet caught on, I went along with the flow and played a mix of rock, blues, folk and Irish music. Traditional Scottish was not very cool and Gaelic was for the olds, but the band had to hash up some of it because, to get a gig around Skye and Uist in those days, we had to try to play for traditional dancing. Many’s a local character climbed onto the stage to show “these teddy boys/beatnicks/hippies” the right way to play for a Dashing White Sergeant, or to point out that jazzed up versions of the Drunken Sailor and the Grand Old Duke of York were not the preferred tunes for an Eightsome Reel in Ardvasar/Portree/Cairinish. Maybe we needed a bit tuition and help with the basics – like tuning and timing, but the craic was good. I’ll never forget the night in Broadford some young girls started screaming and crying. We thought we’d really made it, but maybe they just couldn’t stand our noise any more. If only we’d had a local Fèis to guide us then!

Gayle Martin