CHOIR PRACTICES
The Choir meets each Wednesday, outwith school holidays, in Partick South Church, 259 Dumbarton Road, 7.30-9.30pm with a short break midway through the evening.  Additional practices are arranged before the Mod. 
Throughout the session Choir practices concentrate on the learning of songs for the National Mod and on preparing songs for the annual concert (usually March) and for other events.
 
FINANCES
The Choir's survival is wholly dependent on members' contributions through subscriptions and fund raising.
 
Annual subscriptions are levied as follows:
Members (unless student/unemployed)   £120
Members (student/unemployed)               £84
 
 
JOINING
 
If you are interested in joining the choir, applications can be made through either:
the choir's conductor, Kathryn Callander at , kathryn_callander@yahoo.co.uk the choir's secretary Isabel Ross at isabeljross@yahoo.com  or contact with any choir member.

GOVAN GAELIC CHOIR - History

There were many Gaelic speaking Highlanders in and around the Govan area of Glasgow in the early part of the 20 century.  Their favourite meeting place was Paisley Road Toll which became known as Eilean Bharraidh,(due to the large number from Uist and Barra in that area). The equivalent for the Highlanders on the North side of the city being the Hielan’ Man’s Umbrella,  at Central Station Bridge in Argyle St.

As President of the Govan Ceilidh at the time, the Rev John MacKechnie suggested that a Gaelic Choir should be formed for Highlanders on the South side of the river. The Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association were already in existence on the North side of the city.  

A meeting was called in 1929, to which 129 people attended, and Govan Gaelic Choir was formed. Mr Robert K. MacCallum, a native of Argyll, became the first conductor of the choir and its first President was Mr Neil MacLean, (known as “the Govan Bard” and Mod Gold Medallist in 1921). He was a deputy Harbourmaster of the City of Glasgow.  

To begin with the choir met in Stag Street and then moved to St Columba’s in Copeland Road

Rev Dr TM Murchison, the minister of St Columba’s, Copeland Road, became the Choir’s Gaelic Tutor and, was also Choir President for 32 years, following which he was made Honorary President of the Choir.The last founder singing member of the Choir, Eoghan Brown died in November, 2009.

The choir competed at its first National Mod in Fort William in 1932, where the Ladies Choir came 1st in their competition. After such a promising start it came as a terrible shock to choir members when their conductor Robert K MacCallum died on the 1st December, 1933 from septicaemia, caused by an infection to a cut on his finger.

A personal friend, of Mr MacCallum, whom he had met through the Saltire Society agreed to take over as conductor.  This gentleman’s name was to become synonymous with the Govan Gaelic Choir for many years.  He was Mr Pat Sandeman, a notable musician, who will be remembered as long as choirs sing Gaelic songs because of the many beautiful choral arrangements he made.At Pat Sandeman’s first National Mod in Oban in 1934, the choir won the Greenock Cup for Puirt a Beul and the Ladies gained 2nd place in their competition.

A Junior Govan Gaelic Choir was formed in 1945, but was disbanded in the mid 1970’s due to dwindling numbers.

Success at the National Mod was hard to come by in these early days and Mr Sandeman had to wait until Inverness, in 1957, for his next success, when the Ladies Choir took first place winning the Esme Smythe Trophy. Five years later in Oban 1962 the choir won its first Lovat and Tullibardine Shield, with Pat Sandeman conducting, and the now traditional “Glasgow Post Mod Ceilidh” was instigated by Govan GC after this 1962 success.

At some point choir practices were moved to Lorne Street School were they were held for many years. Practices were then moved to the new Highlanders’ Institute in the 1970s due to members coming from far and wide. Following the demise of the Highlander’s Institute, Choir practices moved to Patrick South Church, Dumbarton Rd.

A memorable occasion  was being invited to take part in a BBC TV competition for Gaelic Choirs in 1969, Govan Gaelic Choir were voted the Top Choir and as a result were invited to make a recording for Thistle Records. 

For many years Mrs Neiliann MacLennan was deputy conductor, and she was succeeded by her daughter Barrie, who conducted the choir to second place in the premier choral competition, in the absence of Mr Sandeman, at Stirling in 1971.

After Mr Sandeman’s retiral from business and his subsequent move to England Mrs Barrie Patrick took over the baton. Success came in the Lovat & Tullibardine Shield in Inverness in 1972 and again in Ayr in 1973.  Following its successful National Mod of 1972 the Choir were invited to be the first Scottish Gaelic Choir to compete at the Pan Celtic Festival 1973, in Killarney. On achieving a commendable 2nd place prize, and enjoying the festival so much, it was decided to attend again the following year. This they did, again in Killarney 1974, where the choir won the Choral Competition.

Following some trophy-less years, success came again at the 2011 Stornoway Mod, winning the Puirt a Beul Competition, with a young conductor, Donald Feist, a graduate from the RSAMD who hails from Islay. The Choir repeated this success at the 2014 Mod in Inverness.       The Lovat & Tullibardine Shield was won again in 2013 with Donald Feist Conducting.

Over the years there have been a number of Mod Gold and Silver medallists, Duet and Quartet winners from the ranks of the choir.  The Choir’s folk group “Gael Folk’, were winners of the Folk Song Competition at Oban in 1970. Despite many changes over time, the Choir is proud to follow its original ethos of, promoting the Gaelic language, Gaelic songs, music and culture, in all aspects, and providing a place for social interaction with like minded people who share this principle.

Conductor   From  To  President    From  to

Mr Robert K MacCallum      1929 - 1933 Mr Neil Maclean.                1929 - 1935

Mr Pat Sandeman               1934 - 1972 Mr A C Mackenzie                1935 - 1936

Mrs Barrie Patrick       1972 - 1979  Mr J Alasdair Clark             1937 - 1939

Ms Sheena Mackenzie         1980 – 1981              Rev Dr TM Murchison       1940 - 1972

Mr Archie Maclean              1982 – 1985              Mr Donald MacGilivray        1973 - 1974

Mr Jim McDowal                 1986 – 1990               Mr Calum Ross.                  1974 – 1979

Mr Duncan Mackay              1990 – 1993              Miss Mairi Mackenzie       1979 – 2011

Mr Duncan Robertson       1993 - 1996   Mr Calum A Macdonald      2011 - 

Mr David MacDonald       1996 - 1998  

Mr Sandy Sinclair        1999 - 2009

Mr Donald Feist         2010 - 2015

Mrs Kathryn Callander         2016 - 




Notable Achievements/Occasions


National MOD Gold Medal Winners from Govan Gaelic Choir

An Comunn Gold Medal   Traditional Gold Medal


1921 Neil Maclean         1980 Calum Ross

1960 Rhona Macleod         1983 Donnie M Murray

1962 George t MacCallum          1986 John MacPhee

1965 Mairi MacArthur         1995 Angus Macleod

1967 Bette C MacDonald         2013 Calum A Macdonald

1968 Calum Ross                            2021 Calum MacColl

1969 Alister D MacKenzie

1973 Morag M Murray

1975 Doreen Smith

1983 Sheena Walker

2011 Catriona Watt

2014 Angus Macleod



National MOD Choral Competition wins

Lovat & Tullibardine Ladies Choir Puirt a Beul


1962 Oban      1932 Fort William           1934 Oban

1972 Inverness      1957 Inverness            2011 Stornoway

1973 Ayr                               2014 Inverness

2013 Paisley



National MOD Silver Medal Winners from Govan Gaelic Choir


1958 Morag Mollins

1963 Ian MacKinnon

1970 Cameron MacKichan

1973 Doreen Smith

1977 Sheena Walker

2002 Nicola Pearson

2009 Catriona Watt

2013 Ainsley Hamill

2016 Fona Ross

2019 Calum MacColl

(Note :- Names in italics, indicate not in Choir at that time.)



Others


1969 BBC, TOP GAELIC CHOIR COMPETITION, WINNING CHOIR

1974 PAN CELTIC, KILLARNEY, WINNING CHOIR