Posted by: liamcassidy | October 5, 2012

25th Annual U.S. National Mòd Sets New Standard

2012 U.S. National Mòd Gold Medal winners, from left, Erin Park, Mike MacKay and Anne Alexander.

The 25th annual U.S. National Mòd was one of many firsts:

  • It was the first Mòd where we had three gold medal winners, with two women, Anne Alexander and Erin Park, sharing a top prize.
  •  It was the first Mòd featured in an hour-long program on BBC’s Radio nan Gàidheal, hosted by Coinneach MacÌomhair.
  •  It was the first Mòd preceded by a Concert featuring last year’s gold medal winners, and the first Mòd supported by broad-based fundraising.

“This year, the Mòd welcomed more people than it has seen in many years, and from the literature competitions on Friday to the singing events on Saturday and the workshops held Sunday morning, our guests took advantage of the high standard of excellence provided by the Mòd,” said Cathleen Ransom MacKay, chair of the committee that organizes the Mòd for ACGA — An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach.

Several first-time competitors and attendees from as far as Ohio and Florida attended the Mòd, held at the Ligonier Highland Games in Western Pennsylvania Sept. 21-23.  Althogether, 36 people attended the Mòd, staying at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, not far from the Highland Games.

Erin Park of Pennsylvania talks with Coinneach MacÌomhair at the opening of the Mòd Friday, Sept. 21.

The Mòd began Friday with dinner followed by competitions in Bàrdachd (poetry), Leughadh air a’ Chiad Sealladh (sight-reading) and Sgeulachd (storytelling). Song competitions, from prescribed songs to own choice, work songs, puirt-à-beul and a choir performance, followed Saturday. Our adjudicator this year was Beathag Mhoireasdan of Lewis and Glasgow, who returned to the U.S. Mòd for the fifth time.

This year, our special guests were Niall Caimbeul of Benbecula, who won the men’s gold medal at the Royal National Mòd in Stornoway last year, and Coinneach MacÌomhair of Lewis, a veteran Gaelic broadcaster and host of a daily program on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal.

Mike Moffitt of Fort Pierce, Fla., in the storytelling competition.

Here are the results of Friday’s prose and poetry competitions:

Bàrdachd (poetry recitation, own choice): 1st Place, Micheal Mac Aoidh (MacKay) of Virginia; 2nd Place, Rob Greenwalt of Ohio.

Mac Aoidh won reciting (from memory) a poem of his own composition.

Leughadh air a’ Chiad Sealladh (Sight-Reading): 1st Place, Liam Ó Caiside (Cassidy) of Virginia; 2nd Place, Micheal Mac Aoidh; 3rd Place, Erin Park of Pennsylvania.

In this competition, entrants are asked to read at first sight a passage in Gaelic selected by the adjudicator.

Sgeulachd (Storytelling): 1st Place, Caitlin Nic Aoidh (MacKay) of Virginia; 2nd Place, Liam Ó Caiside; 3rd Place, Mike Moffitt of Florida.

This competition allows both traditional stories and competitor’s own compositions.

Nick Freer presents Cathleen MacKay with the Duais Dhaibhidh Mhic Risnidh/David MacRitchie Award for best traditional Gaelic story told in the competition.

“We’re delighted by the number of competitors attracted to these competitions, which really test your abilities in spoken Gaelic,” said Liam Ó Caiside. “Our Scottish guests are always surprised by the number of competitors who show interest in storytelling in particular, and take the time to learn and learn to tell complex traditional stories. We think language arts such as storytelling and poetry are as important a part of our Mòd and Gaelic culture as the songs we sing on Saturday.”

The sight-reading competition which he won this year is relatively new. “It’s great how many people are willing to take a crack at it, even if they have very little Gaelic. We often have five or six competitors in sight-reading alone.”

Tomorrow: Results of the Song Competitions

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