Gaelic choir members get ready for Eurovision stage

Cumbernauld Gaelic Choir members (l-r) Rachael Deans, Rhona Morrison, John Deans and Emma Deans) with Alba conductor Joy Dunlop
Cumbernauld Gaelic Choir members (l-r) Rachael Deans, Rhona Morrison, John Deans and Emma Deans) with Alba conductor Joy Dunlop

Members of Cumbernauld Gaelic Choir will be representing Scotland in this year’s Eurovision Choir Contest.

This is the second time the competition has been held and the first time Scotland has taken part.

BBC Alba presenter and singer Joy Dunlop has drawn together singers from across Scotland to form a choir called Alba.

It is a family affair for Cumbernauld Gaelic Choir members as twin sisters Rachael and Emma Deans will be taking part with their dad John.

Rachael is a teacher at Condorrat Primary, while Emma and John both work with HMRC. John has been signing with Cumbernauld Gaelic Choir for around 30 years and his daughter for about 15.

They will be joined by Rhona Morrison, who like John has been singing with Cumbernauld Gaelic Choir for three decades, and is also in a quartet with the twins.

The rest of Alba is made up of singers from Lewis, Dingwall, Mull, Oban and Glasgow, with the event taking place on Saturday, August 3, in Gothenburg.

Emma said: “I’ve always been a big fan of Eurovision, but I’d never have expected the opportunity to compete under its banner.

“I hadn’t heard of the event until I was contacted about joining the Alba choir in April, but I am particularly excited that we will be representing Scotland rather than the UK as a whole.”

At the live show the choir will sing a four minute arrangement of three Gaelic songs which have been specially arranged by Sileas Sinclair from Oban.

Three choirs from the 10 entrants will be chosen by the judges to advance to the second round where they will perform a second three minute set.

Emma said: “I’m not a fluent Gaelic speaker, but learning the pieces has been great fun, if very hard work. “Due to geography we haven’t been able to get all together as choir, the final rehearsal might be the first time, but we’re certainly going to give it our all to promote Scotland and the Gaelic culture all across Europe.”

The event will be broadcast on BBC Alba at 7.30pm with River City actor Tony Kearney providing the commentary.

BBC Alba has also produced a documentary about preparations for the contest which will be shown on Wednesday, July 31, at 9.30pm.