The Coll Association is proud to support the Feis and looks forward to seeing more events held in the future. Below is a report from Tamara Hedderwick, one of the key organisers:
We hosted a successful three day Fèis in the second week of the local school holidays at An Cridhe in April. A Fèis is a tuition festival of traditional Gaelic music and contemporary performance art using Gaelic as the language in delivery. Generally the Fèis caters for 8 – 18yrs but we have adapted to our demograph to include Fèis Beag for pre school and 4 – 8 yrs. We have, also in the past, offered classes of Step Dance, Fiddle and Clarsach for adults in the evening.
Thanks to all our supporters: Fèis Nan Gaidheal; Argyll + Bute Council; Coll Association; Coll ½ Marathon Committee and the Coll Show Committee. The Collachs who volunteered during the days were Emma Grant, Karen MacIntyre, Caroline Sharp, Fiona Carnie and Mairi Hedderwick. Tamara Hedderwick had been involved in the organising and fundraising for the event.
We invited three tutors and the Lochaber Fèis Nan Nan Gaidheal Development Officer, Vicky MacLean, to lead on our activities, each with a different level of Gaelic language.
In the Main Hall – Ariel Killick led workshops and lessons on Circus Skills; Drama and Gaelic Rap
In the Multi Function Room – Anne Wood tutored in fiddle, introducing the instrument to new players
In the Shared Space – Lizzie MacDougall who involved the children in arts activities based on wild animals, plants and trees of Coll.
We also had shortbread and breadmaking in the fabulous An Cridhe kitchen.
The three day Fèis ended with a concert for the public, tying all their activities together, and showcasing the island talent.
15 young Collachs, (primary aged), came along over the three days, Diciadain, Diardaoin agus Dihaoine, working hard at their activities and put on a fabulous show for an enthusiastic audience.
We had not timed this Fèis right for the teenagers as they have been a good part of past Fèisean, often assisting professional tutors with the younger learners.
We have to collate a calendar of school holidays so as to plan the next Fèis for the wider age range.
We would like to build back up into delivering an annual 3 day Fèis event, with a supporting winter workshop programme, where instrumental tuition is a core activity so that we are encouraging the next generation of musicians and even the next Eilean Cholla Cèilidh band!
Many of the musicians you no doubt enjoy at Celtic Connections have been brought up through Fèisean tuition and performance opportunities. www.feisean.org
If you would like to sponsor a particular part of the annual Fèis such as: instrumental, drama, dance or sports tutor, or venue hire, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
The average cost of a three day Fèis is around £3,000. This sum includes tutor fees, travel and accommodation, catering, venue hire and volunteer expenses. We rely on the goodwill of our volunteers who often offer free accommodation aswell.
Next year, 2016, will be our 10th anniversary and we would like to run another, successful traditional Gaelic arts tuition festival.