Fèis Rois Celebrates 30 Years with a 24-hour Music Marathon

This year, Fèis Rois is celebrating its 30th birthday. Over the past 30 years, the organisation has had a significant impact on the lives of many people across the Highlands and beyond.

This year alone, more than 3,000 people will benefit from Fèis Rois music workshops and audiences of over 10,000 people will experience high quality traditional Scottish music performed by Fèis Rois musicians.

Over the past 30 years, musicians including Corrina Hewat (harp player with The Unusual Suspects), John Somerville (accordionist with The Treacherous Orchestra), Black Isle fiddle player, Lauren MacColl and Achiltibuie accordionist, Mairearad Green have all gone onto carve out successful careers as professional musicians having had their first taste of traditional music through Fèis Rois.

As part of their 30th anniversary celebrations, Fèis Rois Board member, Shannon Cowie has organised a 24 hour sponsored session to raise funds for the continued work of Fèis Rois.

This music marathon will take place over the last weekend of the Blas Festival in Inverness, from 5.30pm on Friday 9thSeptember through to 5.30pm on Saturday 10th September.

Fèis Rois Chief Executive, Fiona Dalgetty said: “We have recently appointed some young people under the age of 25 to the Fèis Rois Board of Directors. They are former Fèis Rois participants and they bring a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm to the Board. I am delighted that Shannon has led the way in developing this exciting fundraising initiative.”

Shannon Cowie said: “We are hoping that hundreds of people from over the past 30 years will take part, and we are asking that everyone who participates agrees to raise a minimum of £10 for Fèis Rois through sponsorship from their families and friends. It will be like a huge birthday party!”

All funds raised will be put towards traditional music initiatives and projects across Ross-shire. For more information on the current work of Fèis Rois as a charitable organisation, please visit www.feisrois.org .

To link in with the Blas Festival and the launch of former Fèis Rois participant, Graham MacKenzie’s debut album at Eden Court Theatre, the session will be moving around different venues in Inverness throughout the 24 hours with each different time slot lasting anywhere between 2 to 3 hours. Music will be taking place in Eden Court Theatre, Culloden Battlefield, The Glen Mhor Hotel, Bogbain Farm, Velocity Café, Bun Sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis (Inverness Gaelic Primary School), The Phoenix Bar and Falcon Square. There will be a range of different themes covering many aspects of Fèis Rois such as our well-known group The Kiltearn Fiddlers, led by Alpha Munro, and our Tulloch Sessioneers, who attend our weekly adult session at Tulloch Castle on Wednesday evenings. As part of the festivities, there will also be a few hours of the session dedicated to Fèis Rois alumni to incorporate the many people who have taken part in the Fèis classes, residentials and projects over the years. There is a part of the session to suit everyone, no matter what your abilities or musical background!

Each part of the session will be led by someone with an affiliation to Fèis Rois. This includes alumni such as Barry Reid from The Treacherous Orchestra, tradition bearer and regular Gaelic song tutor, Rona Lightfoot, and Bryan Beattie and Jim Gaitens who were instrumental in the early development of Fèis Rois when they worked as Arts Development Officers at Ross & Cromarty District Council in the 1980s.

If you would like to be involved in the celebrations, please contact Shannon Cowie at classes@feisrois.org or phone the office on 01349 862600. Any time that can be given to help to keep everyone going through the 24 hours would be greatly appreciated.

If you are unable to make it along to the event, but would like to make a contribution to the fundraising efforts of Fèis Rois to continue providing people of all ages with opportunities to experience and engage with traditional Scottish music, song, dance and the Gaelic language, then you can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/FeisRois .

“We are keen to encourage anyone who has participated in Fèis Rois activities in the past to get involved in our new Feis Rois alumni group on Facebook,” added Shannon. “As well as the reunion of people at the 24-hour session on 9th/10th September, we would also like to have a virtual reunion on social media where people can share pictures and memories to celebrate the past 30 years.”

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