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Community ceilidh celebrates 40 years of friendship with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

A community ceilidh and dance will be held in the Duisdale Hall on Saturday (30 November) where the Camuscross and Duisdale communities will celebrate the friendship and ties that have grown between the people of Sleat and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, since the college was established 40 years ago.

Local musicians and singers, along with SMO students, will entertain at the ceilidh, ‘40 Bliadhna a’ Fàs’ (40 Years of Growth), which begins at 7.30pm and that will then be followed by the dance at 10pm where a house band made up of students from the college will play. The night is being organised by the Camuscross and Duisdale Initiative and all ticket proceeds will go to the Initiative and the SMO Student Association.

Looking forward to the night, the Initiative’s Chair and SMO lecturer Mark Wringe, said: “Eilean Iarmain is where Sabhal Mòr Ostaig was first imagined, in the mind of Iain Noble. For 40 years now, both college and community have changed and grown together. Locals from Camuscross and Duisdale have been enabled to stay, bring up families and revitalise their language through finding employment in the college. Others have studied at the college on their own doorstep and found their way back into the language and into a local job. And from day one, “the E.I” has been where the students have a good time and mix with the community. For myself, it was a job in the hotel that first brought me to Sleat 30 years ago, and a job at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig that gave me the chance to come back and make my home in an incomparable community. In most places with a college or university in their midst there’s a certain apartness between ‘town and gown’ – but that just doesn’t seem to exist here. Sleat and the College have been in and out of each other’s doors for 40 years. But if there’s any special spot where it’s right to have a party to celebrate the bond, it’s our wee patch in Isleornsay, Camuscross and Duisdale.”

Rory Flyn from the Initiative added: “We are looking forward to getting together as a community to celebrate the strong bond between Camuscross, Duisdale and the college. There should be a good mix of locals and students attending, which we hope will lead to a lively and memorable evening.”

The dance band will be made of students from SMO’s music programme BA (hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music. Programme Leader, Dr Decker Forrest, commented: “Throughout 2013, students on the BA (Hons) Traditional Music Programme have been involved extensively in marking the college’s 40th anniversary through touring and other public performances. It seems fitting  that as the anniversary year draws to a close we end it in true Highland style, with a ceilidh-dance to celebrate with the wider community. The evening will feature various contributions from members of the Sleat community – both young and not so young – followed by a dance led by senior students on the music programme who have been preparing their sets since the term began.”

The ceilidh and dance will include a bar and tickets for the ceilidh or dance will be £5, or £8 for both. Students will pay £3/£5, and secondary pupils £2. Primary school children are free.

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