Conductor celebrates 25 years with choir

Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir
Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir

Bearsden lady Kirsteen Grant is thrilled to celebrate her 25th year as the conductor of Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir this year.

Kirsteen (68) has helped the choir to achieve much success over these years.

Under her leadership they have won the coveted Lovat and Tullibardine Shield at the National Mod three times.They have also travelled widely with her including to Vancouver in Canada where they performed concerts and competed in the Vancouver Mod.

The choir has also competed in the International Eisteddfodd in Wales and in May this year they are travelling to Brittany, along with the Strath Choir from Skye and Stirling Gaelic Choir.

Kirsteen, a professional singer and Mod gold medallist, said; “Music is my life and gaelic choirs are very special.

“My parents, who were originally from Skye, were keen to teach me Gaelic.

“The Gaelic singing world is close knit and while we compete heartily we also offer each other a lot of support and friendship. You feel as though you are part of a large family.

“There’s been a renewed interest in Gaelic choirs so hopefully this will help to keep Highland culture alive.”

Kirsteen studied music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in the late 1960s and then studied singing, including light opera, in Italy and London and she still sings with the RSNO chorus.

She took on the role of conductor of Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir in 1990 aged 43, after leading Stirling Gaelic Choir from 1965 to 1972.

She said: “The choir is 70 years old so it has a real history and it was already very well established and successful when I became conductor.

“My experience with the choir has been very rewarding and worthwhile.

“As well as all the competitions we’ve taken part in over the years we also have a long-standing connection with the band Runrig.

“We’ve done various recordings with them including one at Stirling Castle.”

Kirsteen also taught singing at Douglas Academy Music School in Milngavie.