Choir members find music really is the food of love
A GAELIC choir conductor is making a very unusual pitch for new members, and it seems to be working, with numbers in his two choirs swelling to unheard of numbers.
Raymond Bremner, 49, says joining a choir will ‘improve the chance of falling in love’ – and he should know, as six couples have already met and married through their involvement with a choir.
With many groups getting back together after the long Christmas break, he says joinging a choir ‘ will change your life’ and he is encouraging as many people as possible to join.
Mr Bremner, conductor for Atomic Piseag, the Argyllshire ladies Gaelic choir, told The
Oban Times: ‘Our choir is better and cheaper than a dating agency. We have had six weddings in the last five years and there are a few more I can see on the horizon.
‘The choir has all anyone would need or want – friendship, hospitality, drinks, barbecue in summer, dining out in small groups and altogether. We travel all over the place, we love each other and are all part of a huge, big family of friends.
Living in Thurso and travelling all over country, Raymond, who conducts his ladies choir from the Pipe Band Hall in Oban, said: ‘In the past few years, three of my ladies section in Còisir Ghàidhlig Mhealbhaich have got married – and there’s another two getting married this year. One of them to one of our tenors – the sopranos and altos are busy sorting out new dresses and hats for the wedding.’
Mr Bremner explained: ‘In 2009 Allison married Andrew Swanson. He’s not in the choir but she sings alto and we’ve known him for as long as we’ve known her. They got hitched at the West Church in Thurso. The whole choir were there and sang at the church service. In 2011 Sheena married Murdo MacRitchie. She sang soprano in the choir and they met at a Melvich Gaelic Choir cèilidh in Thurso. He’s from Lewis, she’s originally from Harris. They got married at Tarbert, Harris, on the Monday of the Western Isles Mòd – a true Mòd wedding. I was the best man. They are both now happily married and living in Perth.
‘In 2012 Helen married Michael Heddle. She sang for Melvich for the first time in Stornoway in 2011 and we won the Lorn Shield. She got married the following year, and again the whole choir sang at the wedding on a glorious sunny day.
‘In 2016 Sarah will be marrying Ali MacLeod. Sarah joined the choir when she was 15 and started learning Gaelic. She is now a Gaelic medium teacher in Inverness and met Ali whilst she was a Gaelic Development officer with Comunn na Gàidhlig in Fort William – the year we all went to the Pan Celtic Festival in Carlow.
‘Also this year, Rebecca will be marrying Neil MacRitchie. They both met through the choir even though she’s from Portree and he’s from Carloway on the Isle of Lewis. I met Rebecca at a Skye cèilidh hosted by the late Charlie MacColl in the West End Hotel in 2012. She joined the choir that year, as did Neil. The wedding is on July 1 in Portree and the choir will be singing at the reception.’
While Mr Bremner manages to arrange weddings for others, it seems he hasn’t managed to find love himself.
He says people are intimidated by the grilling members of Atomic Piseag would give any potential partner he has and he is happy to stay single ‘for now’.
Clockwise from top left: Alison and Andrew Swanson; Sheena and Murdo MacRitchie; Sarah, who is marrying Ali Macleod; Rebecca who will marry Neil MacRitchie; and Helen and Michael Heddle.