Most Gaelic choirs have their origins in a group of enthusiastic choristers who combine together and then look for a conductor. Largs Gaelic Choir is different. It is the result of a conductor’s passion for Gaelic music. The choir was formed by Wilma Scouller in 1980 with a core of members from her former church choir from Uplawmoor which had successfully competed as a rural choir in the Mod. It is a tribute to Wilma’s dedication that she has continued as the choir’s only conductor for 27 years. In 2007 Elspeth Howie, who previously sang as a soprano with the choir, took over as conductor. In 2015 the conductor's baton was passed to Norma MacDougall, a long time friend of the Choir with a vast knowledge Gaelic music experience and choir conducting . In 2016 we welcomed Siobhan McAuley as our next conductor.
The choir’s first Mod was Perth in 1980 and they have competed every year since. Their first success was winning the Margrat Duncan trophy in 1982 at Portree. One of the set songs was Duncan Ban MacIntyre’s “Ceud Deireannach nam Beann”. The choir dominated the Margrat Duncan competition from that time on until Wilma felt that they were competent and confident enough to enter the Lovat and Tullibardine competition at Dingwall in 1991. One of the set songs was another Duncan Ban MacIntyre song, “Moladh Beinn Dobhrain”. To every ones surprise, including their own, they won the coveted Lovat and Tullibardine shield at the first attempt.
The choir’s first Gaelic tutor was the late Rev Donald MacLeod. A native of Bernara, he had been a Church of Scotland minister in Portree and latterly in Fairlie. He is fondly remembered for his fine Gaelic and his wonderful humour. He was succeeded in 1985 by Fiona MacKinnon who has her origins in Back in Lewis. Fiona’s quiet and gentle personality belies her constant striving to achieve a high level of Gaelic pronunciation which has been demonstrated through the years by consistently high Gaelic marks. From 2005 our Gaelic tutor was Gus MacDonald who has family connections to Sleat in Skye. In 2015 Eilidh Johnson took on the role of Gaelic Tutor.
The choir membership is drawn from the Fairlie, Largs, Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay areas with some from places further afield such as Greenock, Bridge of Weir, Beith, Ardrossan and Ayr. Choir members have connections with Bernara, Lewis, North Uist, Barra, Glen Etive, Sleat, Tiree and Mull. The choir’s current membership includes Silver Pendant winners Linda McCallum, John Blair and Colin Fisher who also form the folk group “Sunndach”. The choir has also had successes with their quartet and duets at recent Mods.
In recent years the choir membership has dropped a little and in 2005 it was decided to revert from the Lovat and Tullibardine competition to the Margrat Duncan competition. This has been considered to be a good move as the choir has started to win trophies again, including the Margrat Duncan trophy in 2007 at Fort William and again at Paisley in 2013.
Recently the choir has been unable to recruit enough men to function as a mixed voice choir but we will continue, for the time being, as a Ladies' choir.