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Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association


The Gaelic Reader

The position of Gaelic Reader has always been vital to the continuance of the Association, and in the first minutes Mr John MacCallum is recorded as being the holder of the post. There is no reference made to any other Gaelic Reader from 1897 to 1922, but it is unlikely that John MacCallum held the post throughout this period.

In 1922 Donald MacIndeor was appointed as Gaelic Reader and he held the post until 1930 when Mary B. MacMillan took on the task.

In 1938 Angus MacDonald, one of the choir’s stalwarts, assumed the responsibility, and he was succeeded in 1956 by Peter MacLeod, who remained Gaelic Reader until 1968.

From 1968 there was a succession of different Gaelic readers, including Nan Douglas; Donald J. MacVicar, who held the post for periods in the 1970s and then again in the eighties; Margaret Farmer; Donald Meek; Effie MacDonald; Liz MacDonald; Donnie Murray and Calum MacArthur.

In the mid-eighties, following the resignation of Donald MacVicar, the Association was fortunate in securing the services of Mina Smith who still remains in the position.

Mina was born and brought up in Lewis, and on graduating with a Master of Arts degree in Gaelic and History from Glasgow University she took up a career in teaching. After teaching in secondary schools in the Glasgow area she became a part-time lecturer in Gaelic at Jordanhill College of Education. She was also employed as a part-time Gaelic Tutor at Glasgow University and taught several Gaelic evening classes.

She has also been a regular presenter of BBC Gaelic radio programmes and had a successful career as a TV star in the Gaelic soap “Machair”, playing the part of Anna MacRae.

Since becoming Gaelic Reader Mina has been single-minded in improving the standard of Gaelic in the choir and to help the members of the Association improve their conversational skills. She also provides Gaelic translations for all the choir songs.

Mina has always been closely associated with the Glasgow Gaelic Drama Association, and it was through her encouragement and assistance that the choir’s successful drama group originally came into being.

In 1988 at the National Mod in Glasgow, Mina’s hard work and endeavours were rewarded when the choir won the Weekly Scotsman Quaich for the highest marks for Gaelic in the Lovat and Tullibardine competition. Since then, the choir has on different occasions won every Gaelic trophy at the National Mod. The choir have won the overall prize for Gaelic at the National Mod on a number of occasions and this is testament to Mina’s dedication to the improving of the choir’s Gaelic fluency.

The Association’s hope is that she will continue to promote the cause of the Gaelic language within the choir for many years to come.


A brief word about Kenneth Thomson by Mina Smith