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Page 47 - Gaelic Precenting on the North Shore

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/12/1 (1787 reads)
 

(Sandy, how old were you when you started to precent in public?) Sandy Kenny Morri? son: Eighteen years old. I was in Sydney Mines at the time. There was a Presbyter? ian church there, a new building. There were 7 or 8 old men there. They wanted to get singing after the meeting, just to? gether in the corner--and I sang after that with them. And then from there I kept on doing it. I had always heard Father, of course--he could sing all eleven tunes in Gaelic. And I'll bet you there isn't many, if there's any, that can sing them all. Six or seven, perhaps, but I don't think they could get the rest. Not today. He'd put a tune onto the different psalms, any one of them. (So you could sing each psalm to eleven different tunes?) Yes. Gosh, it was wonderful. I had the eleven tunes at one time, but I've lost them. But some of them are com? ing back again. I used to sing them not too many years ago--"St. David," that was the one I sang at the precenting the other night (May 11, 1978, a gathering of United and Presbyterian singers and community at the Bethel United Church on the North Shore). Now that we are meeting like that, I start remembering them. I was blessed, you know, that Dad had the music--and his wife, my mother, she was good too. Yes, women would precent. My grandmother was great, and Mother too. Annie Margaret (Sandy's sister) was good, too. She could precent when she wanted to. It was some? thing, all right. And it's a good thing it's coming back--that there's some Gaelic there. Here at Wreck Cove there was Phillip Mac? Leod (Smokey) and A. J. Morrison, Kenny Morrison (Sandy's father), and myself--the four of us. I used to stand sometimes with that gang, for a prayer or something. We would hold service without a minister, Thursday evening after school and in the summertime--in the schoolhouse. They would hold a little service. The elders--nobody but the elders would hold the service. If they'd get a minister down here, all right--he'd go there now and again. There'd be 10 or 15 together when they'd gather for some blessing. I don't remember was it the minister, Fra? ser, or Alex Morrison who made the first prayer that I ever heard in English. It was in the schoolhouse. There was all Gael? ic in the service, only for that prayer. Well, my heavens, I was young, you know. And I was telling father when we came home--I was little, by heavens--"The Lord will never understand," I said. "How's God going to understand that?" Pretty dark, wasn't it? Left, Malcolm Angus MacLeod precenting; above, at Wreck Cove schoolhouse for a Thursday evening service. Left to right, Mary Shaw MacDonald, Rev. Murdoch (M.D.) MacLeod, Katie Shaw Dauphney, Neil MacDonald, Molly MacLeod Morri? son, D.L. Morrison, Annie Morrison, Christie Morrison, Elder Alex J. Morrison, Christy Ann MacDermid, Elder Ken? ny Morrison, Maggie MacLeod, Philip MacLeod. (47)
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