Two women who just wanted the “enjoyment of singing” to an audience again have won the duet competition at the Royal National Mod.
Six duos from across the country performed a song of their choice in front of two judges and an audience.
Held in Eden Court’s MacLean Room, the competition felt more intimate than many of the others throughout the week.
As with the others though, each duet was scored out of 100 for Gaelic and music.
Once all duets had performed, the judges told the room their decision hadn’t been easy and that each had successfully portrayed the intentions of their chosen Bard.
Ultimately however, the winning duo were selected not only because they scored higher than the others, but because “the emotion in the room was electric” during their performance.
Rhona Morrison and Emma Deans, both of the Cumbernauld Gaelic choir were this year’s winners, scoring 190 out of a possible 200.
The pair were “shocked, surprised and delighted” to have won the trophy.
Ms Morrison, 51, said: “We just wanted to sing a nice song that an audience would enjoy.
“Obviously when you start practising you want to do a bit better than that so we did put a lot of work in to get it perfect.”
Like other winners at this year’s Mod, they simply wanted to enjoy being back singing together, the trophy was just an added bonus.
Ms Deans, 41, explained: “I think for us it was going back to the enjoyment of singing. We chose a song that we enjoy singing and that the audience would enjoy.
“It wasn’t necessarily about winning, it was about appreciating that the Mod is on and that there’s some type of competition.”
“It’s the Mod family”
For most, the Mod signifies a return to live music and performance.
Ms Morrison said the initial nerves didn’t last too long into the performance: “It’s been so long that I hadn’t really thought about what it was going to be like.
“I thought I was going to be really nervous but it was such a nice room and a nice audience that it felt absolutely lovely.”
The Mod ‘family’ has been frequently referred to over the last week, with competitors showing just how much they enjoy the friendly, community feel to the festival.
Ms Deans said: “You know most of the people you’re singing to. It’s the same people that come every year and compete, it’s the Mod family we all talk about.
“When you’re stood up there you’re just thinking that it’s great to be back.”
Singing together for years
When deciding which song to perform at Friday’s competition, the duo were aware of the risks that surrounded competing during a pandemic.
Ms Morrison said: “We didn’t want to pressure ourselves to learn something new because it’s so difficult to get together and learn things.
“We thought we’d just sing a song we know and enjoy doing together.”
Though this is the pair’s first duet at a national competition, they have been singing and performing together for many years.
They first met through the Stirling Junior Choir.
Ms Deans said: “We sing in a quartet together and we sing in choirs together. We’ve been singing together in some shape or form for many years.”