Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Hamish Menzies, Freeman of Ross and Cromarty and Gaelic choir conductor, dies aged 84

Hamish Menzies at the Royal National Mod in Oban in 2015.
Hamish Menzies at the Royal National Mod in Oban in 2015.

For a musician, Hamish Menzies, who has died at the age of 84, had the rare distinction of being awarded the freedom of his adopted county.

He was a member of the award-winning Dingwall Gaelic Choir for 40 years and its conductor for 34 years as well as being pianist in the Strathpeffer Scottish Dance Band.

When he stepped down as the choir’s conductor, Highland Council conferred the Freedom of Ross and Cromarty on him in 2008 in recognition of his contribution to music in the area.

He led the Dingwall choir to great success at the annual National Mod and, paying tribute to him, a spokesperson for the choir said: “Hamish will remain central to the history and success of the choir.

Hamish Menzies at the Royal National Mod in Paisley in 2013.

“He was much loved and respected and the choir owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude for the huge contribution he made as a chorister and conductor over five decades. He will be greatly missed by the whole Gaelic choral community.”

With his sense of fun and infectious laugh he was well liked in choral circles and the Association of Gaelic Choirs described him as “a musical legend”.

Church organist

He was brought up in a musical family in Brora where he became organist and choirmaster at Clyne Parish Church.

In 1966 he left Sutherland to take up employment in Dingwall with the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board.

He joined Dingwall Gaelic Choir as a young tenor and served as its conductor from 1973 until 2007 when he handed over the baton to his daughter Kirsteen, a National Mod gold medallist, in 2002.

Under his leadership, the choir regularly figured prominently on the prize list at the annual National Mod.

Hamish Menzies.

At the 1977 Mod, held in his native Sutherland, the choir for the first time competed for the Lovat and Tullibardine Shield, the top choral award, and were adjudged clear winners.

They have now brought home the coveted trophy 12 times. At the Oban Mod in 2003 the choir won every competition they entered and scored top marks for music.

Canada

The choir accepted an invitation to take part in the 1993 Vancouver Mod and a £20,000 fundraising campaign was launched to cover air fares to Canada.

Choir members, along with soloists and Strathpeffer accordionist Hamish Polson, presented an evening concert at the Scottish Cultural Centre in the city and the visit went so well they were invited to pay a return visit, which took place in 2001.

In 1994, the then  Ross and Cromarty District Council presented him with their civic award.

Dance band

Hamish was a popular member of the Strathpeffer Scottish Dance Band. He was the band’s pianist and was always ready to contribute a Gaelic solo as he did on one of the albums recorded by the band.

He is survived by his wife Janet, twins John and Kirsteen and four grandsons. His funeral service took place at St Clements Parish Church, Dingwall, on Friday, September 3.

You can read the family’s announcement here.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]