Raising funds to install solar panels. We will be more energy efficient, which will help our youth groups and environment.
Taigh Dhonnchaidh is a music and arts centre, based in Ness, in the Outer Hebrides. Ness is a rural community with Stornoway being the nearest town, and is 30 miles away. Taigh Dhonnchaidh is run by a committee and a group of local volunteers.
We are seeking funding to install solar panels and upgrade our heating system to help reduce our annual cost and co2 emmisions. If we receive the funding it will allow us to heat the building better thus helping to preserve important musical instruments and historical musical artefacts, affected by damp and cold.
We are also raising funds to build a small extension at the back of the house. We are very restricted with what we can offer due to the size our rooms and have to take our concerts out of our community to a larger venue. We have to limit our Fèis (Fèis is a traditional Gaelic music and cultural festival held every Easter) numbers every year because the building will not accommodate large numbers. In recent years our numbers attending classes have increased especially the Highland Dancing Class, where ceiling height is also becoming an issue.
Taigh Dhonnchaidh aims to preserve local, traditional music and culture for the present and future generations. We hold evening classes throughout the school year involving music, song and dance. We also hold an annual Fèis (Fèis is a traditional Gaelic music and cultural festival) every Easter where children aged between 4-18 can attend and learn. The Fèis week encourages the children to learn and participate in new skills, which enables them to build their confidence. At the end of the week the children perform at a concert, showing what they have learned throughout the week. The concert has a good attendance from family and the community at large.
Young children aged attending our Fèis.
Fiddle class during Fèis week.
Children with their certificates at Fèis concert.
We hold various ceilidhs, storytelling evenings and other events for the community throughout the year, to help promote our culture and language and to encourage local participation and involvement in our work.
Our annual family BBQ
Open mic session in TD
Ness Melodeon Band
Ness Melodeon Band (local group of melodeon enthusiasts) were formed in 1999 and when Taigh Dhonnchaidh opened in 2000, they utilised it as a cultural base for practices, and still enjoy meeting here, to this day. They are passionate about passing down traditions, that mean so much to them, in order to keep the music alive and in the community. This group is one of the few that retains it's original purpose and meaning, allowing for a sincere and true representation of what our culture is. TD is the central hub for all Ness Melodeon Band practises, lessons and performances which ensures that TD remains what it was intended to be: a locally run centre with a desire to keep traditions relevant and a key part of our lives, despite the rapidly changing world we live in.
Ness Melodeon Band, outside Taigh Dhonnchaidh
Some of the next generation of melodeon players after a successful competition
Ness Melodeon Band's youngest member
Over the years Taigh Dhonnchaidh have enjoyed a cultural connection with Connemara, in Southern Ireland. We have had numerous cultural exchange trips between both Islands. This has allowed the children and the older generation to learn from each other's cultures, music and language. These trips have allowed the children to grow with confidence and has given them invaluable experiences in each other's cultures and traditions.
Connemara visitors to Taigh Dhonnchaidh
Taigh Dhonnchaidh's visit to Connemara
"I am the secretary on the Taigh Dhonnchaidh committee. Since joining I have witnessed how important it is to keep Taigh Dhonnchaidh open and to keep improving the services we provide for the community, especially for the youth who benefit from these services the most. The confidence the children gain from learning and performing is amazing and something I did not realise until I became involved. In recent years we have seen music being cut more and more from schools so it's even more important we fight to keep improving Taigh Dhonnchaidh so we can offer our young people, and the older generation, as many opportunities as we can."
Mary Duff - Secretary, Taigh Dhonnchaidh.
TD is great. I really love learning my melodeon there. We have great fun at Fèis time and I can't wait until the next Fèis. The tutors are cool.
Ronan - aged 11
I love going to Taigh D. I love dancing. The family BBQ is the best. The Fèis is so much fun. I love the sparkly nights at Christmas.
Orla - aged 7
I love running about in the garden when my big sister is at Highland Dancing. I like the sausages at the BBQ. I am going to learn the bagpipes and wear a bagpipe suit when I am a big girl.
Lillian - aged 3
"My girls have been attending classes at TD for several years now. The singing classes have really helped to develop their Gaelic language and Highland Dancing has helped build their confidence in a fun way, while keeping them fit and healthy at the same time. None of these opportunities would be available to the kids locally without the fantastic provision at TD. The girls love being part of the TD family and really enjoy performing their new skills along with their friends."
Becky Maclean - Parent
"As a member of The Ness Melodeon Band, I can say that Taigh Dhonnchaidh is a very special place for us. We use it as our base and its absolutely crucial to our success as a local band. We always look forward to our practice sessions every Thursday night and without Taigh Dhonnchaidh it would be very difficult for us as a band to practice regularly. It means a lot to the band that Taigh Dhonnchaidh belonged to Duncan 'Major' Morison who taught music to some of us during our school days. It was his wish after his death that Taigh Dhonnchaidh would be used to play and teach music. We are very proud to be part of those that fulfil his wishes. Taigh Dhonnchaidh is a great asset to the community and long may it continue to play its part in the music scene.
Norman Graham - Ness Melodeon Band Member
I have been involved with Taigh Dhonnchaidh from the age of 17, having got the opportunity to teach Highland Dancing there. The arts & music centre, which opened in the year 2000, has been a big part of my life and a central part of the community of Ness. The centre promotes traditional music, the arts and dance amongst young people and has done this successfully for a number of years. Children who have attended classes at Taigh Dhonnchaidh have gone on to study music in school and at university, which I believe is testimony to the hard work that Taigh Dhonnchaidh does. The centre teaches us to be proud of our local cultural and musical traditions, which is very important in a community such as Ness, where we have a very strong identity.
Ever since Taigh Dhonnchaidh opened, there has been a strong link with Connemara in the South of Ireland, with cultural exchange trips with the young people of that community, something which has opened our eyes to other minority language cultures. Over the years friendship through music, language and culture has been established between the two communities.
I personally don't think I would be as involved as I am in the traditional dance scene if it wasn't for Taigh Dhonnchaidh. I feel that Taigh Dhonnchaidh encouraged and nurtured my interest in dance and gave me the confidence to try other styles, such as Scottish/Cape Breton Step Dance, learning through visiting performers coming to the community to teach on a one-off basis.
Taigh Dhonnchaidh promotes and preserves traditional music, language and culture of Ness and passes it to the next generation. A centre like this is integral to the community and helps us to keep our strong identity.
Jayne Macleod - Former tutor at Taigh Dhonnchaidh
Organisations like Taigh Dhonnchaidh are vital for small rural communities like Ness. It is so important to preserve the culture, language and heritage of our area and Taigh Dhonnchaidh plays a huge part in this.
It is a major focal point in our community serving both young and old. It inspires young people's love of music, dance and local heritage by both learning and performing and being entertained there. There are many fantastic events held there from family bbq's, parties, hosting local musicians, open mic, cinema and many others.
Personally, my children attend for Melodeon tuition and Highland Dancing. Being able to learn and play an instrument at a young age is a great achievement and is hugely valuable in life from building confidence to learning perseverance and dedication. Learning to be a Highland Dancer is also a fantastic opportunity both physically and mentally, whilst promoting self-confidence.
Taigh Dhonnchaidh itself is a beautiful old house that has been preserved lovingly by volunteers, the committee and our local community. It is a real asset to our area.
In order for Taigh Dhonnchaidh to progress and remain fit for purpose, being central to our rural community, financial support is crucial.
Johanna Furey - Parent
"Taigh Dhonnchaidh offers a unique service in the community. Children would have to travel 30 miles to the nearest town for music tuition if it wasn't for Taigh Dhonnchaidh. I can see how successfully the centre has developed over the years to accommodate the needs of the community. "
Janet Macleod - Community Learning & Development Officer