Dale Cummings

Dale Cummings is an American student who has regularly attended the school over many years. He talks about the quality of the instruction and the curriculum, and describes its personal impact upon himself.

I got hooked by the song. I fell in love with the songs. And that’s how I originally came and, you know, started, you know, learning, memorising Gaelic songs and, and I, and once I, once I tried to get deeper into the singing then it was “well, I really need to learn the language better”.

I find the teachers just, you know, they almost all of them start out – some classes, maybe, may be a lot in Gaelic – but it seems like the teachers are always aware if there’s someone that isn’t speaking and doesn’t understand Gaelic well, or not at all, then they take time for you to figure out, you know, what they want you to do.

You know I think there was one year where they didn’t have the Gaelic in the morning, and, you know, in the early part, in the early years when I was coming – ah, I was only here for the music and I would some days get up to do the Gaelic, but I didn’t push that very hard. Now, if there’s no Gaelic for – now they have it all day long, you can take it as a major, which is great, but I want, I want the music too. So to have that one class in the day that anybody can take Gaelic is great.

For me it’s coming back to – you know in America we romanticise these places, and for me, coming back here, it’s part of my look at where my people came from – my Scottish side of my family came from. And for some of us it’s such an integral part of our lives. We look forward to it all year long. I realise immediately after I leave the Outer Hebrides I can’t speak Gaelic to just anybody. Out here I can speak – this my opportunity to push myself to speak Gaelic. But mostly I want to thank the people that put on this festival and keep it going because it’s just – it’s an experience like no other. You know, we go back home to Seattle, and we tell people, you know, if you’re interested in Gaelic you should – you should go, you should go to Scotland, you should go to Ceòlas, you should go to one of the festivals or whatnot, and really experience what those people are like, and what – how they carry their tradition. And, um, because it’s a beautiful, beautiful way that these people carry their tradition with the cèilidhs and with the teaching, and with the bringing in the young people to learn the piping and the, and the fiddling, and the stepdance, and these things that, you know, if nobody is organising something in some way for these people, for kids to learn this stuff, it’ll die off. So, mòran taing! (Many thanks.)

I think another part of – I met my wife at Ceòlas. Um, I was looking, and she was minding her own business, but, um, and er, it’s made me one of the happiest – it’s the happiest time of my life, you know, so it’s a great place to come and meet, er, lovely people. So, um, all you guys out there – there’s beautiful women here!

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