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Caledonian MacBrayne's Oban port office becomes melodious concert hall for a day

harp playes in oban port office


Passengers passing through CalMac's Oban ferry terminal will be treated to a surprise on Saturday (May 16).

For the Argyll branch of the Clarsach Society will be playing in the port office's waiting area, turning it into an impromptu concert hall from around 1.30pm.


And members of the public are more than welcome to pop in to enjoy the musical feast, too.


The society made a request to Caledonian MacBrayne's port manager and the UK's largest ferry network operator was only too happy to help.


"This will be a great treat for passengers and locals alike," said Oban Port Manager Allison McDermott. "The main office area at the terminal is a great space and it will be great to host these special guests.


"I hope that all those passing through the port enjoy it."


There will be eight clarsach harpists at the terminal playing traditional Gaelic tunes all with a sea theme, which have been chosen with their maritime recital venue in mind. Tunes include 'Return to Tiree' and 'Thig am Bata' (the boat will come) and Le Onde (the wave).


"We are so delighted to be playing in this lovely public space and getting the chance to entertain the CalMac passengers," said Helen McNeill, who is part of the branch and also organiser for Oban Festival of the Sea. "The Argyll Branch of the Clarsach Society - otherwise known as the Harpies - are a friendly group of ladies of varying ability who just enjoy playing and meeting up with each other about every eight weeks with their tutor Ingrid Henderson.


"This is a great chance for us to showcase our talents! Many of our tunes are also arranged by talented musician and member of the Harpies Alicia Chapple who has co-ordinated the practices for this performance. It's the first time we've played at the port and we're really looking forward to it."


Helen had a surprise last year when she ended up playing for Sara Cox on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show. She is also co-ordinator of Festival of the Sea and thanks Allison, Oban Port Manager, for allowing the group to play in the building and highlight the Festival which starts on May 22nd.


Winning artwork from a schools competition will also be on display at the port office during the festival, bringing more local culture to passengers and visitors as they pass through the terminal. Helen is sure pupils and their families will be very excited to see the winning panels displayed in such a prominent building in the town.


For further information, please see


Last year alone, Caledonian MacBrayne helped support 100 events around Scotland's west coast, an  important community commitment which helps to promote the unique and thriving cultural scenes alive throughout the network.





Notes to editors:


1) Further information about CalMac is available at


2) Caledonian MacBrayne and CalMac are trading names of CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL). These names are used under licence from Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). The lion rampant device is used by CFL with the permission of CMAL.

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