Whatever happened to the Skye Arts Guild?

The Skye Artsí Guild was formed in the early 50s and was run by Mrs. Jock Macdonald of Viewfield House, Portree. It was a small organisation that put on talks, classical music, puppet shows, dance, poetry readings etc. at a time when there was really nothing else like it on the Island. The venues were varied and included The Drill Hall and The Royal Hotel in Portree, Kyleakin and Broadford Village Halls and Broadford Primary School. They were not especially good in many ways such as the noise of washing up, the flushing of out-of-order menís toilets, banging of outside doors that didnít close properly, generally poor acoustics and lack of heating! In spite of this the organisation gradually grew and attracted more members appreciative of what was being offered,

In the late 1950s, the running of the SAG was handed over to Mrs. Elizabeth Wakefield, much to her initial surprise. It was a possible lesson on what can happen to the unwary as she had gone to the AGM Ďjust to show interestí and left a couple of hours later as Chairman, a task which she fulfilled enthusiastically and effectively for over 40 years until she handed over to Mrs. Marion Roberts who is the current Chairman. Venues improved, more entertainments were available on the Island and gradually the emphasis moved towards a classical music organisation. This was hastened by one or two bad experiences of the other Arts and finally by a change in the status of the essential funding body. Instead of there being money for all the Arts, there was a separate body for music and since then that is what the SAG has been promoting.

A refurbishment of the Episcopal Church of St. Columba in Portree, which has good acoustics, has meant that most concerts are now held there.

For some years, evidence had been accumulating that a small number of potential supporters were finding the old name confusing and various proposals for change were made. Finally, at the April 2013 AGM, the name change was approved: Skye Chamber Music (plus occasional jazz) after all accurately describes what we currently provide.