Close your eyes and imagine the feeling of lush green grass beneath your feet, the sight of boats sailing far off in clear waters, a gentle breeze that delivers a charming melody of fiddles and pipes. This is Cape Breton Island, a beautiful sight to behold in Nova Scotia. This is a vacation destination for many but a dream come true for a group of local fiddlers, dancers and their peers.
Cheerful and harmonic Celtic ballads filled the room at the old-time fiddle dance at Corning Community Hall on Saturday, Sept. 23, for over 60 attendees by five young fiddlers and their musical instructors: 'Tuned In' including Shoni King of Corning, Jenelle Breault of Stoughton, Micah Walbaum of Forget, Morgan Robertson of Carlyle and Gavin Fleck of Lampman joined together to give an unforgettable performance with their proud and talented teachers Michelle Amy and Donna Turk, and band musician and vocalist Jacquie Walbaum of Wool Tree Grove to fund raise for their upcoming trip to Cape Breton Island to celebrate the Celtic Colours Festival.
Young dancers entertained the crowd with various forms of folk dance as they clapped and toe-tapped to the music, the same young dancers eventually had participants on the dance floor learning the steps to a variety of fiddle inspired dances. This group of youth performers have worked hard to accomplish their talents and along the way have earned a deserved amount of respect in the communities that they perform in. “There is a lot of dynamic culture (in music),” says Michelle Amy, “If we look for good music, we'll stumble upon it! We are ambassadors for Saskatchewan and we are learning a part of our Canadian Heritage!”
“[To make it possible] for us to go to Celtic Colours, each of the parents coordinated to take the group to all of our local areas to fund raise for our travel,” says Amy. “It was really fun to take the group and play for the Corning area.” Learning a heritage and physically seeing that particular part of Canadian heritage are two very different opportunities; however, these young talents will have the opportunity to have both.
The group of 21 travellers from Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Montana (14 students ages 13-19) will be making their way to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia for the week long Celtic Colours Festival from Oct. 6 through to Oct. 14. There, they will take in a musical explosion of concerts, jams and performances, open mic, dance, Celtic celebration and activities, sight-seeing and delicious Cape Breton food.
“The entire island is deep in Celtic music, heritage and dance. The island is one large festival during that time,” Amy adds.
'Tuned In' will be unstoppable in the music industry once face to face with the likes of Cape Breton Fiddlers Association, the MacArthur Dancers of Cape Breton Island and the Nuallan pipers just to name a few. This group of talented young artists have played toe-tapping tunes in several venues and have been part of local fundraising projects (including bar proceeds to the Corning Fire Department) and have participated in the Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party, a two week fiddling summer camp.
Stay tuned in for their next performances in your area, they just might bring a little bit of Cape Breton back with them.