Sunday February 26 , 2017
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The latest news from the Cape Breton Fiddlers' Association.

Annual Festival 2016

Cape Breton Fiddlers Host Annual Festival

St Ann's, Cape Breton- In Cape Breton and afar, fiddles are heard at times of celebration and sorrow. The very make-up 

of a good piece of fiddle music can take you through many emotions; it is one of the reasons Cape Breton fiddle music has been 

popularized around the globe. Thousands of tunes created by past and present Cape Breton fiddle composers are played in Russia

to the homeland of Scotland, PEI, across Canada, throughout the United States, and across Nova Scotia, for music has no boundaries. 

One can sense the magic of Cape Breton fiddle music when Cape Breton Fiddlers' Association hosts its 43rd annual 

Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling on Saturday, August 20th, and Sunday, August 21st, 2016, on the grounds of the

iconic Gaelic College (Colaisde Gaidhlig) St. Ann's, Victoria County. 


The Festival begins with a series of Fiddle, Piano, and Stepdance workshops from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. under the 

direction of some of the Association's finest performers/instructors. Supper will be available at concession stands from 

5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. This will be followed by a ceilidh at 7:00 p.m. featuring wonderful fiddling, dancing, piping, and singing.

The evening ends with a square dance. 


On Sunday August 21st, the Gala Concert will once again be the highlight of the Festival with local, national, and international

performers. The concert begins at 2:00 p.m. on the outdoor stage on the grounds of the Gaelic College. The concert features a rich 

line-up of fiddlers, piano players, bagpipers, singers, etc.


One of the Board Members, Betty Matheson says, "Many of our younger members will be featured on both days. Eddie Rodgers adds,

"We purposely highlight their talent and expertise; its exciting to see them shine in front of the audience." The concert will take 

place, rain shine, because of the historic Hall of the Clans is available in case of inclement weather. 


Full consession facilities will be available throughout the weekend with plenty of free parking.

For further information, contact: 902-849-8476, 902-295-3411, 1-800-565-0000


About the Gaelic College!




Gaelic College-Colaisde Na Gaidhlig - 77 years & counting 

A non-profit organization offering year round programming in the culture of music, language, crafts, customs and traditions of the immigrants from the Highlands of Scotland. The only institution of its kind in North America, students of all ages and skill levels visit the college every year to study under some of the finests instructors in Nova Scotia Gaelic culture. 

Currently, students who are able to choose to study from over 10 traditional arts, including Cape Breton fiddle, piano, guitar, step-dancing and piping, highland, dancing, weaving and of course Gaelic language. 



Located on the Cabot trail, minutes away from the village of Baddeck, just an hour away from the Canso Causeway that leads you onto Cape Breton Island, take the trans Canada Highway 105 and keep an eye out got exit 11. 

51779, Cabot Trail

Englishtown, NS 

B0C 1H0



Places to stay nearby

 Ceilidh Country Lodge, Baddeck 

10.7 miles from the Gaelic College 

369 Shore Rd. 



Silver Dart Lodge, Baddeck


11 miles from the Gaelic College 

257 Shore Rd.


Auberge Giseles Inn, Baddeck

10.7 miles from the Gaelic College

387 Shore Rd. 

(902) 295-2849

Bellview Luxury Suites, Baddeck 

9.7 miles from the Gaelic College

713 Bay Rd



The Waters Edge Inn & Gallery, Baddeck

10.3 miles from the Gaelic College

22 Water St. 



Lynwood Inn, Baddeck



10.5 Miles from the Gaelic College 

441 Shore Rd. 




Places to eat nearby: 


Baddeck Lobster Supper


17 Ross Street

Reservations recommended for a parties of 10 or more 



Toms Pizza

464 Chebucto St



Yellow Cello Cafe 

525 Chebucto St. 



Kissing Cod 

1 Jones St. 



Workshop Instructors 2016


Dara Smith-MacDonald(Intermediate Fiddle)


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Dara Smith-MacDonald, originally from Antigonish, now residing in Port Hawkesbury, began playing the fiddle at the age of 12. For the past number of years she has been playing at concerts, dances and ceilidhs and teaching fiddle lessons both in her home and over Skype to students from Canada, the USA and Scotland. Over the past ten years, she has been teaching fiddle at the Gaelic College, at both the March Break and Summer School Sessions. In 2011 Dara released a CD called Connections. Throughout her years playing music, she has traveled to all the Atlantic Provinces to perform and teach as well as parts of the United States. Dara is also one of the directors for the Cape Breton Fiddler's Association


Lisa MacNeil (All Levels- Step Dance) 


Lisa loves to dance and comes to the Fiddler's Festival with many years of experience in performing and instructing the art of the Cape Breton step dance.  She began learning step dance at the tender age of six. As an instructor, dance has taken her from the basement of her parents home, to the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts, to workshops throughtout Canada and abroad. She has been passing on the tradition of the Cape Breton step dance since she began learning it and looks forward to continuing to do so at this years Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling. 



Susan MacLean (All Levels-Piano) 


A well-known Cape Breton musician, Susan MacLean was born and raised in Washabuck and now resides in the Sydney area. She has been a regular performer at the Baddeck Gathering Ceilidhs since their inception, has performed with various Cape Breton musicians at dances, concerts and house rackets, and has taught Cape Breton style piano accompaniment for many years at Colaisde Na Gaidhlig/ The Gaelic College in St. Ann's. A long-time member of the Cape Breton Fiddlers' Association, Susan's enthusiasm for Cape Breton style piano comes from influences within her own extended musical family. She credits much of her success to the encouragement of her late grandfather, Michael Antony MacLean, who was a well known dance-player. Brothers Carl and Hector MacKenzie are her well-known fiddling uncles and the Barra MacNeils are first cousins. 


Margie Beaton (Beginner Fiddle) 



Margie took an interest in the traditional culture of the area through the means of dance, enrolling in lessons at the age of 4. Always hearing the music and seeing family and friends take part made it seem a natural fit, Margie coming from a long history of musicians, singers and dancers. Fiddle and piano would come in later years, each fostering new appreciation and skill in the other. Partnered most often with her sister Dawn, the two redheads from Mabou have been dancing, playing, learning and teaching ever sinc, fortunate to perform and instruct both locally and internationally. Nowm combining schooling and love for the culture, Margie works in marketing/design at the Gaelic and loves every minute of it. 


Kolten MacDonell (Advanced Fiddle) 



Kolten MacDonell, originally from Glencoe, Cape Breton is a former student and now long-time teacher at the Gaelic College. Still at a young age, he is already a wealth of knowledge and talent as Kolten plays and teaches fiddle and piano and step dances too! He has been influenced in piano by Stephanie Willis, in fiddle by Brenda Stubbert  and Jerry Holland and in step by Bonnie Jean (MacDonald) Cutcliffe. He currently works with Conchester East Hants Health Authority in Truro, Nova Scotia. 


Membership Benefits & Registration Form


There are a number of good reasons to hold a membership with the Association.  Every membership helps to run the office on a yearly basis and to keep you informed about fiddle related activities.  The Membership Advantage includes:

  • Promotion of the music at home and internationally
  • Practice sessions with professional instructors
  • Email updates on activities of the Association including the annual concerts and the Celtic Colours concerts
  • Constant connections with fellow members
  • Access to new tunes and groups
  • Yearly Fiddlers’ Info
  • Option to participate in special ventures like the previous trips to Scotland, PEI, Ontario, (at reduced costs)


We are the only organization in the world mandated to promote Cape Breton Fiddle’s a big responsibility and, working together, we will continue to be successful in this endeavor.


Registration fees constitute a large percentage of our revenue. It is important for all members to keep their dues paid up to date. The fee is twenty five dollars ($25.00) within Canada and thirty dollars ($30.00) elsewhere.  The address is:

Cape Breton Fiddlers' Association

70 Station Street

Dominion, NS B1G 1W2


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