Workshop Instructors 2016
Dara Smith-MacDonald(Intermediate Fiddle)
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.
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