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Ashley MacIsaac looking forward to Symphony Nova Scotia shows

Ashley MacIsaac


 “He’s brash, brilliant, and one of the most celebrated Canadian roots musicians of all time. Cape Breton’s own platinum-selling, multiple-award-winning Ashley MacIsaac returns to Symphony Nova Scotia for a fiery, foot-stomping concert of savage energy, furious fiddling, and rollicking down-home fun. Featuring tried-and-true traditional favourites combined with lively symphonic arrangements, it’s an East Coast celebration of epic proportions!” – Symphony Nova Scotia’s promotion for the Ashley MacIsaac show.

    Ashley MacIsaac is looking forward to returning to Nova Scotia later this month for three shows with Symphony Nova Scotia.
    “It’s always an honour to work with Symphony Nova Scotia.  It’s a lot of pressure but it’s a lot of fun as well,” said MacIsaac.
    This will mark the third time that MacIsaac has joined forces with the Nova Scotia Symphony and in a conversation with The Oran this week, MacIsaac says he always looks forward to it.
    MacIsaac has been doing a lot of shows of late with Jay “Sticks” Andrews, a native of Halifax who now resides in Toronto but this time expect more of the traditional music from Ashley.
    “This is the third time we’ve done a show with these charts and we’ve always been pleased with the response but it may also be the last,” said MacIsaac. In other words, get a ticket while they last as they’re moving quickly.
    Show dates for Halifax is March 29th, 30th, and 31st.
    Talking with Ashley, one gets the impression that he may be at a crossroads with his career as a touring artist. He’s open about the fact that he may not want to continue touring extensively as an artist and one only hopes that he remains open to touring at all.
    Ashley tells us he has a recording in the can but he’s uncertain yet whether he wants to release it.
    “At this point in my career, I’m giving consideration to the popular culture aspect of my gig and considering the role of the adult contemporary genre for the future,” he added.
    Then there’s the legalization of pot. While there are a lot of regulations to contend with and restrictions around celebrity endorsements to work through, Ashley says don’t be surprised if there’s a Sleepy Maggie product on the shelves in the near future. Ashley says it was unbelievable the international press he received from being the first customer through the door at the NSLC store in Sydney the day pot was legalized in Canada.
    “That story literally went all around the world,” he says with a chuckle.
    MacIsaac joked at the time that he is now relieved that he will no longer be treated as a criminal for enjoying a toke and stated that his dealer is now the prime minister.
    MacIsaac’s latest release was Fdler, where the Cape Breton fiddler had the opportunity to explore various musical directions.
    Asked how he gets into the Cape Breton fiddling groove, Ashley stated that he will often put on the music of a Cape Breton fiddler who influenced him.
    “The desire to play fiddle tunes better has never left me. The other day, I remember going to YouTube and looking up clips of Willie Kennedy and I really enjoyed that. It really sets the mood,” he said.
    This scribe has seen MacIsaac perform numerous times over the course of his career and one can only hope that he keeps performing.
    MacIsaac has a tremendous musical gift and it’s always a treat to hear him play, knowing the reverence he has for Cape Breton music and culture.
    Those attending the symphony shows will also be pleased to learn of a special guest appearance by Cape Breton and Halifax guitarist and composer, Scott Macmillan, who will be debuting his 12-minute blues concerto composition for guitar called Twelve and Change, which will be performed with the Nova Scotia Symphony.
    As for MacIsaac, he’s looking forward to returning to Cape Breton for a special gig with percussionist Jay Andrews in late June or early July. Stay tuned with The Oran to learn more once an official announcement is made.

 

 

 



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Shirley Hartery honoured for volunteer efforts

Shirley (left) and Kristen Hartery


  -by John Gillis

    One of Port Hawkesbury’s most dedicated volunteers was honoured on Tuesday, March 5th, at the regular monthly meeting of town council.
    Shirley Hartery has been well-known for her volunteer efforts in the community for decades and her friend Sharon Ryan and Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton (on behalf of town council) took the opportunity to thank her for her dedication over the years in making Port Hawkesbury a better community to live in.
    Hartery recently announced she is stepping down for the position of chair of the J. Franklin Wright Gallery in the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre – a position she has led since the inception of the gallery.
    Below is the acknowledgement address from Sharon Ryan to Shirley Hartery at the town council presentation Tuesday, March 5th, 2019:
    “Your worship, councillors, staff, and gallery patrons.
    It is with mixed emotions that I deliver this tribute to our retiring chair, Shirley Hartery.
    Shirley has “been at the helm,” if I may use a nautical term, of the J. Franklin Wright Gallery from our inception as a formal committee shortly after the civic centre opened.
    Anyone who lives in the Strait area knows Shirley’s role as chair was not her first foray as a volunteer. Being active in her community, giving extensively of her time and having an admirable dedication to those without a voice has been a large part of her life since moving to Port Hawkesbury. I could not discuss her work with us without mentioning a few of her past endeavours.
    Shirley has been chair of Leeside Society, NS representative for the National Council for Development and Peace, board member of the Credit Union, Advisory Council member for the Coady International Institute, Regional Occupation Centre volunteer, Topshee Council member at St. F.X. Extension Dept., and a candidate for the NDP party. This list is just a snapshot of her community spirit over the past 40 years.
    When Shirley joined our committee, we immediately knew that we had gained someone who was dedicated to promoting the arts in the Strait area. She felt we ought to reflect Frank Wright’s commitment to art and often refereed to Frank as “the master.” Shirley appreciated the location of the gallery in the civic centre and the accessibility for all ages and walks of life to be educated and exposed to art by professional artists in many different mediums.
    As chair, she engaged artists and audiences. Her introductions at the openings of exhibits were well researched, well written and, most importantly, well delivered; thus they were well received. She had a way of making the audience appreciate the information, background, and description of the artists and their work. Shirley talked to the artists and took a personal interest in their work. Many were charmed by her interest, questions, reflections, and approach to their art. She even hosted many artists at their home over the years, making lasting friendships and connections for our gallery.
    One of Shirley’s favourite exhibits each year was the Student Art Show in the spring. Showcasing the art of the students from the local schools and giving them a stage for their budding love of art has been at the core of their involvement of our committee and gallery.
    Shirley, herself, is a lifelong learner and imparter of knowledge. Those of us who have served with her over the years have been on the receiving end of her support and leadership, and she has lent credibility to the committee as a well-known, respected leader in the area. Her major concern has been the quality of life in her community, ane she certainly has improved, promoted, and enlightened life here in Port Hawkesbury.
    Shirley Hartery is a consummate volunteer, and we know this position that she is leaving will most certainly not be her last in our town. Thank you, Shirley, from the gallery committee, town officials, and the population of Port Hawkesbury,” Ryan concluded.

 

 

 



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