Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell earned two standing ovations from the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre crowd during the final show of Celtic Colours 2017.

HALIFAX: Andre Pettipas and The Giants were named the winners of the Q104 Homegrown Challenge.

The Halifax radio station had well over 100 bands take part in the competition. The top prize included $5,000 in recording, production and mastering from Codapop Studios, $5,000 in artist development from Groundswell Music, and $5,000 in equipment and instruments. In addition, Q104 put the band’s music into their regular radio rotation.

MABOU: Local pianist Catherine (Lamey) Hawley was presented with a plaque by Joey Beaton in recognition of her musical contributions to the culture of Cape Breton Island.


The presentation occurred at one of Beaton’s Tuesday Night Ceilidhs in Mabou while Hawley was performing with fiddler Brent Aucoin.

Photo by Communications Nova Scotia
The 2017 Nova Scotia tree for Boston, which came from Blues Mills, lights up Boston Common for the 100th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion on November 30.

PORT HOOD: Photographer Rob Martin opened his new studio, Compass Art Works on Main Street in Port Hood.

The studio, which is located in the former North End Home Hardware building, is a brick-and-mortar extension of Romeo Martin Photo Arts. The studio houses Martin’s workspace, as well as a number of his photos and those of his clients.

CHATEAUGUAY: Clarence Digout, formerly of St. Peter’s and now living in Chateauguay, Quebec appeared on Breakfast Television Montreal with his daughters Eva and Maria in their three piece band, Family Affair.

Family Affair began after Maria joined her father and sister, who had been playing smaller shows at various functions for about 15 years.

HALIFAX: Sisters Patricia and Primrose Chareka set up an on-line store called The Chareka Collection, featuring a number of photographs for sale, with the collection’s message being one of perseverance regardless of circumstances.

The sisters hope to use some of the funds raised through selling prints to set up affordable housing for youth coming out of the foster system and down the road, resources such as therapy, tutoring, and general guidance.

Photo by Melanie Holder
Chrissy Crowley (left), Darren McMullen, and Rachel Davis of the group, Còig shared some tunes backstage before the “Whycocomagh Gathering” on October 8 during Celtic Colours.

ARICHAT: Isle Madame native Robert Bouchard released his newest album That’s What I Live For.

The disc features seven Bouchard originals and a song co-written with Darryl Landry and Godfrey Perry, along with three tracks originally recorded by the late country legend Merle Haggard.

ANTIGONISH: The 2017 edition of Antigonight got underway on September 1 with an artist talk presented by Regina Marzlin.

The event continued with a “First Voices” showcase at the People’s Place Library and Antigonish Town Hall, which included a performance by the Park Bench Players, on September 8. This was followed by a screening of Weirdos at the Coady Gardens on September 12, and an artist talk presented but Jessica Mensch at the StFX Art Gallery on September 14. The event wrapped up with the “Antigonight: Art After Dark Festival” which took place on September 16.

Photo by Grant McDaniel
J.P. Cormier entertained music fans attending “The Grand Finale” Celtic Colours concert in Port Hawkesbury.

INVERNESS: Inverness County Centre for the Arts manager Elizabeth Whalley was very happy to have the facility used for the unveiling of purchases by the Art Bank of Nova Scotia on September 14.

The works were done by Nova Scotian artists, were parceled out to government buildings throughout the province.

Since 1975, the province has acquired and displayed works by its contemporary visual artists. The Art Bank is meant to ensure the province’s culture is celebrated and enhanced for future generations. The selection was based on recommendations from a jury of artists. The collection has more than 1,800 pieces of art showcased in prominent areas and public spaces of government offices throughout the province.

MABOU: On September 16, The Ships of 1801 Society’s newest musical theater production, Keppoch: The Last Wake offered Mabou audiences a peek into a ceilidh house on the Keppoch Mountain in Antigonish County.

The show, which MacDonald described as a “thematic concert,” is a mixture of musical performances and spoken dialogue. It features a cast of 39 performers of all ages, including actors, singers, dancers, and musicians.

The Ships of 1801 Society has produced other thematic concerts in the past. Their Ships of 1801 trilogy told the stories of the people who arrived in eastern Nova Scotia from Scotland in the 1800s. The society’s most recent production, which is set in the late 1930s, also focuses on the stories and traditions of the Scottish people, but introduces some newer themes.

Photo by Mary Hankey
Following the readings and storytelling, author Beatrice MacNeil (pictured) had a book signing session. “FEIS 2017: Secrets and Memories” was held on November 10 at the Civic Centre, in support of the Port Hawkesbury Literacy Council.

INVERNESS: Kyle MacDonald of Foot Cape Road was nominated for Traditional/Roots Recording of the Year for his first solo album at this year’s Music Nova Scotia awards.

The album, Kyle MacDonald, features a mixture of traditional Cape Breton fiddle music, as well as newer tunes, mostly by Cape Breton composers. He is accompanied by well-known musician Howie MacDonald on the piano. The album also includes a Gaelic song performed by Emily MacDonald, as well as appearances by Patrick Gillis, Gordie Sampson, brothers Keith and Colin MacDonald, Brittany Rankin, and David Rankin.

HALIFAX: A Halifax-based folk/pop group with Cape Breton connections received six Music Nova Scotia nominations.

Port Cities features StFX alumnus Breagh MacKinnon, Carleton Stone (who has relatives in the St. Peter’s area), and Dylan Guthro (son of musician Bruce Guthro). All three grew up in families with strong musical traditions, and started performing at young ages.

MacKinnon spent her time at StFX perfecting her craft while developing a taste for jazz that would have a lasting influence on her music. It was during this time that the three musicians met at a songwriters’ workshop run by another well-known Cape Breton artist, Gordie Sampson. They soon became friends, and started performing and writing music together so often that they decided to form a group.

PORT HAWKESBURY: Authors Silver Donald Cameron and Marjorie Simmins returned from a cross-country tour promoting their latest projects, and the husband and wife appeared at the Port Hawkesbury Library on October 25 to read from their most recent books.

The couple currently divides their time between Nova Scotia and British Columbia, but Cameron has made a home in D’Escousse since 1971. Cameron has over 18 books to his name, as well as films, magazine articles, and other works. Over the years, he has developed a particular interest in environmental issues. He read from his book, Warrior Lawyers, which is part of a larger project promoting environmental rights in Canada.

Photo by Adam Cooke
Stan Rogers Folk Festival volunteer MacKenzie Taylor got her festival T-shirt autographed by British singer-songwriter Jake Morley on July 2, shortly after Morley hosted the “Songs I Wish I’d Written” stage featuring Maritime artists Old Man Luedecke, Ben Caplan and Dylan Menzie.

CANSO: The Stan Rogers Folk Festival has taken place on the first weekend of July since it was founded 20 years ago, but organizers announced that starting next year, the festival will be moved to the end of the month.

The dates for Stanfest in 2018 will be July 26 through 29. Organizer Troy Greencorn told The Reporter that the decision was based on several considerations, including weather, scheduling concerns, and economic impact. The 2014 storm was a major setback for the festival, which is still in the process of recovering. However, it was not the only time organizers have had to contend with a cold, wet festival weekend. Last year, heavy rains once again impacted the festival, forcing several performances to move inside.

WAYCOBAH: The passing of Gord Downie left a mark on many people across the country, but Mi’kmaq artist Loretta Gould created a lasting tribute through her painting “The Legacy.”

Gould presented “The Legacy” to the Tragically Hip singer at the 2016 ceremony that was held by the Assembly of First Nations in Gatineau.

The painting was among the gifts presented to Downie as he was recognized for his efforts to confront the violence experienced by First Nations people in Canada.

When Gould learned about the work that Downie was doing in support of the First Nations community, she was pleased to honour him with her work. Her painting depicts Downie and Wenjack coming together to perform a smudging ceremony in the spirit world.

HALIFAX: A community on Isle Madame is in a new documentary examining the effects of climate change.

Centering on efforts by the community of Gabarus to lobby the provincial and federal governments to replace an aging seawall, the documentary ONLY 78 also features the struggles of Little Anse against the forces of coastal erosion.

In January 2009, a powerful winter storm including high seas, gale force winds and a powerful tidal surge breached the breakwater in Little Anse, destroying the community’s wharf and completely flooding the main road.

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Town of Port Hawkesbury is hoping to bring new life to an empty structure on Granville Street while providing new cultural opportunities within the community.

The town has been working in partnership with the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design to develop a local Artists in Residence program.

Requests for funding have been submitted to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as well as the Province of Nova Scotia to transform the former customs building on Granville Street into a studio space for artists.

Town recreation coordinator Paula Davis says the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design took the lead on the project and the town has been working in close collaboration with the Sydney-based group.

ST. PETER’S: Locals were able to get a taste of the Christmas season thanks to the good folks at the St. Peter’s Foodland and the voices of youngsters from East Richmond Education Centre and Mi’kmawey School.

On November 28, a student choir consisting of kids from both schools visited the St. Peter’s supermarket. In the parking lot, they gathered under supervision to treat shoppers to a Christmas tune well-known across the Maritimes.

The youths sang “Star of Christmas” which anyone familiar with Sobey’s commercials will know word-for-word.

The video was entered into Sobey’s Star of Christmas Sing Along contest, and was temporarily posted to sobeys.com. The video has a more permanent home on the St. Peter’s Foodland page on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/foodlandstpeters.

Photo by Communications Nova Scotia
The Campbell family, who donated this year’s Nova Scotia tree for Boston, watch their tree light up Boston Common.