WESTVILLE: NSCC Strait Area Campus student Bailey MacKinnon was the opening act for Brett Kissel on his “Ice, Snow & 30 Below Tour” which will made its way to the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on January 29.
The 19-year-old Westville native is familiar to Pictou County audiences as a result of her many performances as a solo performer and as lead singer of the group The Third Step.
The talented young woman began taking voice lessons at age five from Darla MacKeil. She stuck with them for a few years then, several years ago, MacKinnon took on a few students of her own.
She also studied piano for several years and is now teaching herself to play guitar. She also accompanies herself frequently on the ukulele.
MacKinnon was chosen as the opening act for the Juno and CCMA award-winning Kissel through a video contest. She was selected among many contestants vying to perform with Kissel through the “Kick It With Kissel” contest. MacKinnon uploaded a video of herself singing “Dream a Little Dream.”
MacKinnon has been playing everything from her own originals, to songs by Amy Winehouse and other popular artists. Along with singing, she also plays keyboard.
ST. PETER’S: Fiddler Colin Grant and guitarist/composer Scott Macmillan, who collaborated on the duet album GOOD2GO, hosted the first-ever KitchenRackets Masters Concert last February at the St. Peter’s Lions’ Hall and then settled in for an informal jam session at the same venue.
Co-sponsored by KitchenRackets and the St. Peter’s Economic Development Organization (SPEDO), the event was partly designed to preview the Music Camp on the Canal, which runs every June in St. Peter’s.
HALIFAX: Antigonish County sisters Cassie and Maggie MacDonald brought their second album, The Willow Collection to release events in Judique and Antigonish.
The Willow Collection was the first new recording for Cassie and Maggie since their 2014 debut Sterling Road.
ARICHAT: Organizers behind Telile’s “East Coast Spotlight,” a live monthly program dedicated to local musicians celebrated the show’s anniversary on March 15 with an episode featuring past guests.
The show began in January 2016 and the premise involves a featured artist who performs and answers questions during an interview, along with special guests.
Past guests included Cyril MacPhee and Robert Bouchard.
ST. PETER’S: The Seaside Lobsterfest was selected to be featured in Destination Cape Breton’s Marketing Campaign, “17 in ‘17.”
Seaside Lobsterfest took place from July 9-16 and featured exciting events for the whole family. The week-long festival showcased seafood, music, song and dance, while focusing on our culture and heritage.
Last year, the festival featured lobster dinners, homemade seafood dishes and chowders with fresh ingredients sourced from the sea. The festive atmosphere is created by lively musical experiences, kiddie’s day activities, beach parties, bonfires, Master Chef-style cook-offs, and a fireworks display on the shoreline.
Learning experiences included Lobster’s R Us tours, lobster fishing with Captain Scott in St. Peter’s Bay and mackerel fishing at St. Peter’s Canal National Historic Site.
The village and surrounding area was decorated with traps, nets, fishermen, mermaids and all things nautical. There were also amazing photo opportunities for the social media crowd.
PORT HAWKESBURY: Celtic Colours executive director Mike MacSween and artistic director Dawn Beaton appeared before Port Hawkesbury Council’s regular May meeting to thank the town for the cooperation that led to increased ticket sales, more participation by community groups, and higher economic impact.
As a result of the increasing participation, the estimated gross revenue for Port Hawkesbury community organizations rose to $32,972 in 2016, after totaling $20,760 in 2015 and $25,919 in 2014.
FORT McMURRAY, ALBERTA: Port Hood native Jerron Hawley was one of three writers responsible for the book, Into the Fire; the Fight to Save Fort McMurray.
In the book, which he co-wrote with fellow firefighters Graham Hurley and Steve Sackett, Hawley recounts his experience as a first responder during the wildfires that engulfed the city of Fort McMurray in 2016.
SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK: The Celtic Colours International Festival and local musicians were among the winners at the 2017 East Coast Music Industry Awards.
Celtic Colours was named “Event of the Year” while Scott Macmillan won in the “Classical Composition of the Year” award for Currents of Sable Island. Macmillan and Colin Grant also took the “Traditional Instrumental Recording of the Year” category for GOOD2GO.
PORT HAWKESBURY: Two Strait regional school board teachers Jennifer Dwyer and Amanda MacDougall added published authors to their professional credentials.
Their two books, Hockey Homework written by Dwyer and Money Jar written by MacDougall, are now part of Pearson Canada’s Mathology Little Books that are available throughout Canada for use in elementary classrooms.
ANTIGONISH: Judy and John MacDonald organized the Black River Music Festival on their property for August 4, 5, and 6, 2017.
Judy MacDonald said the family’s property used to be the site for the Evolve Music festival, which moved to New Brunswick last year after not receiving a licence to operate from the Municipality of the County of Antigonish. She said she wanted to look at bands and artists from genres such as country, bluegrass, light rock, Celtic, and others.
TROY: Rob Ryan opened his new store Needful Things Antiques, Collectables and Pawn on Route 19, just a few minutes from the Canso Causeway.
The store offers a wide selection of antiques and collectables, ranging from photography by people like Jack Ronalds, to old-time knickknacks, kitchenware, books and furniture.
MABOU: Pianist and music archivist Joey Beaton released a CD featuring several live performances by one of Cape Breton’s most celebrated fiddlers, Buddy MacMaster.
Rooted in Tradition: A Musical Journey with Buddy MacMaster and Joey Beaton features several live performances stretching from 1968 to 2004 and recorded in regions as diverse as New York City and Elko, Nevada.
ANTGIONISH: Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre celebrated 30 years this season by opening its doors in new ways.
The festival introduced “Pay-What-You-Can Preview” performances for all main stage and family stage productions. Another new addition to this year’s schedule was a “Relaxed Performance” with an environment specifically adapted to relax the traditional expectations around silence, darkness, and stillness in the theatre.
PORT HAWKESBURY: To commemorate Canada 150 and the arrival of the Tall Ships to the Port Hawkesbury waterfront, the gallery committee commissioned a children’s colouring book to showcase Port Hawkesbury.
Proceeds from the sale of the books were donated to the local food bank.
PORT HAWKESBURY: A group of local artisans once again offered their support to the Port Hastings Museum by making a donation from the proceeds of every item sold at the Artisans Collective Gift Shop located on site at the museum.
Situated at the Port Hastings Rotary, the shop sells only items made in Cape Breton by a group of 13 friends who offer their skills in quilting, sewing, weaving, knitting, wood-working, and jewellery making.