-by John Gillis
As part of its youth initiatives, Féis Cheap Breatuinn is launching a music mentorship program for those aged 12-18 to run from September, 2015 to April, 2016.
Féis Cheap Breatuinn has hired a coordinator to implement the programs and he is a familiar figure in the Celtic music and cultural community in Cape Breton – Mac Morin.
As a step dancer and pianist, Morin has spent much of his recent career touring the globe with fiddling sensation Natalie MacMaster, and prior to that he has graced stages with The Rankin Family, and Beolach and many other international recording artists.
Last fall, Morin was artist in residence for Celtic Colours International Festival here in Cape Breton.
One does not have to speak long with Morin to get a sense of his passion for Gaelic culture and music. In conversation with him you immediately sense the energy and passion he is bringing to his new role as coordinator, which began in May.
The new music mentorship program will aim to engage youth from all over the Island (limited to 15 participants from Inverness and Richmond Counties and 15 from Victoria and Cape Breton Counties), who will be mentored by some of Cape Breton’s most respected musicians including Morin, Kenneth MacKenzie, Tracey MacNeil, Brian Doyle, Kevin Dugas and Cyril MacPhee, just to name a few. Cost for the program is $250 per person.
“Along with concentrated mentoring sessions, alternate activities will be scheduled, enhancing skills learned with the mentors and allowing participants opportunities for music sharing in community and social settings. The purpose is not to replace lessons youth are already potentially involved with, but to supplement their learning and musical skill development,” says Morin.
Administrative and funding support for Féis Cape Breton is coming from the Celtic Music Festival Society, the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre, along with members across Cape Breton Island, and it is also funded in part by the Municipality of the County of Inverness and the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
Morin says the music mentorship program is aiming to address a recent decline of interest in the music and culture, perhaps because youth may be busier or have so many more choices on how to spend their time.
“Caring for the unique culture we have here means we have to support it if it’s going to remain more than a performance thing. The whole social sharing you get from a visit, we don’t want that to be lost and we would like to encourage how everything is connected – the language, the music, the social aspect, the dance and so on. We’re not trying to duplicate what’s already happening, we’re trying to supplement and augment it,” said Morin.
About Féis Cheap Breatuinn:
Féis Cape Breton’s mission is to stem the tide of our declining traditional culture by reigniting the passion and revitalizing interest and participation in traditional Gaelic music and culture.
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