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This band has some fiddles

The Great Canadian Fiddle Show plays the former Mady Centre Saturday night
The players in the Great Canadian Fiddle Show, playing the Mady Centre this weekend (Photo provided)

Canada has been enjoying her 150th birthday this year, and what better present at Christmas time than to put the capper on the year with a night of good-time fiddle music and uplifting step dancing?

The floorboards at Barrie’s former Mady Centre are gearing up for a bit of a workout this Saturday night, when the Great Canadian Fiddle Show’s southern Ontario tour touches down.

Director-performer-creator-superwoman Celina Di Cecca points to a resurgence of folk and traditional music… the irony being it was never really on the critical list, at least in her mind.

“Although it has never died off, there have been points in recent history where it wasn’t the most popular genre of the time. But, thanks to Canadian fiddlers and groups like Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, the Leahy Family and Rankin Family, fiddle-driven music has continued to be a staple of our Canadian identity.

“I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love the music once they were exposed to it.”

Celina, who grew up in Hamilton – far from the East Coast -- credits a tape of the Rankins her mum gave her for drawing her to the fiddle.

“I would pick up my brother’s violin when I was four whenever I could. I started formal violin lessons at eight and by age 12, I attended a fiddle camp for one week in the summers. I would receive enough material to keep me going throughout the year independently until the next year’s fiddle camp. By the time I was 17, I was a fiddle instructor at that very camp.”

Her lifetime of experience has sent her into pretty heady company; Kevin Hearn of the Barenaked Ladies has played with her, along with the East Pointers, each of whom has extended her in her career.

“It has been an honour to share the stage with these brilliant Canadian musicians. It’s taught me to set my goals high and to never give up on my dreams. With hard work, and perseverance, I can reach those goals, and have. I’m lucky to be a busy, successful, full-time musician. I love what I do.”

The Great Canadian Fiddle Show began as an idea on a long drive home from one of Canada’s biggest fiddle contests in Pembroke. Since then, De Cicca and her cohorts have wowed audiences on stages all across Ontario.

She’s coming into Barrie and the Mady, for the first time, expecting to love both.

“I saw Sean McCann play at the former Mady Centre a few months ago and now we get to play there (this weekend). We are excited perform our holiday show for the people of Barrie. Hopefully we get them up dancing in the aisles.”

Celina will have plenty of help lifting folks out of their seats.

“For this tour, (we have) Canadian and North American Grandmaster champion Shane Cook, (as well as) Kerry Fitzgerald, Graeme McGillivray, and James Law. In our show, we bring the audience on a musical journey across Canada, playing many of the regional styles of Canadian fiddling.

“Most people think of the east coast when they think of the fiddle, however, Canada is lush with divers fiddle styles. They will learn more about these styles throughout the show and of course, we will be mixing in some holiday favourites as well. It’ll be a toe-tapping good time for everyone in the family, no matter what age they are.”

Di Cecca and all her cohorts with the Great Canadian Fiddle Show invade the Mady Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Dunlop St. W., Saturday night, at 7 p.m. For tickets and information, please click here.