Saturday, July 7 2018

This year’s Celtic College at Almonte Celtfest will be from 9:00am to 12:00pm, and will have two class blocks: 9:00am – 10:20am and 10:30am to 11:50am. Unless otherwise specified (Kid’s Percussion and Storytelling), the workshops will take place at the Almonte Old Town Hall. Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the start of your class.

We welcome you to take two classes!

2018 Courses: Celtic College

Dave will coach students in the basics of beat styles and even tempos. He will work with the group to build an ensemble sound from basic instruments and found objects. The workshop will be best suited for children ages 6 - 10.

Award winning musician, Dave Gould loves having fun with percussion and found sounds. He received the 2013 Hamilton Arts Award and national grants to work with youth across Canada. He is the inventor of the Antler Harp, Percussion Machines and percussionist for The Steel City Rovers.
This workshop will look at the history of the bodhan and its place as the “heartbeat” of Celtic music. Students will learn the proper right hand technique including basic strokes, and left hand techniques to provide variations and tone. Finally the two hands will work together to play basic jigs and reels with a look forward to more complex rhythms. Participants will be required to provide their own bodhran.

Arthur Solomonian has been playing bodhran for about 15 years ever since hearing The Cottars perform live at the Ottawa Folk Festival. He plays regularly at sessions, mostly in Almonte at the Naismith Pub and is a member of the fiddle band called Cratur.
This guitar workshop will cover basic theory, rhythm, chords and how to "groove" to add a more dynamic rhythm sound to your duo, trio or more.  The class will focus on playing in drop D (standard tuning with the lowest string dropped from E to D), and students should know several chords (even in standard tuning).  Students will need to bring a guitar.

Zakk Cormier is a talented guitarist, fiddler and multi-instrumentalist from St. Raphael, in Prince Edward Island's Evangeline region. While deeply rooted in the Acadian traditions of his own community, his style draws upon wider influences from Cape Breton, Ireland, Quebec, and beyond. In demand as both a performer and studio musician, Zakk has worked regularly with a number of international and regional touring acts, most frequently as a member of Miller | MacDonald | Cormier. He has shared the stage with legends of the traditional music scene, including Paddy Keenan, Vishten, J.P. Cormier, and more.
Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald will teach a repertoire class focusing on traditional Cape Breton and Scottish tunes taught by ear. They will also discuss the historical connection of the pipes and fiddle to dance music in the Maritimes, and the ways that these two instruments have affected the tradition and each other over time. This class is open to fiddles, pipes and other traditional melody instruments. It is a great opportunity for different instruments to play and learn together.

Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald (playing Almonte Celtfest as Miller | MacDonald | Cormier) have become renowned across Atlantic Canada and further afield for their synergistic, pipe and fiddle driven style of Gaelic dance-music. Joining together the musical traditions of Cape Breton and the Scottish Highlands, while incorporating influences from Ireland, Shetland and beyond, Ben and Anita have created a signature sound, described as "Fiery... Fresh, yet totally traditional." - Piping Today Magazine (Glasgow, UK)
Come join The Heather Dale Band for a fun, light-hearted storytelling session! Bring your creativity and enthusiasm -- everyone is welcome. We'll be learning some old Celtic tales full of fierce dragons and sneaky fairies, as well as brainstorming how to make a good story into an *awesome* story. Then we'll all write a new story of our own, to enrich Canada's Celtic heritage!

The Heather Dale Band are delighted to return once again to Celtfest. Bringing laughter and lots of positive energy to the stage, it's clear that these accomplished Contemporary Celtic musicians love sharing their original songs. Heather Dale's warmth shines through her beautiful voice, while Ben Deschamps (from Fitzroy Harbour) and John Stadtlander kick up their heels with cittern and world percussion. Their many recordings are available here at Celtfest, and also at

Over the past 14 years, The Heather Dale Band has toured extensively across North America, Europe, and Australia. Heather and Ben take particular pride in talking about the Valley's strong Celtic roots when touring overseas, and include lots of traditional Canadian folk songs in their repertoire. All this touring has also led to some great road stories: who else could be lost in an English castle on a Monday, and then fleeing from scorpions in Arizona by Friday? Come enjoy the artistry and adventurous spirit of this unique Canadian band!
Mark will work with students on awareness of tuning and pitch . As well he will introduce a simple tune that can be played by everyone. Students should have the ability to perform the scale over the two octaves and perhaps already have 1 or 2 tunes playable at slow tempos. Students please bring a whistle in the key of "D" .

Mark Fletcher has worked as an entertainer for almost 40 years. He is best known as a multi instrumentalist on both stringed and wind instruments. He has performed live to air from CBC's Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, been an invited soloist with symphony orchestra's, and worked as an on stage musician for some of Canada's premier theatre companies. He presently tours throughout Ontario and the U.S. with the Steel City Rovers and performs with several Pipe Bands.
Dave will explore the differences and common structures between Scots style and Cape Breton fiddle styles. Attention will be given to bowing and tempos. Students should have ability to play some tunes at at least a slow tempo, understand different keys (e.g.: D, G, A) and know the difference between jigs and reels.

Dave Neigh entertains audiences as part of Celtic roots act Steel City Rovers with a hard-driving yet tastefully nuanced fiddle style. His playing reflects both his time spent studying fiddle music in Cape Breton as well as the breadth and flexibility he's gained from touring internationally.
With many traditional music bands now featuring the tenor banjo, it's a great time to learn to play tunes on a four- or eight-stringed instrument! This workshop is intended for beginners interested in just getting started or developing their approach to traditional Irish and Celtic fiddle tunes, namely jigs and reels, as they’re played on the 4-string tenor banjo and/or mandolin. Participants will learn the basics of playing tunes on their instrument with the instructor and local area teacher, Bruce Barton, and will focus on learning a tune that can be played at a local session. Students will need to bring a tenor banjo or mandolin tuned to GDAE (if playing a mandola, octave mandolin, bouzouki, etc., you may want to bring a capo to make tune-playing easier).
In this introduction to instrumental Celtic tune writing, students will learn the basics of four Celtic tune structures (jigs, reels, hornpipes and waltzes), standard keys, and how tunes are played in a session. In the last hour of the workshop, students will collaborate on a tune that we will create from scratch. This is a class for all musical levels but is aimed at beginners who want to have fun and explore tune writing. Graham Lindsey is a multi-instrumentalist who started playing Celtic music in 2007. He plays as a soloist and side-player with Celtic and folk musicians in Ontario and Québec, and at Almonte Celtfest you can see him with Graham Lindsey - TradHead and The Sarah Burnell Band. As a composer, he writes “inventive and varied” tunes that are fun to play, and three tunes of Graham’s were played through the summer as part of the recital series on the Carillon (the bells that play daily at noon) in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.