“It was an unbelievable performance. I just can’t believe that Clearwater could host musicians of such quality. We are very lucky.”
Those were the sort of comments heard over and over again following a concert at Dutch Lake Community Centre on Friday evening by Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy – two Canadian artists who are giving traditional fiddle-playing a whole new meaning and international profile.
“Natalie MacMaster is absolutely one of the sweetest, most wonderful and most talented women I’ve ever met,” said Billy Collins, the event’s host, as he introduced the evening’s main act. Collins should know. The part-time Clearwater resident formerly was MacMaster’s agent.
“It’s not often we play in school gyms anymore,” MacMaster said, “but this is where we grew up. We will not forget you. You’re wonderful … who knew Clearwater was so darn perfect?”
MacMaster and her husband, Donnell Leahy, treated the sellout crowd of over 300 people to a wide variety of fiddle music, from ancient jigs to modern interpretations, much of it improvised on the spot. They were accompanied by Mac Morin and Rachael Aucoin on keyboards.
All four interspersed their music with step-dancing – an activity that most of the audience joined in by the end of the evening.