Music centre bustling during Celtic Colours

The Celtic Music Interpretive Centre at Judique on the Ceilidh Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

The Celtic Music Interpretive Centre at Judique on the Ceilidh Trail

By Laura Jean Grant – The Cape Breton Post

JUDIQUE — If there’s any organization you’d expect to be making the most of the Celtic Colours International Festival, it would be the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre

And they are.

The centre, located in Judique, is a beehive of activity throughout the nine-day festival with a full slate of events aimed at drawing in the Celtic Colours crowds during the day.

“We’re about music and the festival is all about music,” said Kinnon Beaton, director of the interpretive centre, noting the festival is a perfect time to highlight what they do at the centre year-round.

This week, they’re hosting at least three events a day — the Buddy MacMaster School of Fiddling, a lunchtime ceilidh, and an afternoon jam session. The centre also hosted a dinner Monday night, and will again tonight to coincide with Celtic Colours concerts being held in the community. The centre will also present a grand finale concert for the school of fiddling, Sunday at 8 p.m at the Judique Community Centre with the 10 instructors who taught at the school during the week set to perform.

Beaton said 30 people are enrolled in the fiddling school this week, the lunchtime ceilidhs have been packed with people eating at the centre while enjoying music from Beaton, Allan Dewar, Mike Hall, and the two fiddling instructors on hand each day for the school. The jam sessions have also been popular.

“It’s wonderful that this is happening. It is a boost to a lot of different venues and businesses,” said Beaton, of Celtic Colours.

Beaton, a renowned fiddler, is also busy performing elsewhere this week — in one official Celtic Colours show tonight in Belle Cote, and at other venues, which are also making the most of the festival atmosphere.

“There’s other spinoffs from Celtic Colours. I played Monday night in Brook Village, I’m playing Friday night at the Red Shoe and (Wednesday) I’m playing at The Doryman so there’s other stuff that happens because of all this.”

Yvette Rogers, outreach co-ordinator with Celtic Colours, said organizations like the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre are important assets to the festival as their events enhance the visitor experience.

“It’s basically an add-value to the concerts that are going on, so the idea is to get out there in the daytime and enjoy the communities and learn a little a bit more, or participate a little bit more, or check something out,” she said.

Rogers said Celtic Colours community events are run by the community organizations themselves and any money they raise as part of those events is theirs to keep. Community events are broken down into five categories — learning opportunities, participatory events, community meals, outdoor events and the visual arts series.

“We invite host organizations who are non-profit groups around the island, if they want to have an event happening during Celtic Colours we’ll approve it if it fits … if it’s relevant to the island culture, if it’s relevant to Celtic culture and if it fits with the concert schedule,” explained Rogers.

This year, a staggering 303 community events fit the bill.

“This is the most there’s ever been,” said Rogers.

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