Kolten MacDonell is a fiddler, stepdancer, and piano player from Glencoe, Cape Breton. He began playing music at a young age, influenced by many local teachers, including Stephanie Wills, Brenda Stubbert and Jerry Holland. Kolten has played for ceilidhs and dances throughout Cape Breton, and is also in demand as a teacher. He has taught piano accompaniment and stepdancing workshops for several years at St. Ann’s Gaelic College of Arts and Crafts in Cape Breton, Ceilidh Trail School of Celtic Music, and Boston Harbour Scottish Fiddle School.
Howie MacDonald is a well-respected fiddler from Westmount, Cape Breton County. He has released nine albums of his own and has spent many years touring and recording with the Rankin Family. Howie has expanded his talents and gained popularity as a comedian recently for his roles in musical comedy revues Island Mania, Howie’s Celtic Brew and The Dance Last Night. Howie is also very much in demand for dances, concerts, ceilidhs and recording sessions and can be counted on to pop up in the most unexpected musical circumstances.
New Waterford native Doug MacPhee has performed with all the great fiddlers of Cape Breton over the years. Although he prides himself in his ability as an accompanist, Doug is also known as Cape Breton’s foremost piano soloist. Doug’s music can be heard on more than fifty recordings in addition to his five solo albums and a compilation CD as well. He has toured throughout Canada and internationally and has been recognized with the Order of Canada for his contribution to Cape Breton traditional culture.
Harvey was raised in Port Hastings, Cape Breton. He began step-dancing at 14 and was soon dancing on the summer Scottish concert circuit. Besides being an accomplished dancer, Harvey is also in demand as an instructor. He has performed and taught in many parts of Canada, the US, and Europe, including University College Cork in Ireland, Sabhal Mor Ostaig Gaelic College in Skye, Feis Ross in Ullapool, and Ceòlas in the Hebrides. Although primarily known as a dancer, Harvey is also an accomplished piano accompanist who has played with a number of Cape Breton fiddlers.
Hilda Chiasson-Cormier is one of the most sought after piano players of this generation and has played on more than 50 recordings in Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and the US. A native of Cheticamp where she played for dances and recorded since she was a teenager, Hilda is also a very good step dancer and has played and recorded with a who’s who of Cape Breton fiddlers including Winston Scotty Fitzgerald, Donald Angus Beaton, Jerry Holland, Carl MacKenzie and J.P. Cormier. Hilda has performed throughout Canada, the US, Scotland, Ireland and Denmark as well as in Dubai, Bahrain, and Afghanistan.
Jason was born and raised in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia. He began playing the keys at the age of five and was introduced to the Celtic style at thirteen. He has a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Francis Xavier University and has been performing since 1997. Jason has performed Italy, France, Scotland and throughout Canada. He plays regularly with Chrissy Crowley and Sprag Session and is featured on Maybelle Chisholm’s album Pure Celtic Hearts (2001) and Dawn and Margie Beaton’s 2008 album “Taste Of Gaelic”. Jason released his own album in 2007 with support from the Festival Volunteer Drive’ers Association.
Kimberley Fraser is a multitalented musician from Sydney Mines. Equally in demand for her fiddle and piano skills, she performs and teaches workshops all over North America and across the Atlantic. A Tic Butler award-winner and St. Francis Xavier graduate in Celtic Studies and Jazz, Kimberley went on to study music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Still in her 20s, Kimberley has released two records, won an ECMA, played with Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, Gordie Sampson, John Allan Cameron and Irish supergroup Cherish The Ladies and shared stages with such notables as Alasdair Fraser, Lunasa and Danu.
Joel Chiasson is a veteran piano player and step dancer from Cheticamp, Cape Breton. For five years, Joel played professionally for Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster. Over the years, Joel has taught Cape Breton style step dancing through workshops across Canada and the United States.