Tuesday, July 16, 2024

The Real Rabbie Burns Coming to Meaford Hall


A concert exploring the life and times of Scotland’s most famous son – poet, songwriter, and raconteur – Robert Burns, will hit the Meaford Hall stage on Saturday, January 23.

The Real Rabbie Burns, featuring The Celts band, along with special guests members of the Celtic Dance Company of Owen Sound, will help celebrate Burns’s birthday with the performance.

Six-piece band The Celts, which includes World Champion Highland Dancer Daniel Carr, features Anne Lederman on fiddle and vocals, Nonie Thompson on guitar and vocals, Tom Leighton on accordion and keyboards, Paul Gribbon on Uillean Pipes and whistles, Daniel Carr on bagpipes, and multi-instrumentalist and band leader Eugene Rea. Special guests – members of the Owen Sound Celtic Dance Company – round out this exciting ensemble performance. In 2015, the band was invited to play at the Canadian National Highland Dance Championships in London, and were heard by an estimated 10,000 people.

The Celts is the stage band for the successful Real St. Patrick Show, which has toured successfully each year in places such as Midland, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and also in Meaford. In 2015, they were featured at Scots Dance Canada, the largest and most prestigious Highland Dance convention in the country, and indeed were the first live band ever to be given this honour. The Celts consists of some of the best known, most accomplished and in-demand musicians in southern Ontario.

Both The Real St Patrick and The Real Rabbie Burns concerts were written and arranged by bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Eugene Rea, originally from County Down in Ireland. Long-time musical partner Nonie Thompson lends her amazing voice and guitar skills, while Tom Leighton adds accordion, keyboard, and voice. London’s Paul Gribbon is featured on Uillean pipes and whistles, but like Tom and Eugene he also plays a myriad of other instruments. Anne Lederman, one of the most sought-after fiddlers in Ontario, plays fiddle and also sings. Rejoining the band for these shows is founding member Billy Fairley of Meaford on percussion, after his stint with the Irish Rovers.

Their new show, The Real Rabbie Burns, builds on this success, examining the stories behind the man, while presenting audiences with great songs, blazing instruments and world-class dancing.

When asked what audiences could expect Rea said, “Well, more than anything, great music, song and dance, performed by a team of top-drawer players, who LOVE what they do – and it comes across. The band just loves to play together – the sound is huge, yet on intimate numbers any one of us can fill the stage solo.”

Tickets for the January 23 performance cost $36.50, and can be purchased by visiting the Meaford Hall website (meafordhall.ca) or stopping by the Meaford Hall box office.

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