The Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame 15th annual induction dinner takes place on Friday, May 25 at the Bonnie Glen Pavilion.

Biographies of the inductees will be shared in The Review during the weeks leading up to the event.

Ellen Cameron Maloney

At a very early age, Ellen Cameron, became interested in Highland dancing.  Her first teacher, Mary Saunders, immediately saw  her  potential.  Once she had mastered the basics, Ellen began competing in local competitions where she won numerous local awards.  But Ellen, very competitive, wanted to compete on the provincial and national level.  In order to develop the skills necessary to compete at that level, Ellen, at the age of nine, began to travel monthly to Toronto,  in order to learn from the pros. It soon paid off and Ellen began to make her dancing abilities known well beyond the S D & G   borders. She  competed until the age of 16 along the way winning Ontario, Canadian and British Overseas championships among many other titles.

When Ellen graduated from high school, she decided that she would  like to pursue, on a more official basis, her passion for teaching dance, a career begun at the age of 13 under the supervision of her then teacher, Gladys Forrester. Her first school of dancing was established in Cornwall at the start, but soon moved to St. Andrews where her studio is still located.

Throughout her 46 years of teaching, Elllen has taught hundreds of children, spanning two generations, from near and far, learning the Fling, the Sword, the Sean Truibhas, the Reel, the nationals, and many more.  Whether you are a beginner, a novice or premiere; whether you are very talented or less talented, Ellen gives one the same individual attention, the same encouragement. Should one not have sufficient funds to pay for his/her lessons, Elllen will forego the payment until one can pay, or forego it completely; should one not be able to afford brand new outfits, necessary to compete, Ellen will look far and wide for second hand costumes that can be affordable to the dancer in need. Should one need transportation either to practice or to a competition, Elllen will arrange for transportation or drive them herself. Should the community require talent at one of its fund raiser, Ellen will gladly oblige. Through Ellen’s teaching, not only does one learn the dancing steps required, but one equally learns self-discipline, determination, respect, camaraderie, in short, all the characteristics necessary to succeed in life. In turn, she receives loyalty, dedication, and admiration from her students, many of whom still remain in touch through “Facebook” long after the lessons have ended.

Throughout all  these  years, Ellen has incessantly contributed to perpetuate the Celtic music tradition to all who have had the privilege of being taught by her.  Not only do her dancers learn the dance steps particular to each dance, but they also learn about its origin and its history.  Her dancers have become ambassadors of the Celtic culture wherever they have performed be it  in Maxville, Montreal, Toronto, in the States or in Scotland.  They have spread the word that Celtic culture in Glengarry and surrounding area is very much alive. She instills the love of Scottish dancing to such a degree in some of her students, that some have spread wings on their own and have opened their own studios; Kathy Coleman Spink, Colleen Murray St. Onge, Marielle L’Esperance to name but a few.

Ellen loved Celtic music so much, that in her spare time, she and her brother, Glen Cameron, formed a Celtic band named “The Tartans”  which included Ron Bissonnette as drummer and Bill Vipond as the lead singer.  When the latter passed away tragically, Hughie MacDonell, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, replaced him. The band would be featured at such halls as the Green Valley Pavilion, The Bonnie Glen as well as in River Beaudette.

Throughout all these years, Ellen has produced world champions five times, national champions 17 times, provincial champions, in excess of 30 times, as well as countless local and regional champions. To date, Ellen has been recognized by her peers as being the best teacher in Ontario on three different occasions. She has been invited to provide workshops or speak to professional dancing associations in Canada, United States, Scotland, Australia, and next year in  South Africa. Throughout all of these accolades, Ellen has remained humble, always ready to share her talents, her wisdom and her generosity.