The 2023 Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame inductions are taking place on Friday, May 26 at the Bonnie Glen Pavilion near Alexandria. There are six inductees this year, composed of individuals living and deceased, and organizations which have contributed to the enrichment and furthering of Celtic Music in Glengarry.
Larry Lafave was a lifelong resident of Martintown and a well-liked and respected member of the community. An avid musician, Larry played guitar in a few local establishments and in several hotels in West Québec.
The Grand Hotel in Martintown was the place to go in the 1970’s to enjoy Celtic music. Larry and his wife Frances were the proprietors at the time. Sunday nights were legendary at The Grand. Incredible buffets and toe-tapping Scottish and Irish music dominated the scene.
Duncan J. MacDonald
Born in 1922 Duncan J. MacDonald started playing violin at age 10. He and his brothers, Donald, Hughie and Elmer were taught by their mother, Margaret F. (MacLeod) MacDonald and were much in demand at concerts and socials. For his military service in World War Two, he received the Dutch Commemorative Medal in 2002 for his part in the liberation of Holland.
Duncan played for 50 years with various groups including The Skye Orchestra, The MacCrimmon Orchestra, and the MacDonald Brothers. He played with Bob Urquhart, Joyce Urquhart, Bev MacQueen, James Nixon, Duncan J and Rod MacPhee and of course, his brothers.
Duncan averaged over 100 gigs a year for close to 70 years, sharing his gift with many happy listeners.
For more than 40 years, Lori MacMaster (née Trottier) has contributed to the Celtic tradition of Glengarry through music, dance and teaching step dancing to hundreds of students.
Lori started step dancing lessons at six years of age and by age 13 she was teaching. There have been well over 30 annual Trottier-MacMaster recitals at Laggan Public School. Lori and her students have entertained at fundraising events, and venues across Glengarry and Eastern Ontario. Lori and her sisters performed at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and with the MacLeod Fiddlers, at the Greater Philadelphia Mid-Winter Celtic Festival in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Lori’s impact on the Celtic music scene is immense. Her introduction of step dancing, which had all but disappeared is on par with that found in Cape Breton and Scotland.
In 1988 Lori married Earl MacMaster and they live near Laggan. They have two children, Graham and Braelyn, who continue to carry on the tradition of teaching step dancing.
Glenda McDonell has been a promoter of Scottish music throughout her life. The Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame acknowledges her success in obtaining the space for our hall as well as her service as a committee member for two years.
Raised in Williamstown, she spent her career teaching at St. Elizabeth and St. Thomas More schools in Ottawa where she frequently brought celtic entertainment from Glengarry to perform for students. She studied dancing with Joan Dicaire and George Montgomery. After retirement she took fiddle lessons from David MacPhee.
As a board member of The Friends of St. Raphael’s Ruins she arranged concerts featuring Rita MacNeil, The Banchory Scottish Orchestra, Dave MacDonald of Nova Scotia, Louise-Andree Baril and John McDermott. She also promoted the production of albums by the Brigadoons as well and Monsignor D.B. McDougald.
As a ten-year director of Clan Donald Glengarry Stormont, she was voted High Commissioner of Clan Donald at a meeting in Pictou, Nova Scotia. She was also awarded recognition as a cultural ambassador by the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.
Red Alex Stewart
Red Alex Stewart was a well-known and respected musician for many years in Glengarry. He was born in 1886 in Stewart’s Glen and spent his entire life in the Stewart’s Glen and Skye area of Northern Glengarry.
This valued piper and violinist loved good music and was a piper with the S.D. & G. Highlanders in Cornwall for 21 years. He was presented with a medal for his efficient service in 1942.
In the 1950’s Red Alex also played on Frank Ryan’s popular Farmer’s Notebook radio program on CFRA in Ottawa.
Red Alex was also known for encouraging young musicians. Red Alex died on February 10, 1965 at the age of 78.
SD & G Highland Dancing Association
On June 23 1964 the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highland Dancing Association was founded with 30 families and 35 dancers. Currently there are more than 80 members. The association’s dancing competitions attract dancers from Montréal, Toronto and New York State. Over the years they have been Ontario champions, Canadian champions, North American champions and World champions.
Three local teachers are Kathy Coleman-Spink of Glengarry County, Ellen Cameron-Maloney of Stormont County and Colleen Murray-St. Onge of Glengarry County. These teachers are often approached to do workshops across Canada and the USA.