Saturday was an emotional day for Ian MacLeod who, since 1994, has championed the Glengarry style of Scottish Fiddle through his teaching and his students’ many local and travelling performances.
On that day, he attended a grand reunion of past and present students, who presented him with a beautiful window-box honouring the 25th anniversary of The MacLeod School of Fiddling.
More than 400 people crowded into the large hall for a spectacular afternoon of fiddle music and stepdance performed not only by Mr. MacLeod's students, but also those of his daughter, Ashley MacLeod MacRae, who officially signed on to teach fiddle and stepdancing six years ago. The performers included her very young Mini Music Makers who range in age from under 4 to 6-and-plus years of age.
The framed presentation was ordered by Joel Doiron, father of Ian’s fiddle student Samuelle Doiron, and presented elements and the liner notes of The MacLeod’s Fiddlers’ third album, Passion For Fiddling, mounted on the Macleod of Lewis yellow tartan.
“As I was driving here today going down the Dunvegan Road, a tear came to my eye because it was 50 years ago that I was going down the same road to Maxville to take lessons with Malcolm Dewar at the old community hall,” Mr. MacLeod told the large audience.
“I never would have thought that fifty years later all this would be going on,” he said.
“Starting to teach lessons 25 years ago when I was really trying to concentrate on running the farm with a young family, I felt I didn’t have time for it, but your life changes and it changed for the good,” said Mr. MacLeod, his voice breaking with emotion.
Ian R. MacLeod has deep roots in Glengarry. He and his wife Karen and their three children, Scott, Ashley and Brad, own and operate a sixth generation Dalkeith dairy farm in North Glengarry.
For Heather Flipsen, 17, of Apple Hill who in recent years signed on with the MacLeod elite performance troupe with her mother Lynn and siblings, Curtis, Ryan and Ashley, the reunion and performances were also emotional.
“He’s so kind and patient with us,” said Ms Flipsen, who added that she is looking forward to the troupe’s upcoming annual return visit mid-August to the “Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling” at St. Ann’s Gaelic College in Cape Breton.
Mr. MacLeod and his students are warmly received every year at the festival where he is acknowledged as an important bond between Glengarry and Cape Breton fiddlers.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the MacLeod School of Fiddling, the MacLeod Fiddlers will be performing at the Friday night Tattoo of the Glengarry Highland Games this Friday.
25 YEARS: Ian Macleod holds the plaque his fiddling group presented to him and to the Ian and Ashley MacLeod School of Fiddling “as a token of their appreciation” at Saturday’s “Celebrating 25 Years” party and grand fiddling ceilidh at the Metcalfe Centre in Maxville. Among the many people he thanked for their support was his family and students and wife Karen, seen with him accepting the handsomely framed montage of the Macleod Fiddlers’ third and special 25th anniversary album, “Passion For Fiddling.”
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: A packed Metcalfe Centre in Maxville was the scene of a wonderful fiddle concert ceilidh on Saturday when students from the MacLeod School of Fiddling reunited for a celebration of the school’s 25th anniversary. Here, students from Ashley’s Littlest Mini Music Makers students to elite students and alumni pose for a group photo before The Brigadoons took the stage for the event’s dance party.