Music Camp Faculty 2017

In our 6th year we are again pleased to bring you a first-class cadre of traditional musical artists to lead a wide range of workshops. This year's faculty offers some of our favourite teachers from past years and some new surprises too. In alphabetical order:


Allie Bennet, Fiddle

Allie has been at the epicentre of Cape Breton's music revival and its rise in international recognition during the past four decades. With over 150 album projects to his credit as a studio musician, he has recorded and toured with Atlantic Canadian musicians including John Allan Cameron, Rita MacNeil, Ashley MacIsaac, The Rankin Family, Natalie MacMaster, Ron Hynes, Stan Rogers ... just to name a very few. In fact, his name appears on over 1,000,000 units sold in Canada as a studio bass player! He has been a Music Director for the East Coast Music Awards, and band leader for two editions of the iconic Cape Breton Summertime Review. He has recently toured with Dave Gunning and been working on more studio projects. Both of his traditional solo recordings received ECMA and Music Nova Scotia Awards nominations. Allie is a highly accomplished teacher and operates a private music school. We are very pleased to welcome Allie back to Music Camp on the Canal this year to focus on fiddle workshops.


Leah Campbell, Step Dance, Highland Dance

Leah Campbell is a young dancer, instructor, and choreographer from St. Peters. She has been involved in dance since the age of seven and has traveled all across the country with her talent. Leah has represented Nova Scotia seven times, competing in the ScotDance Canada Championships held in New Brunswick, Victoria, Toronto, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Vancouver, and London, ON. She has also competed in several competitions outside the country including Florida and New Hampshire. In 2014, Leah was one of the two winners across Canada who won the James L. Mackenzie award in Richmond, BC. She shares her passion and dedication for dance with her young students in Richmond County. Leah will be teaching introduction classes to highland and step dancing in this years music camp.


Chelsey Dakai, Piano

This talented young woman from St. Peter's performs in a wide variety of musical genres and her talents are well known around the village. She recently completed her Bachelor of Music Education degree at Acadia University, with a focus on piano performance, where she performed in symphonic band, choirs, and chamber ensembles. Chelsey has a passion for music education, conducting, and jamming in kitchen ceilidhs. We welcome Chelsey to Music Camp this year for her second time, where she will specialize in teaching our youth-oriented piano/keyboard workshops.


Paul Davis, Tin Whistle

Paul is an experienced tinwhistle instructor who offers his students an animated workshop, and plenty of take-home resources to practice new skills. A transplant to Cape Breton from his native Ireland, Paul has been active in bringing contemporary Celtic, and especially Irish music to the Strait area of Cape Breton and to the world via the internet. He created and hosted a weekly radio show, The Music of Ireland, for 30 years, while becoming an accomplished tin whistle and bodhran (Irish drum) player with a long list of local performances. He participates in local music projects as an MC and session player for the St. Peter's Summer Ceilidhs and Jams; and as a whistle instructor for Kitchen Rackets events over the past 10 years or so.


Rachel Davis, Fiddle & Stepdance

Rachel Davis is at the forefront of the traditional music scene in Atlantic Canada. Born and raised in Baddeck, Cape Breton, Rachel has brought her music to venues across Canada and around the world, including the United States, England, Scotland, France, and Australia. She has earned a reputation as one of the best Cape Breton style fiddlers on stage. Rachel has been at the East Coast Music Awards and performs regularly at the Celtic Colours Festival. She is a member of the Cape Breton Fiddler’s Association and teaches fiddle at the Summer School held annually at the Gaelic College in St. Anne’s, Cape Breton. Rachel has also shared the stage with The Cottars, Bruce Guthro, Darren McMullen, Carmel Mikol, and most recently with her new traditional Cape Breton supergroup Còig. We are very pleased to welcome Rachel back to the Music Camp Faculty.


Colin Grant, Fiddle

We are very happy to have Colin join us again this year. He is certainly well known to anybody who is a fan of Cape Breton traditional music - from his performances in the Baddeck Ceilidhs as a youngster, to his national and international tours with project bands and as a founding member of the Celtic supergroup Coig. His recent collaboration with another faculty member, Scott MacMillan, saw the release of the CD ‘Good2Go’, which received stellar reviews from the music press. This year, Colin will be focusing on Cape Breton fiddling.


Scott Macmillan, 

Guitar Technique &Music Composition

Scott Macmillan has a passion for creating music, conducting orchestras, and a global reputation as a guitar maestro who plays in a broad range of genres. He is a recipient of Nova Scotia’s top artists' recognition, the Portia White Prize. His music has taken him to places like Carnegie Hall in New York to perform his much loved “Celtic Mass for the Sea”. He has performed in prime venues in the UK, US, Germany, criss-crossed Canada conducting orchestras, and played a pivotal role in the rise of Symphony Nova Scotia’s Maritime Pops programming. A veteran music educator, in addition to his performing and recording career, Scott is a faculty member in the Music program at Dalhousie University. He lives part time in Cape Breton where he regularly performs, leads workshops, and works on his compositions. Scott looks forward to his return this year to Music Camp.


Carol Martell, Acadian Song

Carol is a member of one of Richmond County’s most prolific musical families. Growing up in a French Acadian home she has strong cultural roots and a life-long love of the traditional songs – which she sings to her own guitar accompaniment. Garnering rave reviews from her students when she first gave workshops with us in 2014, Carol returns to Music Camp to introduce and teach some fun, old-time upbeat Acadian songs, and demonstrate how they were originally sung.


Darren McMullen 

Tenor Banjo, Bass Guitar, Mandolin, Guitar

In our first year we were thrilled when Darren accepted our invitation to join the inaugural Music Camp faculty. He taught some dynamite mandolin, tenor banjo, guitar and bass workshops over the last four years here, and has given stellar performances at our All Star Concerts. Lately he's been busy touring and recording his own multi-instrumental buffet; hanging with Dolly Parton, and performing as a member of the award-winning Celtic supergroup Coig; providing masterful and energetic bass guitar work for Matt Andersen; touring with David Francey - among other projects near and far. We are privileged to have Darren back on our faculty for the sixth year.


Keith Mullins 

Harmonica, Percussion, Songwriting

Music-Chameleon Keith Mullins has been playing music all his life. Raised in Cape Breton, NS where his family played all styles of music from the hits to jazz, from Cape Breton fiddling to country, music runs thick through his blood. Keith is a multiple award winning songwriter with a degree in classical music and has studied with master drummers in West Africa and Cuba. He's toured the world playing with East Coast's finest musicians and has worked passionately at the art of music, from creation to performance to production all the while maintaining his focus in the pursuit of forward thinking projects. While he's no stranger to St. Peter's and area, we are delighted to welcome Keith to his first faculty gig with Music Camp on the Canal.


Roger Stone

Guitar, Ukulele, Bodhran, Voice

Roger is a founding member of our Music Camp faculty, providing an important link to the musical traditions of Richmond County and playing a strategic role in the development of our programme. A native of St. Peter's, he is an accomplished singer/songwriter, a talented and versatile multi-instrumentalist, one of Halifax's busiest musicians, and a very experienced music teacher operating his own school. Roger is acknowledged to be a master guitar player and banjo picker, and one of Nova Scotia's top singer/songwriters. Roger will lead several workshops to share his extensive expertise in instrument and voice techniques, and by popular demand, will bring back his popular beginner workshop on the iconic Irish drum.


Johannes Sturm, Luthier

Johannes is a veteran workshop leader from our first Music Camp; and from its inception over 10 years ago as our on-site luthier during Kitchen Rackets @ Celtic Colours International Festival. A native of the Black Forest in Germany, Johannes was schooled and apprenticed in the European tradition. Discovering Cape Breton as a land of opportunity for a luthier ( do we really have more fiddles per household than anywhere in the world?) he has operated his Fiddle Shop for over 30 years in Grand Anse, Richmond County. He brings his tools and instrument examples to Music Camp to demonstrate and describe the techniques of evaluation and caring for stringed instruments with particular emphasis on his specialty, building and restoring violins. Johannes will deliver a workshop for string instrument owners and enthusiasts, and will provide on-site luthier services to campers, including assessment of their instruments, tunings, minor adjustments and emergency repairs.


Kelli Trottier,

Fiddle, Step Dance, Voice, Band Lab

With ten independent recordings and three nominations for Fiddler of the Year with the CCMA, Kelli is an accomplished and highly successful performing artist. Her angelic voice and crisp fiddling are enhanced by her own songs and fiery step dance. She has performed for Sean Connery, for our Canadian Armed Forces and toured North America and beyond as a featured soloist with Bowfire for nine years; and performed with Wayne Rostad, Lucille Starr, Goerge Fox, Ronnie Prophet and others. In 2015, Kelli was instrumental in helping our federal government agree to pass the National Fiddling Day Bill - and she wrote a tune to commemorate the occasion which is being played by fiddlers and fiddle groups across the Country. Kelli is a highly sought after instructor and judge of both fiddle and step dance across Canada, and she will once again add unique vocal, dance and fiddle expertise to our workshop program in this, her third year on our faculty.


Barbara White,

Music Theory

Barbara is a distinguished composer and Professor of Music at Princeton University in New Jersey.  An idiosyncratic and adventurous clarinetist, she travelled to our first Music Camp to explore Celtic tin whistle, and she is still here, warping Celtic tunes with local guitarist Charles MacDonald in their duo Fork and Spoon.  Barbara has returned to Music Camp several times to teach workshops, and we are very glad to have her back this year. Barbara will repeat her popular 'Quick-Learn to Read Music’ workshop. Great for novices and as a refresher. And we can expect to have Barbara lead a jam of St. Peter's Pennies, the official Camp Tune she composed for us in year two. Listen to / download St. Peter's Pennies.


Richard Wood,

Fiddle, Step Dance, Keyboard

We're absolutely delighted to have Richard back for his third year at Music Camp. For more than two decades he has impressed audiences all across Canada, as well as in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. Highlights have included TV guest appearances with Shania Twain on "David Letterman" and “Good Morning America,” Carnegie Hall with Irish legends The Chieftains, a featured performer on CBC’s Canada Day on Parliament Hill, “Rita MacNeil and Friends,” and with Jean Butler of Riverdance on "Celtic Electric". Prince Edward Island fiddler, artist, composer and entertainer, Richard is literally taking on the world. During music camp he looks forward to sharing his electrifying talents with our campers in workshops and on stage for our All Star Concert on Saturday night.


Rob Woodley,

Guitar, Mandolin, Accordion, Sea Shanties

'Squeezy Bob'  is back for his third gig on our faculty. As our Music Director Rob is responsible for organizing the workshops and concert program - this job gets bigger every year. Rob will lend his experience as a talented multi-instrumentalist, together with his administrative and management skills, to help augment this critical role of managing our growing music program. A prolific writer of songs and tunes, he is well known on the Cape Breton music scene and has taken his music to over thirty countries. 2016 saw the release of his latest CD “True-ish Stories” to critical acclaim. In addition to his career as a solo performer, Rob has performed with several dance bands as a musician and a caller and currently plays with ‘The Fabulous Bard Boys’.


Richmond MacAdian Ceilidh Dancers

Ceilidh style Scottish Country Dancing

This St. Peter's and area dance group has been active for 16 years but under its new name since 2015. Scottish Country dancing is a great way to exercise mind and body ...each piece of music is a different dance!  Members enjoy the exercise, friendship, laughter and great camaraderie. Our classes run from mid-October to first week in December and then from January to first of May. In January, we host a Robbie Burns dinner with entertainment. Singles and couples welcome. This dance workshop is open for camp Accompanists and A la carte registrations.