28 December 2017

Christmas Eve at Bethany United

On Christmas Eve, I was back for a third year of playing preludes and accompanying carols at Bethany United Church's lovely traditional evening service. The service featured the church choir, and Shawn Whynot on organ and piano.

20 December 2017

Christmas Cantata

I had the pleasure of working this year with the Wolfville Baptist Church Choir, led by Heather Price. We performed Glad Tidings of Great Joy, a cantata by Robert Hebble for choir, organ, and harp. We were joined by Dorothy King, narrator, and four dancers.

16 December 2017

Make We Merrie Both Alle and Somme

I was back at West Dublin Hall last evening for a medieval Christmas celebration concert with Jude Pelley, Charlie Wilson, and Lindsey Meagher. There were boughs, candles, costumes, and mulled wine for the occasion.

15 December 2017

Lucid CD Release

This week, my bandmate India Gailey is performing CD release shows to celebrate her debut solo album, Lucid. There are still two more chances to see the show: Antigonish on Dec 16, and Halifax on Dec 18. I play and sing with her on the first track, A Gaijin (Foreigner) Walks Between Towering Chords Hundreds of Years Old, a new composition by Lucas Oickle. For more information about India, check out her new website: indiayeshe.com

Sam Wilson is performing with India at these shows, having also released a new and very beautiful EP: Into A Heart

12 December 2017

Student Recital

This year's December student recital was held in the concert hall at the Conservatory, with seven students performing. It was wonderful to see the students share the results of their hard work with each other, and to see the pieces come to life in performance. I can't wait to continue working with these excellent people again after the break!  

Thanks to Jacqueline for the photo

11 December 2017


This past weekend was a reprise of last year's popular Wassail concert with Pennybrook and the Manning Chapel Choir, conducted by John Scott. This year, we went on a small tour, performing in Wolfville on Saturday and in Lunenburg on Sunday. The fabulous Kirsty Money was also added to the band on nyckelharpa. 

Wolfville, photo: Katy Hopkins

Lunenburg, photo: John Scott

3 December 2017

Let Peace Be All Around

Music Therapists Erin Montgomery and Darrel Cameron have created a beautiful relaxation recording for patients and families at the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Erin and Darrel are so skilled, generous, and thoughtful, and the work they do brings much needed joy and comfort at some of the most difficult times. The album is titled "Let Peace Be All Around" and is available for free download for anyone at the following link: store.cdbaby.com/cd/erinmontgomery2

About this project:
Music Therapy is an integral aspect of the care offered to patients on the palliative care unit at the Victoria General Hospital, and for residents living at the Veterans Memorial Building. In these settings, music therapy interventions routinely assist patients and residents to reduce their anxiety, pain perception, to induce a relaxation response, and provide comfort and increased quality of life. 

The goal for this project was to make a recording that feels as if the musicians were present in the room, at the bedside. The songs were chosen because of the inherent beauty of their melodies and lyrics that offer comfort and hope. We set them in acoustic arrangements similar to what a music therapy intervention might sound like. 

Certified Music Therapists Erin Montgomery, Darrel Cameron and Johanne Gallant produced this recording to be a resource for patients and families at the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Musicians Gina Burgess (violin), Ellen Gibling (harp) and Linda Schroeder (flute) have been volunteering on the palliative care unit for many years, and they have graciously lent their talents to this project as well.

1 December 2017

Advent Show 2017

Last night was the opening for this year's Advent Show, at the Spatz Theatre! The show continues with performances tonight, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening. The cast is bigger than ever this year, featuring 20 local singers, dancers, and instrumentalists. Click here for more info: adventshow.com/

Photos by
 Timothy Richard

27 November 2017

Henry House continues

Erin, Colin, and I are still going strong at the Henry House, every Sunday afternoon, 2:30-4:30! This week, Mark Currie filled in for Erin, and next week, Seán Ó Feinneadha will be filling in for me.

photo by Colin

26 November 2017

Tune thy music to thy heart

St. David's Presbyterian church in downtown Halifax has been presenting a new series this year - "Saturday Afternoon Concerts". Yesterday, countertenor Andrew Pickett and I played the penultimate concert of the season, a program of English lute songs and French air de cour. It was a joy to work on this repertoire with Andrew!

23 November 2017

New Hermitage in Antigonish

On Tuesday evening we took a little road trip to Antigonish! Andrew led a workshop with New Hermitage and St. F-X music students, and then we played a show in the University Art Gallery with the fabulous Robyn Gale Quartet. The show took place inside "Fencelines", a collaborative installation piece that has its current home in the gallery.

6 November 2017

Conservatory Traditional Music Ensemble

Yesterday, I met the Traditional Music Ensemble at the Conservatory to teach a couple of tunes to the group. This expanding and dedicated ensemble, led by Jennifer Publicover, was a delight to work with and they perform in a variety of venues throughout the year. You can find some information about them here: maritimeconservatory.com/music/classes-ensembles-music/ They are currently working on a music video which will be released soon!

the ensemble in performance last year

4 November 2017

Best of Local Fundraiser

Last night was Autism Nova Scotia's big annual fundraiser: the Best of Local 2017. I was pleased to play for the dinner portion of the evening, following an amazing performance by the Maritime Bhangra Group. You can learn more about ANS and their events and services here: autismnovascotia.ca/

26 October 2017

Tabla concert with Shawn Mativetsky

Shawn Mativetsky performed an incredible tabla solo last night at the Music Room, and I was very fortunate to accompany him. Shawn recently released a solo album entitled Rivers which you can listen to and order here: shawnmativetsky.com/rivers. Looking forward to performing with him again in March!

photo and video thanks to Caroline Tabah

21 October 2017

Alys Howe Workshop

I had a great time attending Alys Howe's excellent workshop today at Re-jigged Festival!

workshop participants with Alys, left

16 October 2017

Back at the Henry House

Erin, Colin, and I are back with tunes at the Henry House! Come on by for a cozy pint.

Sunday afternoons, 2:30-4:30pm
1222 Barrington St, Halifax

15 October 2017

West Dublin Hall with Mark Currie

Mark and I had fantastic time last night playing a show at the West Dublin Hall! Mark played bodhran, bones, foot percussion, and didgeridoo and we chose a variety of our favourite tunes to share with the very enthusiastic and kind audience. Charlie and Jude (of Pennybrook: www.pennybrook.ca) joined us at the end for a few sets. Many thanks to them and to the community of West Dublin for the invitation and warm welcome. 

2 October 2017

New Hermitage Website Launch and Lucky Penny show

It's an exciting time for New Hermitage, with a few new things on the go! The band has a shiny fresh website! https://www.newhermitage.com/

Last night we played a fun and cozy show at Lucky Penny cafe. Thanks to Barb for hosting us there, and to Taylor Ackerman for opening.

Here is one of our newly released videos:

27 September 2017

New Hermitage - one

New Hermitage has released some tracks this week - some from our greenhouse concert in Wolfville, and some of Andrew's solo work from the White Rabbit artist residency. This music will be available on cassette at our Oct 1 show, but can also be found on bandcamp!

18 September 2017

Ragged Robin at Halifax Celtic Festival

This past Saturday, Erin and I played at the 5th annual Halifax Celtic Festival, at the Halifax Forum. This event brings together musicians, dancers, language groups, vendors, and community members from a variety of Celtic nations!

13 September 2017

Burnwater: Alchemy at Alderney Landing

Tonight is the opening night of Burnwater: Alchemy, Dartmouth edition! After three years of working on this show in Shelburne, Mocean Dance and Hear Here Productions are presenting the piece at Alderney Landing. I was fortunate to be involved in this piece as a set and lighting designer. Seats are limited at 30 tickets per show, and performances will run from September 13th-17th.

Step inside Burnwater:Alchemy, a performance installation at the crossroads of place, memory and the natural world. Weaving together percussion, dance, poetry and the extraordinary iron sound-sculptures of Nova Scotia blacksmith John Little, the audience is immersed in a delightfully imaginative world, suspended in time and place."


12 September 2017

Music Nova Scotia Award Nomination!

Ragged Robin received some exciting and surprising news today - "Deep in the Tangled Wood" has been nominated for "Traditional/Roots Recording of the Year"! Click here to see all of the Music Nova Scotia Awards nominees for 2017.

2 September 2017

Dusty Keleher at HUFF

My second night at Halifax Urban Folk Festival was with Dusty Keleher at the Wooden Monkey. We opened for Kris and Dee, a fantastic duo from Kingston, Ontario. Dusty and I played some songs from his new record, which will be officially released soon!

31 August 2017

Heavy Blinkers at HUFF

Last night, the Heavy Blinkers were part of a beautiful show as part of the Halifax Urban Folk Festival. Along with Tyler Hache, the Blinkers opened for the incredible Leif Vollebekk at the Company House. Read a review of the show here. The festival continues until Sunday!

5 August 2017

Albert Herring with Halifax Summer Opera Festival

Tonight is the opening night of Albert Herring! Under the direction of conductor Nicholas Gilmore, Danbee Ko (piano), Trevor Brandenburg (percussion), and myself will be joining singers from across the country for this comic opera by Benjamin Britten. There are four performances with two different casts: August 5, 8, 11, and 13. More information about the production can be found here: halifaxsummeroperafestival.com

photos by Tobbi Dyer

3 August 2017

Boxwood Festival 2017

I spent a wonderful 4 days in Lunenburg last week, attending workshops with the brilliant Irish harp player Michael Rooney as part of Boxwood Festival. I am very grateful to the Conservatory for the professional development fellowship supporting these studies!

2 August 2017

Best of Halifax nomination

Such a nice surprise to see that New Hermitage got nominated for "Best Experimental Band" in the 2017 Best of Halifax awards by The Coast! Voting happens here: http://thecoast.secondstreetapp.com/l/Best-of-Halifax-2017


30 July 2017

Ragged Robin at the Celtic Tea Room

Erin and I spent another delightful evening at the Celtic Tea Room in St. Ann's Bay, Cape Breton! The audience was so warm and engaging, and it was great to have the chance to play a couple of sets with Paul Cranford at the end of the night. Delicious treats and beverages were served, and we were made most welcome by everyone at the church. We were so pleased to be invited back for our second year with this excellent summer series.

 this summer's lineup

a photo of the church from its facebook page

28 July 2017

New Hermitage Greenhouse Concert

On July 18, New Hermitage played a concert in my new favourite performance location - the KCIC Greenhouse. Surrounded by plants and an intimate audience, we captured a live audio and video recordings. Stay tuned for those!

11 July 2017

Turn Styles

Around this time last year I did some recording in Shelburne with Naming the Twins. The album, Turn Styles, is out now and you can give it a listen or buy it here: namingthetwins.bandcamp.com/album/turn-styles! The harp makes an appearance on The Marriage, Somewhere Near, and The Last Song. They've got quite a few performances coming up in Nova Scotia this summer! Visit their website for more information: namingthetwins.com.

10 July 2017

Carole King Cover

Yesterday, Erin Costelo released a new video from the same shoot as Quiet the Bombs - a beautiful rendition of Carole King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?. She kindly invited me to play along, so there are a few little harp sounds in there! This song is one of my favourites, and I love Erin's version. Check it out below!

9 July 2017

Ragged Robin at Tuesday Night Tunes

This was Ragged Robin's third year playing at Tuesday Night Tunes. We were so happy to be back and to have such an enthusiastic audience, most of whom stuck around despite being rained on partway through! Many thanks to the Museum for having us and for organizing such a fun free concert series. You can see the list of programming for the rest of the summer here.


Thanks to Noelle for the photograph!

4 July 2017

Harp Celebration Concert

This year, as a fundraiser for Boxwood Festival, Chris Norman organized a harp-themed concert. Cheryl Reid O'Hagan, Alys Howe, Lydia Maksym, and myself all performed at the Lunenburg Academy concert hall on Friday. It was a treat to be joined by Mark Currie on bodhran and I really enjoyed playing with Alys her arrangements for two harps! It was a super fun evening - so great to hear everyone and help bring yet another amazing harpist to Boxwood (Michael Rooney this year).
Mark and I

3 July 2017

Train station wedding

This week I had the new experience of playing a wedding in a train station. Congratulations Jenn and Andrew!

warming up

29 June 2017

Zuppa Fundraising Concert

Last night was Zuppa Theatre's annual fundraising concert at the Music Room. Every year they bring together a big variety of local performers for a sold-out show centered around a theme. This year's theme was summer or sunshine. Melanie Stone and I played two songs together, Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, and Boys of Summer by Don Henley! For more information on Zuppa and their amazing work, click here.

27 June 2017

New Hermitage at Art Bar

On Saturday night, New Hermitage played as part of a new series called Open Form, hosted by Art Bar on Granville St. Also playing were Sam Wilson and Cutting the Argus. New Hermitage is a new improvisational ensemble comprising Andrew MacKelvie, India Gailey, Ross Burns, and myself. Ross couldn't be there on Saturday but the full band will be playing for the first time on July 18th in Wolfville!

a short clip of New Hermitage at the show, thanks to Matt Reid

22 June 2017

Recording with cello

On Tuesday, India Gailey and I headed to Wolfville to record Lucas Oickle's beautiful piece A Foreigner Walks Between Towering Chords Hundreds of Years Old, written for India. Ken Shorley recorded us in his beautiful studio. Look out for this piece on India's upcoming solo EP!

18 June 2017

Deep Sea Conundrum in Halifax

Last night was the third and final show (for now) of Deep Sea Conundrum. It took place at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in the small craft gallery, where we were surrounded by old wooden boats. There were some great characters among the kids in the audience and the show was more rowdy and participatory than the last two. Jack's Inner Space volunteers had made goody bags to give out to the kids along with the colouring books, and there was a fun reception afterwards.The Maritime Museum were excellent hosts! I had such a good time working with this fantastic DSC creative team.