BAR HARBOR — The fifth-annual Acadia Trad Festival will take place from June 25-30. The festival, presented by the Acadia School of Traditional Music and Arts, consists of classes, workshops, Acadia Halls concerts, community dances and music sessions.
The school’s mission is to promote education and appreciation of traditional music, dance, art and instrument crafts. “The school is for serious musicians of all levels and all ages,” said Chuck Donnelly, the school’s director.
“People come from all over the world to study with our high-profile faculty. We offer intensive instruction in several styles of dance, numerous instruments and instrument making.”
This year, the Acadia Trad Festival will accept about 125 full-time students and an additional 50 students who come for walk-in workshops in the afternoon. Classes are held at the College of the Atlantic campus in Bar Harbor. Students stay on campus or at nearby hotels.
Twelve public Acadia Halls concerts and two community dances are expected to attract more than 1,500 people. Afternoon concerts will be held in intimate community venues across Mount Desert Island: St. John’s Episcopal Church in Southwest Harbor, the MDI Historical Society’s old school house on Sound Drive, The Hall at Otter Creek, the Northeast Harbor Library and the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor. Evening concerts will be held at the Gates Auditorium on the College of the Atlantic campus.
The 2017 Acadia Trad Festival will focus on Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, Acadian, Cajun and old-time music and dance styles, and boasts a world-class faculty that includes several Grammy Award nominees. Faculty include Albert Alfonso (bodhran), Riley Baugus (banjo), Liz Carroll (Irish fiddle), Maìri Chaimbeul (harp), Baron Collins-Hill (mandolin), Jonathan Cooper (fiddle-making), Kevin Crawford (Irish flute), John Doyle (Irish guitar, songs), Kimberley Fraser (Cape Breton fiddle), David Greely (Cajun fiddle), Seán Heely (beginning fiddle), Kieran Jordan (dance), Nuala Kennedy (Irish flute, songs), Emmanuelle LeBlanc (piano), Pastelle LeBlanc (piano accordion), Troy MacGillivray (Cape Breton fiddle), Pascal Miousse (Acadian fiddle), Jenna Moynihan (fiddle), Eamon O’Leary (bouzouki), Nicole Rabata (Irish flute), Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes), April Verch (old-time fiddle, dance) and Duncan Wickel (cello).
Sunday, June 25
“Trad for the Common Good” will take place at the Common Good Soup Kitchen at 10 a.m. The audience can eat while listening to a “rousing Acadia Trad Celtic Session.” Participants are welcome to bring an instrument to join the music. Admission is by donation.
“Kicking the Top off the Box” will take place at the Gates Auditorium at 7 p.m. “April Verch steps, sings and fiddles with a fresh and feisty approach to deep North American traditions. … Her performances combine voice, energetic footwork and stunning playing. Guitar and fiddle duo Scott Macmillan and Colin Grant represent the heart and soul of Cape Breton music. Irish band Cróga, forged at the Acadia Trad Festival, features musicians from New Zealand to Maine. Acadia Trad School’s 2017 Young Artist Award winner Lillian Chase, age 13, will release her first record at this performance. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
Monday, June 26
“American Roots” is set for the Jesup Memorial Library at 4 p.m. “Art often emerges from turmoil and human struggles. Old-time blends the music of immigrants from Celtic nations with that of African slaves. Allison de Groot (banjo) tours with many of the world’s best old-time players. Fiddler Jack Devereux is one of the true masters of the old-time mountain sound. Lillian Chase is the 2017 Acadia Trad Young Artist Award winner and, at the age of 13, is already a master of old-time fiddle and song.” Admission is by donation.
“Island Shores” will come to Gates Auditorium at 7 p.m. “This evening is a celebration of two great islands of Celtic music, Cape Breton and Ireland. Cillian Valley and Kevin Crawford, from Irish mega band Lúnasa, share the stage with The Alt – John Doyle, Nuala Kennedy and Eamon O’Leary. Sisters Cassie and Maggie MacDonald rock the house with hot Cape Breton jigs, reels, strathspeys and songs. Acadia Trad School master student Spencer Tate will open.” Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
A contra dance will take place at the Gates Auditorium at 11 p.m. Bob and Amy Buckingham will play. John MacIntyre will call. Beginners are welcome. Admission costs $10 at the door.
Tuesday, June 27
“Tunes from the Scottish Highlands” will be played at the Mount Desert Island Historical Society at 4 p.m. “The music of Scotland is as haunting and beautiful as the Scottish mountains and the seas that surround them. Jenna Moynihan (fiddle) and Màiri Chaimbeul (harp) are masters of tradition but not slaves to it. Expect to hear their interpretations of the music. Jenna and Màiri will perform music from their album, “One Two.” Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
“Trad Blend” will take the stage at Gates Auditorium at 7 p.m. “Chicago Irish fiddle great Liz Carroll brings her powerful fiddling to our stage, while Irish dancer Kieran Jordan shows how music transcends sound with her brilliance of physical movement. World-renowned banjoist and singer Riley Baugus takes us back to the hills in times long past. Cellist and renowned multi-genre violinist Duncan Wickel shares his unique style. Maine’s own Irish flautist Nicole Rabata returns to the festival with fiddler Jack Devereux. Award-winning Scottish fiddlers The Glencoe Lads will open.” Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
Wednesday, June 28
“Celtic Traditions” will play in The Hall at Otter Creek at 4 p.m. “A distinctive New England old-time music style has emerged as the driving force behind a vibrant New England contra dance community. One of the leading contra dance duos, Velocipede, has been taking the music to new heights. Matt and Shannon Heaton blend wistful Irish songs with flute and guitar.” Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
“Upping the Ante” is set for Gates Auditorium at 7 p.m. “Fraser and Troy McGillivray prove that the laws of physics don’t apply in Cape Breton, while Scottish fiddle and harp duo Jenna Moynihan and Màiri Chaimbeul push the boundaries of tradition, making the music feel modern and alive. Matt and Shannon Heaton will share songs and tunes with Irish roots. Maine fiddler and Acadia Trad School student Madelyn Morrell opens the show. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
A contra dance will take place at Gates Auditorium at 11 p.m. Julia Plumb and Baron Collins-Hill of Velocipede will play their unique high energy dances and tunes. The dance will be called by Chrissy Fowler. Beginners are welcome. Admission costs $10 at the door.
Thursday, June 29
“Masters of their Craft” is set for St. John’s Church, Southwest Harbor, at 4 p.m. “Mari Black has won multiple prestigious national and international Scottish fiddling awards and is versed in many fiddle styles, including jazz and swing. She will be joined by Seán Heely, the 2016 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle champion. Liz and Dan Faiella, a sibling duo from New Hampshire, have been gaining recognition for their lively Irish tunes.” Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
“Musical Cousins” will play at Gates Auditorium at 7 p.m. “Prince Edward Island powerhouse band Vishtèn captivates audiences around the world with their intricate harmonies and percussive dance. Grammy-nominated Cajun fiddler David Greely brings Louisiana’s version of Acadian music to our stage. Irish fiddler Andrew Finn McGill’s albums illustrate the evolution of music from living room sessions to the modern stage. Acadia Trad students Alexander Allison and Gus La Casse will open each half of this grand evening of entertainment.” Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
Friday, June 30
“Local Heroes” is set for the Northeast Harbor Library at 4 p.m. “Forged at the Acadia Trad Festival, Cròga is a hot new Celtic band of unique characters from as far away as the wild shores of New Zealand and as close as Mount Desert Island. Their love for traditional Celtic music – and their irrepressible youthful passion – comes out in their new approach to the age-old traditions. In this performance, they will play music from their new record, “The Tide Full In.” Fiddler Gus La Casse is the winner of the 2015 Acadia Trad Young Artist Award. Now age 16, Gus has recorded multiple albums and has been performing around New England and wowing audiences as far away as Ireland. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
“Farewell to Friends” will take place at Gates Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.
“For the entire week, students and faculty have lived side-by-side and worked together intensely, building strong bonds and community. … The audience will hear music acts comprised of students at all levels, many performing with their instructors. Expect to hear some great music and lots of laughter. Tickets cost $5 in advance, $8 at the door.