Faculty in last year’s Acadia Trad School perform on the College of the Atlantic campus. PHOTO COURTESY OF ACADIA TRAD SCHOOL

Festival highlights traditional music

BAR HARBOR — The Acadia School of Traditional Music and Arts presents its fourth annual Acadia Trad Festival in Bar Harbor, June 26 through July 1.

The festival includes a full week of classes, workshops, 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.”

The 2016 Acadia Trad Festival will focus on Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, Acadian, Cajun and old-time music and dance styles. The faculty comes from all over North America and includes several Grammy Award nominees.

This year, the festival will accept about 125 full-time students and about 50 students who come for walk-in workshops. Classes are held at the College of the Atlantic campus. Students stay on campus or at nearby hotels.

Sunday, June 26, musicians from the Trad School will visit the Common Good Soup Kitchen in Southwest Harbor.

Afternoon “Acadia Halls” concerts are planned for venues across Mount Desert Island. Tickets to most of these 4 p.m. concerts are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. On Monday, June 27, Cape Breton duo Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald will perform at the Jesup Library (suggested donation only). On June 28, old-time ballad composer and multi-instrumentalist Pete Sutherland of Vermont will play at the Sound School House of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society.

The Hall in Otter Creek will host Jenna Moynihan and The Press Gang Wednesday afternoon, June 29, for Irish and Scottish-inspired tunes. On June 30, Matt and Shannon Heaton (guitar and flute) will be playing tunes from Ireland and singing songs inspired by their Celtic roots at St. John’s Church in Southwest Harbor. Joining this performance will be brother and sister duo, Dan and Liz Faiella, Scottish fiddle master Seán Heely and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Elam.

The festival’s youngest musicians, including Gus LaCasse of Trenton, play the Northeast Harbor Library Friday afternoon July 1. He’ll be joined by Heely, Elam and old-time duo Eden Forman and Lukas Pool.

Evening concerts by faculty members are held at 7 p.m. at the Gates Community Center on the College of the Atlantic campus in Bar Harbor. Tickets are $22 in advance or $25 at the door.

Sunday night, LaCasse opens for Miller, MacDonald, Liz Knowles and Kieran O’Hare. Monday is an Irish and Scottish concert including Maine duo Velocipede, followed by a traditional Cape Breton-style ceilidh and dance at 10 p.m. Tuesday’s “Irish Times” concert features Liz Carroll, Sutherland, Irish Sean-Nós dancer Kieran Jordan, flutist Nicole Rabata, harpist Maeve Gilchrist and the Press Gang.

Wednesday evening’s “Trad Blend” concert includes Irish, old-time and Cajun tunes with Riley Baugus, David Greely, Nic Gareiss and Gilchrist. A contra dance follows at 10 p.m.

Prince Edward Island band Vishten performs Thursday night, along with fiddlers Kimberly Fraser and Moynihan. Friday evening, faculty and students perform together in a “Farewell to Friends” concert.

Visit acadiatradschool.com.

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