Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia is a beautiful Canadian island known for its cliffs, hills and trails along with its traditional fiddle music. Musicians Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy evoke Cape Breton, their home, along with other places such as Ireland, Scotland and other parts of Canada in their performances.

MacMaster and Leahy performed “Cape Breton and Beyond: A Celtic Family Celebration” at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Sunday, Nov. 8.

MacMaster and Leahy, two of the world’s most celebrated fiddlers, brought Celtic music and family fun to an eager crowd at the Quick Center.

The musicians have been performing together since their marriage in 2002 and have remained together since. Their incredible energy and enjoyment while performing on the stage is unmistakable, despite performing as many as 100 shows per year.

The audience, the vast majority of whom were community members, clapped their hands, bobbed their heads, tapped their feet, and even sang along to one of the vocal pieces “Getting Dark Again” by Canadian pop and Celtic music singer Aselin Debison, displaying an undeniable appreciation of the music.

They were not the only ones; MacMaster and Leahy also beamed throughout the show, as much as their bright purple outfits.

The show began with a fast-paced, cheerful ditty, followed by another fast song. This quick paced song then seamlessly transitioned into a more somber, slower paced one.

MacMaster and Leahy were accompanied by a band of talented musicians, most of whom are from Cape Breton. Every so often, different members of the band took center stage with solos that invoked traditional Celtic music.

The band members included Matt MacIsaac on bagpipes, flute and guitar; Mac Morin on piano; Brian Talbot on drums and Shane Hendrickson on bass.

Playing Cape Breton music, the band was pleased to find that three other Cape Bretoners were in the audience at the Quick Center.

The musicians incorporated video clips on a projector into their performance, showing a video of a Cape Breton square dance, and interviews with MacMaster’s and Leahy’s mothers.

Sophomore Nora Jones, who was in attendance, very much enjoyed this aspect of the performance.

“I thought it was just going to be music the whole time,” she said. “But they mixed it up so that was very fun.”

While footage of MacMaster playing fiddle as a young child was playing, a little girl came onstage and began fiddling in tune with the girl on the projector. This young girl, MacMaster’s and Leahy’s nine-year-old daughter Mary Frances, carried on their family’s legacy extremely well.

After this, one by one, two more of MacMaster’s and Leahy’s six children, Michael, 8, and Clare, 6, came out and played fiddle individually and then all together.

It was not until the children began step dancing that the youngest, Julia, 4, came out on stage. All of the children performed fantastically, and were dressed in matching purple ensembles.

As each consecutive child came out on stage, the audience greeted them with cheers of delight and marveled at their talent on stage.

“This, of course, is our retirement plan,” Leahy joked after his children performed.

Along with playing fiddle and dancing, the children also sang.

“I didn’t realize their whole family was going to perform,” said Jones. “That was cool, seeing that their kids are really talented, too.”

Leahy later explained that the children have lately been performing with them more and more.

“They perform with us whenever they are around,” he said, “and they are around a lot … Our eldest is nine, and she’s been performing since she was four. The others have just started.”

Leahy and MacMaster performed exuberantly throughout the whole show as they danced around the stage and played their fiddles simultaneously. Their high energy lent a great amount of enjoyment to the performance.

Additionally, Leahy and MacMaster have typically set aside a weekend each summer to host Leahy Music Camp since its founding in 2006. Last year, they also taught at a fiddle camp in Cape Breton which their children attended.

“We like to give back when we can,” Leahy commented, “especially when the kids can get involved.”

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