Dunsford, Rooney and Banks to perform at Emerald Ceilidhs

Published on August 14, 2014
Dino Dunsford

EMERALD - The Courtney Hogan Ceilidhs have attracted guests from all over North America as well as visitors from Australia and Austria to the little volunteer-operated community centre this summer, and is still in full swing.

Since the age of five, Hogan has been playing music, but it wasn't until the age of 11 that she moved to the fiddle.

After playing for several years with the Queen's County Fiddlers and taking lessons from her good friend Cynthia MacLeod, Hogan started getting invitations to play at different venues throughout the Island. Soon she started hosting her own ceilidhs, and eventually came out with three P.E.I. music award-nominated CD's and her own cookbook.

Fiddling almost every day through the summers while she works her way through veterinary school the rest of the time, the busy redhead loves having the chance to play a little closer to her home in Emerald.

"I'm working through vet rotations during the week and still playing lots of festivals and ceilidhs in the evenings which makes for a pretty full summer." admited Hogan. "But the Emerald venue is amazing and so many friends and neighbours that join us, it just becomes a night of fun music and laughs that I always really look forward to."

Hogan has been bringing some fairly impressive guests along with her each week and this week is no exception as she welcomes crooner Dino Dunsford, guitarist Mark Rooney and step-dancer Brittany Banks.

Dunsford first stepped on stage during a university variety show in 1966, and after much encouragement and enthusiasm from the audience, he decided to pursue what has become a music career. He'll be joined on vocals and guitar by Mark Rooney from the band "Macaroon" who makes his first appearance at the Emerald Ceilidh's.

"I'm really looking forward to playing with Courtney at her show. I fell in love with one of her songs by Michael Pendergast on her CD called "Ballad of Big John McNeil" so I just had to learn it and can't wait to give it a whirl this Friday," said Rooney.

And a ceilidh on Prince Edward Island wouldn't be a real kitchen party without a step-dancer, and this week's guest is one of the Island's finest.

Brittany Banks will be tapping and stomping her way across the stage with her impressive resume as choreographer for "Anne & Gilbert", as well as a performer in "That Dance Show", "The Young Company" and "Glitz". She now studies at the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts in Toronto, but is looking forward to joining the Ceilidh cast during a brief summer break.

The Ceilidh takes place Friday at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m.