Page 35 - A Talk with Marie MacLellan, Pianist
ISSUE : Issue 42
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1
Marie's father. Big Ronald MacLellan, her sister Theresa and their brothelr Donald. The award shown was won by their broth- And they tell me--the violin players--my sister always tells me that you can't play as well for a dance if you play the tune on a piano. I don't know if that's right or not. And she would prefer if you would accompany her. Let her lead and you follow. Because if you played the tune with her, you sort of slow her down, and she doesn't like that, to be slowed down. She likes to get a certain swing on the dance--you know what I mean? She wants to get the thing go? ing her way. And if you're playing the tune, then you're not up to her standards on the tune, and you're holding her back. (Chording....) You can follow in faster. I know the great violin player. Little Jack MacDonald, he wouldn't play at all if the piano was a little bit above him, or a little bit--he wouldn't play with you at all. If it overpowered him a little. He'd just quit. They were so identical. (Little Jack and your father were a lot alike?) They were, in their way. Let's face it. all musicians have a tendency to be a lit? tle bit--even myself now--I'm getting to the point where one time things wouldn't bother me, but the least little thing now bugs me. As you're getting older and you're realizing that the music is sup? posed to be played properly--sometimes you just get a little bit.... I'm lucky I'm not really, really bad at it. But I can see where, you know, there's a lot of mis? takes made in it. You'd like to correct them and you can't. (So you're getting to be a lot more like your dad.) Yes, getting that way now. And if I played violin I'd be that bossy and cross. You know, the pi? ano, you can slide into the back and you're not noticed as much. But if I was out front playing the violin, I don't think there'd be anybody good enough to play with me! Push them all back! (When you were small at home, would the children all have instruments, and would you have evenings when the family all played together in the house?) No, no, we did not. Again, we were, as I say, we weren't very well-to-do. My father had a violin. And he didn't want anyone to use that violin except Joe, my brother. He didn't mind if he used it. But Donald and Theresa, they'd have to sort of steal it, maybe, because he figured that they were throwing it out of focus or proportion or whatever. I don't know, those violin play? ers, sometimes they have a--you know, they like things set up for themselves, and they want it like that. So, we didn't have instruments, we just had the organ and one violin. (And they'd have to steal from your father!) Yes. They used to steal the time, you know, they figured he'd be out or something. But my brother Joe, he'd al? ways let him use his violin. Joe died in 1940. He was only 16. He was a Cape Breton champion musician. He won sev? eral prizes. He won one here in Sydney-- the Capital Theatre in Sydney--over sever? al other players. Took first prize. Then he won another contest over in Katerford. And then he won a contest at Judique High? land Games. And he was only 16 years old. He got a beautiful gold medal. My father taught him. The contest he won in Sydney-- he gave him the three tunes. He chose the tunes for him and he told him how to play them. And he came down, and he went home, and he had the cup. And he was only 16. (Your dad was a very strict man.) Oh, yeah. He was strict in music. And he was very-- he was one of those people, if he went in? to a house and there was a crowd there, and he'd be going to entertain them--the worst thing you could do was ask him to (35)
Cape Breton's Magazine