Page 25 - Johnny Wilmot, Fiddler "Another Side of Cape Breton"
ISSUE : Issue 65
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/1/1
would play until 5 o'clock in the morning, and go home and change and go to work. Well, you can't do that, you know, for X- number of years, without taking a toll on you. My mother used to say to him, "Johnny Wilmot, don't you ever sleep?" Chuckles. 1 remember the first time he came to our home in Glace Bay. My mother went to the door, and I guess he was standing on the step. And she said to him, "Well, I don't know who you are, but you have a fiddle, so come on in!" But he was a tremendous violinist, I must say. Oh, he could play--he was so lively. And he enjoyed his music. And so did eve? rybody else. (So he did have a following at that time.) Oh, yes. Oh, indeed he did. He played in North Sydney; played at the Northern Yacht Club in North Sydney. He played at all the weddings and all the do's around halls and dances. Oh, he had a marvellous time. He had another buddy, an Art Munroe, who died a few years ago in British Columbia. He played guitar with him. He was one of the town's disreputable characters, too! Laughs. But a nice fel? low, really, you know, when you get to know these people. You can't judge people by what they--the appearance, really. Johnny never did. He enjoyed his music. He would play everywhere. It was no prob? lem to go and play for a night for a wed? ding or for anything. He didn't mind it a bit. (How does music come into your life? What kind of home did you grow up in? Of course, your mother's remark there kind of tells me a lot.) Right. Well, see. I was an adopted child. And my mother was from Gillis Point, you know, to the rear of lo? na. And my father was from Grand Narrows; although he was born in Gloucester. Massa? chusetts. His mother came from Grand Nar? rows . And when he was young he came to Grand Narrows and would not go back to the States. So he stayed in Cape Breton and eventually landed at the coal mines. And he learned to play a few tunes reasonably well. I don't think you could say he was a musical man by any means, because he was a mathematician, really. r, $ My mother was a very plain Scottish lady, wore her hair all up back--had a great big bun on the back. My fa? ther was a very stern man. The only time he let down his hair--if he had a few drinks in him, he was in a jolly mood then, he was happy as a lark. Oth? erwise, he was very stern. He just came home from work, sat and read a book--that was it. Didn't do anything else. Once in awhile he'd pick up the fiddle and he had a few tunes that he learned from an old fiddler that lived up in what they call Cooper's Pond, between Christmas Island and Grand Narrows. MacKinnons lived there. There was a Ned MacKinnon, who was an ex? cellent violinist, I guess, and then there was his brother Rod. not quite so good. But he taught my father how to play these tunes. You know, that you could listen to. Pianist Mildred Leadbeater at 20 Beautiful Campus Alumni Gardens Alumni Theatre Historic Displays in Library Open House Program (last Saturday in July) I Nova Scotia Agricultural BOX 550, TRURO, N.S. B2H 5E8 TEL. (902) 893-NSAC • '.-..WkW>Oi' j'iixilngrahams United Fabrics, wallpaper, paint, custom draperies, blinds, PFAFF _ ''''''''''' _' ;t Anchor' FISKARS" ZWAV/ICKY SEWING MACHINES Perfect for ttie person who loves to sew ATTENTION QUILTERS: Ever Expanding Variety of US Cotton Quilting Fabrics Available 213 Commercial Street NORTH SYDNEY, NS B2A IBS (902) 794-4536 Burner Service Contracts Available Automatic Delivery Budget Plan Available Lube ~ Oil - Greases 562-3163 503 PRINCE ST. - SYDNEY, N. S. CO-OP FUELS Stove and Furnace Oil Furnace Maintenance Contracts Available
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