Page 26 - Johnny Wilmot, Fiddler "Another Side of Cape Breton"
ISSUE : Issue 65
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/1/1
(And yet your house was a house where mu? sic was welcome.) Oh yes. If you had a fiddle, violin, it didn't make any differ? ence if they knew you or not--"Come in...." Oh, there were all kinds of fid? dlers years ago. All gone to glory.... And my mother, she loved Scottish music-- well, coming from lona district, you would. And she sang--off-key--Gaelic songs from morning till night, off-key. Used to drive me crazy. So when I was 9. she bought a piano for me for my birthday. I came home from school, the piano was there. And I didn't like it at all. And I just told them so. And I never changed much, I guess! Chuckles. (You hadn't asked for a piano.) No, didn't ask for it and I didn't like it. So when I came home she said. "This piano is for you." And I looked at it and I said. "Well, that's nice, but I don't like it and I don't want it." So she didn't say anything more to me. she left me alone. And then one day some months afterwards she asked if I would like piano lessons. So. oh well, to please her. I said yes, I would take the piano lessons. WE CAN HELP YOU REALIZE YOUR DREAM OF HOMEOWNERSHIP! FOR A MORTGAGE TO BUY, BUILD OR RENOVATE, SEE THE LOCAL EXPERTS League Savings & Mortgage 235 Charlotte St., Sydney, N.S.B1P6H7 Phone:539-8222 /). / (The piano lessons were lessons in Scot? tish music?) No, no. In classical. But, my mother bought a book of Scottish songs. And of course. I liked those much better than I liked the classical music. So my? self and the nuns had quite a few spats about that. I would go to lesson unpre? pared but I could play the Scottish songs! (You weren't actually taking lessons in Scottish tunes.) No. No, no. But at that time--I think I was 10 when John Angus MacNeil came into our life. Now John Angus MacNeil was Kenzie MacNeil's father. And he was going to college in An? tigonish, and had a summer job in the mines in Glace Bay, working in an office. And he was an excellent violinist. And he taught me to chord. He would play in the evenings, sit and play, and I would chord. And he was the one that started me on that. So. we had quite a time. Yeah. I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed him. He was quite a man, that--no wonder Kenzie is so talented, because his father was. So, between all of those people. And then, you know, country people coming, playing the violin. (Coming to your home.) In Glace Bay. On Beacon Street. Every night in the week, yeah. (Every night in the week?) Every night in the week, there was a violin player there. If they could play a tune--and if they came to Glace Bay, they always came and stayed at our house. So we had all kinds of music. Never a shortage at all. Once Johnny Wilmot came, well, he was the star. Laughs. Oh. my mother liked Johnny Wilmot. She thought he was just the great? est thing since sliced bread. (And at 16, what did you think of him?) No, I was never interested. People often said to me, "How come you play the piano and you never married a violin player?" I said, "For the simple reason, you wouldn't have any family life." You know, they're out playing all the time. They'd want to go here--if I played the piano, I'd be go? ing too. So there would be no home life, really. At least I thought so. But anyway, the man I did marry eventually KEDDY'S Sydney Hotel 600 KING'S RD., SYDNEY, N.S. (902) 539-1140 • Toll Free: 1-800-561-7666 214 ROOMS Air Conditioned • Colour Cable TV Indoor Recreation Facility • ? Pool ? Sauna ? Whirlpool Bath Entertainment & Dancing at lUORV'S LOUNGE KEDDY'S FAMILY RESTAURANT 7 A.M. to 9 P.M. Licensed Dining • Daily Features
Cape Breton's Magazine