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Ashley MacIsaac & Friends at GAMS Benefit Concert

To see a smaller summary, and find out how much was raised at this concert and the later concert with Philip Glass, click here.

The Music-Part 1


A myriad of Cape Breton’s favorite musicians came together to fill the Cabot Trail Arena with an audience of over 800 people for a spectacular concert Sunday, July 24th 2011. The purpose of the event was to raise funds for the development of a marine center, an idea born from the enthusiasm of Dr. Gretchen Noyes-Hull and a cause all the musicians believe in.

The four-hour show opened with traditional French Acadian songs by the talented Nicole Leblanc, who was then joined by Cyril MacPhee for a few duets. Cyril soon had the audience singing along to his own compositions until he chose to sing, ”Farewell to Nova Scotia” which surprisingly brought the revered fiddler Ashley MacIsaac on-stage to accompany him. After thunderous applause, they finished the song and Ashley invited 10-yr old Christopher Poirier to join him to step-dance. Christopher awed the audience within seconds and had them on their feet in an ovation when he left the stage.


Other Activities & Attractions


The charming Adam Cook was beguiling throughout as our MC. Amusing the audience through rough patches, Adam’s expertise and humor ensured that momentum never faded and no moment was ever dull. Thank you Adam, not only for the great job you did but also for rearranging your schedule so you could to do it at the last minute.

Adam introduced Gretchen Hull, who stepped to the mic just long enough to welcome everyone and bring attention to the importance of this cause. She was followed by Sarah Penney who explained all else that was being offered and pointed out where everyone could try their luck at raffle tickets as well as an even-split draw.

The kids corner turned out to be great fun for the whole family; Dr. David Garbury and his two students from St. FX shared their knowledge of the touch-tank critters with many curious guests, while volunteers showed their artistic talent at painting children’s faces and amusing the kids with crafts and puppets.


The Music-Part 2


The intermission came to an end when The Colin Grant Band stepped on stage and brought the building back to life. The second the bow hit the strings, their talent and passion became instantly spellbinding. For more than an hour, they gifted us with music that made it impossible to stay off the dance floor. Dancer Christopher Poirier and step-dancers Kassy Sonier, Stacy Bougeois and Louise Larade joined the band for a step-dancing routine that was definitely one of the highlights of the afternoon.

The raffle tickets were then drawn, leaving many audience members feeling lucky …. until Ashley MacIsaac, Chris Babineau and Maybelle-Chisholm-McQueen settled on stage and showed everyone exactly how lucky they were to have decided to attend the concert. An hour later they were joined by Colin Grant and Chrissy Crowley, who is as beautiful as she is talented. All five of them closed with a tune that had the three fiddlers play and dance at the same time. There are no words to describe what a treat this was for everyone.

This afternoon of amazing music, high energy, laughter, and applause was made possible by the many who volunteered to do all the necessary jobs, from admitting, to running the canteen, to selling the raffle tickets and shirts, and many others. GAMS extends their warmest thanks to the volunteers—we couldn’t have done it without you!


Thank you's!


Thank you to Billy Chalk and John Kimberley – our photographers. We will be sharing photos on the GAMS website, as well as the GAMS facebook page, ASAP. A big thank you to those needed at the last minute, and who happily agreed to help in good old-fashion Cheticamp style.

Thank you to the artists among the GAMS gang: Jaron Felix, for creating the beautiful event poster and for applying your expertise to help with the T-shirt design; Diane Bourgeois, for the original concept for the whimsical T-shirt; and Sarah Penney for designing the shirt logo based on Diane's concept.

Thanks to the radio stations who advertised the event on air and online, as well as the Cape Breton Post, the Chronicle Herald, and the Inverness Oran who included our event in the paper. But there’s still nothing quite like word-of-mouth, so a big thank you to all those who told their friends and family. Thank you also to Diane Bourgeois and Janet Lee for their tireless efforts to get the word out about this event over Facebook.

The raffle would not have been possible without the many local businesses who donated vouchers! Thank you to Frenchy’s, La Digue Gift Shop, Aucoin’s Bakery, Hometown Kitchen, Mr. Chicken, Les Trois Pignons Museum, Frog Pond Café, Parkview Motel & Restaurant, Dollar Store, Deveau’s Car Wash, and Charlie’s Music Store! Thank you to our other donors, the Cheticamp Coop and Lori Secouler-Beaudry!

The Gabriel Restaurant was instrumental in making this event happen! Thank you for your accommodation and advice! Our thanks to the Hometown Kitchen and Wabo’s Pizza, Sub & Donair for your cooperation and incredible understanding! And finally, a big thank you to LeBlanc’s General Store, Charlie’s Music Store, and Le Petit Chady for selling tickets for us! This was a huge help, and we cannot thank you enough! Thank you to the arena for their friendliness and generosity in offering to clean up afterwards.

And most of all, thank you to Ashley MacIsaac, Cyril MacPhee, Chris Babineau, Maybelle Chisholm McQueen, the Colin Grant Band, Chrissy Crowley, and Nicole Deveau-LeBlanc! Thank you for your flexibility and understanding, and for generously lending your time and talents to help our organization! We simply cannot express how much this means to each of us and to our organization! THANK YOU!

(Text by Yvette Muise-Editted by GAMS)

To see a smaller summary, and find out how much was raised at this concert and the later concert with Philip Glass, click here.