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The Benevolent Irish Society, continuing a long-standing tradition, is hosting a special winter variety show on Saturday, Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m., in the Katherine Hughes Memorial Hall at the Irish Cultural Centre at 582 North River Rd.
The show will feature some of the performers who are pioneers of the BIS Variety Show, which began more than 40 years ago, including Cef Pobjoy, Buddy Longaphie, Kevin Chaisson, Eddy Quinn and John B. Webster.
The event is hosted by Mary Ellen Callaghan, BIS president.
Pobjoy, who grew up in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, came to live on P.E.I. in 1973, and has been playing music here ever since. A traditional musician who plays various instruments, he is also a singer/songwriter. He is inspired by the music of the Island and feels privileged to have been invited to play at the BIS since the early 1980s.
Longaphie, known for his strong, hard-driving, energetic style of playing, has been a regular performer at the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival and variety shows in eastern Kings County. Among the fiddlers in his family were his grandfather, William, his uncle A.L., and his father, Gus Longaphie. Buddy notes his father often played fiddle at home and that other fiddlers would come by the house for musical evenings. Playing since about the age of eight, he got a few pointers from his father andcontinued learning on his own. Due in large part to the consistent exposure provided by the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival, he developed a deep interest in the Cape Breton fiddling style. He has been performing onstage at the BIS for more than 35 years.
Chaisson, a piano player from Bear River, has deep roots in traditional music on Prince Edward Island. The Chaisson family has been influential in keeping traditional fiddling alive on Prince Edward Island, and Kevin has played a major role in operating the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival each year. Several Chaisson family members represent Prince Edward Island on the international music stage, most notably Kevin’s son, Tim, who is a member of the East Pointers. Kevin, who is also a fiddler, has composed dozens of original fiddle tunes and has been performing onstage at the BIS for more than 35 years.
Quinn, the lead vocalist of Fiddlers’ Sons, also plays guitar, fiddle and bodhran. He has released two solo albums and received four Music P.E.I. Awards. In 2017, Fiddlers’ Sons marked 20 years together with the release of a compilation album of its most requested songs. Quinn has been performing at the BIS for more than 25 years.
Webster, Fiddlers’ Sons lead guitarist and back-up vocalist, grew up on the Station Road in Cardigan. He met Quinn at guitar lessons in Lorne Valley and they went on to form Fiddlers’ Sons. Webster has done quite a lot of writing on the group’s five CDs and has been performing onstage at the BIS for more than 25 years.
There will be a 50/50 draw during the evening. The bar is open, and there will be tea and treats served at intermission. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is at the door. For information, call 902-213-3924.