Julie Fitzgerald receives special honours 0
Local musician Julie Fitzgerald, recently honoured as ÒHighest Student in the ClassÓ in Bachelor of Applied Music program at Humber College. PHOTO SUBMITTED
Local young woman and former North Hastings High School student, Julie Fitzgerald has won special honours as the "Highest Student in Her Class at Humber College" for the year 2010-2011. She was presented with the award at the college on March 12 this year during a special ceremony.
Presently Julie is in her third year of the Bachelor of Applied Music Program - Contemporary music. Daughter of Pam and Paddy Fitzgerald and sister to siblings Patrick, Kerry and Tom, she comes by her incredible music talent honestly. The entire family is made up of accomplished award winning musicians and step dancers.
Most North Hastings residents will have heard or seen a Fitzgerald playing or dancing at some time, attended one of the "Everything Fitz" concerts, or enjoyed the Irish music and humour of the Merry Micks band made up of more Fitzgeralds from the extended family of musical cousins, aunts and uncles.
In the late 1800's three Fitzgeralds brothers from Cork, Ireland settled in the Monteagle Valley to start a new life in Canada for their families. Six generations later the Fitzgeralds have made quite a life for themselves and their community, many still living in the original valley.
Paddy remembers the days when his brothers and sisters all piled in dad's truck and went off to town for their piano lessons. His dad loved music, and his mom Jean would sit with them to keep them company while practicing for their lessons.
Julie, at 22, is the second oldest child in the family, and has many musical accomplishments already. Being a multi-instrumentalist, she plays violin, cello, mandolin, and piano as well as step dancing.
In addition to being a past Canadian Open Fiddle Champion, she is a two-time Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle champion. She also loves teaching music and has a list of students studying fiddle under her guidance.
Presently she is on tour as lead fiddler with a Canadian show entitled Step Crew. The tour will include Canada, United States and Japan and features live fiddling and dancing.
Paddy says the kids really developed their musical discipline and skill by preparing for and playing at fiddling contests. They got to know most of the provinces best young musicians, made friends, learned many new things, and engaged in healthy competition at the meets.
Pam added that the kids have applied the lessons learned in music to every part of their lives. "They have remained each others best friends," she said.
"Playing and touring with the kids, it's been a blast." Paddy said. "We're so lucky as a family to had had those experiences."
Sitting at the Fitzgerald kitchen table, the sound of a violin being tuned came from one part of the house. From downstairs could be heard someone practicing several difficult bars of music over and over again on another violin.
Pam shook her head, and with a happy look, agreed that the music never stops at their house.
There are several upcoming opportunities later this spring and summer to hear and see Julie and many of the rest of her family and newer musical friends play and dance.
On May 26 there will be a Ceilidh (Irish dance party) at the ANAF barn in Maynooth featuring the Everything Fitz fiddling and dancing band. Part of the same event includes square dancing demonstrations and instruction by a professional caller accompanied by a live band. Any level of skill can participate in the dancing, or just watch and enjoy the fun.
Then on July 21 at the ANAF barn in Maynooth, Julie will be presenting a show along with her brothers and sister, and several other musicians from the Humber music program. This will be a high-energy show with a lot of variety, an event not to be missed.
Musical landscape to be covered that evening will be swing, jazz, Celtic, bluegrass, fiddle and old time music.
Information on tickets for these events can be obtained at Harvest Moon in Bancroft.
It has been just announced that Julie Fitzgerald has won the 2012 Ron Collier Memorial Scholarship recognizing the 2nd or 3rd year music student at the college showing exceptional promise as an arranger or composer.