News and Events

Storytelling and Music - Blind MacNair - October 17th

Tags: Nova Scotia

Blind MacNair, a story of old Nova Scotia by Thomas Raddall, will be presented by Claire Miller, storyteller, with Clary Croft, singer, and Kate Dunlay, fiddler, on Saturday October 17, 7:30pm, at the Universalist Unitarian Church, 5500 Inglis Street, Halifax.  Tickets are $20 at the door, and a reception will follow the performance.  Seats can be reserved in advance by calling902-425-8928 or by email

The Performers:

Claire Miller has been telling stories professionally since 1991.   For many years she travelled the Maritimes, telling to children in schools and libraries.  Now she tells stories primarily to adult audiences in venues ranging from large concert stages, to churches and museums, to intimate living rooms.  She often collaborates with jazz and folk musicians, as well as choral groups, to combine the sung and spoken word.  In January 2015 Saint Mary’s University presented Claire with an honorary Doctor of Letters for her work as a Maritime pioneer in the art of oral storytelling.


Clary Croft is a folklore researcher, recording artist and writer. Listed in theEncyclopaedia of Music in Canada for his contribution to Maritime folklore studies and his ongoing research into the traditional music of the Maritime provinces, he is best known for his continuing work with the collection of his late mentor, Dr. Helen Creighton. Because of this work he has been called, "the acknowledged master of one of the richest repertoires in Canada." [Halifax Mail Star] Participating in Claire’s production of Blind MacNair means a great deal to Clary as he was honoured to have been asked to sing at the funeral of his friend, Thomas Raddall.


Kate Dunlay has been involved in traditional music and dance for most of her life. Taking advantage of the rich cultural offerings of the Boston area where she grew up, she studied Irish and Scottish music and dance, danced and fiddled with the international folk dance troupe Mandala, and participated in New England’s contra dance scene. Kate is often associated with Cape Breton fiddling, having co-authored Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton, the DunGreen Collection, with her husband David Greenberg. At home in Halifax, she enjoys fiddling for contra dancing with JK and the Pixie Dusters. She also regularly collaborates with singer Rosalee Peppard, a fellow member of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society.  Kate graduated from Indiana University with an M.A. degree in Folklore and Ethnomusicology. She regularly offers courses on Celtic/Irish music and the music of Atlantic Canada at Saint Mary’s University and Cape Breton University.


The Story:


Blind MacNair by Thomas Raddall was first published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1940.  It is about ballads and chanteys, singers and a singing contest, and takes place in a small NS village in the 1870s, a time when the fishery, ship-building and logging were a way of life.

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