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All in the family – The Next Generation Leahy play August 4

July 30, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh


Music has been passed down through many generations of Leahys and is now being passed on to The Next Generation, say parents Doug and Jennifer.

Six of their eight children are already performing professionally, touring across North America, including a performance at the new Heritage Music Festival at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex on August 4.

The group is led by Doug in “live performances filled with the high-energy, infectious Celtic-based music associated with the Leahy heritage.”

“It seems like there are always new influences that get brought into the music as it moves along,” say the Leahys.

For example, as well as the traditional fiddle and step dance, the group now includes the French accordion, cello, and more vocals in their performance. But, they say, “It definitely has the roots and traditions that have been passed down.”

There are many Leahy cousins and most of them love music and are sharing it, say Doug and Jennifer.

Shelburne fiddle and step dancing fans are very familiar with Frank and Chanda Leahy and their six performing children in Orangeville. Jennifer and Doug and their children have performed on the stage with Leahy for some special performances locally, and this has included playing with many of their cousins.

In the last two years, The Next Generation Leahy has played with well-known professionals like The Chieftains and Donnell Leahy & Natalie MacMaster. The young family “had a very successful Christmas tour in Ontario this past December,” say Doug and Jennifer.

“This spring we went to Vancouver Island & back and Cape Breton and back. Lots of miles have been put on our van!”

Being a home school family was not something the family chose to do because of music.

“But now that playing music has become such a big part of our lives,” say the parents, “home schooling allows us to travel and still keep up with the kids’ formal education.”

It is the first time The Next Generation Leahy will perform in Shelburne as a group, and with other shows to perform that weekend the children are not competing at the Old Time Canadian Open Fiddle Contest this year.

“We have competed in other years and when we’re around we try to attend the fiddle contests around Ontario,” they say.

It is a great joy for Doug and Jennifer that their children “love music” and “they love performing together as a family.”

The parents say, “It’s not something that we have to push on them; they want to do it.”

“Having played music and travelled for most of my life, I know the adventure music can give them and the many places it can take them in life,” says Doug. “And to know that it won’t end here; the kids will carry it on in their own families as well.”

The Next Generation Leahy will perform at the CDRC Thursday, August 4 at 7p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students. Children 12 and under free. Tickets are available at Holmes Appliances and Music Store, at the door, and on line at



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