Nov. 27, 2019 – Award of Excellence presented to Cindy McCall
Lanark County Media Release
Nov. 27, 2019
Warden presents 2019 Awards of Excellence
Lanark County Council honoured three people for their outstanding contributions to the community at the regular council meeting Wednesday evening as part of the 2019 Awards of Excellence.
The Awards of Excellence recognize and honour citizens or organizations that have made a significant and/or extraordinary contribution to Lanark County. This year council recognized Shelley and Brent McLaren of Perth, Director and Manager (respectively) of Men and Women of the Tay Choruses, in the categories of Volunteerism, Community Service, Arts, Culture and Heritage; and Cindy McCall of Lanark Highlands in the categories of Arts, Culture and Community Service, for her work with Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra located in Tay Valley Township.
“These awards were established in 2005 and give Lanark County Council a chance to recognize and thank local residents who have gone above and beyond to enhance life in our community,” said Warden Richard Kidd (Beckwith Reeve). “These volunteers have touched many lives with their contributions and serve as role models for others.”
The program began as a way to recognize recipients for contributions to the county at large or in at least two municipalities. It was developed to say thank you to citizens of Lanark County, to provide community recognition and visibility, to support citizens for their contributions and to inspire further community service.
Cindy McCall of Lanark Highlands was nominated by Noelle Reeve for her work with Blue Skies Fiddle Orchestra, which operates out of the Maberly Hall in Tay Valley Township and was created 20 years ago by the Blue Skies in the Community organization.
The orchestra provides free violin, fiddle and viola lessons to anyone in Lanark County and is made up of a number of orchestras: Beginners Fiddle for those with no experience; preparatory that prepares newer players for the regular orchestra; and the regular orchestra. There is also an instrument-lending library for low-cost rentals, which facilitates decisions on whether to commit to learning an instrument.
“It provides a very welcoming introduction to music that as been a part of Lanark County’s history since European settlement,” Ms. Reeve said.
She also highlighted the quality of teaching instruction. “Cindy McCall makes everyone feel welcome in the Beginners Orchestra and really encourages you by sharing her love of the music.” She commended the generosity of the volunteer-run organization in keeping musical heritage alive and allowing people to learn an instrument, and for providing a social benefit. “Being in the orchestra builds community across Lanark County as people come from all over the county to participate.”
There are more than 50 members in the orchestra currently, ranging in age from 8 to 80-plus. It began in 1999 with Carolyn Stewart as the conductor, who mentored Ms. McCall to take over in 2010.
A letter of support from Rebecca Worden, registered psychotherapist within the scope of music therapy, noted the benefits of music for people’s mental and emotional health. “We are fortunate to have the Fiddle Orchestra in our community to experience the rich melodies and unique texture of fiddle music as an audience or orchestra member.”
Susan Freeman highlighted the orchestra’s role in the fiddle music traditions in the community through instruction and community support in concerts and fundraising. “They give our county a pro-social creative endeavour that enriches all areas of our individual and community life. The multi-generational aspect of the orchestra allows for unique friendships to develop based on a common love of music and community.”