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Summerside arts festival bios

A wyatt heritage properties inc. program

The Four Gallants

Performing on downtown Water Street the three days of Arts in Motion

The Four Gallants are part of the original "Gallant Family" band (a family of 7) from Summerside. The quartet consists of daughters Alexandra (saxophone, keyboards, guitar, vocals), Courtney (bass, keyboards and vocals), son Maxwell (drums, percussion) and their father, Peter, on guitars and vocals. Peter is recently retired from a thirty-three year career as music director at Summerside Intermediate School and now operates a small audio company called Solo Audio Projects. Alexandra is music director and teacher at Parkside Elementary School in Summerside. Courtney is the band director and teacher at Miscouche Consolidated School. Maxwell just completed year two of his music degree at Acadia University in Wolfville.

The band will feature high-energy jazz-rock, blues, and classics in their sets on the street.

Monday, July 23

Chautauqua Presenters & Performers

Peter Gallant and Alexandra Arsenault

Meet the Saxophone

Yes, father and daughter are members of the Four Gallants. Alexandra Arsenault is currently in her 10th year as the music director at Parkside Elementary School in Summerside. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from UPEI and a Masters Degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from UNB. Her major instrument is alto saxophone but she is also at home on piano and guitar. She operates a private piano studio in Summerside, and enjoys performing in various ensembles and events throughout the year.

Peter Gallant retired as music director of Summerside Intermediate School in 2016 after a 33 year career. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from U. of T., a Bachelor of Education Degree from UPEI and a Masters of Information Technology in Education from Memorial University. Currently, as an audio engineer with his company Solo Audio Projects, he works as house technician for the Indian River Festival, PEI Festival of Small Halls, Points East Audio-Visual, among others, and is music director and guitarist for the new summer show at the Celtic Performing Arts Centre, "Great Scot!"

Rev. Dr. Karen MacLeod-Wilkie

Spirituality in Motion

The Rev. Dr. Karen MacLeod-Wilkie has been in motion from the time she was infant, dancing on her dad’s lap. She has studied various forms of dance such as Highland, Ballroom, Swing, and dance for worship. Karen has been on Peace Pilgrimages and has walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Long distance running has become a fun release in the past 6 years. Often, it is as Karen is in motion outside that she is able to go most deeply inside to listen to the spirit. It is when Karen is moving that she feels her

spirit most alive and the joy of life most accessible to her. Come share with Karen in reflecting on her journey with a Spirituality in Motion.

Rev. Dr. Karen MacLeod-Wilkie is a United Church minister who has been serving in the South Shore Pastoral Charge since 2007. Karen’s first degree was in Occupational Therapy and her most recent was a Doctor of Ministry with a focus on: “A Narrative Approach for Healing Stories of Crisis”. Karen has taught Highland Dance, is an Instructor within the Healing Pathways Program, and loves to lead Running Clinics with the Running Room. Currently, Karen is taking some Sabbatical time to complete writing her first novel series.

Dale Sorensen

Meet the Trombone

Praised for his “sensitive and passionate” playing (The Guardian), PEI trombonist Dale Sorensen is a versatile musician with extensive experience in classical, popular, and musical theatre genres. A frequent soloist, Dale is passionate about commissioning new music, and has recorded an all-Canadian CD of music for trombone. As an orchestral musician, he performs regularly with Symphony Nova Scotia, the Charlottetown Festival Orchestra, and the PEI Symphony, and has held orchestral positions and/or freelanced throughout Eastern Canada.

Also a dedicated educator, Dale teaches privately (,serves as an adjudicator and clinician at various music festivals, and has taught at four Atlantic Canadian universities (UPEI, Dalhousie, MUN, and Mount Allison), and the University of Toronto. For more information, visit

Rick Sparkes + The Enablers

Outdoor Evening Concert

Since releasing his debut EP “Dirty, Little Love Songs” in May 2017, award winning Summerside writer and musician Rick Sparkes, along with his band, The Enablers, have been performing at select venues across the Maritimes in support of the release, including the headlining slot at the Rogers Hometown Hockey event in Charlottetown last October.

Most recently, Rick was nominated for two 2018 Music PEI Awards. In 2016, Rick was awarded the Milton Acorn Poetry prize at the Island Literary Awards and in 2017 he was an

award-winner in the Creative Non-Fiction category. He has published a wide variety of poetry, essays, and articles throughout Canada and is set to release his first full-length album, “The Trouble with the Light” this August. Originally from Rothesay, New Brunswick, Rick moved to PEI in 2003 where he has since worked as a teacher, a writer, and a musician.


Outdoor Evening Concert

 Visualize this:  It’s Sunday afternoon in 1972. Young Nudie and his 7 siblings are piled into their father’s ’69 Buick Wildcat on the way to their uncle’s country home in Southwestern Ontario. They’ll be riding horses on western saddles, checking out the newest trophies from pistol shooting competitions, and watching “Hee Haw” on one of two colour TVs. But what Nudie is most looking forward to is listening to Uncle Jack play his late 40s script logo Gibson J45 guitar.

“Seeing Buck Owens & Don Rich,and hearing my uncle pick and singis where the seeds of my love of all things heartbreak & twang started.”It is only fitting that Uncle Jack’s photo should grace the cover of the Nudie & The Turks album, Looking For A Good Time, released in 2008. The record was the result of a band Nudie formed in his latest residence of Charlottetown, PEI, after soaking up musical experiences in Toronto, Montreal, Phoenix, Austin and New York City. His love of singing and playing superseded any desire to chase a recording career, but with the encouragement of a growing fan base that gravitated toward Nudie’s authentic song writing, he decided to go solo and self-released Remember This in 2014. He promoted the album with a string of high profile shows, including supporting Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, and wrapping up 2015 with an official showcase at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville.


Nudie’s latest offering, Everything’s Different In The Night (April 2016), was recorded in Peterborough, ON with co-producer James McKenty (Blue Rodeo, Cuff The Duke). It’s a collection of songs about relationships, and stories from the road, including “Mr. Why’d You Come To Texas,” a duet with Sylvie Smith (Evening Hymns) about not knowing how to two-step, and “Train You Took My Baby,” inspired by a trip across Canada.  Other musical friends on the album include Ryan Weber (The Weber Brothers) playing mariachi-style trumpet on “I’ve Been Here Before”, and pedal steel player Chris Altmann (Tim Hicks, Michelle McAdorey). “Any friend that I have, I’ve met through music,” says Nudie. “I’ve tried doing other things, unsuccessfully, and it always leads me back to making music. And I’m glad.” Nudie continues to captivate audiences with his upbeat and charismatic performances.

tuesday, July 24th

Chautauqua Presenters & Performers

Doctor Stacey MacKinnon

Getting Back to Basics: Reigniting Curiosity in Children and Adults

Perhaps the term that best describes Dr. Stacey MacKinnon both personally and professionally is “Life-Long & Life-Wide Learner.” She holds a BSc., MSc. & PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Calgary and is currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Psychology department at UPEI. She is a Graduate Faculty member in Education and for the past three years has been the re-designer and coordinator of First Year Experience Inquiry Studies. She has had a monthly CBC Radio column for the past decade and is an active researcher in the areas of curiosity, inquiry, risk and trust. At home she learns much about these issues from her husband, nine-year-old daughter and twenty-one year old step-daughter. When asked she says, “My goal in my research, teaching, service

work and personal life is to engage my curiosity and inquiry skills to explore the world around me and to encourage others to join me!”

Mark Haines

Meet the Guitar

Mark Haines musical career spans forty years and counting! Over that time he has performed in bands, in stage productions, and as a solo artist. He has played concerts, festivals, conventions, pubs and churches all across Canada and the United States. His touring has taken him to Britain, Sweden and as far afield as Taiwan. Mark is a multi-instrumentalist and enjoys a roots approach to all his

music. He is a consummate musician, a gifted entertainer and a successful educator. His repertoire, sense of humour and personable style make him popular wherever heplays. He has commercially released six recordings and has appeared as a guest on many others. For over thirty years he has performed with Toronto-based friend and colleague Tom Leighton – see Since 2013 he has teamed up with Patrick Ledwell for The Island Summer Review and together performed consistently sold out shows at Harmony House Theatre in Hunter River, PE. For more information visit

Scott O’Neil

Seeing Beauty in Everyday Life

Born in 1969, Scott O'Neil grew up in Essex, Ontario. He has always had a passion for art and creating and at a young age began to develop his skills in oil painting. He pursued private lessons starting in 1984. He further developed his skills through the arts program at the University of Windsor and through attending many workshops from Ontario to Newfoundland.  Scott began exhibiting his works in 1985 and has participated in hundreds of shows since. In 1992 he opened a home-based gallery in Ontario to sell artworks and provide lessons. 

Scott has received many awards over the years, most recently PEI Art Battle Canada and Montague Plein Aire Festival's People Choice Award. Since moving with his family to Prince Edward Island in 2013, he has become involved in many Island charities, is a member in

Oliver  Childs Photography

several organizations, and is presently serving on three boards. Scott and his wife, Holly, operate the O’Neil gallery, gift shop, and restaurant in Malpeque.

The Jonny Ray Show

Outdoor Evening Concert

Acadian artists Jonathan Arsenault, Helene Bergeron, and Louise Arsenault present The Jonny Ray Show. Jonathan Arsenault is a jester of modern times. Known for always clowning around, people wonder how his music can be taken seriously. Then they hear him play. He is described as “your favorite house party jammer who will make you laugh, and then

make you cry with envy.” He started off playing the violin like his mom, Louise, but ended up settling on acoustic guitar along with whatever other instrument is at his disposal.

Louise Arsenault has had a long impressive career in music, playing the fiddle in traditional/folk settings all over the world. Her part in the group Barachois is a highlight to her long list of projects, taking her to all 4 corners of the planet with her vibrant and energetic fiddle playing and feet stomping. If you carefully witness her fiddle playing in action, you may see the smoke rising from her bow.

Helene Bergeron, is considered by her peers to be one of Canada’s finest step dancers. Her performance career as a dancer, children’s entertainer, and musician has seen her tour Canada, the U.S, Europe, and Japan. Helen was a member of the group Barachois, Les girls and Gadelle, the latter still performing today.

The Ellis Family Band (EFB)

Outdoor Evening Concert
 The Ellis Family from Summerside, PEI, grew up surrounded by music. As kids, the four brothers were exposed to all kinds of music. Traditional “Island” fiddle music was introduced to them by band founder and father Russell Ellis, a well-known fiddle player. That style of music, mixed with popular music from the 1970's, helped mold a unique musical sound that can still be heard today in EFB’s live performances. The Ellis Family Band was established in the mid-1970's when the two older brothers, Brian and Rick, were teens.

Russell (dad) saw great potential in base player Greg MacDonald’s musical talents early on in the band’s development and Greg has been an EFB member and “fifth brother” ever since. Steve and Dave Ellis joined EFB in the early 80's and the band quickly began to make national waves. They released their first Nashville-recorded original song Easy To Love, written by Rick and mom Ethel and the song made the national music charts. This immediate success offered EFB the opportunity to make music their profession and for the next few years they toured across Canada.

In a five year span during the mid to late 1980's things moved quickly for EFB. They were CCMA (Canadian Country Music Awards) nominees five years running for Canadian Group of the Year. They also garnered a Juno nomination as Country Group of the Year. EFB released over 15 singles off of their three Nashville recorded albums and each single made the top 50 national charts. In 1988 they achieved a career highlight by charting a #1 song, Thank You For Being My Friend, penned by bassist Greg MacDonald. This success resulted in EFB being offered an international recording contract with CBS Records, Nashville. Deep family roots and the necessity to move away from PEI caused the band to reevaluate their musical goals. The band members unanimously agreed to decline the record deal and return to their roots on PEI. During the 1990's The Ellis Family Band performed locally on PEI. Many years of performing began to take its toll on the band and in 1999 they retired.

After a six year break, it became evident that EFB still had music in their veins and with little persuasion they re-established with some new goals and fresh ideas. Since 2005 EFB have played sold out concerts and dances across Prince Edward Island. This “second career” provided the band with opportunities to share the stage with such music legends as Reba MacIntyre, The Beach Boys, Paul Brandt, Dirks Bentley, Trooper, April Wine and many more. The band performs a select few dates per year for special events. Their five part “blood” harmonies and years of professional touring is evident in every song.  

wednesday, July 25th

Chautauqua Presenters & Performers

Doctor Doug Sobey

The Natural World of L. M. Montgomery  

Doug Sobey is a native Islander who attended elementary and high school in Summerside and then went on to Mount Allison University where he studied for a B.Sc. in biology.  He took a Masters and a Ph.D. in ecology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and for thirty years taught ecology at the University of Ulster and at other institutions in Northern Ireland.  He has returned to live on the Island for six months of each year, spending the winter in Belfast, Northern Ireland. As a Research Associate of the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island since 1992, he has been studying the present forests of the Island as well as all aspects

of their past history (including the attitudes expressed by Island residents and visitors to the forests). His research has been published in Canadian journals, The Island Magazine, and in P.E.I. government publications.  He is the co-author of a book on Captain Samuel Holland published in 2015:  Samuel Holland – His Work and Legacy on Prince Edward Island.

Claire Gallant

Classic Rock on Piano

Claire Gallant describes herself as a “woman of a certain age” that still loves classic rock. Her musical career started when she was two years old, plonking away on the family piano. Seeing that she had musical potential, her parents enrolled her in eight years of lessons with the Sisters at St Mary’s Convent in Summerside. Classical music gave her discipline and an excellent background...playing rock music gives her 

joy reliving days of her youth. Clair makes her own arrangements for the pieces she plays. She has carved out a niche in the local music scene not only as a woman, but a Baby Boomer too!

Reverend Heather MacDougall

What Does God Look Like?

Born and raised in PEI, Heather had the privilege of living in various Canadian provinces before returning to the Island in 2014. She has been in ministry with The United Church of Canada for over thirty years, and is currently with the people of Freetown, North Bedeque and Lot 16.   Nurtured by the red sands of the south shore of PEI, she

currently divides her time between Argyle Shore and Kensington. Heather says, “I have always been interested in exploring the questions of faith, more than the answers! I love that our spirituality and our faith expands, deepens and changes throughout our lives. This is my first time to be involved in the Summerside Arts Festival and in this talk/conversation we will explore biblical and current images of God.” 

Dave Gossage and Kate Bevan-Baker

Outdoor Evening Concert

Newfoundland-born Kate Bevan-Baker is a recognized fiddler, classical violinist, and singer who grew up in Prince Edward Island. She holds violin performance degrees from Memorial and McGill Universities, and recently completed her PhD specializing in Irish Music on PEI from Concordia University where she was a SSHRC doctoral scholar. Kate’s performance career has taken 

her to Russia, across Canada twice with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, to China for the 2010 World Expo, the 2010 JUNO Awards performing with Michael Bublé, as well as playing with orchestras such as the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, PEI Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil. She has performed with prominent classical musicians across Canada at Festival of the Sound and Sound Symposium, and with ensembles such as La Nef and Ensemble Telemann. Kate is a founding member of the Newfoundland-based ECMA-nominated traditional band, The Dardanelles, and currently plays fiddle and sings with the Montreal-based Celtic trio, Solstice. She has been featured on many nation-wide radio and television broadcasts, and can be heard on over thirty CDs, videogame, and movie soundtracks. Kate is a founding member of the all-female quartet, Birds On A Wire, made up of classically trained players sharing an interest in other musical styles such as celtic, bluegrass, rock and jazz, and dedicated to stretching the boundaries of typical string quartet playing. Kate currently lives in Montreal where she balances an active performance schedule and teaches privately.

Dave Gossage is one of Montreal’s most respected and experienced musicians. Cited by Gazette music critic Mark Lepage as “Montreal’s secret weapon,” multi-instrumentalist Gossage switches from flute to guitar, whistles and harmonicas with ease and in virtually all styles of music. He attended the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and later received his degree from Concordia University in Montreal, specializing in jazz theory and composition. Over the years, Dave has played in all styles of music including African, classical, rock and funk, but he is best known for his jazz and Celtic playing. He has headed his own groups in both of these styles and is a pioneer of the acid jazz scene in Montreal. Considered one of Montreal’s best flute players, his list of sessions is impressive and includes work with Susie Arioli, Shalabi Effect, Michel Rivard, Nathalie Simard, Kevin Parent, Paul Piche, Cirque du Soleil, and Brendan Nolan. As a composer and arranger, Dave has worked in theater, film and poetry. He has worked extensively as an arranger at the National Film Board and his most recent arrangements for the animated short, When the Day Breaks, won a Gemini, the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for an Oscar. In Celtic music, Gossage produced the Juno-nominated “Night Visions” album by Orealis. With Orealis, he has toured extensively performing shows from Halifax to Vancouver and much of the northern United States. Dave has given both flute and whistle workshops across Canada and currently tours with his new band, Dave Gossage and the Celtic Mindwarp, Bùmarang, as well as the Juno-award winning Paperboys.


Outdoor Evening Concert

The band Patina composed of Kevin MacPherson, Marc Robichaud, Bob Picard and Bob (Pizza) Maclean, like to keep their bio short. They let their name make their statement. Patina means a gloss or sheen produced by age and time. The band performs a wide variety of easy listening music from artists such as, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Eagles, Barenaked Ladies, to local song writing legend Gene MacLellan, and a few originals by band member, Kevin MacPherson.

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