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T
hey came. They celebrated. They put on a good
old-fashioned Maritime kitchen party, right in
Mount Allison's own Jennings Hall. Celebrating
the 25th anniversary of their own musical origins
and fame, Cape Breton's world-renowned Barra
MacNeils returned to their university stomping grounds on Re-
union Weekend and staged a show to be remembered by all. They
once again entertained Sackville's Town and Gown crowd, play-
ing until late in the night. A couple of the Barra MacNeils even
entertained alumni at Campbell Hall into the wee hours of the
morning. They also showcased another talented Nova Scotian, as
the concert opened with 16-year-old Sheumais MacLeod of Anti-
gonish, son of Mount Allison alumnus Brian MacLeod ('74).
While Stewart ('87) celebrated his own personal 25th
Mount Allison anniversary reunion, three of the other Barra
MacNeils returned to their
alma mater as well. Six members
of the band are siblings, and four of those are Allisonians who
enrolled in formal music training at Mount Allison over their
careers. The seven-member group also includes one "honorary"
MacNeil, bass player Jamie Gatti of Fall River, NS.
The idea of attending Mount Allison for classical music training
came to the MacNeils through a hometown piano teacher and
pipe organist by the name of James Taylor, who recommended
the small Maritime school to Sheumas, who came to Mount
Allison in 1980 as a pipe organ specialist. He was followed by
Kyle, a violin major, in 1981; Stewart, who came in 1983 to study
piano; and Lucy, the only woman in the group, who arrived in
1987 to specialize in violin. A skilled group of musicians, the
MacNeils play a total of more than 20 instruments between them
-- above and beyond their singing and dancing talents.
While attending Mount Allison they had busy schedules --
performing in the Music department, studying, traveling the
concert circuit on weekends, and many times returning to
Sackville as the centre of entertainment at a spontaneous resi-
dence party or two, much to the pleasure of their classmates.

Residents in Windsor and Harper will remember Lucy, while
those in Trueman and Thornton will recall Sheumas, Stewart,
and Kyle -- and all residents in town will no doubt still be proud
to call them "Sackvillians" as well.