Feature Story 1 2 All-alumni line-up comes together to put on a memorable performance at Reunion 2015 BY MELISSA LOMBARD Over the past three years, Reunion Weekend has kicked off on Friday night with concerts featuring such bands as the Barra MacNeils and the eight-piece, high-energy R&B group, The Mellotones. This year, the annual concert hit a high note, celebrating the University’s 175th anniversary with a kitchen party to remember. The night featured an allalumni line-up of Juno Award-winning singer songwriter David Myles; ECMA album of the year indie rockers In-Flight Safety; and award-winning long-time East Coast favourites the Barra MacNeils. “It was a magical return for us,” says In-Flight Safety lead vocalist John Mullane (’00). “There were really good vibes at the show and also having a chance to join the other bands at the President’s home was really welcoming.” The crowd at Jennings Dining Hall peaked at more than 850 people, including alumni, graduates and their families, and members of the Sackville and surrounding communities. Mount Allison’s web communications officer and organizer of the concert, Nadine LeBlanc, says she couldn’t be more pleased with how the night turned out. “The three different acts really attracted a lot of attention from all age groups,” she says. “We were sold out and the dance floor was full the entire night. It was a great concert and a fitting kick off to one of our most well-attended Reunions.” For Glen Nicholson (’03), In-Flight Safety’s drummer, the return to Mount Allison was made just a little more memorable because it was also his parents, Ron (’70) and Elaine (’71) Nicholson’s 45th Reunion. “The night was amazing and flattering to be a part of,” says Nicholson. “We come back to Mount A and realize our efforts have been noticed by the community that helped us get our start.” The Barra MacNeils were just starting out 25 years ago when they played at Mount Allison’s 150th anniversary celebration in Toronto. It was a special moment for the band to also mark the 175th. “Coming back to Mount Allison to celebrate 175 years was certainly filled with nostalgia,” says Stewart (’87). “Including returning to Trueman House as the Student Centre, seeing the new arts centre named after Purdy Crawford, missing the presence of the late Art Drysdale (’84), and playing at Jennings to a sold-out crowd.” Five members of the band are siblings and four of those members are Allisonians who studied Music at Mount Allison —Sheumas (’88), Kyle (’85), Stewart, and Lucy (’91). The band also includes the family’s youngest brother Boyd and adopted brother on bass, Jamie Gatti. For David Myles (’03), seeing everyone dancing and rocking from so many different generations was a ‘thrill.’ And performing with In-Flight Safety was a reunion of sorts to the early days of his career at Mount A. “In-Flight Safety and I started playing shows in Sackville at exactly the same time,” says Myles. “It’s been cool to see how things have developed for both of us since those early days playing in the Pub, Ducky’s, or George’s Roadhouse. Plus, the Barra MacNeils are one of my favourite bands. They are totally world class.” On a night that was filled with bright lights, even brighter stars, and lots of dancing, Mount Allison celebrated its 175th anniversary in very fitting way. “It is a great school to be creating,” says Mullane. “There is something about the small town and its openness to art — it is a refuge for artists. It is inspiring and the importance the school and the community puts in the Arts is a big driver why we exist as a band.” 1. The Barra MacNeils take the stage at the 175th Kitchen Party 2. Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter David Myles (’03) Right hand page: Juno Award-nominated indie rockers In-Flight Safety 12 / THE RECORD / Summer 2015