Anne & Kenneth McKenna

2009 Jun

 Anne & Ken McKennaBoth musically talented, Ken played the pipes and Anne the piano. The McKennas moved to Glengarry County and immediately became involved in the community.

In 1990, they began the Glengarry Gaelic Choir which required many hours of organizing and practicing. The Choir performed for over ten years, appearing at the Glengarry Highland Games and in cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Cornwall. One of these appearances included the Gaelic Mod in Toronto, a leading competition in Gaelic song and poetry and traditional instrumental music. As the Mod was losing ground in Toronto, Anne and Ken were instrumental in moving it to Glengarry, where it evolved into Feis Glengarry, a non-competitive, more inclusive event. The farthest they traveled was to the Tattoo in Fort Ticonderoga. In addition, they continued to play at local gatherings, seniors’ residences and nursing homes.

Not satisfied to teach the adults, the McKennas went into the local elementary schools and formed choirs with the youngsters, who quickly picked up the rhythm and cadence of the music. By this time, Glengarry District High School was celebrating St. Andrew’s Day with great enthusiasm and invited the young people to come and perform in their concert. The children were a big success with the teens and Anne and Ken were rightfully very proud of their students. Without this exposure to the Gaelic, these children would never have heard the tongue of their ancestors.

Although the Glengarry Gaelic Choir disbanded, other groups were formed and continue to carry on the Gaelic taught to them by the McKennas. Anne and Ken’s daughter, Sine is a strong force in the promotion of the ancient tongue and continues to teach the language to students though singing.

Ken was well known to Glengarrians though his weekly column in the Glengarry News. In this column, he kept the Celtic tradition alive.

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