Born in Maxville, in the heart of Glengarry, Carol has always been a proud and vocal supporter of the music and culture. When asked about her ability to play so many instruments, she replied, “Well, it’s no big deal; I come from Glengarry where most everyone does this.”
With her mother, Hilda, a pianist, and her father, Howard, a guitarist, Carol’s fondest memories were the parlor parties where, at four years old, she sat beside her mother at the piano and played the chords. Her mother would play jigs, reels and Scottish airs. It is no wonder that the Celtic music is so special to her.
At MacQueen’s home in Dunvegan, she learned to dance the Highland Schottische, played the old pump organ and learned the Hawaiian guitar. Highland dancing came later at Gramma MacLeod’s in Maxville where, with Jean MacInnes, Connie and Beverly Kippen she was instructed by Mrs Hines.
When Carol’s family moved to Avonmore, Carol was devastated. However, she managed to get back home to keep in touch with the Glengarry music. When she did, she was privileged to play at the Friday night concert at the Glengarry Highland Games with Winnie Chafe, well known Cape Breton fiddler. She also accompanied many Glengarry fiddlers, including Little Jack MacDonald, Cliff Britton, Malcolm Dewar, and Johnny Hughie (Picket) McDonald.
In her teens, Carol took on new instruments; she began playing the fiddle and when she got her driver’s license, she joined the pipe band in Maxville. Although as a young adult Carol played Country and Rock and Roll, she always kept a few Scottish ditties from Glengarry in her repertoire. She played accompaniment on over 50 old time albums and toured North America and Europe with Johnny Mooring with whom she recorded four albums. Her music took her to far and wide. She traveled to Brisbane, Australia where she and Graham Townsend represented Canada at the World’s Expo and with other groups to Africa, South America and the Middle East.
Although Carol does not read music, she is a prolific composer. She has published a book of her waltzes and one of her favourite compositions is “Glengarry’s Home to Me.” She is working on a new CD. Carol has two sons, Jordon and Corey Dawson, both of whom are in the music business.