Although she doesn’t remember learning to play the piano, she gave her first performance at five when she played at the Brodie School Christmas Concert. Kathy had no formal musical training until high school; she played by ear. She became interested in chording while playing with Ron Clare and watched and learned from Ruthanna MacPherson. Later in her musical career, she was influenced by Bobby Brown and the legendary Stan Hamilton.
During her early years in Glengarry, Kathy played with different groups at receptions, dances and concerts. She played piano and accordion with “The Cousins Five,” piano, accordion and sax with “Ron Clare and the Glengarrians” and “Sylvester and the Clansmen.” In addition, she performed as a vocal soloist with Ruthanna and sang with “The Cantabile Singers” at charity concerts, nursing homes, church services, etc. She was also a popular accompanist for many local fiddlers including Malcolm Dewar and Wilf Gillis.
Kathy obtained a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill in 1978 and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto in 1979. Unfortunately for Glengarry, her teaching career took her to Toronto where she taught music from 1980 to 1999.
During this time, Kathy promoted Glengarry music at every possible occasion. She was a member of the “Bobby Brown and the Scottish Accent” and performed with them across North America. She recorded with “Bobby Brown and the Scottish Accent,” “The Cape Breton Symphony,” Alisdair Fraser, Graham Townsend and others. In addition, she assisted Bobby Brown with musical arrangements and production of many recordings.
In 2001 Kathy returned home and began teaching music at VCI. She continued to play with the Scottish Accent, taught music privately and joined the Glengarry Pipe Band. Now retired from VCI, Kathy and her husband Fred Collins have started their new dance band, “Torridon Scottish Dance Band;” they will be performing locally and of course further afield as well. In addition, they volunteer at the Maxville Manor, playing for sing-songs etc.