Neil MacDonell has been described by Denis Carr as “a true Glengarry gentleman.” Those words are a perfect fit for Neil in so many ways.
Born and bred in Glengarry, Neil is part of a large family with roots deep in its Celtic tradition. He attended Glengarry District High School and even there he was active in school activities and wore his heritage proudly, donning his kilt on occasion.
He moved to Ottawa after high school, where according to Mary Wattie, “he worked in a myriad of ways with various organizations quietly and with great humour promoting the Celtic music and dance native to Glengarry.” In the mid 1990s, he served as President of the Glengarry Club of Ottawa. He remained a passionate member even after he married and moved to Maxville.
Neil married Madeleine Lauzon and moved back to Glengarry where they became more involved in local activities and began to raise their children – Alex and Genevieve. He was key in the Galarama at St. Raphael’s and because of his natural talent as an MC, was called on more and more to take on that role. When Neil was the MC, one knew that the event would run smoothly and on time.
While Neil is a wonderful MC, organizer and promoter, he is also a very talented musician. He performed as bassist at home and abroad with the Glengarry Strathspey & Reel Society, the Brigadoons and the MacLeod Fiddlers. Whenever he was called on to perform, whether locally or away, he was there, always reliable and on time. In addition, he produced and directed the Brigadoons’ CD Friends Helping Friends for St. Raphael’s Ruins and Building on Tradition for the Angus Gray Hall. These endeavours raised thousands of dollars.
Neil served as President of the Glengarry Highland Games and presently is in charge of the Tattoo and Concert. He has passed on his love of Celtic music to his family and as Rob Taylor says, he is a “model citizen of which Glengarry can be proud.”