Ruthanna has been contributing to the musical heritage of Glengarry for over 50 years. She has dedicated an invaluable amount of time to the Celtic music tradition as a solo performer and as an accompanying pianist, organist and accordionist. She has performed at hundreds—if not thousands—of events over the years in many different capacities.
Her musical career began at the early age of four when she started playing harmonica. She had a couple of years of formal piano training with Rev. Dawes, the local minister at that time; however, many reports indicate that the lessons quickly progressed to Ruthanna’s teaching the Reverend different Scottish tunes and inevitable piano duets would ensue.
During her high school years, Ruthanna spent her lunch hour and spare time on stage playing piano with any number of musicians, including Mike Gibbs. Her formative years included piano solos at socials, Scottish concerts, church services, recitals and a variety of other events. She formed a a dance band in the late 60s and early 70s called the “Cousins Five.” This band entertained at countless dances, wedding receptions, socials and concerts. The band was a tremendous training ground for a number of local musicians. She taught musicianship, good dance tempos and the integrity associated with consistently giving 100% effort as a musician and entertainer.
Over the years, Ruthanna has played for many highland dance competitions and Junior Farmer square dance competitions. She possesses the empathy and sensitivity required to be an excellent accompanist. She has also taken many singers under her wing and has chosen music, rehearsed, promoted and of course masterfully accompanied all of them. Some of these singers include Kathy Fraser-Collins, Fiona Fraser, Amanda Hodgson, the late Duncan Phillips as well as many, many more. She also has accompanied most local fiddlers at one time or another and performed in two of the Glengarry concerts presented at the National Arts Centre.
Ruthanna possesses matchless musical ability and continues to diligently and enthusiastically promote the Celtic musical heritage of Scotland and Glengarry. When she was in high school, she gave freely of her time as she entertained her peers; today, she continues to give her time and talent to the community.
Ruthanna has four children, and all are involved in playing Celtic music.