The MacQueen Family

2016 Jul

The-MacQueen-Family-OrchestraThe MacQueens from Skye were a very musical family who contributed to the music of Glengarry for over 50 years both as musicians and promoters. Their house – a fun place- was known far and wide for its music and hospitality first with Johnny and Katie MacQueen and then their son Beverly and his wife Evelyn. Their impact has been major and has influenced the music of many other groups, The Skye Orchestra, The Glengarry Old Time Fiddlers, The MacDonald Brothers Orchestra and the Glen Orchestra to name but a few. They performed not only in Glengarry but all of eastern Ontario and the Lachute area of western Quebec. They volunteered  for many benefits, soldiers leaving for overseas, church socials and funerals.

Although they often played together at home, they seldom played out as a family; rather, each made his own contribution to Glengarry music.

Johnny was the oldest son of Kenneth and Mary Belle MacQueen and he was married to the former Catherine (Katie) Marion Stewart from Stewart’s Glen.  They and their four boys, Angus, Billie, Murray and Beverly, played for many events in the surrounding area for a good many years.  Johnny was a well known fiddler and one of his tunes was called Dumont’s tune which he learned from the previous owner of the farm.  However, it is more commonly known as Johnny MacQueen’s tune and was transcribed by Malcolm Dewar from a tape of Johnny MacQueen recorded in 1957.

MacQueen-FamilyKatie MacQueen was also a pianist and organist and often was the accompanist at local parties.  She was a love of Scottish heritage, particularly the violin and bagpipes.  Johnny and Katie often played with Mrs. Neil B. (Jessie) MacLeod and they were also dancers of note and performed the Gavotte, an intricate dance and the Military Schottische and the Rye Waltz.

Johnny died in 1962 and Katie passed away on April 26, 1986; the remaining sons, Billy, Beverly, Angus and Murray carried on the family tradition. There are few other families who have contributed as much to Glengarry culture as have the MacQueens.

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