Donaldson MacLeod

From Glengarryceltic

Donaldson MacLeod grew up on a farm west of McCrimmon at the northern edge of Glengarry. This is an area steeped in traditional and the fiddle has always been a major source of entertainment. Although the first instrument Donaldson received lessons on was the piano, the Rev. Dawes of Alexandria later gave him violin lessons and this instrument has continued to sustain his main musical interest.

The neighbouring MacDonald brothers Donald, Duncan, Hughie and Elmer were particularly active in local entertainment. They are usually referred to as the “Dougie” Boys following the Glengarry custom of replacing the surname with the father’s first name. All play the fiddle except Elmer who plays piano, guitar and bass. Their musical prowess was greatly admired by Donaldson and no doubt was a major stimulant to his interest in fiddling.

Donaldson is a civil engineer by profession and has achievements in this field far too numerous to be recounted here. After earning a Ph.D. in California he returned to Eastern Ontario and has held a variety of university and government positions in the Ottawa area. He still considers the family farm at McCrimmon as his home base.

Donaldson has been instrumental in the preservation of local culture and tradition. He has co-authored From Skye to Lochinvar a book on the history and culture of the area. His activities are varied but he always keeps his musical interests to the fore. He is an active member of The Glengarry Old Time Fiddlers Association, The Glengarry Strathspey and Reel Society and The Ottawa Traditional Fiddling and Folk Art Society. Among Donaldson’s favourite tunes are: “Lochaber Gathering,” “Gordon MacQuarrie’s Compliments to Alexander MacDonald,” “John MacNeil’s Reel” and “The Picnic Reel.” His own march, “Sittingdale” is named after the family farm.

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