To say toes will be tapping during Saturday’s Everything Fitz concert at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre seems an understatement of grand proportions.
The theatre at Oak Bay High welcomes the Fitzgerald family of fiddlers and stepdancers for the tradition-celebrating show – high-energy fiddling and percussive step dancing from three of Canada’s finest musicians, in an eclectic program blending traditional jigs and reels, bluegrass and jazz standards.
“We’ve always tried to make our shows as it would be if you were in our house,” says Tom Fitzgerald, the youngest member of the three-sibling ensemble at 23, but already a seasoned performer.
“It’s very happy and positive music. …We try to put out a lot of energy and get as much back from the audience as we can.”
Fitzgerald is joined on stage by his two sisters, Kerry and Julie. Together they are three-time Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Champions and Ontario Open Step Dance Champions. Joining the siblings on guitar, lead vocals and onstage antics is Nate Douglas, who has performed with Cape Breton’s Natalie MacMaster.
While the Fitzgerald parents are both musical, the children were the first to explore the Celtic traditions of fiddling and stepdancing,
“It was a great way for us to get involved. I think (we liked) having other people our age at the competitions. It was the right people we were surrounded by,” says Fitzgerald, speaking on the road west during a stop in Saskatoon. “We’re into every style of music – anything that’s good.”
This rare combination of musicianship, step dancing, audience interaction, love of performing, and genuine sibling connection resonates with audiences of all ages.
MacMaster herself has said, “the Fitzgerald family are standout musicians in our Canadian music industry, but more importantly in the long-standing Ontario fiddle and (step) dance traditions. The calibre of musicianship is very high – the best according to many experts in the fiddle/dance competition world. I think together they are a beautiful blend of gorgeous fiddle music, and top rate, absolutely exhilarating dance routines.”
While they also enjoy their solo projects, the siblings have been playing together for 10 years and share a true connection that comes across to audiences, says Fitzgerald, who when not on tour is studying music at Toronto’s Humber College.
“The family is definitely an advantage to have in music. (The audience) connects to it – everybody has a family – and you do have a good connection, especially when you play music.”
“Our plan is to keep playing together for awhile at least and build on the momentum we’ve built up over the last 10 years.”
Hear Everything Fitz in concert at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre this Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance from Ivy’s Bookshop, Long & McQuade and online at www.go-artist.ca, or $25 at the door.
A fundraising concession will be run during intermission by the Victoria Fiddle Society.
Learn more at everythingfitz.ca and www.thefitzgeralds.net.