FESTIVAL ANNOUNCEMENT - Don & Cindy Roy

What an absolute treat to welcome Maine’s own Don and Cindy Roy to the festival celebration in June. As our final performer announcement , our lineup is one of the finest in folk music that we’ve seen in a while. We hope you’ll get your tickets and join us for the fun on June 8, 2019 at Woodford’s Congregational Church!

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Partners in life and music for nearly 40 years, Don and Cindy Roy are leading exponents of Franco-American traditional music in Maine. Both are descendants of French families that emigrated from Canada—Don’s grandparents from Quebec, Cindy’s from Prince Edward Island. Don’s virtuoso fiddling and Cindy’s steady, rhythmic piano accompaniment, plus her top-notch step-dancing, have livened up many a house party and entertained audiences across the country.

Music was a big part of life for both Don and Cindy as they grew up. Every Saturday night, and Sundays after mass, family and friends would gather for a soiree, with plenty of music, food, and good times. It was through this community network that Don and Cindy’s families got to know each other. Don and Cindy met in March 1980 on a blind date to play music and were married the following year.

Both Cindy’s grandfather, Alphy Martin, and Don’s grandfather, Joe Mathieu, were fiddlers, though due to a mill accident that cost Mathieu a finger, Don was never able to hear him play. Fortunately, he had passed his music on to one of his sons, Don’s uncle Lucien; it was through Lucien that Don learned the music. He took up the fiddle in 1975, when he was 15. This was the heyday of fiddle contests in New England, and Don soon established himself as one of the top players on the circuit, while also learning from older players such as Ben Guillemette, Bill Darrah, and Gerry and Joseph Robichaud.

Following the fiddle contest years, Don and Cindy pursued other avenues for their music, both locally and on the broader stage. From 1988 to 1996 they led the Maine French Fiddlers, performing at festivals and venues such as Wolf Trap, the National Folk Festival, Carnegie Hall, and public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion. They have been members of other ensembles in Maine and now perform as the Don Roy Trio, with longtime musical collaborator Jay Young on upright bass, at a range of venues, large and small, local and national.

Both Don and Cindy are dedicated to passing on their tradition and love of music to others. Since 2000, they have led Fiddle-icious, a community fiddle orchestra with more than 100 members. Both often teach at music camps, and Don gives private fiddle lessons. He is also a highly skilled luthier whose commitment to passing along knowledge and skills to others is evident at his shop in Gorham, Maine. He has taken on numerous aspiring craftspeople to work on their own instruments under his watchful eye and guidance.

Don has received three Individual Artist Fellowships from the Maine Arts Commission and the Harold Carter Memorial Award from the Down East Country Music Association.

Colleen Raney