Kernels of tradition

Kernels of tradition

Corn boil, trad music in Fitch Bay


By William Crooks


Action Communautaire du Canton de Stanstead (ACCS) held a corn boil, featuring traditional Quebecois music, at Thayer Park in Fitch Bay, Aug. 20. The Record stopped by and talked to ACCS president James McGregor and musician Yves Hélie.

“[The ACCS] is a community group dedicated to animating the neighbourhood,” McGregor began, and running events like this corn boil. They also organized a concert in July and distribute presents with local firefighters at Christmastime. The group runs a café in Fitch Bay Saturday mornings in the winter and spring. “Each event brings a slightly different crowd,” McGregor explained; it’s all sponsored by the municipality.

“Last year we got 80 or 90 [people],” McGregor continued, referring to last year’s attendance of this event. There were a lot of children, he added. This year the event drew 110 adults and 28 kids, both English and French.

The music of the afternoon was led by Yves Hélie, who is based out of Sherbrooke. His group of musicians for the event included members of his family. “It’s a family affair,” McGregor insisted. They play traditional Quebecois/Celtic music professionally, often accompanying step dancing. He has performed at festivals in as faraway places as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, due to his “good reputation”, Hélie said. He is a 4th generation accordionist and his son, who was playing with him, is the 5th. He also runs a business repairing and selling accordions.

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