Double Dip: Korona Brophy up for 2 of 4 NL Arts Award This Month

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Korona Brophy is a finalist for two of this year’s ArtsNL Awards: The Memorial University Arts in Education Award, and the Cox & Palmer Arts Achievement Award. The 32nd ArtsNL Arts Awards will take place on Friday, April 28th in the main theatre at The Rooms.

Brophy is an instructor in the Education Department at Memorial University and has been performing and teaching music for over 53 years.

She began playing music as a child, inspired by her mother who played the violin, accordion, and piano. At nine years old, she learned to play the cello and the piano under the guidance of the Sisters of Mercy at Our Lady of Mercy School.

“The Sisters of Mercy were my first teachers and they were committed to the music programs at the school. There was so much talent in that school with choirs, string orchestras, pianists…It was a great time in our lives as there was so much ‘live’ music then, always someone singing and playing the piano wherever you went!” Brophy wrote.

It’s clear that the mentorship of women musicians like her mother and teachers had a profound impact on Brophy. She followed in their footsteps, working as a devoted high school music teacher, bandleader, conductor and founder of internationally acclaimed folk group The Celtic Fiddlers. For decades, Brophy has been doing the invaluable work of training young musicians and ushering them out onto the stage.

“Through my years, I’ve had string orchestras, full orchestras, jazz bands, concert bands, classroom singing, church choirs, fiddlers, more fiddlers and The Celtic Fiddlers, MUN Lab Band, ant St. Peter’s Church Youth Choir,” Brophy wrote.

When Brophy founded The Celtic Fiddlers in 1993, it was a small group of talented elementary school students who learned some traditional songs to play at a St. Patrick’s Day Concert. Since then the group has matured and expanded, in the past 24 years hundreds of musicians have been a part of The Celtic Fiddlers.

The group has toured extensively, playing shows all over Newfoundland as well as inIreland, the Isle of Mann, Ottawa and New York. They have produced five albums, which continue to sell worldwide.

“We have incorporated a lot of vocals in the group now, and these vocalists are so professional in their approach to the group and respect of what the group stands for. Their love of the traditional/folk music, which continues today, is commendable,” Brophy wrote.

This summer, The Celtic Fiddlers will be touring the island playing shows in Marystown, Bay L’argent for Canada Day, Grates Cove, Bonavista, and Fogo Island.

It is an incredible testament to Brophy’s commitment and vision that what began as a few children learning some songs for a St. Patrick’s Day assembly was able to not only remain active, but grow into an internationally respected folk group.

“I have taught many children from kindergarten to grade twelve and they are like family to me. I have played for some of their weddings and now some christenings. Music keeps the mind active. I’m always thinking about my music and how I can improve!” Brophy wrote.

For more information about The Celtic Fiddler’s upcoming shows visit: www.thecelticfiddlers.ca

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Eva Crocker

Eva Crocker is a writer from St. John's, her short story collection, Barrelling Forward, was published by House of Anansi Press in Spring of 2017.

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