Music in the Highlands
The Middleville and District Museum has plenty to offer fans of traditional music in their Music Exhibit.
From the legend of Fiddler's Hill (present day Watsons Corners) to the collaboration on The Rosetta Violin, the importance music played in the lives of the early settlers of Canada is brought to life in two examples of how the sounds of someone playing a finely tuned instrument was used to break the lonely silence of the new land and to soften the darkness of the night.
The story lives on of a talented young man, believed to be Alexander Watt, and how he eased the anxiety of his fellow travellers on a dark and lonely night in the wilds of Dalhousie Township. The settlers were weary from their long and arduous journey and held little hope of finding a suitable place to build a life amidst the dense forest. His familiar Scottish tunes reminded them of their homeland and calmed their fears. In the light of the next day, they made their way to their new land.
The Scottish homeland was on the mind of Alexander Crichton when he visited the Morris family in Rosetta. An amateur violin maker, Crichton mused of crafting a violin by combining the cedar of Rosetta with some bird's eye maple of Scotland. He persuaded his friend, William Morris, to send a block of cedar of detailed specifications to him after he returned to Scotland. Morris obliged and a very unique violin was the result. The violin made its way back to Rosetta and was played to keep the traditional Scottish tunes in the memories of those who had left the homeland's distant shores. This special violin is on display at the Middleville Museum for visitors to enjoy.
Music also played a part in community building. The end of a long day of work at a neighbourhood bee was celebrated by a generous meal and the lively sound of a few fiddles that got the dancing started and lasted well into the night.
Like most communities of the day, Middleville had a few local bands to entertain at local events. They even had an organized fundraiser featuring a programme of vocal and instrumental music in 1910 to help pay for 'granolithic' sidewalks to be built.
The Middleville Museum's music exhibit features the exquisite 1896 Rosetta Violin, a dulcimer, a cello, a concertina accordion, a Victor record player and two flutes. Drop by to see these beautiful instruments preserved for music lovers to enjoy.
Compiled with information from The Rosetta Violin story by C. Smith
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This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.