Kelli Trottier: Around The World and Back Again


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Standard Freeholder – Cornwall, ON
Saturday, November 14, 2009

Around the world and back again

Posted By KATHLEEN HAY
Posted 22 hours ago

CORNWALL – Kelli Trottier’s fiddling talent has taken her many places she never expected to be, but she still remembers what the people like at home.

Dancing and a lunch.

“When people come out in Glengarry, they want to dance,” she said with a knowing laugh. “And they’re going to expect a lunch, too.

“They’re just getting the concert in Kingston and they don’t flinch.”

In younger days, she was one of the popular Trottier Family entertainers, well-known throughout the area for their performances at places like the Bonnie Glen Pavilion, where she’s launching her latest CD, “Feel It!,” Saturday at 8 p. m.

The next evening, it will have its second kick-off at the Vimy Officers’ Mess in Kingston, where she currently resides.

“It’s been three-and-a-half years since my last one, and I had been doing a fair bit of writing,” said Trottier. “People had been asking about a new CD, and then when I did record it, they were asking if there was going to be a release party, which is really scary.

“I’m excited about it, but it feels like I’m kind of throwing my own birthday party.”

Trottier’s talent has carried her to stages across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Canada’s far north. Although she hadn’t studied music at Queen’s University (she actually majored in mathematics and received a teaching degree), life had other plans for her when a producer from SwingStep came calling to cast her in the Toronto musical production.

She performed in it as the lead female for nine months. Then, seven years ago, producers from the fiddle extravaganza production, Bowfire, knocked on her door and she’s been touring with them ever since.

But that’s not all, far from it.

Trottier has performed for Canadian troops overseas, and also a busy career as a fiddle and step dance instructor and adjudicator across the country. She is a featured recording instrumentalist who has been nominated three times for Fiddle Player of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association, and she’s performed in concert before thousands of people.

Still, she gets nervous performing at home.

“When I’m with Bowfire we usually play houses of 1,500 to 5,000 people,” Trottier explained. “But I’m on-stage with other performers.

“I find it much more intimidating to play for crowds of people I know, like at CD releases.”

The performer has been on-stage really as long as she can remember. As a youngster with the Trottier Family, she and her parents, Rene and Sherrill, as well as siblings, Lori and Traci, performed at numerous engagements, near and further afield. As she grew older, she also taught step dancing and fiddle, and when she was in Grade 13 at Glengarry District High School, she recorded her first CD, “Glengarry Fiddle”.

“I have a feeling mom and dad felt it might be the end of my music career,” she recalled. “I think they felt it was more or less capturing a moment.”

Oddly enough, even though she was an accomplished musician, Trottier never considered music as a concentration when she applied to Queen’s University.

In fact, the very thought of an audition process terrified her.

“It freaked me out,” she admitted. “I thought, ‘I can’t possibly get up in front of people and audition.’

“I remember in public and high school being asked by teachers to play for an event, and it scared me. I was too shy and too scared.”

Eventually, she began saying yes to performance requests, but then she’d find herself in a quandary.

“It was so flattering to be asked,” she laughed, “but then I would think, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’

‘”Even when I got a call from SwingStep looking for fiddlers and step dancers, I gave them a list about other people I knew. Then the producer called me back and said, ‘Don’t you do this, too?'”

Trottier was actually supply teaching in Kingston when that occurred.

“A career in music happened in spite of myself,” she said. “I’d always taught fiddling and step dancing.

“I’ve just been really fortunate that when I finished one thing and closed a door, others thankfully opened up for me.”

When she left SwingStep after nine months, it wasn’t long before she got the call for Bowfire.

“It’s really a great show, I’m really proud to be involved with it,” she said.

When she’s not touring with the show, she’s a sought-after instructor and adjudicator throughout the country. In March, for instance, she’ll be in Hope, BC, as a fiddle instructor, then two months later in May, she’s off to instruct in Parrsboro, NS. Later on, next summer, she’s instructing at the Grand Master’s Fiddle Camp, in Manotick.

“It’s completely humbling, it really does seem surreal,” Trottier said. “It’s the third year I’m going out to a different part of BC, and I ask them, ‘How did you get my name?

“I feel so honoured to even be recognized and reaching some of these places.”

This past summer she had the opportunity to judge at the famed Shelbourne fiddle festival, something that left her equally incredulous.

“It boggles my mind how people see me,” she said, trying to get her own head around her exemplary reputation.

Her latest release “Feel It!” contains eight original pieces, in addition to three others -Tennessee Waltz, Bye Bye Blackbird and Exactly Like You.

“The numbers have been influenced a little bit with swing music and jazz,” she said, of the vocal and instrumental pieces on it.

The CD will be available for purchase at the release party, and at other locations after the Nov. 14 gathering, so stay tuned for further details.

Tickets for the Bonnie Glen party are $15. To reserve tickets, call 613-525-3078 or email glen.bonnie@hotmail.com

“I was talking with mom about what we should do. People just don’t want to sit and listen, in Glengarry they want to dance, so we’re setting up the tables that way. And they’re going to expect a lunch, so we’re having a lunch. It’s what we do at home!” Trottier said.

Article ID# 2173854

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