When Wendy Moore, Mus’81, Ed’82, founded The Celtic Rathskallions in 1996, she had no idea that the musical group would meet with such national and international success, performing more than 100 shows and accumulating 65,000 miles on their touring van each year.
In November, The Celtic Rathskallions duo - Wendy and husband Arthur McGregor - returned from their most recent tour in Ireland, where they were greeted with enormous enthusiasm and performed 32 shows over three weeks at festivals, theatres, schools, and libraries.
For Wendy, music has been a lifelong passion. She began playing the piano at age six, the recorder at age nine, and the clarinet at age 11. When she was 13, she attended a concert by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and fell in love with the sound of the oboe, an instrument that was to be the focus of her musical studies at Queen’s.
“The Queen’s music program was of particular appeal to me because it allowed me to major both in performance and education,” says Wendy. “And being in a small program - only about 40 students - I had ample performance opportunities each year.”
Wendy started her professional music career while completing her musical and teaching education at Queen’s, and subsequently performed with the Kingston Symphony and chamber groups including the Telemann Trio, Les Mistrals Woodwind Quintet, Double Reeds, and the Classically Hip Wind Quartet.
As she continued to develop as a musician, Wendy became interested in creating her own music show for elementary school-aged children that would teach, inspire, engage, and entertain audiences of children and families. Her passion for Celtic music led her to learn the tin whistle, bodhran (drum), bagpipes, and Celtic harp.
Fifteen years ago, following her dream, Wendy launched The Celtic Rathskallions Show, a two-performer piece of musical theatre that includes music, drama, step-dancing, and storytelling. Between them, Wendy and Arthur play more than 15 different instruments.
During 2012, in addition to her busy Rathskallions touring schedule, Wendy will also be focusing on two offshoot projects: The Celtic Rathskallions and Orchestra Show, a unique blending of the classical and folk worlds of music; and The Maddie Show, a solo show with a literacy and music focus that she tours to elementary schools.
“In my first year at Queen’s, I never would have guessed that my career path would be to become a world-touring multi-instrumentalist singer, dancer, writer, and actor,” Wendy says, adding, “I love my life and work!”