ECONOMY - Living in and around Economy, the Elliott family name really stands out.
And that’s why two Elliott families - Gerald and his son, Bruce, and Carl and his two sons Bill and Mike - are being paid tribute to this weekend.
“I wanted to do something for the families because they have always been there for us,” said Anita MacLellan, director of the Economy Recereation Centre, where Sunday’s tribute to the musicians will be held. “It could be any event, the Elliotts are there. We can always count on them if they weren’t already booked.”
MacLellan said the families have been performing on a voluntary and professional basis since Carl and Gerald returned to Economy; Carl in 1972 and Gerald four years later. The brothers left the area in 1947 when they were teenagers to move to Toronto.
“It’s not just the community of Economy that has benefited from the generosity and extreme talent of this family, but communities all along our shore from Advocate Harbour through Wentworth, to Truro and far beyond these borders,” said MacLellan.
Their first volunteer experience, she said, was playing for a dance with their mother and another community member in 1940 for the Canadian Red Cross.
“They walked two miles carrying their instruments to the Economy Hall - now the fire hall. The rest is history,” she said.
The tribute is planned for 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the recreation centre, following the final installation of the Economy Hall Sessions, the brainchild of Bill and Natalie Elliott.
“Natalie has said for a long time that the centre needs to have more going on with it (to make money),” said MacLellan.
The Economy Hall Sessions are based on a series of concerts at small halls in Cape Breton, and the one running from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday will feature ‘Fitz and Them,’ featuring Dave Fitzpatrick of the band The Fables.
“Things with the hall sessions have been going great - there is so much work being done behind the scenes,” said MacLellan. “This is the greatest time to do it with Fitz and Them. Fitz is actually family, going to be here from Newfoundland, so what a great time to honour the Elliott families.”
MacLellan expects the centre will be full. Admission to Fitz and Them is $20, and everyone is welcome to stay for the tribute.
“We’ll be able to push the tables back and people can dance until their heart’s content,” MacLellan said.
The first performer for the Economy Hall Sessions was in June with Russel DeCarle from Prairie Oyster fame. Matt Minglewood brought the house down in August, and Newfoundland’s The Secrets were the most recent talent for the sessions.
“The community of Economy derives a great sense of pride in the fact that the Elliotts’ roots are planted firmly in our ground,” said MacLellan.
“And we are proud of the fact that they continue to keep our traditional music alive within communities along the shore and are so willing to share their passion for their music with others. Their contribution is ‘worth its weight in gold.’”
On Twitter: @TDNRaissa