OXFORD – A tribute to the late, great Northern Nova Scotia fiddle maker James “Jim” MacCleave staged to remind the world there’s more to Oxford than just blueberries.
One of four children, MacCleave grew up in Stewiacke, Colchester County, but it was in Cumberland County where he stood out. First, as a teacher in Fox River and then River Hebert, MacCleave finally set up in Oxford where he would continue teaching, but go on to become a town councilor, become a founding member of the Oxford Pioneer’s Club, and receive the town’s Bicentennial Medal for his work with the local cadets.
Today, however, it’s the works in wood MacCleave left for the ages that are taking centre stage at The Man and The Fiddle, a two-day tribute to MacCleave and his fiddle making. Today, his fiddles are still in use for everything from bluegrass to classical music.
Organized by the Oxford Historical Society, the event offers a free biographical video presentation on MacCleave on Friday, Sept.12, at 6 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre followed by a fiddle jam at the town’s newly minted Heritage Square where the former town hall used to reside on Main Street. Everyone is invited to bring a chair, and fiddlers are invited to take the stage. In the event of rain, the jam will move to the Capitol Theatre.
On Saturday, violinmaker Bill Sampson will introduce the art of making a fiddle at 3 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre and then a repeat of the MacCleave biography will be aired at 6 p.m.
Finally, at 7 p.m. at the Trinity United Church, a tribute concert feature classical to old-time maritime music featuring MacCleave’s fiddles will take place. Admission is $10.