Sterling Women’s Institute Hall in Stanley Bridge
For over 100 years, the Sterling Women’s Institute Hall in Stanley Bridge has been the meeting place for the community.
It continues to be a gathering place but nowadays not only welcomes folks from down the road, but from around the world. And the reason for this is the music.
Every night from Monday through Saturday a variety of Island musicians entertain enthusiastic audiences, usually a full house. And Island fiddling is at the forefront.
Monday nights fiddler Gary Chipman, the Island’s direct link to the music of Don Messer, hosts The Chaisson Trio (as well-known a name as it is possible to have in PEI music).
Tuesday singer-songwriter and recording artist Leon Gallant (from just down the road) teams up with fiddler Billy MacInnis. Billy spent many years touring with the late Stompin’ Tom Connors, up to Connors’ passing.
On Wednesdays Gary Chipman is back but this time with the Arsenault Trio of Acadian musicians which includes fiddler Louise Arsenault and Hélène Bergeron, who have toured the world as members of the group Barachois.
Thursdays get Irish with Michael Pendergast and Tom McSwiggan. Michael and Tom are the folks who originated the musical goings-on in Stanley Bridge about twenty years ago. They run their evening in ceilidh-style with plenty of audience participation, and have Andy Doucette on fiddle.
Leon Gallant and Billy MacInnis return for a second night on Fridays. Leon says not to forget to mention the free strawbery shortcake offered during the break between sets in their show.
And finally, on Saturdays, none other than Richard Wood, probably PEI’s most internationally-known fiddler. His resume includes performing at Carnegie Hall with The Chieftains from Ireland.
He’s there with guitarist and singer Gordon Belsher with whom Richard has travelled the world, and Brad Fremlin an accomplished drummer and pianist who is an alumnus of the teaching staff at the College of Piping. And they have strawberries and ice cream, too.
With musicians like this performing, no wonder there are line-ups to get in. Shows start at 7:30 pm each evening, but good advice would be to come early.