Legacy of Rita MacNeil to live on at CBU

On May 6, 2013, the community of Cape Breton and beyond gathered at Centre 200 for an evening of entertainment to pay tribute to the late Rita MacNeil. World-class musicians and all those that donated their time and talent, along with everyone that attended, made “Home I’ll be: Remembering Rita” an outstanding success and a magical night.

Rita MacNeil Scholarship

Photo cutline: (l-r) Wade Langham, Laura Lewis, Joella Foulds and Dr. David Wheeler celebrating the success of the Rita MacNeil Music Award.

Today, Joella Foulds, who along with Max MacDonald spearheaded the tribute, will present a $50,000 cheque to Cape Breton University to establish the Rita MacNeil Music Award that will allow Rita’s legacy to forever live on in local CBU students following their dreams of studying music. The $50,000 presented, along with donations received since the event, bring the total in the Rita MacNeil Music Fund to almost $100,000.

“This is a true testament to the generosity of the Cape Breton community,” says Dr. David Wheeler, CBU President and Vice Chancellor. “The Rita MacNeil Tribute was one of the first events I attended as President and I can tell you that it certainly was a powerful evening that opened my eyes to what I had to look forward to. A big thank you to Joella, Max and all those who made this happen for our students.”

“Rita was a dear friend to many and is in the hearts of all Cape Bretoners and in fact those across the country,” says Joella Foulds, co-organizer of the Rita MacNeil tribute. “We knew that we had to acknowledge all that Rita did for the community and this showcase was an exceptional and overwhelming example of just how powerful her presence was. Making sure the proceeds from the evening would help students pursuing music studies would make Rita smile.”

Cape Breton University’s Bachelor of Arts Community Studies (BACS) four year music major specializes in traditional and tradition-based popular music and is like no other in Canada. It offers offer both an academic and community-based immersion in one of the most celebrated cultural regions in the country.