HCA Mobilizes Musicians to Battle Cancer

photo by Rachel Kane
Roy and Mavis MacNeil show some of their favorite musical instruments.

by David Kelley, Community Journalist

GREENSBORO – On Saturday, March 11, at 7 p.m., the Highland Center for the Arts will be hosting what is perhaps the greatest gathering of musical talent, all in one place, in the history of Northeastern Vermont. The musicians are gathering to raise money for the Lamoille Area Cancer Network (LACN). The initiative began with Roy MacNeil, an accomplished violinist, and his sister Mavis. Mavis MacNeil is an accomplished musician in her own right. With a degree in music and a masters in music composition Mavis is now a full-time music teacher at Hazen Union. Together with Greensboro’s Highland Center for the Arts they have reached out to Vermont’s family of talented musicians to assist fellow Vermonters fighting cancer.

The MacNeils and the Local Folk Orchestra are bringing together some of the top musical talent in Vermont, covering every genre, but with deep roots in Americn folk and classical music and with no boundaries on age or musical background. The lineup of talent for this concert will include: Roy MacNeil on violin, viola and guitar; Mavis MacNeil on flute, tenor sax, and banjo; Andrew Kohler on piano, Andrea Brightenbach on oboe and English horn; Jeff Reinhardt on clarinet and baritone sax; Estile Kitchen on alto sax; Irene Nagle on violin; Fiona Bock on violin; Jo Lander on violin; Mary Fowler on viola; Thurmond Knight on cello; Justin Lander on bass and lap steel; Kyle Woolard on guitar and banjo; Perry Heller on drums; Maura Gahan Dance, Alice Perron on guitar and clogging; Nicholas Ingram on electric bass.

St. Johnsbury’s professional singers, the Halcyon Chorale will round out this outstanding musical ensemble. The MacNeils and the Local Folk Orchestra will be performing, in addition to well known compositions, an original composition of Mavis MacNeil’s.

This effort began with a 2016 concert when Roy MacNeil was in the midst of a seven-year battle with cancer, and LACN was his staunch ally. MacNeil has said, “I will be forever grateful for the support they showed me, and what they continue to do for our community.” According to MacNeil, “Fighting a seven-year battle against cancer, including clinical trials and stem cell therapy, is plainly a life changing experience.” Despite all of its difficulties and challenges, he points to surprising silver linings: “Cancer has brought our family closer together.” He adds that cancer has heightened his own appreciation “for the gift of life and the value of music in connecting people.” The hope of MacNeil and all of the musicians participating in this remarkable event is that it will share the gift of music with our community and use that gift to further the fight against cancer.

The Lamoille Area Cancer Network is a nonprofit organization that is proud to provide monetary grants to people undergoing cancer treatment in our community. They are entirely funded by the generous donations of people who care about the health and well being of their neighbors and their families.

Tickets are by a $15 suggested donation at highlandartsvt.org/calendar/

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