July 27 - August 1, 2024

Best of Boxwood 2024

Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Saturday 27 July – 7:00 PM

$25 at the door, $20 advanced rate, students $10. Email for advance reservation.

Evergreen Theatre
Sunday 28 July – 8:00 PM

$35 general, $30 military, $20 student. Visit for tickets.

The Osprey Arts Centre" 107 Water St, Shelburne
Monday 29 July – 7:00 PM

Email for ticketing questions.

St Barnabas Anglican Church
Tuesday 30 July – 7:00 PM

$25 at the door, $20 advanced rate, students $10. Email for advance reservation.

Malagawatch Church
Wednesday 31 July – 7:00 PM

$25 at the door, $20 advanced rate, students $10. Email for ticketing questions.

Sharon United Church
Thursday 1 August – 7:00 PM

$25 at the door, $20 advanced rate, students $10. Email for advance reservation.


James Kelly
Irish fiddle

Nic Gareiss
percussive dance

Eamon O'Leary
ballads / guitar
See preview


Each year, a new roster of musicians are featured in the Best of Boxwood concert tour, with performances across Nova Scotia part of Musique Royale’s Summer Festival. This tour celebrates the energetic, traditional dance music of Maritimes Canada, Scotland, Ireland and more. Taking place annually in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, the Boxwood Festival is renowned for its inspiring, multi-generational environment of workshops and concerts centered around traditional music and early music, with experts and amateurs providing an immersive artistic experience. The Best of Boxwood tour showcases the fruits of these collaborations across Nova Scotia.

Led by Chris Norman, Boxwood Festival’s founder and equally a world renowned master of the wooden flute, the tour also features one of the greatest Irish fiddlers alive today, James Kelly, the dazzling percussive dancer Nic Gareiss, the much loved Irish singer songwriter Eamon O’Leary, and Janelle Lucyk, a baroque soprano.

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About the Artists

James Kelly – Irish fiddler

James Kelly, a native of Ireland, is one of the greatest Irish traditional fiddlers alive today. He learned his music from his father John Kelly, the renowned fiddle and concertina player from County Clare.

After years of careful study and practice, James began his recording and touring career at age sixteen. That year he won first place in the prestigious “Fiddler of the Year” competition and recorded his first album, a duet with his brother John. Since that time, James has toured Europe, the US, Canada and South America, and was a member of several influential Irish groups, including “Patrick Street” and the legendary folk group “Planxty.”

He was a presenter of the “Pure Drop” series for Irish TV and has appeared several times with the Grammy award-winning Irish group, “The Chieftains.” In the US, James has performed several times on Garrison Keillor’s national radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion.” In recent years he received the prestigious “Florida Folk Heritage Award” as well as the “Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Folk Arts Award.”

James was the TG4 Irish traditional musician of the year, having been awarded the “Gradam Ceoil TG4 2006 Irish Musician of the Year” award in recognition of his outstanding musicianship and contributions to Irish music (TG4 is Ireland’s Irish-language TV station).

He has 18 albums to his credit and recently released his latest recording, “Melodic Journeys.” He is currently working on a teaching DVD for fiddle students, as well as compiling his over 800 compositions for publication. He continues to tour with some of Irish music’s leading accompanists.

Nic Gareiss – percussive dance

A child of the folk revival, Gareiss grew up being dragged to folk festivals in the Midwest. At these events Nic learned Appalachian, Irish, English, and Canadian percussive dance surrounded by fiddlers, banjo-players, balladeers, and folksingers. This mix of movement, instrumental melodies, and traditional songs from rural places has become the heart of Nic’s creative work.

At age sixteen, he moved to Maryland to apprentice with Eileen Carson-Schatz, a National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellow, and to perform with her company, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. In his twenties, Nic lived in Ohio for the purpose of studying under Sharon Leahy and performing in her company, Rhythm in Shoes.

Nic then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology with a minor in music from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Arts in ethnochoreology (dance ethnology and ethnography) from the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland. While a student at the Irish World Academy between 2007-2011, he studied Cape Breton step dance with Mats Melin, Irish sean-nós dance with Seosamh Ó Neachtain, and Irish step dancing with Colin Dunne.

Gareiss’ education, ethnographic work, and many collaborations with artists based in Ireland have led to a sustained relationship with Irish audiences and creatives. In 2011 Gareiss was commissioned by the Cork Opera House to create and perform two new solo percussive dance pieces to celebrate the 75th birthday of composer Steve Reich. His setting of Reich’s Clapping Music for percussive dancer and video installation was hailed by the Irish Times as “a leftfield tour-de-force with irresistible wow factor.” Gareiss also received a Traditional Arts Commission from the Irish Arts Council to create an evening-length fiddle and dance duo show with Caoimhín Ó Raghalliah. The resulting piece, Mice Will Play had a sell-out run at the Project Arts Centre during the 2013 Dublin Fringe Festival.

Simultaneously, Nic has worked to enrich dance communities in his home state. In 2008 he co-founded Earful of Fiddle Music & Dance Camp, which brings nationally-recognized folk artists to teach and perform in rural Michigan every summer. He also served as community liaison for the Wheatland Music Organization’s 40th Anniversary production Carry it on…, supervising a cast of 70 dancers from communities across the state of Michigan. In 2020, Nic received the Michigan Heritage Award, the highest honor bestowed on traditional artists in Michigan.

Gareiss’ work enmeshes ethnographic research and embodied dance practice. His MA thesis based upon interviews with LGTBQ step dancers was the first piece of scholarship to query the experience of sexual minorities within Irish dance. Gareiss’ essay, “An Buachaillín Bán: Reflections on One Queer’s Performance within Traditional Irish Music & Dance” appears in the book Queer Dance: Meanings & Makings edited by Clare Croft on Oxford University Press. Recent writing commissions include the online journal Critical Studies in Improvisation’s special issue Improvisation, Musical Communities, and the COVID-19 Pandemic and Jean Butler’s Our Steps project. Gareiss has lectured, taught, and presented work at McGill University, the University of Michigan, New York University, the University of Notre Dame, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia. From 2018-2019 he was artist-in-residence at the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland, the School of Scottish Studies, and the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Chris Norman – flute, pipes, songs

“… a flute player of spectacular and imaginative virtuosity” - New Yorker
“A flute superstar … the musicianship just came wailing out” - Toronto Globe & Mail
“… Norman stands out for his spirited eclecticism … His rootsy heritage shines through in every nuanced embellishment, trill, triple tonguing, and silky slide. It’s clear that Norman is having a ball, with the chops to make it sound effortless.” - Billboard Magazine

Powered by his love and mastery of the simple wooden flute, Chris Norman has gained an international profile over the past three decades via his critically praised work as a performer, composer, teacher, flute-maker and builder of a musical community.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Chris developed an early passion for traditional Maritime, Celtic and French Canadian music. As a performer and composer, he is a champion and standard-bearer for these forms while simultaneously exploring their boundaries and fusing them with classical styles. The recipient of numerous grants and commissions, Chris has shared his creativity and ingenuity around the world in the form of compositions featured on National Public Radio, the CBC, the BBC, and concert halls from Canada to New Zealand. His composing and playing have also appeared in more than 40 commercially released CDs which range from solo efforts to recordings as part of a duo or ensemble. His recorded work has earned numerous awards, including Indie Awards for best Celtic Album and best Seasonal Album, and a CBC Listeners Choice Awards. He has toured as a solo performer in recitals and with orchestras, as a duo with violinist David Greenberg and with his eponymous group The Chris Norman Ensemble. He has also been a prominent player in international touring ensembles such as Helicon, Skyedance, the Baltimore Consort and Scotland’s Concerto Caledonia.

He is a maker not only of music with the flute, but of flutes themselves, creating bespoke instruments for players worldwide. In this pursuit he has received mentorship from prominent flute-makers Rod Cameron, Robert Bigio and Michael Grinter among others. He is well versed in traditional machining techniques as well as CNC and 3D modeling, and is a talented hand-engraver of his silverwork in a flare-cut style, having studied under master engravers Sam Alfano, Diane Scalese, and Rod Cameron.

He is the driving force behind Boxwood Festivals, whose annual weeklong celebrations of traditional music have taken place in Canada, The USA, Australia and New Zealand, and on-line for the past 26 years. As founder and director of the festival, Chris unites and inspires musicians, teachers, academics, flute-makers and engages a multi-generational, multi-disciplinary community – an achievement that is the subject of a documentary film Scattering of the Stars released in 2017. In recognition of his significant, unique and wide-ranging achievements he was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to the arts in Canada in 2012, and awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa by Dalhousie University in 2015.

Eamon O’Leary – ballad singer, guitar

Eamon O’Leary is a songwriter, guitar, bouzouki and banjo player and from New York’s Lower East Side, originally from Dublin, Ireland. He has developed his songcraft, appearing live and collaborating with esteemed artists such as Sam Amidon, Beth Orton, Bonnie Prince Billy, Anais Mitchell, Anna and Elizabeth, Martin Hayes, releasing five recordings of original songs including Old Clump, All Souls, Sister in Song, Bernadette, and The Silver Sun. He has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, performing and recording with many of Irish music’s great players. Eamon regularly tours and records with The Murphy Beds, with Jefferson Hamer, and with old friends John Doyle and Nuala Kennedy to form The Alt.

Janelle Lucyk – songs

Janelle Lucyk is a leader among an emerging generation of Canadian artists specializing in historically informed performance, taking ideas from conception to the stage. She is the artistic director of early music ensemble Ménestrel and is artistic & administrative director of Musique Royale (est. 1985), a music presenter based in Lunenburg, NS which enriches historic spaces through the sharing of world class early music, and more. She graduated with distinction from the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles (Belgium), and has a Masters in Management from Durham University (UK).