My name is David Papazian and predictably I am not a native born Cape Bretoner, but moved here to the North Shore 18 years ago from Montreal, seeking a quieter lifestyle and a change of scene. Here I found both and much more, including a vibrant and welcoming community which has harboured and nourished me ever since.
I make and repair musical instruments, especially violins or fiddles as they are called around here, and also their larger siblings, violas, as well as members of the mandolin family of stringed wooden instruments. I have done this sort of work for over 30 years as well as playing music, which I also enjoy. I was a cello player in my younger years but discovered Celtic traditional music in the mid 1970’s and have been immersed in that musical world ever since. I began playing the violin at that time and added the concertina, Irish whistle and pipes later on.
I learned my trade on my own and also while working at a violin shop in Montreal for 5 years while living there. I enjoy repairing and restoring these instruments as well as making them from scratch…often using local maple and spruce in their construction. I stumbled into acting and music for theatre in P.E.I. in 1977 while living there and continued doing so in Toronto, my home town, during the 5 years that followed.
Upon moving here to the St. Ann’s Bay area in 1998, I joined up with the St. Ann’s Bay players, our local theatre company, under the able direction of Bev Brett. I was fortunate to act and play music in a number of productions with the Players, including our telling of Ms. Brett’s original play, ‘The Margaret’, which tells this community’s founding history and which we took to New Zealand to perform, memorably, in 2004.
I rediscovered my spiritual life after a considerable absence, in 2001 when I began attending our local St. Ann’s Bay United Church. As well as singing in the choir and serving on the Committee of Stewards, I instituted the summer ceilidh series of fundraising concerts in the intimate setting of our church tearoom, 12 years ago. These Tuesday and Friday evening concerts run during July and August and early September, featuring a great variety of Cape Breton musicians, and occasionally travelling artists from ‘away’. These evenings have been enjoyed by tourists and local folk alike, who especially appreciate the acoustic music in a natural setting, complete with oatcakes and delicious home baking. The church is one focal point of a warm and friendly rural community, which I am proud to call my home.