Kathleen Gorey-McSorley: STU’s young fiddler

Kathleen Gorey-McSorley will play at the Playhouse March 9. (Submitted)

The Playhouse is getting an early start on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with a concert featuring part-time St. Thomas University student Kathleen Gorey-McSorley on March 9.

Gorey-McSorley, an Irish/Celtic fiddler, is enrolled in two music courses at STU. She’s also a high school senior at Fredericton High School.

“I’m very excited to be playing in Fredericton again,” the 17-year-old said in an email. “The crowds here are always very receptive and it’s going to be really fun to know some of the people in the audience.”

Gorey-McSorley started playing the fiddle when she was eight years old, but she had a strong interest in music her whole life. Because she often works with people older than her, she said she was prepared to enrol in university courses at STU.

“I think there’s more to [the effects of music on the brain] than just simply making you smarter,” she said. “I think what happens, to me at least, is that it has almost a therapeutic effect, clearing your mind of stress and allowing you to focus on other things and manage your time without being distracted.”

Gorey-McSorley has performed in many parts of Canada, the United States, Ireland, Scotland, Austria and Germany – some while touring with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. She said her teachers are always understanding when she’s booked during school time and they help her get caught up when she returns.

Last year she missed a week of classes for the East Coast Music Awards, where her second CD, “Ceol Binn” (Irish for “sweet music”), was nominated for roots/traditional solo recording of the year. Gorey-McSorley said last year’s ECMAs ceremony was the most exciting and proud moment of her career to date.

“I met and performed with so many amazing musicians and even got to hang out with Hey Rosetta! back stage at the awards gala,” she said.

Despite playing in front of large crowds at international events and festivals, Gorey-McSorley said she doesn’t get nervous before she gets on stage. She dreams of traveling to Australia to play the festival circuit and performing at Carnegie Hall and the Ryman, but she’s thrilled to be playing the Playhouse. She’ll be joined onstage by pianist Carolyn Holyoke.

“Irish Night” with Kathleen Gorey-McSorley is at Fredericton’s Playhouse March 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.