Debbie Hale of Celtic Singers

On May 19th, 2012 the St. Andrew’s United Church was delighted to have the Celtic Singers perform to an appreciative audience.    We are happy that Debbie MacDonald Hale allowed us to share the choir’s pictures and her own personal story of what the church means to her family.

Paul Warren
Chairman of the St. Andrew’s United Church Restoration Committee


I’m Jean Graham’s cousin, Debbie MacDonald Hale, a member of the Celtic Singers who  performed a benefit concert for St. Andrew’s on the Victoria Day weekend. My sister Pat MacDonald Galbraith and I lived in Kent County when we were very young. Our parents were married at St. Andrew’s and my sisters Pat and Ivy were born at the old hospital in Rexton. After our family moved to Saint John, we continued to come  to Kent County on holidays and for the whole summer to the cottage my folks bought in Jardineville.

We loved attending church and Bible School at St. Andrew’s when David Jackson was the minister. Later, when I began doing genealogy, I gathered information from St. Andrew’s cemetery and ended up transcribing all the headstones (now part of the Kent Genweb and NB Provincial Archives collections). Our Graham, Gordon, Jardine and Walker ancestors are all buried there.

Fast forward 30-40 years…I heard from my Mom that the community was raising funds for repairs and renovations to St. Andrew’s. My sister and I (as well as my husband and her son) perform with the Celtic Singers, a group from Lower Sackville, NS that stayed together after what was supposed to be a one-time coffeehouse. For the past several years we have performed benefit concerts for a number of churches in rural Nova Scotia and this year our director, Jacalyn Roy, asked if we knew of any New Brunswick congregations who might like to have us perform. I immediately thought of St. Andrew’s and got in touch with Jean on Facebook.

The Celtic Singers preformed our concert on the evening of Saturday, May 19th in Rexton. Our repertoire included traditional Celtic music from Scotland, Ireland and Wales as well as Maritime favorites such as “Fare Thee Well Love” and “We Rise Again.” As part of our concerts we usually have a sing-along of well-known Celtic songs like “The Gypsy Rover” which audiences really seem to enjoy.

Pat and I enjoyed visiting with friends and relatives in Kent County and introducing our musical friends to that beautiful part of the Maritimes!

I’ve included a couple of photos – as you will see below.

– Deb Hale

I’m on the right in the back row and Pat is on the right in the front row.

My sisters, parents and grandparents at Jean’s place in Rexton in the mid-60’s. I’m pretty sure we were on our way to attend a Sunday service at St. Andrew’s (Mom and Nanny Graham’s hats are a giveaway). I’m the one on the right with the big bow and Pat is on the left.

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