Robert (Bob) Francis MacDiarmid
(Harp of Tara Branch, Kingston)
Last October 14, 2017 in Ottawa was the Canadian East Region AGM. Many members of the CCE branches across the East Region of Canada came to Ottawa for the meeting. As is usual, at the AGM, a person is introduced to the region's Music Hall of Fame. This year the honour was bestowed on Bob MacDiarmid. The actual text of his induction to the Hall follows.
It is with great pleasure that the region is inducting Robert (Bob) Francis MacDiarmid into our Music Hall of Fame.
Bob was born in Ottawa in 1953. His father was of Irish heritage. Bob left home at an early age to seek his fortune in the world. He worked at various jobs across Canada as a longshoreman, construction worker and IT specialist.
In Edmonton he met Angeles (Angela) Garcia, a medical resident. They would marry and begin their lives together, living in Edmonton and Spain before settling in Toronto and beginning a family, raising two sons, Allan and Victor.
It was in Toronto where Bob's interest in all things Irish took hold. He began attending sessions, learning to play the fiddle and attending set dancing classes with Maureen Mulvey-O'Leary.
In 1995 Bob and Angela moved to Kingston where Angela set up a medical practice and began teaching medicine at Queen's University.
Bob became a stay home dad looking after their large home and grounds and carrying out a lot of renovations to it.
Bob Initiated the slow session in Kingston 20 years ago and still runs a very active weekly slow session. Having been hooked on set dancing in Toronto, Bob and Angela also started set dancing in the back porch of their home, were we still dance from fall till summer.
In 2004 Bob hosted our first house concert in their living room with Maeve Donnelly performing to a group of about 50 people.
Since then there have been over 50 house concerts in Kingston, all but one in Bob and Angela's house. He organizes the concerts, usually with workshops, and most times billets the performers, all with no charge. Kingston has seen the likes of Blackie O'Connell, Draoícht, Diorama, Paddy Keenan, Patrick Ourceau, Jackie Daly, Gerry O'Connor, and many others play in a small intimate venue and it would not have happened without Bob and Angela. Bob has also hosted an annual weekend workshop with Patrick Ourceau and Ivan Gough.
Perhaps his biggest undertaking has been the production of the Kingston Irish Slow Session Tune Book. This is a very carefully researched and well-presented two volume set of tune books including historical notes, background material and the tunes themselves. It is a world class project and Bob completed virtually everything himself and has made it available for download at no cost.
Bob has been instrumental in keeping the Irish Music scene alive in Kingston for over 20 years with the slow sessions, house concerts and the tune books. He is an active and key member of the Harp of Tara branch despite that his wife Angela is now suffering from a severe, debilitating, incurable illness.
No one is more deserving of induction into the Music Hall of Fame than Bob and it will be nice for Angela to see this take place.
Congratulations Bob on an honour well deserved and welcome to the Music Hall of Fame.