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  • January - Family remains in Niagara-On-The-LakeCanada.

  • FebruaryGrenfell, Regina, Outlook, Saskatoon, St. Peters Abby, Humbolt, Neepawa, St. Boniface, Brandon, Leaf Rapids..

  • March - Calgary, Banff, Lethbridge.

  • April - 12 residency shows, Shaw Festival, Niagara-On-The-Lake.

  • May CBC Bob McLean Show, Toronto. 

  • July/August - 15 shows at the Shaw Festival, Niagara-On-The-Lake.

  • August - 8 shows at the NAC, Ottawa.

  • September - Finish the recording of My Lute Awake album, Ottawa.

  • October - CBC TV Man Alive taping, Ottawa.

  • November - Romeo & Juliet, Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, and Niagara-On-The-Lake.

  • December - Cobourg, Petrolia, Port Perry, Kingston, Oshawa, Belleville, and Bancroft.


The Huggetts with their pilot. A number of the Huggett Family's shows were in remote communities best accessed by charter planes like this Piper Navajo which they used to reach Leaf Rapids, Manitoba.



Thomas Morley

Leslie, Margaret, Jennifer, Fiona, Andrew, vocals.


Thomas Morley (1557 – 1602) was an English composer, singer, and organist famous for his madrigal writing. Madrigals enjoyed a curiously brief but brilliant flowering that constitutes one of the most colourful episodes in the history of English music. He lived in London at the same time as Shakespeare and, along with Robert Johnson, is the composer of the only surviving contemporary settings of verse by Shakespeare. Now Is The Month Of Maying is one of his most performed compositions.


Thomas Morley was possibly Roman Catholic but able to avoid prosecution as a recusant and may have been an informer on the activities of Roman Catholics. 



This year, the Huggetts stay in Canada at their Niagara-On-The-Lake home to accommodate February and March tours. Their first commitment is to another Jeunesses Musicales sponsored tour on the prairies. They fly to Regina and immeadiatly run out to the small town of Grenfell for a single evening show.

Jennifer: "Our kind sponsor had brought bacon, eggs, and muffins to make us breakfast the following day as the local Motel had no restaurant. But we planned to drive back to Regina that night, so she cooked us a hearty breakfast at midnight!"  The following evening the Huggetts play the Regina University Convocation Hall in front of an enthusiastic audience who turn up despite the deadly cold. 

Andrew remembers, "After our success in Regina, we played Outlook, Saskatoon, and Saint Peter's Abbey and College in Humboldt. The Abbey is an independent religious community. The priests grow all the food which they store in straw in an impressive stone root cellar under the Abby, and nuns grind the wheat and make fresh bread every morning. The College offers courses in the Catholic Benedictine tradition and is part of the University of Saskatchewan.

Our host is a very enthusiastic monk named Brother Thomas. He sports a perpetual Cheshire cat grin and speaks enthusiastically and knowledgeably on Renaissance topics. At one point, he asks me about Thomas More, who I know now was an influential  English Catholic and humanist, and is somewhat bemused when I say I've never heard of him. Dad's not impressed with me either, thinking I should know about Thomas More given all the money we spend going back and forth to England to study!

We offer to play The Leaves Be Green by William Byrd at vespers, which Brother Thomas thinks will be quite "exciting" (the piece itself is actually quite tranquil.) I naively anticipate a roomful of buoyant nuns and monks like  Brother Thomas when we turn up at the appointed hour with our instruments. But all assembled strike me as inexplicably grim and sullen, without the slightest trace of his positive energy. The stately Leaves Be Green must have hit some kind of mark, however, as the next day, when my mom and sisters show up for breakfast, one of the nuns exclaimed, "Here come the showgirls!" which proves, I suppose, that in life, all things are relative!"

After Humboldt comes Neepawa, Saint Boniface, and Brandon University, which has an Early Music department and owns an impressive inventory of viols, krumhorns, and other period instruments. The audience, which includes members of the Society for Creative Anachronisms, turns up in their own Renaissance garb. They are particularly taken with the period dances.

From Winnipeg, the Family takes a private charter to the remote northern mining town of Leaf Rapids, Andrew sitting in the co-pilot seat. The Family is anxious about their instruments as they are loaded into the nose of the plane. If it's this cold on the ground, what is it like at 15,000 feet? The plane touches down on a remote snow-covered strip, and the musical instruments, which have survived the cold, are loaded into a warm waiting van. The plane departs for Thompson, where it can plug in for the night to prevent the engines from freezing, and everyone gets in the van for the last leg of the journey. 

Margaret remembers: "The entire community of Leaf Rapids is built within a single large enclosure, much like a giant shopping mall. There's no need to go back outside, and it's toasty warm inside. However, there is nowhere to get a meal before the concert. We play to a select audience of 30 people in the library. Without us knowing, our sponsor graciously forgoes the concert and makes us a meal while we are on stage. Her kindness is much appreciated and indicative of the many generous people we met while touring.

The following day we drive back to the airstrip and wait in a small heated cabin for the return of our plane. It's been delayed because it wouldn't start despite being plugged in overnight in Thompson. Finally, the mechanics get it going, and it appears as a speck in the sky. Thirty minutes later, we are on board, heading back to Winnipeg and finally to Toronto and Niagara-On-The-Lake."


Andrew, Jennifer, Ian, Margaret, Brother Thomas, and Fiona. Brother Thomas's unbridled enthusiasm was not a characteristic evidenced by his fellow monks.


En route to vespers.  Not as ebullient as Andrew had anticipated.


Delicious bread, home baked from wheat grown by the monks and milled by the nuns of St Peter's Abby


The dances are a big hit with members of the Society for Creative Anachronisms at the University in Brandon, Manitoba.


Leaf Rapids is so cold the plane has to leave as soon as the Huggetts debark, so its engines don't freeze up.


After three weeks at the house in Niagara-On-The-Lake,  the Family is off again to Alberta and appearances at both Calgary University and Mount Royal College in Calgary and the Lethbridge Art Centre in Lethbridge.

The Huggetts also play in the beautiful Devonian Gardens, a large under-glass botanical garden located in the downtown core of Calgary. Jennifer recalls, "It was a real treat to perform surrounded by such beautiful tropical plants. But the sudden shift to warm and humid air played havoc with the tuning pegs on all the stringed instruments making it very difficult to tune." 

Following Calgary, the Huggetts play the Banff Centre For The Arts. They are in Banff for three days and present both At The Field Of The Cloth Of Gold, and Henry the 8th And His Wives.

There's also time to go skiing. Other than Andrew, none of the Family has skied before. At first, the Family rented cross-country skis. After about 20 minutes of slipping and backsliding up the cross-country trails, they realize that gravity could be their friend if they only switched to downhill skis. 

Returning to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Huggetts do The Bob McClain show, a popular daytime Toronto CBC talk show. They perform Greensleeves and a couple of other songs and chat with Bob about their upcoming summer season. That same month, they perform 12 shows for local school children as artists in residence at the Shaw festival.


Jennifer at Banff, her first time on skis.

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Jennifer, Margaret, Bob McClean, Fiona, Ian, and Leslie.


Come summer, the Huggett Family offer two separate programs at the Shaw Festival: Henry The VIII And His Wives with folks songs in the second half and Elizabeth I And Her Suiters, which takes up the whole 2 hours of the show. This is the first time the Huggetts present a show without folk songs in the second half. There is concern about how the audience will react. However, the concern is unwarranted, and both audience and critical response is positive. Having everyone on stage participate in the commentary adds much to the performance. 

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The Huggett Family was a major attraction at the Shaw Festival in 1979.

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The Huggetts offered audiences the choice of two shows: Henry VIII And His Women and Elisabeth I - The Good Queen Bess. The latter being their first show not to include folk songs.


Margaret: "After the final Shaw Festival show on August 1st, we pack up and move everything back to Ottawa. We very much enjoyed living in Niagara-on-the-Lake with its theatrical ambiance and holiday atmosphere. Our total tenure was almost 18 months. Still, the Peace of the Aylmer Cottage is welcome too. 

This year we are self-sponsoring at the NAC. Mainly, our shows are always third-party sponsored. This means we are paid a fee, and the sponsor takes care of advertising, ticket sales, and staging costs and pockets the profits. Being self-sponsored means we assume all costs but keep all the profits. Leslie is more tense than usual because more risk is involved, and Chorus Line is playing down the hall simultaneously."


Leslie was concerned when he realised the Family would be competing with Chrorus Line for August entertainment dollars.

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At the NAC 1979. Leslie's need not have worried about sales.  All the NAC shows sold out that year.


In the fall, the Huggetts record the final material for My Lute Awake, adding ensemble pieces and madrigals to the seven lute solos Andrew recorded the previous year.   This time, among the pieces recorded are John Dowland's fantasias for viols and lute. Many other Early Music groups have recorded these works leaving out the lute part, which is strange as Dowland is considered to have been one of the finest lutenists of all time. This is some of the most beautiful music of the late Renaissance, and the Huggetts include the lute as originally intended. 

When it's released later that fall, it's the Family's first self-produced album.

00:00 / 04:01

Dowland - John Langton's Pavan

00:00 / 01:31

Dowland -  Digore Piper, His Galliard

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My Lute Awake. Recorded at Marc Productions in Ottawa.

00:00 / 02:31

Wilbye - Adieu Sweet Amaryllis

00:00 / 02:35

Dowland - Sir Henry Umpton's Funeral

00:00 / 02:19

Bennet - All Creatures Now

00:00 / 01:47

Farmer - Fair Phyllis I Saw Sitting All Alone

00:00 / 02:21

Pilkington - Rest Sweet Nymphs

00:00 / 02:17

Morley - Now Is The Month Of Maying

00:00 / 01:36

Dowland - Henry Noel, His Galliard

00:00 / 01:11

Holborne - The Wanton

00:00 / 02:28

Holborne - Pavan

00:00 / 01:29

Holborne - The Faerie Rounde


CBC TV is filming a thoughtful version of the Christmas story for Man Alive. This groundbreaking current affairs program, which explored issues of faith, commitment, and contemporary life, regularly drew more than one million viewers in Canada and won over 50 international awards. The integrity and humanity of the series, and its host, led to interviews with such notable international figures as Mother Theresa, Jacobo Timmerman, the Aga Khan, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. The series host is Roy Bonisteel. This episode is written and hosted by Reverend O'Driscoll of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, who has asked the Huggett Family to provide appropriate music of their own choosing. 

Roy Bonisteel, Man Alive, The Story of Christmas


Mid fall, the Family is asked once again to play the music for Romeo & Juliet with the Grands Ballets Canadien. Two shows each in Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, and Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is lovely to spend time again with their ballet friends. 

There is an unfortunate mix-up in Ottawa when Andrew gets the time of the sound check wrong. Andrew remembers, "Colin McIntyre, the company's general manager, verbally gave me the time, but I remember it wrong, and we arrive an hour late. Colin is understandably and demonstrably exasperated. If the sound check goes into overtime, it will cost the company hundreds of dollars in stage crew overtime, so we race through the sound check. 

Poor Dad, who's the most prone to nerves, is quite shaken by the whole thing. Ottawa is our hometown, and it's crucial to sound at our best. He sits next to me on stage, and is still visibly nervous come showtime. I try to send him positive vibes throughout the show, playing his parts in my head while performing my own to keep him on track. This is the only time we miss a rehearsal or sound check during our 4-year relationship with the company. It's most unfortunate that it happened in Ottawa."

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Romeo and Juliet at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The Huggetts are late for their sound check.


December sees the Huggetts once again Christmas touring small-town Ontario. Coburg, Petrolia, Port Perry, Bancroft, Belleville, and Kingston are the final concerts of 1979. In Kingston, a man with a clipboard appears backstage saying he is checking the hydrometer. Andrew remembers: "We think no more about it, but when we return to our dressing rooms, my wallet and jeans are gone. The fellow had unlocked the fire escape door earlier and came in while we were on stage. In 13 years of concerts, this is the only time we have had something stolen, a testament, I think,  to the honesty of people in general.

Andrew returns home to Ottawa, and the rest of the Family fly back to London just in time for their last Christmas with their British extended Family. 

THE LONDON FREE PRESS, Thursday, Dec. 6, 1979.

Huggett Family concert perfect Christmas fare

By Dick Newman :
of The Free Press 

PETROLIA — Christmas is family time, and the Huggett Family offers an apt concert package that all ages can enjoy. 

In Victoria Playhouse, Wednesday night, they used instruments and replicas of instruments that date back more than 600 years to entertain an audience of 500. But while their music reached back in history, the sense of enjoyment in each other's playing, singing, dancing, and speaking italicized the feeling of family.

The Huggetts gave two performances, and both houses were packed. One was for school children Wednesday afternoon.

The evening performance was better prepared for the costumed ensemble of father Leslie, sons Andrew and Jan, mother Margaret, and daughters Fiona and Jennifer. While the students didn't know exactly how to take the men's leotards in the afternoon, the evening audience was quite prepared for the polish of the presentation. 

The most startling aspect of a Huggett concert is the versatility of the six participants in singing the material researched by Margaret Huggett when the family returns to Britain and Europe for a time each winter.

The Huggetts make their shows' entertainments 'in the classic sense with short readings from descriptive writings

of the age of their music — most with a humorous touch. Even when the readings are not particularly clever or funny; they still simulate the feeling of a living room performance. 

With the exception of Ian, the family sings with a warm blend and balance of voices. Rather adroitly, the madrigal style of song has been enhanced by a continuo on the low-pitch viol played by Ian to make the singing more accommodating to the modern ears. The three women's voices were particularly charming in the sweet Sing We At Pleasure. Singing the familiar Sing We And Chant It and To Shorten Winter's Sadness, the five voices were clear, and the balance heightened the sense of ensemble. 

The Christmas part of the program had warmth which was heightened by the colors of the costumes and the rich sounds of the authentic instruments.

Much of the credit for the feeling of identity which the modern audience can enjoy comes from the arrangements by Andrew, who is gaining status also as an arranger of newer musical fare.

Even the acoustics of Victoria Playhouse were kind to the ensemble — proving almost ideal for this kind of group.

The Huggett family's appearance in Petrolia was made possible through the the co-operation of the Touring Office of the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

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The Huggetts work miracles

T HE HUGGETT FAMILY is really something! — though it
took your slow-witted reviewer some time to realize it. The reason for this belated recognition was that the Huggetts give the impression that they are a very charming family doing what they do quite casually, perhaps not quite on a fully professional level. 

One discovers, on the contrary, that though they are indeed a charming family, and though they do what they do as if it were off the
cuff, in fact it is an extremely well-oiled production in which every move is foreseen — and yet, miraculously, retains its charm.

What they do is an ingenious mix: of singing, playing, dancing and 


quotations read from documents — both instructive and amusing — contemporary with the music being sung.

At the Grand Theatre last night, they began with instrumental music of the 14th and 15th centuries played on a variety of the ancient instruments which the family handles so well — viols, a lute, krummhorns, and a gemshorn.

The latter instrument was described in the program as "made from the horn of an Andalusian bull." But the German word Gemse can, I am told on reliable authority, only refer to the mountain goat or chamois, and a "gemshorn" is thus a chamoishorn. Since my knowledge of Renaissance


instruments is very slight, I am happy to be able to introduce this small touch of pseudo-erudition.

What is more important is that this exceedingly cantankerous instrument was played beautifully in tune throughout as indeed were all the instruments, particularly noticeably so when several ranges of recorders were being played together.

In the recent years of renascent Renaissance, we have had ample opportunity to observe how relatively rarely groups of recorders satisfy the demanding ear.

The rest of the evening, apart from another dip into the 14th century for the well-known carol '"'In Dulci Jubilo", was devoted

to music of the late 16th and early 17th Centuries, with several works by Weelkes, one of the famous madrigalists of the late Elizabethan period,

William Byrd, the most famous of all, and other Elizabethans.
I am not competent to judge the authenticity of the dances — each performed by two or three of the six people — but they were elegantly done, and the careful research that had gone into the program as a whole suggested that they too were valid expressions of the period.

All in all, having entered upon this program with undeserved misgivings, I came away from it much delighted.

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Margaret Huggett at the Banff Hotel. Unbeatable views.


Ian Huggett. Down by the Ottawa River at the Aylmer Cottage.

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Leaf Rapids, seen through the window, is entirely housed within a single building.


Ian was an accomplished viola player though he didn't pursue it in later life.


Temple dance moves. Jennifer and Fiona briefly took temple dancing lessons while in Ottawa for fun.   Professionally, Jennifer, Leslie, and Margaret studied period dance at The Guildhall, London, with Madeleine Inglehearn and Elizabeth Goodchild of the London Ballet.

Fiona on her bicycle, the perfect way to get around in Niagara-On-The-Lake.


Fiona catching up on her school work. Fiona was the most diligent and graduated high school alongside her fellow siblings when the family group ended in 1982.


Driving from Alberta into British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains.

Ian, skiing the Banff trails was hard work.


Fiona and Jennifer in beautiful Banff, Alberta.


Margaret: researcher, librarian, writer of the shows, accountant, tour manager, and forever making new costumes.