World Premiere of Scott Macmillan's WOODLAND REVIVAL

Inverness County Centre of the Arts
Saturday Oct 5, 2019/3pm

Composer/Guitarist Scott Macmillan with Blue Engine String Quartet, Mohammad Sahraei, Tar/Daff, Saeed Foroughi, Santur/Flute, Nikoo Mansourifar, Daff, Kim Rayworth, vocalist, Tom Roach, Percussion, Kevin Dugas, Pipes, Jamie Gatti, Bass, The We’koqma’qewiska Drummers, Guitar Ensemble led by Brian Doyle.

Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

When from that tree, feathers and wings

sprout on your soul, be quieter than a dove.

Don't open your mouth for even a cooooo. (Rumi)

Composer, master guitarist and 2014 recipient of the Portia White Prize premieres his one-hour multi-movement music suite, Woodland Revival, highlighting forest ecology in Nova Scotia.

A musical happening, on stage and under the trees, celebrating forest diversity Scott Macmillan's new composition Woodland Revival is experiential original music derived & performed by Mi'kmaw drummers, Persian, Celtic & Classical musicians with the audience moving in & out of the woods.

Never sure how he would bring his musical expression to these concerns regarding the state of the world’s forests when 97 year old Elder and Gaelic Scholar, Sr. Margaret MacDonnell gave him her 1965 Harvard paper ‘Sacred Trees of Ireland’. She expressed her own concern about the present state of the trees in Nova Scotia; the trees in NS are trouble and someone should compose music for them and that should be Jennyfer & you!' Reinvigorating Scott’s imagination he recommitted to bring this concern in to being.  With the assistance from Arts NS and the Canada Council for the Arts, Woodland Revival, a musical happening celebrating forest diversity will be premiered October 5th, 2019.

With this music Scott is drawing from a diverse cross-section of musical elements that he has been exploring and performing. Among these elements are his Celtic and Classical influences, his performances with the Festival of Silk Road Rumi concerts, inspired by Yo Yo Ma and many years creating with the 1st Nations of Waycobah and Wagmatcook. Wooden instruments will be the focus of Woodland Revival, composing for himself on solo acoustic guitar and banjo, a string quartet, varying percussion instruments, vocalist, and a guitar ensemble.


Bio-diversity is paramount to the well being of planet earth. With that in mind Scott explored and created new music focusing on the human relationship to trees beyond their economic return. There is much forest beauty right outside his front door in Cape Breton but he is also witnessing large amounts of logging activity as they take their endless loads to the Biomass plant to Point Tupper and elsewhere in Nova Scotia.

For many years he has been concerned with the state of the forests in Nova Scotia. For Scott the current forestry practices in Nova Scotia, which include large amounts of forests on crown land being clear-cut, reducing them to disturbed landscapes, increasing eutrophication in rivers and lakes while also destroying vegetation and habitat for birds and animals. He believes this practice to be highly unsustainable and it is his desire with Woodland Revival to generate conversations about forests and forestry practices in Nova Scotia.

As music is an international language understood across national borders, the inclusion of First Nations and world musicians highlight the universality of the importance of forests across the globe and across cultures. Woodland Revival incorporates these elements as well as local amateur guitarists. The guitar is the universal instrument of the people and their inclusion symbolizes the expression of concern over forest health by the ordinary citizen.

The vocal elements incorporate elements of the poem Tree of Awe by 13th century mystic poet Mohammad Rumi, the song Trees by Kim Rayworth and The We’koqma’qewiska Drummers who will share their relationship with the forests through their Forest Chant. These are all very poignant and thought provoking with the song Trees bringing Woodland Revival to the heart of our concern. From there to the end Scott will invoke the feeling of an old time revival and send the audience back out into the woods hopeful and invigorated.

Sculpture by Dave MacGregor







Scott Macmillan’s passion for creating music propels him forward driven by his need to create. Macmillan seeks opportunities in all aspects of music making inspiring exploration into genres from rock to blues, classical to choral, Celtic to jazz, as well as modern and avant-garde. It’s connections with people that feed Macmillan inspiring his performances and creative talent.  “It’s the thrill of creating something for people that no one else has done, but when they hear it, they feel like they have heard it before,” enthuses Macmillan.

In March of 2019 Scott premiered his concerto for Electric Guitar, ‘12 & Change’, with Symphony Nova Scotia. Today with the generous assistance of Arts Nova Scotia and the Canada Council for the Arts he is premiering ‘Woodland Revival’, a musical happening for forest bio diversity in these challenging times and with the aim to generate conversations about the forestry practices in Nova Scotia.

In 2014 he was the recipient of Nova Scotia’s top Artist Prize, the Portia White Prize, Macmillan is a musical treasure, playing a significant role expanding audiences for Atlantic Canadian music both nationally and internationally for over 40 years. His music has taken him to many places, to perform his much loved ode to our world’s oceans ‘Celtic Mass for the Sea’, with his partner and librettist Jennyfer Brickenden, performing at Carnegie Hall, the British Isles, Germany, the US and criss-crossing Canada many times.

In 2008 Scott began mentoring a new generation of guitarists at the Fountain School of Performing Arts,

For more about Scott Macmillan go to:

They thought they could, and they did… The Blue Engine String Quartet was formed in 1997 as the core ensemble of the Nova Scotia chamber music series and are all members of Symphony Nova Scotia. This all woman quartet holds true to classical roots performing many of the masterworks of the string quartet repertoire while also expanding their horizons to perform innovative works that draw a wide-ranging audience to some of the East Coast’s most interesting chamber music programs.

Consistently recognized both as musical innovators and as impeccable musicians, Blue Engine String Quartet has been awarded artistic grants from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Nova Scotia Arts Council. They are frequently broadcast on CBC Radio and have been featured on CBC Television.

“ The quartet caught the music’s light elegance like netting a rare butterfly on the wing.” Chronicle Herald, Nov. 10, 03

“… brought ten years of ardency and polish to provide the finest, most energetic insightful playing I have ever heard” Chronicle Herald, Mar. 13, 07

For more about Blue Engine String Quartet go to:


We'koqma'qewiska Drummers are the women's drum group from We’koqma’q First Nation.

The group is comprised mostly of elders in the community who came together to learn and sing the traditional songs of the Mi’kmaq Nation. Accompanying themselves on hand drums, the women sing the songs that celebrate the beauty and power of Mi’kmaq culture.

The women began to sing together to keep these songs alive and to add this cultural richness to community events at home in We’koqma’q


Kim Rayworth is a Musician, singer, songwriter, born in Kentville NS to a musical family who instilled a love of the sound of an orchestra, classical and jazz.

She is a mother, grandmother, animal advocate and Nature lover.

Kim worked with Scott Macmillan in 1986 on the Trees, for CBC. She is grateful to revisit this music with Scott 33 years later.



Saeed Foroughi is one of Canada's best-known multi-talented musician, performer and composer.  He plays Classical and Irish flute, Celtic harp, Santur/Flute or Hammered Dulcimer and Setar. Following his graduation from Trinity College of London, he was principal flutist for Portuguese Symphony. Saeed has recorded and performed throughout Canada. He appeared in many international festivals, and has completed a tour of Japan and England and Western Canada.

For the past few year Saeed is touring Maritime to celebrates Silk Road Project initiated by Yo-Yo Ma to share art and education across the Provence with music of “Turlough O'Carolan” as well as classical Persian music.

For more about Saeed Foroughi go to



Mohammad Sahraei came to Halifax, NS in 2017, is a musician and ethnomusicologist originally from Iran, where he graduated with a BA in Music and an MA in Ethnomusicology, as well as an accounting degree and an MBA. He is a multi-instrumentalist (Tar, Setar, Dotar, Daff and Robab) and his composition and performance are focused on the music of Middle East and Central Asia.

Mohammad has traveled internationally, researching the music of each country he has visited and collecting more than 60 different and unusual musical instruments.  His aim is to establish Canada’s first music museum in Halifax, and he has taken the first step towards that goal with the World Music Museum, a registered non-profit with a board of seven well-known musicians and businessmen from the area.

Within just a few months of his arrival in Canada, Mohammad and his friends had formed Open Borders, a group of 30 international musicians.  In the last two years he has organized three concerts with Open Borders, performing global music and as well as his own compositions.  He also founded a second group, Tillit.

He and his bands have played in various venues including the Jazz Festival, Obey Festival, Upstream, Multicultural Festival, Feast Festival, and in the Iranian and Indian Festivals.  He has also performed with the Rumi ensemble throughout Nova Scotia.  And he has resurrected the idea of live music during silent movies, collaborating with both Dalhousie and Kings Universities.

In addition to performance, composition, and arranging, Mohammad also teaches and holds master classes and workshops about the music of various countries.

For more about Mohammad Sahraei go to:

For more about World Music Museum go to:

Born in Tehran, Nikoo Mansourifar arrived in Halifax in 2016. She studied Accounting & Finance at Urmia University in West Azerbaijan province, Iran.

She started playing Daff and Tonbak over ten years ago and has performed in several concerts including series of International Music Concert held in Halifax.

She is married to Mohammad Sahraei.


It is no surprise that Brian Doyle has become the compelling musician we now see on stage. Music was as important as first steps within the vibrant Celtic music scene he was born to on Cape Breton Island, and the rich musical soil of his own Chisholm family was a perfect launching pad for the musical career that was to follow. On stage since the age of fourteen, Brian played the Rock and Blues scene with many successful groups including his own project "GREYLOCH". A Celtic Rock fusion group nominated for EAST COAST MUSIC ASSOCIATION - Rock album of the year, 2000. Happy to play with any others on the world stage, Brian's versatility is in demand and has him touring the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Europe.

For ‘Woodland Revival’ Scott has enlisted Brian to lead a guitar ensemble of community players from Inverness County who will perform in Scott’s Premiere.   For more about Brian Doyle go to

Kevin Dugas grew up just down the road from the ICCA, in Inverside.  He has been playing the bagpipes for 24 years and comes from a long line of musical tradition bearers from Deepdale and Broad Cove.  Notably, his great grandfather and great grand uncle were Hughie Dan and Peter MacDonnell - brothers who owned farms on Deepdale and hosted house parties every Sunday.

Kevin has performed with several groups, including the 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel grade one pipe band based out of Halifax and the ECMA nominated traditional piping group from Cape Breton, Nuallan.

Kevin currently resides in Dartmouth and works as a healthcare social worker.



Born in Truro, Nova Scotia, Jamie Gatti has a reputation for versatility in playing all musical styles from classical, to jazz, rock, Celtic and theatre.  A professional bassist for 35 years, Gatti has toured and recorded with many artists from around the globe.  Composer/arranger/producer and now bandleader are his interests at this time.

Jamie began playing during high school under the tutelage of music teacher Ron MacKay.  From Ron he learned many of the skills necessary to be a professional player.  He started work in the late 1970’s in Halifax doing shows and commercials for TV and Radio and playing club dates.  In 1980 he accepted an invitation to audition for the RCMP band and won the position.

Gatti moved to Ottawa in 1981 joining the RCMP band.  While with that group he toured Canada extensively and around the world performing and recording.  He also participated in the Ottawa music scene playing in many jazz clubs, sessions, theatre shows and with a few orchestras.  He was fortunate to work under conductors such as Boris Brott, David Foster, Erich Kunzel, Newton Waylon and Howard Cable.

In 1994 Gatti retired from the RCMP and returned home to Nova Scotia.  He presently tours and records with the Barra MacNeils.  As well as recording with other Canadian artists, he plays sessions at CBC, with Symphony Nova Scotia and at Neptune Theatre.

Since 1992 Gatti recorded 4 CDs, all solo bass themed, with original tunes and rearranged standards.  The last one ‘Over Time’, was nominated in the Best Jazz Artist category in the 2007 East Coast Music Awards.  Also nominated, 2008 East Coast Music Awards with original music the group Tonic; 2007 Music Nova Scotia Musician of the year and Jazz Recording of the year.  Playing all styles of music has filtered into his writing, combining many of these simultaneously.  Gatti’s home base is Halifax, Nova Scotia.

For more about Jamie Gatti go to

With a B.Mus., in Performance from Berklee College, Boston, MA Tom Roach’s career as a professional musician has been eclectic and expansive.  His résumé as a freelance musician includes multiple recordings, radio and television broadcasts, and years of touring with world class Canadian artists.  He has performed throughout North America and Europe, from small clubs and community halls, to major concert venues, including New York's Town Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, to a multitude of international music festivals - Tom has had the worldly experience of playing for audiences of 10 to 10,000.  In 2001 Tom joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a member of The Stadacona Band of The Royal Canadian Navy.  He has continued to perform throughout Canada and Europe, adding performances for Royalty, and representing Canadians at Juno beach celebrations, to his résumé.

Tom's debut recording, "Piano Trios", won the 2006 East Coast Music Awards jazz recording of the year.

While in Boston, he also studied privately with Bob Gullotti, drummer for the renowned group, The Fringe.  Upon completion of his Berklee studies, Tom participated in the Creative Music Studio's percussion intensive workshop, under the tutelage of drumming legends Jack DeJohnette, Trilok Gurtu and the late Ed Blackwell and Collin Walcott.  Further studies throughout Tom’s career include master lessons with Bob Moses, Dom Famularo, and Cuban master Enrique Plá.

Over his busy 35 year career Tom has also taken many opportunities to teach.  He has been an adjunct professor at both Saint Frances Xavier University and Dalhousie University, conducted and adjudicated ensembles in the public school system, and has taught at numerous music camps and clinics.