Bringing music to seniors’ ears

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Gauthier stands in front of the many awards she has won for her step dancing and fiddling skills while holding her recent        acquisition, the Eugene Pigeon Award.

Daniel Coté-Ryshpan



Gauthier stands in front of the many awards she has won for her step dancing and fiddling skills while holding her recent        acquisition, the Eugene Pigeon Award.

Daniel Coté-Ryshpan

BRISTOL – For decades, Paulette Gauthier has been performing musical dance shows with her     students, who have also, for the last 15 years, volunteered their time and performed for seniors, special-needs students, churches, and more. Her volunteer work with seniors earned her the Eugene Pigeon Award from the CSSS.
“Every year at Christmas time, we play for a total of five seniors      residences from Shawville to Fort Coulonge,” says Gauthier. “The healthcare workers are glad to see us as well. They tell us the residents are happy for three days afterwards. It’s very rewarding to see the smiles on the residents’ faces.”
Gauthier, who has won several competitions, has been practicing traditional folk dancing for 32 years, and has been teaching it for 28 years. “I mainly teach step dancing and fiddle playing, but I do clogs, jigs, reels, the hornpipe, and even a little bit of river dancing,” she explains.
Gauthier’s classes, which are held at her home studio, are open to           students of all ages. “My students range from 4 to 90 years old.” Last fall, Gauthier and her students hosted their first workshop at Coronation Hall in Bristol, which was a hands-on experience for young children.
At one time, Gauthier taught as many as 80       students. “The interest in folk music has always    fluctuated over the years, but it seems to have gone down recently,” she says. “So many other hobbies are available to people now. They can learn so many dances that weren’t available in the Pontiac 20 years ago. It would be nice to have a renewed interest in Pontiac culture,” she     concludes.