Nicholas Nash of Branch practices some traditional music on his accordion.
At first glance, one may think that old traditions are fading away in rural communities, but not in Branch. Three young siblings from the community are learning and keeping alive skills from the past.
Nicholas, Angela and Victoria Nash are all 15 and each has already mastered a love for the traditional skills of playing accordion, knitting, rug hooking and embroidery.
Nicholas, who is fifteen years old and in Grade 9 has been playing the accordion since he was six and has always shown an interest in traditional music.
"He always had an interest for it," said his mom, Evelyn. "I got him his first beginners accordion when he was in Grade 1 and he just kept it up from there."
Nicholas is sure to practice every morning before school and every night for an hour. He is proud to say that he no longer requires the music notes in front of him as he practices so much and nor does he require notes to new music he learns because he can pick it up on his very own.
"I really enjoy playing the accordion," Nicholas said. "I like to perform for others too, whether it be at school, a local concert or at a seniors home, I like to play. It makes others feel happy so it makes me happy."
"He's the next Eddie Coffey," smiled his younger sister Victoria, who has recently also been learning to play the accordion.
Both of Nicholas's younger sisters enjoy traditional hobbies as well. Victoria, who is ten years old and in Grade 4, and Angela, who is 12 and in Grade 7 share a love for knitting, rug hooking and embroidery.
"It is really fun," said Angela while counting stitches. "I think it's nice to get into traditional activities and learn from our elders. At first it was hard learning to knit but now I am working on making my own scarf and even some socks or dishcloths. Its fun!"
Victoria has taken a shine to rug hooking and embroidery.
"I'm not really sure why I like it so much but the embroidery has really pretty colors," she said. "I try to convince my friends who don't know how to do it to learn because its fun and it gives us a chance to get involved with the older people from the community too."
Angela and Victoria also learned how to perform the traditional dance, "The Lancers," last year with other youth from the community. They performed as a group at Bannerman Park last summer and were chosen to return this year to dance on the main stage.
Evelyn is pleased with her children's interest in the traditional ways and practices of the past.
"I love it! The knitting and stuff keeps the girls occupied and I find that they have been watching less television since they took up their new hobbies. I am also very proud of Nicholas's accordion playing. I just love listening to him play and I would be very disappointed if he gave it up now because he has come so far since he started playing. I just think it is great to see youth today carrying on traditions," said their mother while Nicholas practices his accordion and the girls go back to their knitting and embroidery.