is a cellist, singer, songwriter, composer, teacher, pianist and poet, based in Calgary, Alberta
“From River Jordan to the Prairies – thank you for the journey, Morag.”
“Morag’s quintessential talents and graceful presence are tonic for the soul. Her angelic sound enriches one’s spirit, filling it with tranquility, gratitude and a sense of surrender.” – Tracey
“It has been a while since I was so completely lost in sound, Watching and listening to the complementarity of Morag’s voice and strings, there was nothing else but just pure beautiful sound. For an hour everything else simply just left. There was only wondrous sound.” – Erik Howell
Over the past three years, Morag Northey has shared her voice and cello with thousands of people from Calgary to Vancouver and the heart of the Cariboo. What began as a personal calling, has propelled Morag, with cello on her back, to walk the Camino de Santiago trail ~ a historically symbolic spiritual pilgrimage, where she will spread her encouraging, loving message: “Walk On!” one step and then the next, when faced with life’s inevitable difficulties. She encourages us to reach out, come together, and move forwards right beyond what yesterday seemed impossible ~ through our living example, we inspire others to do the same! Check out her blog posts as she walks the trail!
Throughout this past year Morag, and The Ranche at Fish Creek Restoration Society, has hosted a series of Full-Moon walks in Calgary’s Fish Creek Park. Come rain, shine, or most recently a Summer snow storm, she has lead groups of brave followers on Walks, all the while sharing each month’s Full Moon themes, positively motivating ideas, her Cello, Voice and Song.
Dear Friends, Family, and awesome businesses that care:
I am so thankful to my community… please allow me to share these thank you’s, a few stories, thoughts and observations on this 2015 Thanksgiving Day that come from walking the Way. XO Morag
here we go! …
Having been challenged to move through and beyond a number of life-changing obstacles, seeing my half-century birthday celebration looming and feeling thankful for all the support I had experienced… I decided to offer something ‘uniquely Morag’ to Calgary, something that might prove encouraging and meaningful, perhaps even bolstering personal will and determination to transform dark into light.
For three years I played free non-denominational concerts, Lent through Easter, called Together Calgary, Together World ~ an hour of meditative cello and vocal journeying where my audience is embraced by the beautiful acoustics of Calgary’s Grand St. Mary’s Cathedral. Thank you Bishop Henry, Father Dennis, Father Greg, Lily, and sweet accommodating cleaning staff, for welcoming Us to your Sacred Home. Thank You Russell Bowers of CBC Daybreak Alberta for your interviewing brilliance and care to let folks know about the event.
During 2014 I added a year of musically-accompanied Full Moon Walks ~ inspiration through nature walks, ideas/talks, cello, song, poetry, trumpet, choir, and drums. I guided guests on walks in Fish Creek Park that were symbolically designed to enhance each Full Moon’s Seasonal Theme. Evenings often began with Alara Payten’s community drum and ending with hot chocolate, apple cider and a good dose of howling.
Thank you for the support and friendship Mitzie and Larry Wasyliw (a special Wow to them both!), The Ranche at Fish Creek Restoration Society, Great Events Catering, Jeff Fafard, Jay Michalak, Andrea Ciona, the Bishop Caroll singers, Linda Craig, Judy Forrester, Nadene Rogers, and all of YOU who attended ~ we faced and made the best of many (sometimes extreme) elements!
I wished my first 50 years of living Good-bye on the Camino Francés Way of St. James. The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port France to Galicia Spain, which honours and elicits Spiritual growth. Along The Way I shared my cello and song with the simple message of “Walk On” on the back of my cello case. I wished to provide inspiring accompaniment to those who wished it.
Through time, effort, encouragement and donations, from new and continued friends and family, I was able to purchase a carbon fibre cello from the considerate and kind family company: Luis & Clark. The first time I played this new instrument was at a Full Moon Walk and guests shared its tone was so full they heard a symphony! I love my cello very much ~ Thank You Stephanie and Luis.
Thank You Angel Catharine Baier : ) for the extended loan of your Luis and Clark carbon fibre cello which debuted on a stunningly clear and crisp -25 degree Full ‘Cold’ Moon evening, December 2013. Catharine also shared ‘Hope’ (cello named during TCTW 2013) when I played the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Whistler BC.
Thank You dear friends Karen and Dave Jeffery of the Sunset Theatre for your artistic and friend support…and thank you beautiful Karen Jeffery for creating original jewellery/talisman through “TheTimeoftheSoulisNow.com” her jewellery strengthens TCTW’s themes of Listen, Forgive, and Hope, for the wearer. Thank you for your thoughtful management, guidance, creativity and giggles! Thank You Karen and my girls for putting together a Phenomenal 50th Birthday ~Wow!
Hugs Michaela Jeffery for editing work along the way – I wish there will be much more to come – can’t wait! <3
Thank You: Kelly Schuler of Brave Communications (publicity, friendship, on-the-path and in the studio support and enthusiasm).
Thank You Joni Millar of Tilt Creative (‘On it!’ awesome designer of my advertisements and Super Mom). Joni made it possible for me to go on the Camino by moving into my house with both her children AND my children (The House of Girls!) adding a dog to the world of cats AND living to tell the tales! Joni you are Brilliant! Thank You!
Thank You Paul and Kristen Van Ginkel (I smile about the generous, sneaky sharing of your magical paintings and your Inglewood Art Gallery!), Thank You Annie, Paul and Larry Chirka; a family with a wealth of experience and expertise in video, photography and sound that they continuously put to work ~ still more to share from these rich times.
A few individual thank yous to: Doug Wong, Stacie Dunlop, Joe Novak, Orunamamu, Don Horsburgh, the Yilmaz family, Barbara and Peter Barry, Mary Sullivan, Eugene Stickland, Dallas Carlson, Debra Ross, Francis Willey, Bruce Hildesheim, Peebo Mondia, Cend Tol, Desere Pressey, Michelle Wesley, Zveta Panova, Louie Pisterzi, my new Camino Family!, Togna Mouwen, Lerrita Rubinoff, Julie Hicks, Elinor Holt, Raymond and Greta ManyBears, Michelle Thrush, Barbara Thrasher, Barry Wayne, and Michael Fitzpatrick… my ‘Earth Calls,’ Dalai Lama Cellist Archangel!
Thank You Mario Toneguzzi, Annalise Klingbeil, and Adrian Shellard (photography) of the Calgary Herald for your thoughtful interviews, and sharing of my goings on with our City.
Thank You Mom; Gay Northey, Dad; John Northey, Brothers; Ian Northey and Craig Northey and the whole extended shebang ~ you’re all a pretty cool, interesting and loving bunch!
Thank you to my other family, the Red Road Cello Studio ~ I am a fortunate teacher to have you all in my life. Thank you for being flexible and understanding as Elizabeth Munson and Patty Mastalerz gained fresh teaching experience and were exemplary (part of a teacher training program we began in the fall of 2013).
Thank You Marjorie Kornelsen, Jennifer Conlin and Dave Musgrave for housing my summer String BootCamps ~ Wow ~ it’s a generous and far-reaching gift you give when you share your home with all those amazing students!
Thank you Garrison Green Seniors Residence friends for your continued support of me, my teens, and Good Vibrations! (our Adult and Teen Cello Ensembles).
Thank you MRU for your Early Child String Program, and supporting my pedagogical training of excellent young motivated cellists, then integrating them into the program before and while I walked the Camino. Calgary now has two new wonderful dedicated young teachers!
Thank you to my spectacular, dedicated, talented, hard-working, passionate and present Music and Theatre families. I feel your support as water at my roots ~ significant and essential… At the loss of my partner, your support was extraordinary.
Bouquets to you… dear AUDIENCES, for making the effort to come to these concerts/events. Your spirit and presence is monumental. Thank you for carrying the messages, inviting your friends, building positive and invigorating us all in so doing ~ Love your way!
Thank you to my world-performing Solo cellist and ‘Sister’ Amanda Forsyth, former Principal Cellist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, who surprised me with the gift of her beautiful carbon fibre CODA bow (I love playing with a bow she put her vibes into!).
Thank you Jeremy Brown (saxophonist, scholar, conductor) for including me when commissioning a piece by our own Canadian Christiaan Venter, written for cello, alto sax and the Calgary Wind Symphony (the only music I carried on the Camino Trail).
Thank you Amy Wilson Glenn, gifted pianist and friend, for coming together following Camino for my new Recital and Talk: “Unstoppable Love.” Three performances were viewed in Calgary (Steinway Concert Hall) and two in Prince George with the amazing PGSO conductor, pianist, and singer Kevin Zakresky for the 2015 Canadian Winter Games!
Thank you dear Jeff Fafard, my a longtime beloved guy, friend, awesome Drummer (graces StageWest’s Stage regularly). Jeff lovingly gifted me the ticket for my cello ~ Calgary to France return. He was my Guide, Trip Planner, Knight, and serious Guru of Gear ~ don’t leave home without him (seriously multi-talented)… there are no words for the true scope of what we experienced together ~ commemorative tattoos on the way? and Thank You Fran and Orv Eby for your continued home guidance and support ~ you guys rock!
There Came a Point where One thing remained ~ I had no cello case!
I needed an extremely light, durable cello case with a backpack that could house 10 kilos of supplies and endure the 820-kilometre trek. I searched at first to no avail, and then… a ray of light: The Sound Post! Thank You Alistair and The Sound Post, Toronto Ont., for your immediate willingn I believe Alistair’s words were “At The Sound Post, we try to support the Artist in any way we can” ~ WOW! The case was perfect, even when it accompanied me on far tougher mountainous training climbs. The staff were helpful, professional, and what could have been tricky re: shipping, was just plain easy.
As I move through some recent blows I can honestly say my Camino consciously began at age forty-seven, it continues today.
Thank you Michael Green, my partner, for being a quintessential example of unconditional, free, joyous and funny love. Length of time together does not equal depth of love: we waited 20 years to come together and did so with unreserved vulnerability and commitment… Michael died along with three other amazing friends in a fatal crash six months later.
It took a Canadian village to allow this one woman to give, create and share her encouraging musical journeys. Over these years I have learned a few things… the simple message, “Walk On,” is a good one, however, “Be Still then Walk On” is even better. It is helpful to first honour our past and present, take stock in the truth that is today, rest, observe, listen to your dreams, and then walk one foot then the next, towards a better place, a better condition and a better future. We are not alone in this walk that is Life ~ We Walk Together.
As I walked the Camino Michael provided me undeniable support. Across 820 kilometers the Camino spoke to me through many ways and means: “It’s about Love.”
Embrace the many faces of Love <3
Allow Love to be first to inform considerations, decisions and actions not; religion, politics, industry, ethnicity, gender or geography.
Through my life I have held fast to my belief in the existence of a complete unconditional Love and I am privileged to know it exists. It requires courage, vulnerability, trust, honesty, listening, understanding, forgiveness, action, consideration, respect, humour, creativity, sacrifice and JOY! It requires all of us… and this Love is worth it ~ it is this Love that will help heal the Earth and her people.
My cello received her name at a crossroads while sharing dates, cheese, sausage and bread with Jeff Fafard and Martha Ashley (a wise, young German artist woman); “El Peregrina ~ The Pilgrim” was fittingly christened with a douse of Spanish red wine. Together she and I we will continue along the Good Red Road, walking towards “where the sun shineth day and night.”
“Put only Love on the Pillar”
July 20, 2015
There’s a Place
“There are places of non-division
where Peace floats on wind and song,
There are places where there is only Love
No battles, divorce, no angry voices,
Where there is Prayer and there is Silence ~
Where Long Slow Moments rest in stillness ~
Let’s spread our wings and we fly!
We’re Movin There!”
New New Day Day!
Oh it’s a New Day
and I’m seeing the world, on the backside of a Fog
Sun is shining, and it’s clearing away
the heavy ol’ clouds of yesterday
Come on and dance now, let’s shimmer and shake
big smiles across our face
come on and dance now ~ Let’s laugh and play
Celebrate the gift of this New New Day!
Oh it’s a New New Day Day,
New New Day Day,
New New Day Day, New!
When life gets you down
when you feel you can’t go on
be gentle ~
right foot then left
right after left
Mother Earth will engage you
the wind breathes with your breath
the river reminds you
these times too shall pass
Sky sings of vastness and mouse sings of small
mountains ground you as trees protect all
stars shine their brilliance ~ your spirit resurrects
one step after step after step after step
miraculous nature egoless and pure
be simple, exist ~ you can endure
walk on, breathe, move on
right foot then left
right and then left
walk to return back home to yourself
For strength, love, hope, and fresh will
come together, in unison ~ in natural communion
walk on, walk on