The Big Fiddle located within the Village of Harvey, New Brunswick, was erected to commemorate Don Messer, a world renown fiddler from Tweedside. The fiddle was created by local resident, Rollie MacLean and was installed in 2000. An official unveiling ceremony was held. The accompanying brass plaque states “A tribute to internationally renowned fiddler Don Messer 1909-1973”. At the same time, an information plaque written by local author, Johanna Bertin, was installed with the following text:
Don Messer Fiddler and Composer 1909-1973
Don, the youngest of eleven children of John and Margaret Messer of Tweedside N.B., began playing the fiddle at the age of five. Two years later he was performing at barn frolics and weddings. As Don Messer and His Islanders, the group of all-Maritime performers made 35 cross-Canada tours, performing in small towns and cities to equal praise. At the height of his career he and his Don Messer’s Jubilee cast entertained millions and were one of Canada’s favorite television programmes throughout the 1960’s. Don was widely recognized for his talent, recognition of and promotion of Canadian vocalists and musicians, and his determination to keep the feel of the frolic in his performances. He died in Halifax on March 23, 1973.
Prepared by Sheryl Bartlett, 28 Oct 2019