Nova Scotia

Music lives on at Rita MacNeil’s Tea Room

The singer-songwriter had been planning to do a concert series at the tea room this summer, but she died in April.

Cape Breton singer died in April

Live music is coming back to Rita McNeil’s Tea Room in Big Pond, N.S. later this summer.

The 68-year-old singer had been planning a concert series at the tea room, but she died in April.

Her son Wade Langham said her family and friends decided to honour her wish.

"It is a kind of one-of-a-kind unique experience because it is in the Tea Room and we have it set up a little differently for these events. We have some curtains that go around and it makes it quite special," he said.

The music program will kick off on Aug. 8 with East Bay singer-songwriter Johnathan MacInnis, who sang with MacNeil last year.

Rita MacNeil had planned to perform at her Tea Room this summer. She died in April. (CBC)


"She wanted music at that Tea Room. She didn't just want it to be a tea room where you go in and look at her stuff, have a cup of tea and leave. She [wanted] people to go there and hang out," he said.

MacNeil’s long-time keyboardist Kim Dunn will be the featured performer.

A turkey dinner with be served during the noon hour followed by music.

"I think that's a fantastic idea. I think that's absolutely in the spirit of what Rita would want. She helped a lot of people get a start and this is a beautiful place for it," said customer Cathy MacArthur.

The $50 shows will run until the end of August.

Langham said they hope to keep it going and make it even bigger next year.

MacNeil died in April following complications from surgery after a recurring infection.