Dad helps daughter with broken wrist play fiddle - by literally lending a hand

  • last month
A fiddle player who broke her wrist was able to still play her gig after her dad gave her a hand - literally.

Mary Leahy, 18, broke her wrist just two days before her solo at the Peterborough Music Festival, Ontario, after falling off a farm buggy.

But instead of pulling out, her dad Donnell Leahy, 55, - one of the best fiddle players in the world who toured with Shania Twain - stepped into help.

He played the bow while Mary did the chords with her healthy hand.

Mary, a full-time musician from Peterborough, Ontario, said: “I managed to play with my left hand only - I don’t know how, but it was really hard."

“People said it looked really hard to do - but we know the instrument inside-out.

“I honestly don’t know how I pulled it off, but I did - and I think the novelty of it makes the show better."

"His left hand was playing the fingers on my back.

“It was tickling me - while I had to imagine myself playing the bow with my right hand.

“If you understand the instrument, it’s not hard at all.

"I loved having my dad help me out with the solo - we’re even thinking of making it part of the act."

Mary has been touring with her parents for 12 years, after starting fiddle lessons aged four.

The band, the McMaster-Leahy Family, includes Natalie MacMaster, 51 and Donnell - as well as Mary's six siblings, Michael, 16, Clare, 15, Julia, 13, Alec, 11, Sadie, 10 and Maria, six.

They play festivals every summer - and her solo at the Peterborough Music Festival in Ontario, was on July 1, 2023.

But on June 29, she fell from a farm cart - and ended up with a wrist splint.

“I’m usually the last person to do something stupid,” she added. “I was on the back of a side-by-side farm cart.

“I was riding on the back with all my siblings, when another driver just jerked the back of it.

“I landed on my wrist - but I didn’t think for a second it was broken.

“When I woke up the next day, I was very swollen and very sore."

Her best friend, Cecilia, 17, who is also a musician, offered to play the piano with her - while Donnell helped her play the fiddle.

Donnell was named as one of the ‘world’s best fiddle players’, by Viterbo University, Wisconsin, and toured with Shania Twain in 1997.