Kate’s Klasses

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Kate Murphy was a musician, step-dancer, singer and, in later years, a songwriter. She introduced many people to multiple forms of traditional music and dance on clawhammer banjo, hammered dulcimer, as the piano “time-meister” of many contra and square dance bands, as part of ensembles like Muddy York, the Dawnbreakers, Murphy’s Law and as one of the members of The Mulligan Dancers. She also became a true friend and supporter to an older generation of musicians in Canada, fiddlers like Tommy McQueston and Carl Grexton, warming their later years. She truly embodies what AlgomaTrad is all about.

Kate passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2021. Many friends and family members came together to create a bursary fund in her honour to encourage people to learn the traditions she loved so well. The bursary will be supported by fundraising events, and will go towards supporting workshops throughout the year, possibly individual lessons, instrument rentals, subsidies for people to go to Algoma trad, whatever seems in keeping with her indomitable spirit.


And so, we proudly present our first series of Kate’s Klasses, which will be hosted by AlgomaTrad on Zoom every Sunday from 1pm-2:30pm, for six weeks from January 08 to February 12, 2023. Classes will be one hour long with a 15-minute introduction/gathering/sharing time before and after the class.

Three classes occurring concurrently through breakout rooms are:

  • Laurie Cumming

    Mulligan-style Stepdancing – Beginner to Novice Level – Instructor Laurie Cumming
    Kate Murphy enthusiastically shared her love of step dance with many people over the years. As my mentor, Kate taught me a few of the routines danced by her performing group, The Mulligan Dancers, and in this workshop we’ll learn the Mulligan Jig. This unflashy but oh-so-satisfying step dance can be enjoyed by all, with or without stepping experience. Hard-soled shoes are traditional, however no special footwear is required.

  • Hannah Shira Naiman

    Clawhammer Banjo – Beginner to Intermediate – Instructor Hannah Shira Naiman
    In this clawhammer banjo class we will work on learning and finessing a few essential banjo techniques, and dig into some Appalachian oldtime fiddle tunes and songs that are great for sharing in a jam (or playing for your cat)!

  • Julie Schryer

    Piano Accompaniment – Intermediate Level – Instructor Julie Schryer
    This piano class, in the spirit of Kate Murphy, will be for piano players who would like to get a nice dance groove going as an accompanist for fiddle tunes. We’ll work at accompanying a waltz, a set of jigs, and a set of reels. So if you have a basic skill set of scales and chords and would like to have fun playing by ear and becoming more comfortable in an accompanist role please join us for some fun.


Registration Fees – to ensure accessibility for all income levels, we are offering a sliding scale as well as a fully-subsidized tuition opportunity. Donations to the Kate Murphy Fund can also be added to your fee – we thank you for your support.

  • Full Registration Fee ($100)
  • Partially subsidized (pay what you can in ten dollar increments on a scale between $50-$100)
  • Fully subsidized (no payment required)

Registrations now open for Kate’s Klasses Winter 2023 program!

If you have registered and would like to pay for your classes, Pay Now!

If you have questions about this program, please contact Laurie at

If you have questions about registration or fee payment, please email AlgomaTrad at or call 705 782 4311.