The Wild Oats
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The Wild Oats

Guelph, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Guelph, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Celtic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Musician Prof Sells CDs for Charity"

Mix up old English hymn tunes and a Celtic folk band, and you get a new CD intended to raise money for medical and school supplies for a developing nation.

The Dog-Eared Hymnal was released late last month by The Wild Oats, a local ensemble fronted by U of G economics professor Ross McKitrick. The group formed three years ago.

The new release is intended to raise funds for clinical medical supplies in Tanzania through World Vision Canada.

In 2012, the band gave more than $4,000 from sales of its debut album, Making Spirits Bright, to the charitable organization. Under a matching program, World Vision contributed more than $60,000 worth of school supplies to the East African country.

McKitrick hopes the new release will raise the same amount for medical supplies to Tanzania. “We didn’t want to record just for ourselves.”

He plays small pipes, pennywhistle and an Irish hand drum on the recording. Other band members are Nicole Ensing (piano), Tom Van Milligen (bass), Rick Avery (guitar), Jonathan Avery (fiddle) and Daniel Warren (trumpet).

The CD contains old-time hymns arranged for Celtic instruments. “These tunes have been sifted over for a couple hundred years,” says McKitrick. “These are great tunes. They survive every version of the hymnal.”

In a sacred-secular crossover, many of the hymns have taken on double lives as folk reels, jigs, waltzes and even what he calls “rollicking pub tunes.”

McKitrick started learning to play the small pipes and pennywhistle about a decade ago. He took lessons at Guelph-based Riverside Celtic College, where he’s now a board member.

“One thing I liked right away about Celtic music was that you learn in groups and it’s very sociable. You’re not just learning to play your own instrument. You’re learning to listen to others.”

He and other Riverside musicians play most Friday nights at the Shepherd’s Pub in Elora.

The CD was recorded at Revelation Sound in Guelph. It’s released under Chanter Records, McKitrick’s own label.

How many U of G economists have a record label? “I don’t expect there are others,” he says.

The group will hold a CD release concert Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at St. David and St. Patrick Anglican Church in Guelph. - AtGuelph

"In The Studio - The Wild Oats"

Ross McKitrick and Rick Avery from Guelph-based celtic band The Wild Oats joined us in the studio on December 7 2013 to play a few songs from their latest CD, “Dog-eared Hymnal Vol 1″ and play a few songs. Dog Eared Hymnal Vol 1 features 29 hymns and folks tunes arranged into medleys of jigs, reels, waltzes and airs. The CD celebrates the musical connection between the English hymnal and the traditional Celtic repertoire. Beloved hymn tunes handed down for generations come alive in their alter ego as reels, jigs, waltzes and airs. The Wild Oats are Ross McKitrick (small pipes, pennywhistle and bodhran), Rick Avery (guitar), Jonathan Avery (fiddle), Nicole Ensing (piano), Tom Van Milligen (bass) and Daniel Warren (trumpet). Proceeds from the release of Dog-eared Hymnal will help support the work of World Vision Canada. - Folk Roots Radio


Making Spirits Bright (2012, Chanter Records) 
The Dog-Eared Hymnal Vol I (2013, Chanter Records)



Formed in 2010 in Guelph Ontario, The Wild Oats started out as a Christmas band, playing carols rearranged into lively Celtic medleys of jigs, reels and waltzes. Since then they have expanded their repertoire to include a mix of traditional Irish and Scottish tunes and Celtic adaptations of popular hymn tunes. 

Founder Ross McKitrick performs on low and pennywhistles, smallpipes, border pipes and bodhran. The other core members are Nicole Ensing on piano and Tom Van Milligen on bass guitar and trombone. They are currently joined by veteran folk musicians Rick Avery on guitar and banjo, and Jonathan Avery on fiddle. For their recordings they have also been joined by the legendary Daniel Warren on trumpet. In fall 2012 they released their debut album Making Spirits Bright on Chanter Records, which was sold as a fundraiser for World Vision Canada. In fall 2013 they released their second CD The Dog-Eared Hymnal Volume I, also on Chanter Records, also in support of World Vision. Both albums have garnered enthusiastic praise from fans across North America and around the world.

They have performed in a variety of church, community, festival and corporate settings, before audiences large and small. They consistently get enthusiastic responses, frequently from audience members who had not previously listened to Celtic music but who are won over by The Wild Oats charming and energetic style. 

Band Members