Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy: Meet the Family

By Kendall Buzzelli

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel with six (and counting) kids on tour? Somehow and someway, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy do just that with their musical family. We spoke with Natalie about the highlights and challenges of being a traveling, fiddling family.

So who all’s in the family?


The MacMaster/Leahy fam is made up of two parents and six children, with one on the way. Mary Frances is twelve. Michael is ten. Claire is eight. Julia is seven. Alex is five. Sadie is three. Baby #7 is due in May.

Are all the kids involved in music?

Yep! Natalie says her kids all develop differently musically, but they all have ended up loving music. She said, “For some, they showed interest early on. I remember Claire was six months old when she could sing a little bit of ‘Twinkle Little Star’ in tune. And my son Michael was 4 or 5 before he showed any musicality….and now, of course, on stage, Michael is the one that people come up to me about after the show and say, ‘Boy, that one kid of yours, he’s really … he’s kind of a star, isn’t he?'”

How does schooling work on the road?

The MacMaster/Leahy clan takes their studies on the road. Mornings are reserved for school. Natalie tries to teach two or more subjects at a time – usually math and reading/writing.

Do they ever tire of constant family time? 

Natalie says the easiest part of being on the road is often always being together. She says, “I love when I go to bed at night, and I look at them all and they’re all with us…I love being a family connected.”

Natalie, Donnell and the family will be at Wharton Center this Thursday, February 8. $19 student and youth tickets are available, and remember to follow Wharton Center on Facebook and  Twitter  stay updated. 

Kendall Buzzelli is a graduating senior at Michigan State University, studying advertising and arts & cultural management. She is also a marketing intern at Wharton Center. 


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Posted in At Wharton Center, Wharton Center News

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