Magnolia Sisters from Louisiana play accordion, guitar, rub board and more.

WINTHROP – On Saturday, Jan. 31, at 2 p.m., the Magnolia Sisters will play Cajun standards, swing band numbers, blues, a capella ballads and fiddle duets.

Their performance will be in the new Winthrop High School Performing Arts Center. Proceeds will benefit the Winthrop High School French Club and the nonprofit Winthrop Education Corp.

The Magnolia Sisters, based in Eunice, La., are Ann Savoy, Anya Schoenegge, Jane Vidrine, Lisa Reed and Christine Balfa. They play accordion, fiddle, guitar, triangle and rub board.

Savoy is an authority of the history of French music in Louisiana as well as a masterful Cajun musician. Her book, “Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People,” received the American Folklore Society’s Botkin Award. She performs with the Savoy-Doucet Cajun band, along with her husband, accordionist Marc Savoy, and fiddler Michael Doucet (of BeauSoleil fame). She appeared in the movie “The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood” and recorded three songs for its soundtrack.

Schoenegge began performing folk and traditional songs in a female duo while attending Bowdoin College. Her interest in old-time fiddle music was cultivated during her time in the Appalachian Mountains at the John C. Campbell Folk School. She studied folklore and music, and completed a program in violin making and repair work at Indiana University. She lives in Louisiana and keeps busy with violin, banjo, and guitar repair work when she isn’t playing with the Magnolia Sisters.

Vidrine studied ballad singing with the late Almeda Riddle and documented and performed with French fiddlers and singers from Old Mines, Mo. She studied fiddle with the late Lionel LeLeux and Dick Richard. Her most recent undertaking is “Louisiana Voices,” a program that teaches schools how to preserve and present the state’s cultural heritage.

Reed comes from a long line of Cajun musicians, most notably her father, the well-known accordionist Harry Trahan, and her great-uncle, 1920s recording artist Bixby Guidry. She plays guitar, bass, triangle and rub board, sings Cajun style and, when not playing with the Magnolia Sisters, she plays guitar with her husband, fiddler Mitchell Reed, in their group, Vieux Temps.

Balfa is the daughter of legendary Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa. As a girl she was constantly exposed to traditional Cajun music and later began to play it herself. After her mother’s death she often traveled with the Balfa Brothers. With her husband, Dirk Powell, she has a Cajun band, the Balfa Toujours.

The Winthrop French Club will sell traditional Cajun, Acadian and French Canadian refreshments before the show and during intermission, so come hungry for good food.

Tickets are $5 for students/seniors and $8 for adults. They are available from the Winthrop High School French Club and at Apple Valley Books, 121 Main St., Winthrop. For more information, people can call Bill MacDonald at (207) 395-4279 or go online at

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