The Magic of Music

irish music
John Doyle, Irish guitarist and folk singer

I remember the first time I met John Doyle. He was scheduled to play with Liz Carroll at a festival in Vermont. I was working at a booth selling instruments, CDs, strings, etc. He came to the booth and started looking at the CDs. I quickly ran over to him, pulled out one of his and Liz Carroll’s CDs and said “I hear the guitar playing on this one is pretty good.” He giggled gracefully at my stupid joke and we started chatting.

Later that evening there was a late night session in one of the festival tents. And because I had taken a week long fiddle workshop with Liz Carroll prior to this festival, she recognized me and called me into the inner circle to play a tune. There I was in my glory sitting with Liz Carroll on one side and John Doyle on the other. Then they asked me to start a tune.

Wouldn’t you know I couldn’t remember one, not one tune. In fact I think I completely forgot how to play the fiddle in that moment. Then all of a sudden one came to me by the grace of God (Felix the Wrestler) and everyone started playing. It was a moment I’ll never forget. Here I was, such an amateur who barely knew any tunes (this was about 10 years ago), scared to death to play in public and two of my musical heroes sitting by my side encouraging me to start a tune.

Thinking of this story reminds me just how special this music is, not only because it’s beautiful music but because the people who carry it on are beautiful people. I mean I grew up listening to the Rolling Stones, but never in my lifetime will I get to sit side by side with them to play a tune. Irish music is truly special in so many ways.

This month is your chance to meet and listen to some of these wonderful musicians. Here are a few concerts you won’t want to miss:

Upcoming Irish Music Concerts

John Doyle Solo Concert
“Name many of the most notable recordings and/or performers in Irish music and it’s a fair bet that John Doyle had something to do with them.  Liz Carroll; Eileen Ivers; Karan Casey; Solas; Michael Black; Mary Black; the trio of McCusker, McGoldrick and Doyle; The Teetotalers (Martin Hayes, Kevin Crawford, John Doyle); and now Usher’s Island (Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Mike McGoldrick, Paddy Glackin and John Doyle) – a vertible who’s who of the greatest names in Irish music.  These are just a very few of the stellar artists for whom John Doyle’s signature guitar sound, singing or songwriting is essential. ”

Date: Saturday, July 8, 2017
Time: 8pm (doors open at 7:30pm)
Location: Cabot Town Hall, 3084 Main Street, Cabot, VT
Tickets: $20 – Purchase tickets online
Info: Call 802.793.3016 or email

Bernadette Nic Gabhann (fiddle), Eileen Gannon (harp) and Brenda Castles (concertina)
Bernadette Nic Gabhann, Eileen Gannon and Brenda Castles will perform a traditional Irish music concert. Presented by Young Tradition Vermont & the Burlington Violin Shop. Learn more.

Date: Monday, July 17, 2017
Time: 6:00pm (doors open at 5:30pm)
Location: Burlington Violin Shop, 23 Church Street, Burlington, VT
Tickets: $20 suggested donation

The Rowsome Family of Dublin
The Vermont School of Irish Traditional Music is delighted to present one of Ireland’s great musical families, carriers of a musical tradition which goes back many generations.  Kevin Rowsome, grandson of renowned piper and pipemaker, Leo Rowsome, his wife Lorraine Hickey, of the well-known Preston family, and their multi-instrumentalist daughters, Tierna and Naoise, will be spending a week with us in Vermont.  With pipes, fiddle, harp, concertina, accordion, and vocals, this is a unique opportunity to hear the entire family together and they are not to be missed.  We’ll send a reminder, but here’s a video of the girls performing during the Easter Rising commemoration in Dublin last year.  

Date: Sunday, July 23, 2017
Time: 7:00pm
Location: 4 Corners Schoolhouse, East Montpelier
Tickets: $20 suggested donation, $10 for children 15 and under


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