Irish Session to benefit ACLU

February 27, 2017

Fiddle and beerThis Sunday, March 5th join Irish musicians from around the country, in participating in the Sanctuary Sessions, traditional music for civil rights.

Whether you live in Vermont, Massachusetts, New York or Oregon, you too can make a difference.

This is a massive session taking place around the country, and in Ireland, to help raise money for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), an organization that strives to protect the civil rights of all people.

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This land was made for you and me

February 17, 2017

Being able to play traditional Irish music is truly a blessing. Not just because it’s beautiful music that spans hundreds of years, but because it brings people together, from around the globe.

I have traveled through the US and many countries and sometimes have hopped in to listen to or play in a session. And even at the sessions where I didn’t speak that country’s language, I could still sit down and play a tune, have a laugh, and even make a new friend. It’s magical and it’s one of the things that makes this music so special.

With all the divisiveness going on in this country right now, I think what the world needs is a little more music and a lot more empathy for people who are different from ourselves. When you actually sit down to play or listen to music together,  you’ll likely find, we all have more in common than you think.

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Irish sessions: because playing with others is more fun

December 7, 2016

Irish flute playerNo matter how many tunes you learn, or how good you play them, it’s always more fun to play with other people. Whether it’s just getting together in someone’s house, performing for an audience or playing in a session, music is a social thing and is meant to be shared.

One of the things I love about living in Vermont besides the beautiful scenery and the fact that people care about each other, is there is a large community of Irish musicians and sessions all around the state to play in.

Aside from the weekly Saturday session at Bagitos in Montpelier (from 2-5pm), there are two more sessions coming up in the next week to play in or listen to:

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Outside the circle

November 3, 2016

irish sessionWhen you’re caught up in playing at a session I think sometimes we forget that people outside the circle are actually listening to us and our music makes an impact.

A few weeks ago I attended the bi-weekly Irish session at the Jericho Cafe in Jericho. It was a small session but the tunes were mighty (and the food was good too!) and a good time was had by all. We sat in our circle drank beer and played for about 2 hours and then packed it up.

As I was packing up my fiddle, and getting ready to go, this older gentleman who was sitting at the table next to us listening intently, told me how much he appreciated our music. He told me that his wife had died a year ago, and his mother had died 3 years prior. His family was Irish so he grew up listening to Irish music and when he heard us play it reminded him of days gone by with his beloved family. He told me he goes out to hear music as much as he can and that this music was “just lovely.”

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The red string

October 14, 2016

Chas ConquestIn some Chinese folklore, it is believed that the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. I love this concept. I envision a red string attached to me throughout my life and everyone I meet touches it in some way, changing the course of my life.

It implies to me, that the meeting of someone new has an impact on both parties and shapes our future in some way. I can think of countless times throughout my life where this has held true.

One time in particular was when I met a man and musician, named Charlie Conquest. Those who knew him, knew him as Chas. Chas recently passed on from this world to play music in the heavens with countless other musicians who were taken from us far too soon.

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Music that makes you want to dance

April 10, 2016

One of things I love about Irish music, and most Celtic music in general, is it makes me want to get up and dance. After all, it is dance music. Dancing is such a big part of this tradition and learning the dances actually helps in learning the tunes. This weekend, whether you’re a musician or not, you too can learn to dance.

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Fiddle workshop, dinner and a session

November 27, 2015

Randy Miller Fiddler

When great fiddlers come to town and offer a workshop, I almost always try to attend. Since I never went to music school, and I no longer take fiddle lessons, I find taking workshops and classes every now and again are extremely beneficial. Every fiddler has their own style and influences and there is always something to learn.

This week New Hampshire fiddler, Randy Miller, is offering an Irish fiddle workshop in Hanover, NH. His style encompasses Irish and Cape Breton influences with a New Hampshire contra dance flair. He’s an avid dancer and plays with the dancer in mind. His influences include Paddy Cronin, Sean McGuire, Simon St. Pierre, and one my favorites, Jerry Holland.

After the workshop fiddlers can head to dinner at the Salt Hill Pub in Hanover, and then can practice what they learned at a session hosted by Randy Miller and Roger Kahle.

The details of the workshop and session are below:

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