It’s next weekend, so if you’re a musician planning to compete you could still bone up!  The convention itself is in San Antonio this weekend, but if you couldn’t make the sunny weather near the Alamo there’s always the Parsippany Hilton. 

April 1-3 is the  60th Anniversary Celebration of Irish Music, Dance, Song and the Irish Language hosted by the CCE Mid-Atlantic Region.  To find out more about competing as a musician check their website.    This is the system that leads to the All-Ireland Awards!  There are  music competitions (open to the public), the Hall of Fame Banquet and of course, a Ceili with some of the region’s best musicians (Joanie Madden’s on the postcard).   According to Paul Keating, one of the co-chairs whom I interviewed for the podcast (Paul is also a columnist for the Irish Voice and Artistic Director for the Incomparable  Catskills Irish Arts Week)  it’s  worth attending whether or not you’re competing just to hear the amazing talent.  The website states:

Spectators are welcome, and indeed encouraged. Come out to hear some great music, and meet famous and soon to be famous musicians. While there is a small admission fee of $10, this can be avoided entirely by volunteering and joining our staff. Admission fees are collected at the admission desk, just inside the ballroom doorway of the hotel. We ask that all spectators drop by and pay their admission fees. At the desk you will also be able to pick up a list of competitions and competitors, and also a number of free information flyers about CCE and and other items of interest.

Rose Flanagan is eager for volunteers!  Email her here!

The weekend starts Friday with a Ceili followed by Music Sessions.  Saturday is when the competitions begin, and it’s also the Hall of Fame Banquet with four very special inductees:  Don Meade, Marjorie Mulvihill, John Reynolds, and the late Jim McGinty.  There have been 40 inductees since the first one in 1990, Tom Doherty, the Melodeon player from Donegal.  And, the success of the program has inspired other North American Regions to start their own Halls of Fame.  Go Mid-Atlantic!  (we may not be New England or the South but we do have an identity.  Honest.  We do.)

Judges for this year’s competition are really impressive too, including among them Joshua Dukes, Oisín Mac Diarmada, Sarah Jane Woods, Pádraig King and Don Meade, among others
 I’ve never been to a fleadh myself, but I’ve seen The Boys and Girl from County Clare. only, why, why, why did Andrea Corr not even move her left fingers when she mimes playing the fiddle?  I mean it’s not like she doesn’t know fiddlers have to move their fingers, her sister Sharon plays after all… otherwise a fun film with Colm Meany and John Ivin.  Gorgeous scenery, too.

And it made me want to go to a fleadh….

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.