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17
Fri, Aug

Musicians
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By Donna Killen, Public Relations Officer, Midwest Region CCE

I am certain readers of the Irish American News are very familiar with Irish music, dance, song and language.  But are they familiar with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the governing body in Ireland who regulate, set the standard, offer exams, arrange concert groups, fund raise, etc., all in the name of Irish traditional music? 

Some years ago, Frank Burke contacted Mary Carmody and me and asked if we were interested in joining the Irish Musicians Association.   This question really took us by surprise because we are dancers, not musicians.  He explained we only needed to have a love for Irish music to become members.  So, we thought if that is all that is needed, we were definitely qualified, so we joined.  It didn’t take long before we learned the IMA answers to a higher body, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Here in Chicago we are fortunate to have two Comhaltas branches.  They are the IMA branch and the Murphy Roche Music Club branch.  Murphy Roche is headquartered in Burr Ridge and open up their home each Saturday to music students for private lessons as well as group lessons. 


photo by Mike Osgood

St. Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us, and there will be many celebrations.  Both Comhaltas groups are booked for about two weeks solid.  One event in particular that is a favorite of mine is Ireland on Parade hosted by Chicago Gaelic Park.  The Irish Musicians Association provides much of the traditional music for each of the dancing schools that come nightly to perform.  This celebration runs for several days, so be sure to check out their section of the IAN or their website.

I credit the caliber of Irish dance to the standard that is set by An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, the Irish Dancing Commission, also located in Dublin.  An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha does for dancers exactly what Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann does for musicians.  So while you are out celebrating this year, and you see dancers and hear musicians, you will have a better understanding of the structure of their organizations.

During this very Irish season, we often see an increase in membership.  It is our hope that you will consider joining our ranks.

Nearly every night of the week there is a music session somewhere in the Chicago area, not just in March.  Singers, dancers and those who perform recitations are always welcome.   There is no shortage of talent.  There are wonderful music teachers throughout the area.  I believe if you attend any music session you would be pleasantly surprised to see the number of children and teens playing Irish music.  They are the future of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

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