WHO ARE WE?
We are an organization of Irish musicians and those who love Irish music. We are the first branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in North America. Comhaltas is a cultural organization with funding from Irish government grants and private contributions created to support and promote Irish music, dance, arts, literature, and language among the Irish diaspora throughout the World.
The Irish Musicians Association of America was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1956. We have an illustrious history with some of the most important musicians in North America as members in our past and present.
In 1958, 20 members of the Irish Musicians Association travelld to Ireland on a concert tour. This may have been the first event of its type where an American organization committed to Irish culture travelled to Ireland to perform the music and dance of Ireland. At the time, interest in Irish music and dance was rapidly declining. The music and dance was generally relegated to rural areas in Ireland’s West. The Irish Musicians Association gave 21 performances to overflow audiences and rave reviews. This event was directed
by the legendary musician, founder and member, Frank Thornton.
We are now carrying on that tradition here in Chicago.
Our mission is to promote Irish music, dance, literature, and language among the Irish Diaspora and others who are interested in Irish music and culture. Irish music is the original “roots” music of America. Irish and Scottish music transitioned into our traditional American music. Our music is the root of “old-time” string band and fiddle music, cowboy music and poetry, and country and western music. While country and western music has become stylized and very commercial, the “root,” Irish music, is the “pure drop.” Our goal is to maintain the integrity of that “pure drop” and acquaint more people in America with its beauty and value.
We provide musicians for performances, social gatherings, benefits, and ceilis (Irish Dances). In addition, we help to support Irish music sessions by sharing our love of the music at regularly scheduled Irish music sessions.
The Irish Musicians Association also conducts a workshop entitled “try a new instrument” at the Gaelic Park Heritage and Harvest Fest in mid-September. At this workshop, members bring the instruments that they play, such as fiddles, accordions, flutes, tin whistles, concertinas, and bodhrans for young people and adults to try out and get the feel of an instrument that interests them before spending money on an instrument.
The Irish Musicians of America meets once a month. Currently we meet on the first Thursday of each month at Gaelic Park at 6:30 p.m. The day and time has varied over the years depending on the scheduling needs of the members.
We are easy to reach. You can contact us by email, text messaging, phone, mail, and at sessions.
708-341-0858. You can also text us at this number.
Address: Irish Musicians Association of America
Tim McGinness, Chairman
846 N. Humphrey Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois 60302