PERFORMERS & INSTRUCTORS
Click on an instructors name or scroll down for bios
Classes and Instructors
Director - Laura Byrne
Button Accordion (All Levels) - Billy McComiskey
Fiddle (Advanced) - Brian Conway
Fiddle (Intermediate) - Patrick Ourceau
Fiddle (Fundamentals) - Rose Flanagan
Flute (Advanced) - Larry Nugent
Tin Whistle (Intermediate / Advanced) - Kathleen Conneely
Flute/Tin Whistle (Fundamentals) - Josh Dukes
Uilleann Pipes (All Levels) - Michael Stribling
Tenor Banjo (Intermediate & Advanced) -- Pauline Conneely
Concertina (All Levels) -- Alex Boatright
Guitar (DADGAD - Intermediate/Advanced) - Sean Earnest
Guitar (Standard) Pat Egan
Piano (Intermediate / Advanced) - Donna Long
Bodhran (Intermediate / Advanced) - Mathew Bell
Bodhran (Fundamentals) - Myron Bretholz
Songs - Liz Hanley
Irish Social and Sean Nos Dance - Megan Downes
Matthew Bell, Bodhran (Intermediate / Advanced)
Matthew Bell is a percussionist known for his versatility and finesse across a broad range of rudimental and folk traditions. Matt has performed and recorded on the bodhrán with with a host of Celtic musicians including Bonnie Rideout, Jerry O’Sullivan, William Jackson, John Doyle, Cathie Ryan, Liz Carroll, Joanie Madden, Mick Maloney, Brendan Dolan, and Billy McComiskey. He is featured on Billy McComiskey’s Grammy- nominated album, Outside the Box, on Compass Records. In 2015, he created ContemporaryBodhran.com, an incredibly comprehensive bodhrán educational resource. The site currently features over 130 video lessons. Matt launched Rebellion Drums Bodhráns in May 2016 in collaboration with three of the world’s finest craftsmen, Christian Hedwitschak (bodhranmaker.eu), Stephan Moises (tippermaker.de),
and Dave Loyal (loyaldrums.com). Rebellion Drums Bodhráns are the first professional level instruments that are designed to use standard aluminum-collared synthetic drumheads. More info can be found at: RebellionDrums.com.
Matt began his Celtic percussion career in 1993 as a member of the City of Washington Pipe Band under the direction of Jonathan Quigg. After several top-five finishes from 1996 to 1998, the bandwon the Grade 2 World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in August of 1999. The City of Washington Pipe Band’s Drum Corps were also World Champions that day. In 2006, Matt was admitted to the Adjudicator’s Panel of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association. He is a frequent drumming judge at pipe band contests throughout the United States. Matt most recently competed at the World Pipe Band Championships in 2014 with the Grade 1 Los Angeles Scottish Pipe Band. Since 2002, Matt has served as a percussionist with the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. He has performed hundreds of shows with the Corps over the last fifteen years, including the inaugurations of Presidents Bush and Obama. He was selected as the solo timpanist/percussionist for the US Army Historical Music Ensemble, a specialized chamber ensemble of the Fife and Drum Corps, in October of 2012. Matt holds a Bachelors of Music Degree in Percussion Performance from DePaul University, where his primary teachers were Ted Atkatz and Michael Green. Matt Proudly Endorses Rebellion Drums Bodhráns, OffWorld Percussion Products, Vic Firth Drumsticks and Mallets, and Remo Drumheads and World Percussion Instruments.
Alex Boatright, Concertina (All Levels)
Alex Boatright is a concertina and harp teacher based in the Washington D.C. area. A multiple All-Ireland medalist herself, Alex is a top teacher in the USA with regional and All-Ireland Fleadh winning students and is half of the duo Síneadh Fada with Sean-Nós dancer Shannon Dunne. Her teaching style centers around the 'how' and 'why' of concertina playing in a way that empowers students of all levels and generations to take charge of this quirky instrument and progress toward their goals even after class has ended.
Alex studied both harp and concertina with Gráinne Hambly of Co. Mayo, but was also largely influenced by studies with Tim Collins during his stay in NYC and in yearly summer classes with Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh. She also studied fiddle with acclaimed NY Sligo fiddle teachers, Rose Flanagan and Brian Conway, whose iconic bowing style has shaped her own concertina fingering-system and bellows-work.
Alex has a Masters of Music Performance on the Cello from the University of Maryland and uses this background to bridge the classical to traditional divide many students feel coming to traditional music after already being accomplished classical players.
Myron Bretholz, Bodhran (Beginner)
A native and current resident of Baltimore, Maryland, Myron has lent his talents as a percussionist to more than fifty recordings of Irish, Scottish, and other folk music. Since the late 1980's, Myron has taught bodhran and rhythm bones at many workshops throughout the United States and Canada, including Boston College's Gaelic Roots, Gaelic College in Cape Breton, the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat in Texas, and the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, New York. In March 2000, Myron was privileged to receive a Maryland State Arts Council grant for solo instrumental performance, and he was also honored to play at the White House on four occasions in the late 1990's and early 2000's. In addition, Myron's prodigious knowledge of the history and lore of Irish tunes has led to his being invited to contribute liner notes to a number of recordings over the past quarter century, and he is often called on to emcee at concerts and festivals as well. Myron received early inspiration and instruction in bodhran from Jesse Winch and in rhythm bones from Karen Seime Singleton, and also counts among his influences the playing of Robin Morton, Peadar Mercier, Jim Sutherland, and Johnny McDonagh. And although not a dancer himself, Myron also draws inspiration from Irish step dancers, and he reckons that the ideal percussionist should be able to do with his or her hands what dancers do with their feet. Myron's relaxed and humorous teaching style has made him an in-demand workshop leader and instructor, and he is always willing to encourage novice players.
Laura Byrne, Director / Flute
Laura Byrne is highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic for her mastery of the Irish traditional flute and whistle. Laura began studying flute at age 9 in her native Vermont, continued her studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore where she earned Bachelor’s degrees in both flute performance and music education in 1995. Though classically trained, she chose to devote her musical career to Irish traditional music, committing herself to the playing of the older generation of musicians through her many trips to Ireland and from close study of the emigrees to the United States. Laura has performed at countless festivals, ceilis and concerts in the U.S., Canada and Ireland including venues such as the Kennedy Center, Birchmere, several National Folk Festivals and the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, NY. She performs frequently with Baltimore greats Billy McComiskey, Donna Long and Jim Eagan. Laura was featured on the Eva Cassidy remix album Wonderful World (2004). In 2014 Laura was a featured performer with the English choir Libera at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC which was released as a DVD recording and broadcast worldwide.
Laura has recorded two solo albums Tune for the Road (2005) and Lucky Day in (2010) which received great reviews, and were highly praised by Irish Music Magazine. She is a member of The Old Bay Ceili Band which released an album Crabs in the Skillet (2011). She most recently released a duo recording with New York based fiddler Rose Flanagan Forget Me Not (2014). Laura is a two time grant recipient of the Maryland Traditions Master Apprentice award - as a ballad singer apprentice in 2007, and then in 2011 as a Master of flute. She received the Individual Artist award in performance from the Maryland State Arts Council in both 2010 and 2011. Laura teaches Irish flute privately and at Goucher College in Towson, MD, and founded, organizes and directs the Baltimore Irish Trad Fest. www.laurabyrne.com
Kathleen Conneely, Tin Whistle (Intermediate)
Born in Bedford, England, to Irish parents from Galway and Longford, Kathleen began playing Irish music at age twelve, along with her siblings, Bernadette, Michael & Pauline. She took lessons from Co. Clare musician, Brendan Mulkere, a well- regarded teacher in and around London. Her father Michael was a fiddle, accordion and tin whistle player from Errislannan, Co. Galway, and the Conneely home was always filled with music from records and live sessions with many visiting musicians.
Over the years, Kathleen has lived in London, Dublin, Chicago & Boston, where there was always a lively traditional Irish music scene, which has helped to sustain her passion for the music. She has taught for Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann both in Dublin and Boston, at the Boston College Irish Studies program; Gaelic Roots, the Irish Arts Week in the Catskills, and the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC.
Currently residing in Boston, she lived in Rhode Island for over twelve years and in 2012 released her first solo CD, ‘The Coming of Spring’.
Pauline Conneely, Tenor Banjo (Intermediate / Advanced)
Pauline Conneely was born in Bedford, England, the daughter of Irish parents from Connemara and Longford, raised in a family steeped in Irish music, dance and culture. As a young girl she achieved great success, becoming a champion Irish step dancer before turning her focus to music. Under the tutelage of legendary musician Brendan Mulkere, Pauline honed her love of the banjo, eventually earning her status as renowned banjo player.
She founded the band Chicago Reel, who feature regularly at Irish festivals around the Midwest and East Coast. She frequently shares the stage with Grammy-nominated fiddler Liz Carroll, as well as many respected artists performing on the world stage today, including John Doyle, The Chieftains, Cherish the Ladies, Sean Keane, and Mick McGoldrick.
Brian Conway, Fiddle (Advanced)
New York born fiddler Brian Conway is a leading exponent of the highly ornamented Sligo fiddling style made famous by the late Michael Coleman. The winner of two All-Ireland junior titles in 1973 and 1974 and the All-Ireland senior championship of 1986, Brian’s early studies were with his father Jim of Plumbridge, County Tyrone and with Limerick born fiddler/teacher Martin Mulvihill. However, it was the legendary fiddler and composer Martin Wynne who taught him the real secrets of the County Sligo style. Later, Brian met and befriended the great Andy McGann of New York, a direct student of Michael Coleman, who further shaped his precision and skill on the instrument.
In 1979, Brian recorded a duet album, The Apple In Winter (Green Linnet) with fellow New York fiddler Tony DeMarco. He released his debut solo CD, First through the Gate, on the Smithsonian-Folkways label in July 2002. This CD was voted the prestigious Album of the Year by the Irish Echo. Brian is also featured on the CD, My Love is in America, recorded at the 1990 Boston College Irish Fiddle Festival, and on the documentary “Shore to Shore” which highlights traditional Irish music in New York.
In 2007, Brian released a CD titled A Tribute to Andy McGann on the prestigious Irish Label Cló Iar-Chonnachta. This CD brings together Irish Music legends Joe Burke and Felix Dolan along with Brian in a CD which has received glowing accolades since its release.
Brian followed this CD with a much anticipated new solo CD titled Consider the Source, in deference to the rich environment from which Brian learned his music. This CD was released in 2008, also on the Cló Iar-Chonnachta Label, and features guest appearances by music greats Niamh Parsons, Dan Milner, Billy McComiskey, Joannie Madden, Felix Dolan, and Brendan Dolan. Earle Hitchner of the Irish Echo described this CD as “Easily one of the best releases this year”.
Brian remains faithful to the rich tradition handed down to him. The distinctness of his tone, the lift of his playing, and the deft ornamentation he brings to the tunes have placed him among the finest Irish fiddlers of any style, Sligo or otherwise. He has performed all over North America from San Francisco to New York and places in between such as Chicago, Milwaukee and Colorado. His talents have also been enthusiastically received throughout Ireland and the rest of Europe. His two solo CDs, First through the Gate and Consider the Source, both exemplify the versatility that characterizes his concert performances and festival appearances. He is also a noted instructor who has mentored many fine fiddle players, including several who have gone on to win All-Ireland championships. He is considered one of the musical rocks of the New York area.
Megan Downes, Irish Social Dance (All Levels)
Megan performs and choreographs old style Irish steps, sean nos, Canadian step traditions and American clogging and flatfooting. She trained in competitive stepdance with National Heritage Fellow Donny Golden, learned traditional Irish set pieces, old-time waltzes and vaudeville routines from Josephine McNamara and country sets from traveling master Connie Ryan. After graduating with a BA in Anthropology from Smith, Meganreturned to NYC to teach traditional dance, earned her TMRF certificate from the Irish Dancing Commission to teach ceili dance and directed the dance program at the Irish Arts Center for many years as a volunteer. She calls dances and teaches workshops, including 14 years at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing and at the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia. As a principal dancer with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble for 16 years, Megan performed with the Turtleduhks at the Ulster-American Folk Park, in The Crossing with Tim O’Brien and with StepAfrika. A member of SAG-AFTRA and ASCAP, Megan is almost known for co-writing popular Uncle Earl song “Crayola” with Kristin Andreassen. Megan has toured or performed as a guest artist with Billy McComiskey, James Leva, Lunasa, the Duhks and Danny Knicely & The Furnace Mountain Band. A December 2008 review in The Washington Post remarks that "among the area's best Irish dancers...Megan Downes has hyper-flexible ankles; she taps the sides of her feet to the floor in shockingly rapid succession."
Josh Dukes, Flute / Tin Whistle (Fundamentals)
Josh Dukes is an All-Ireland champion accompanist and a highly sought after music teacher in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. A multi-instrumentalist whose talents embrace the guitar, bouzouki, bodhran, flute, and tin whistle, Josh has established a reputation for providing sensitive, tasteful support for traditional Irish music.
As a young high school student, Josh studied the oboe, tenor/alto saxophone, drum set and baritone horn. Outside of the classroom, he learned the art of ancient rudimental drumming under the tutelage of Dominick Cuccia, a widely respected instructor/performer in the fife and drum community. In 1997, Josh enlisted in the Army and has since earned the rank of Master Sergeant , currently serving as one of three Drum Majors for the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, "The Official Escort to the President," the only military unit of its kind.
Josh continues to perform Irish music, having shared the stage with such renowned musicians including John Doyle, Paddy Keenan, Billy and Sean McComiskey, Brendan Mulvihill, Skip Healy, Zan McLeod, and Myron Bretholz, and he can be seen performing regularly with The Old Bay Ceili Band. Josh lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Judy and two daughters, Mya and Olivia.
Jim Eagan, Fiddle (Sunday Tune Teach)
Jim was born in Baltimore in 1979. He grew up in Baltimore’s renowned Irish traditional music scene. He fondly recalls being enchanted by the violin even at a very young age. Until the age of fifteen, Jim exclusively studied classical violin, both through Suzuki classes and at the Baltimore School for the Arts. Jim's roots in Irish tradition truly sprouted from Irish step dancing, which he began studying from that same early age. Jim qualified for the World Championships in Dublin in 1991. This exposure to the jigs, reels, and hornpipes while learning his steps was instrumental in developing his desire and ability to play Irish traditional fiddle. Even now, Jim will occasionally get up and perform a step at a concert or session. While in high school, Jim's interest in the dance music of his own Irish heritage became more pronounced. Jim was first exposed to the fiddling of Brendan Mulvihill while competing at a Feis at Glen Echo Park. They later met and his first lesson was arranged. From ages 15 to 18, Jim studied with Brendan Mulvihill. Brendan is a primary influence on Jim's playing, which is reflected in his musical style.
For the past twenty years, Jim has immersed himself in Irish traditional music. Jim's first trip to Ireland (1996), was to compete in the Fleadh
Cheoil, the all Ireland music competition. Jim was awarded third place in the 15-18 age group category for fiddle. Soon thereafter, he began teaching privately. In 1997, Jim was invited to the Augusta Heritage workshops as an instructor where he continued to teach through 2005. In the late 1990s, Jim spent several years as a member of the John Whelan Band and toured Ireland, Europe, Canada, and the U.S. For the past fifteen years, Jim has been a member of O'Malley's March, led by former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. In 2012 Jim was invited to play at the White House with the band. Jim is also a member of the Old Bay Ceili Band. Jim plays regularly in and around Baltimore with many of the other distinguished musicians that are in the area. He leads a weekly Irish Jam session at Cafe Hon and at Racer's Cafe.
Sean Earnest, Guitar (DADGAD)
Seán Earnest is a musical performer and educator specialising in the traditional folk music of Ireland and Britain, played primarily on guitar and bouzouki. Seán grew up in central Pennsylvania and learned his craft in the vibrant Irish music scenes of Baltimore and New York. His empathic and eclectic style has taken him around the world, from pub session to recording studio, festival stage, and classroom. Seán has recorded with numerous artists including flautist Laura Byrne, fiddler and accordionist Damien Connolly, fiddler Andrew Finn Magill, singer Peter Casey, and with his own critically-acclaimed quartet The Yanks. He has toured throughout North America and internationally with artists like the McPeake Family of Belfast, Irish supergroup Teáda, progressive Scottish folk ensemble The Paul McKenna Band, Nova Scotian fiddler and singer Shannon Quinn, American singer-songwriters Kyle Carey and Colleen Raney, and the iconic Irish-American vocalist Cathie Ryan. Seán has performed onstage with many luminaries of Irish music including Billy McComiskey, Dr. Mick Moloney, members of The Chieftains, Kevin Burke, Joanie Madden, John Carty, Kevin Crawford, Mary Bergin, The Murphy Beds, and John Doyle. Prestigious venues at which Seán has performed include the Milwaukee Irish Fest, Lincoln Center in NYC, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and on Irish television during the 2017 Fleadh Cheoil music festival in Ennis. Seán has taught countless students, both in private tuition as well as on faculty for music camps such as the Catskills Irish Arts Week, Augusta Irish Week in West Virginia, O'Flaherty Retreat in Texas, and the Goderich Celtic College in Ontario. He holds a first class honours Master's degree in Irish Traditional Music Performance from the University of Limerick's Irish World Academy. Currently Seán is based in a thriving hub of traditional music, Ennis in County Clare, where he is an active member of the community playing regular gigs and teaching for the local music school.
Pat Egan, Guitar (standard tuning)
Pat Egan is highly regarded as one of the leading singers/guitar players in traditional Irish music. His guitar backing displays a rare sensitivity and impeccable rhythm which manages to be tasteful yet driving and uplifting. Pat is equally admired for his smooth, lyrical vocals, honest delivery and repertoire of storied songs. Originally from County Tipperary, Pat now resides in Northern Virginia. While growing up in his native County Tipperary, Patrick loved the music so much that he used to take his guitar on the back of a horse and cart to school every week to get lessons from his school teacher, Phil Kelly. He would also trudge across fields and farmland with his guitar just to get a song from local singer John Norton. Luckily, there were lots of singers and guitarists in his home parish and one of the first musicians he ever heard playing traditional Irish music was his neighbor – uilleann piper Michael Cooney with whom, along with Paddy O’Brien, he would later go on to form the band Chulrua. He recorded a song on the famed Music at Matt Molloy’s while living in Westport, Co. Mayo. In 2007 Pat received a Maryland State Arts Council award as a Maryland Traditions Master Ballad Singer and recently released a recording entitled Fiddle Tunes and Ballads with Virginia fiddler Alex Caton in 2011.
Rose Flanagan, Fiddle fundamentals
Rose Conway Flanagan originally began Irish music lessons with Martin Mulvihill while growing up in the Bronx. She then further developed her New York Sligo style of fiddling with the help of family friend and mentor Martin Wynne and her older brother Brian Conway. Rose was recently inducted into the Mid Atlantic Region CCE hall of fame alongside her father Jim and her brother Brian.
She currently has a large music school in her hometown of Pearl River where she is hard at work preparing the next generation of great traditional musicians, which include several All-Ireland winners and medalists. Among Rose’s past students are all the fiddlers in Girsa and senior fiddle champion Dylan Foley.
Rose has been an instructor at the Alaska fiddle camp, The Catskills Irish Arts week, The Swannanoa Celtic Gathering, The O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, Fiddle and Pick Irish Camp, The Baltimore Trad Weekend and Mad for Trad week in the U.S. She has also taught at the DeDanaan Dance Camp in Vancouver, British Columbia and Scoile Eigse in Cavan, and Sligo Ireland. She has also taught workshops at the Northeast Tional, Cape Cod Ceili Weekend and at various CCE conventions. Rose also runs seisuns, plays with her group the Green Gates Ceili Band and performs in various concerts throughout the area.
Rose recently released a duo cd with flute player Laura Byrne from Baltimore, “Forget Me Not”, which was met with great reviews.
Liz Hanley, Songs
Liz was raised in an Irish family in Boston and learned her traditional Irish and American folk repertoire from her father and grandfather. She studied classical violin at NYU and currently lives in Brooklyn. Continuous activities in the traditional music scenes of the US, Ireland and the UK, her distinctive voice and her affinity for various other music genres are resonating attributes of Hanley's interpretations.
Donna Long, Piano (Intermediate / Advanced)
Donna Long was born in Los Angeles, California. When she was five years old, she began taking piano lessons with her father, Byron Long, a jazz/classical pianist who instilled in Donna a love for music. As a child, Donna was exposed to many different genres of music, including players from the old and new Jazz eras, Classical, Scottish, Indian, and African.
In 1978, she moved to the Baltimore/Washington, DC area and heard fiddler, Brendan Mulvihill playing Irish music. He inspired her to pick up the fiddle and gave her a solid foundation in style and playing. She then began to accompany him on the piano and now Donna is considered one of the finest pianists playing Irish music. Along with Brendan Mulvihill, she has recorded two duet albums, The Steeplechase and The Morning Dew.
Donna passed her music on to her son Jesse Smith and helped produce his first solo recording entitled The Hurricane. In addition to these recordings Donna can be heard as a guest artist on many recordings backing up other musicians and also on the motion picture soundtrack Out of Ireland . A former member of the internationally acclaimed Irish groupCherish the Ladies , she has recorded five CDs with them. In the year 2000, the Smithsonian Institution asked Donna to represent Irish Music in the series, Piano Traditions celebrating 300 years of the piano. Donna was also commissioned by the Library of Congress in 2001 to write a composition for fiddle and piano. She wrote a slow air called Before the Snow Falls, and a reel to accompany the air called Pandora's Box. These tunes were performed by Cherish the Ladies and can be found in the Library of Congress. Donna currently teaches Suzuki piano, Irish piano and Irish fiddle in the Baltimore/ Washington, DC area. Her first solo CD, Handprints, was released in June 2003. http://www.donnalongpiano.com/
Billy McComiskey, Button Accordion
Billy McComiskey, the 2011 recipient of The Irish Echo's Traditional Artist of the Year Award, has lived in Baltimore since 1980. In that time, he's helped put Irish Traditional Music on the map here in Maryland. In the mid 1970's, Billy, along with Brendan Mulvihill, Lou and Peggy Thompson, and Jesse and Terry Winch, helped to establish the still thriving Irish Music Scene in Washington DC. He then moved to Baltimore to marry his beautiful wife Annie and have a family. And The Music followed him. Baltimore is now considered one of the Great Cities in America for Irish Traditional Music, along with New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. And this is largely due to Billy and the people with whom he chooses to perform here in Baltimore. Billy holds four All Ireland Championship titles, two (gold and silver medals) with Brendan Mulvihill for their superb duet playing, and two (silver and gold ) for his work as a soloist. Billy won the coveted All Ireland Championship for the Button Accordion in 1986. He is one of only two American box players to be so honored. His friend and student John Nolan is the first American to win this award. Billy is the second.
Billy plays in what he loosely describes as the East Galway Style of Irish accordion music. He is a protege of the late Sean McGlynn from Tynagh, Co. Galway. To this day he still plays Sean's rare 1940's vintage gray Paolo Soprani box.
Billy is a composer of tunes, a good few of which are played in Ireland and America alike. He's made quite a few recordings with some of the mightiest musicians playing Irish Music today. He's played and performed all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, England and Scotland.
And he's taught, encouraged and influenced the young and promising players everywhere he's been.
Billy and Annie have three sons, Patrick, their eldest, who studied the whistle with the great Mary Bergin, and Sean and Michael, who are two of the finest young box players here in America today. Irish Echo article on Billy
Larry Nugent, Flute (Intermediate / Advanced)
"One of Irish music’s recognized master musicians." -Irish Music Magazine
Laurence carries on a great tradition of virtuoso playing on both sides of the Atlantic. As a well-established performer and recording artist, he has performed with scores of top musicians including The Chieftains, Van Morrison, Martin Hayes, Arty McGlinn, Paddy Keenan. Laurence has toured extensively throughout Ireland, the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. He has been a featured performer at most major Irish music festivals including: Milwaukee Irish Fest, San Francisco Irish Fest, the Glen Echo Festival in Washington DC, the Willie Clancy Summer School in Ireland, and the International Flute Festival De Cornouaille Quimper in France, etc. His playing has been heard extensively on the radio both the US and Ireland including: National Public Radio, A Prairie Home Companion, The Studs Terkel Show, and Ireland’s national radio network RTÉ.
The new CD "White Island" is a culmination of recording sessions over the last seven years. The musicians performing with Laurence on "White Island” include: Michael McGoldrick flute, Liz Carroll fiddle, Steve Cooney guitar, Pat McManus guitar and fiddle, Fintan McManus bouzouki, Larry Gray cello and bass, David Curley guitar, Cary Novotny guitar, Matheu Watson guitar, Isaac Alderson flute, Sean Gavin pipes and flute, Jackie Moran percussion, Kyle Turner synthesizer and voice. This new CD joins Laurence's past catalog of work, the critically acclaimed CDs he recorded for the Shanachie record label "Laurence Nugent, Two For Two, and The Windy Gap", where he was joined by Irish music legends like Kevin Burke, Martin Hayes, Liz Carroll, and Arty McGlynn.
Laurence Nugent comes from the village of Lack in County Fermanagh, an area of Northern Ireland that is steeped in the traditional arts of music, singing and storytelling. Nugent is a name long associated with fine traditional music in Fermanagh. Laurence's father, the late Sean Nugent, a teacher and composer was at the helm of the All-Ireland winning "The Pride of Erin Ceili Band". He taught Laurence, his siblings, and also hundreds of other musicians performing today. Like many young musicians of his generation, Laurence entered regional and national competitions held under the auspices Comhaltas. He took first prize in junior competitions three times in the late 80s, before going on to win the senior All-Ireland Championships in 1994 and 1995 at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
"At its best, traditional Irish music alternately soothes the soul and inflames one's passion,
and few musicians do both as effortlessly as Nugent does." -Dan Keening, The Chicago Tribune
Patrick Ourceau, Fiddle (Intermediate)
Fiddle player Patrick Ourceau has been playing Irish Music since his early teens. Born and raised in France, Patrick moved to the U.S. in 1989, settled in New York City where he lived for seventeen years, and is now based in Toronto, Canada.
Mostly self taught, Patrick’s taste for Clare and East Galway music developed early in his playing after being introduced to recordings of the legendary fiddle players Paddy Canny, Paddy Fahey and Bobby Casey. Patrick regularly visits Ireland and especially county Clare. Over the years, he has during those trips, been able to play with and learn from Paddy Canny, as well as from many other local musicians including flute and fiddle player Peadar O’Loughlin. During the many years he lived in New York, Patrick often played with such great musicians as fiddle players Andy McGann and Paddy Reynolds among many others, but was particularly influenced by the style and repertoire of Woodford, Co. Galway flute player Jack Coen.
He is a member since 2003 of the band Chulrua, along with accordion player Paddy O’Brien and guitarist and singer Pat Egan. The trio released last year, on Shanachie Records, The Singing Kettle, their first recording together. When not touring with the band, Patrick performs with guitarist Eamon O’Leary. In 2004, Patrick and Eamon Released Live at Mona’s, a live recording project praised by critics and fans alike as one of the best recent releases of Irish traditional music.
Since the mid nineties, Patrick has performed with many Irish and Irish American musicians and bands. Most notably in duets with Ennis, Co. Clare concertina player Gearoid O’hAllmhurain with whom he recorded Tracin‘ in 1999; with Tulla, Co. Clare accordion player Andrew McNamara, and with the legendary Tulla Ceili band, on the band’s last American tour.
Patrick is featured on flute player Cathal McConnell’s last solo release Long Expectant Comes at Last, on Compass Records; on accordion player John Whelan’s Celtic Roots, on Narada Records and more recently on the TG4’CD and DVD release Geantrai, a compilation celebrating the first ten years of the popular traditional Irish music television program.
In the last fifteen years, Patrick has been in great demand as a teacher and regularly teaches both privately and at various festivals and summer schools across North America and Ireland. He has been part, since 1999, of the teaching staff at Irish Arts Week in East Durham, New York and at Celtic College in Goderich, Canada. He has been teaching for the past several years at Friday Harbor Irish Music Camp in San Juan Island, Washington and at the Chris Langan Weekend in Toronto. Patrick taught several years at Augusta’s Irish Week in Elkins, West Virginia. He has also taught at the Alaska Fiddle Camp in Chugiak, Alaska; at the St. Louis Tionol in St. Louis, Missouri; at the East Coast Tionol in East Durham, New York; at the O’Flaherty’s Retreat in Dallas, Texas; at the Armagh Piper’s Club in County Armagh, Northern Ireland; and at the Fleadh Nua in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland.
“…Soulful, stylish fiddling.” - Sally K. Sommers Smith - Irish Music Magazine
Michael Stribling, Uilleann Pipes
Hailing from sunny Tallahassee, Florida, Michael Stribling (Uilleann pipes) is an award winning Uilleann Piper and Irish musician. In County Cavan, Ireland he competed and won the title of “All Ireland Champion” on the Uilleann Pipes at the Fleadh Cheoil na Eireann. Michael has spent a good part of his formative years in Ireland and England performing and studying traditional Irish music, he has been mentored by piping greats such as Jerry O’Sullivan and Mickey Dunne. His style exhibits technical punctuation with a rhythmical drive, and is heavily influenced by the music of Uilleann piping master, Patsy Touhey. He regularly joins the Internationally touring Irish bands Fullset and Runa. In 2014, Michael added the traditional Irish element for renowned country music artist Trace Adkins’ Celtic Christmas tour, performing on Uilleann pipes, flute and whistle When he isn’t playing music, Michael competes in Ironman triathlons across the United States.