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Irish Arts Week In The Catskills.


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I don't think this has been mentioned before.. but Irish Arts Weeks in the Catskills this year is placing a special emphasis on the Concertina. They are going to have 4 teachers this year (twice the normal number) including Fr Charlie Coen, Micheal O’Raghallaigh, Edel Fox and Gearoid O’hAllmhurain. The website doesn't yet mention what the special emphasis means (Well aside from having extra concertina teachers) but I suspect there will be plenty of good live concertina music available ;). I was planning on taking a Box and a Concertina class but now I am thinking of taking two Concertina classes this year. ;)

 

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Bill

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Well, it was mentioned here, but perhaps that was too obscure for people to spot. I have corresponded with Paul Keating (program director) and offered to post a feature article for them to promote this year. On 10th Feb. 2005 Paul K. wrote me:

 

Some might say it was overkill but the circumstances presented themselves and the CIAW is kind of unique event where we try not to let reason (or numbers) cloud our vision for the most part.   Would love to have a feature if possible so let me know when you would require as I am not a regular concertina.net reader.

Paul Keating

 

I just replied that any press release/info was fine, but he hasn't sent anything yet. I was going to wait until he did, so your post here serves as our notice until then, thanks.

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After looking over the Catskills website it looks like the concertina teachers will be ango rather than english. Is this the case? Will there be any english classes there? Might be good to go just for the music though.

There's no recognized tradition of playing the English in the Irish culture. (Not yet, heh, heh! :ph34r: ;))

 

Some folks might take exception to your showing up with an English, but I don't know if the teachers would be among them. Father Charlie always seemed pleased when my English was present, and the same with Packy Russell when he was alive, though with them I was just playing, not taking lessons. Tim Collins was delighted to have a couple of us English players in his anglo classes at Bielefeld.

 

I'm sure there are things you could learn about style and phrasing from those classes, even if the details of your technique are different. My English and I have been welcome members of classes for other instruments, as well... e.g., fiddle classes with Aly Bain and Kathryn Tickell.

 

Go for it!

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...I have to decide between this or Noel Hill.

I can pretty much afford the time off for one of these, and have landed the wife's support.

If I were close enough to have that choice to worry about, the Catskills would have it hands down.

 

Noel is significant, but no way is he alone worth more than having access to four different traditional players/teachers, plus all the other musicians and music that will be in the same place.

 

Just my opinion. B)

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...I have to decide between this or Noel Hill.

I can pretty much afford the time off for one of these, and have landed the wife's support.

If I were close enough to have that choice to worry about, the Catskills would have it hands down.

 

Noel is significant, but no way is he alone worth more than having access to four different traditional players/teachers, plus all the other musicians and music that will be in the same place.

 

Just my opinion. B)

 

The Catskills schedule gives you access to at most two teachers, not all four. Having gone to Noel as a complete beginner, I have to say it was a great way to start. At that level, I was listening slack-jawed to real Irish sessions, not participating in them anyway. Maybe that's why I've waited a few years to go to East Durham. And NHICS is a big gathering of talented musos, all of whom also share your interest in concertina. If you want to listen to Irish in action Richard, we need to get you to the CCE sessions in Pittsburgh (had fun last Thursday night, we did).

 

Ken

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The Catskills schedule gives you access to at most two teachers,  not all four.

Formally, yes. Informally -- i.e., outside class hours -- I don't know, I can only imagine. I do think that just having the opportunity to see and hear four independent players' styles would be very enlightening, especially after some of what's been said in the Styles Topic.

 

But again, that's my perspective.

And I would certainly be interested in taking a class from Noel at some other time.

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...I have to decide between this or Noel Hill.

I can pretty much afford the time off for one of these, and have landed the wife's support.

If I were close enough to have that choice to worry about, the Catskills would have it hands down.

 

Noel is significant, but no way is he alone worth more than having access to four different traditional players/teachers, plus all the other musicians and music that will be in the same place.

 

Just my opinion. B)

 

The Catskills schedule gives you access to at most two teachers, not all four. Having gone to Noel as a complete beginner, I have to say it was a great way to start. At that level, I was listening slack-jawed to real Irish sessions, not participating in them anyway. Maybe that's why I've waited a few years to go to East Durham. And NHICS is a big gathering of talented musos, all of whom also share your interest in concertina. If you want to listen to Irish in action Richard, we need to get you to the CCE sessions in Pittsburgh (had fun last Thursday night, we did).

 

 

Well you only have access to two teachers if you play by the rules ;). I have found in my experience most of the teachers are pretty casual about other students sitting in on a class or two (particularly if you are playing their instrument). Also most of the teachers will be playing at the Ceilis and the sessions (Their are formal Beginner, Intermediate and advanced sessions every afternoon, An intermediate and an advanced sessions every night and tons of informal sessions). Most of the teachers are very approachable. And of course there are concerts every night. With the special emphasis on the concertina this year, I can imagine there will be concertina music available to listen to pretty much every night and at the Festival on Saturday.

 

So essentially if you only want Irish Concertina Music.. well maybe Noel Hill's is a better choice. On the other hand if you want to experience the varied world of Irish Music I think the Catskills is the place to be.

 

One other thought.. The Catskills is alot better for families.. there are varied activities for the spouse and kids.

 

--

Bill

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's my two cents: having been to the Catskills the past two years I cannot imagine getting better value for your money or time; we are talking Irish music 18 hours a day, and let's face it the concertina does not exist in a vacuum: it's the whole bag we're looking at.

There's people playing before breakfast, morning class after breakfast, quick lunch break (casual sessions going on all over the place again), afternoon class, then organized sessions in at least one of the town pubs, onto supper, then a concert every night with covered seating - that's the teachers doing 15 -30 minutes each in various combos on stage - I think that's about 90 mins if I remember rightly, then everything quiets down for a few hours 'til the night owls come out with a 'listening room' session about 9p. 11-12p: session through to the morning in one or two of the pubs - some of these sessions didn't quit 'til 5am. Plus ceili dances - see some of the best players of Irish music play for dancers - it's a wonderful week because it's not just focused on the concertina, you will have a blast! There is not enough time to do /see everything.

Alan.

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I think that's about 90 mins if I remember rightly, then everything quiets down for a few hours 'til the night owls come out with a 'listening room' session about 9p.  11-12p: session through to the morning in one or two of the pubs - some of these sessions didn't quit 'til 5am. Plus ceili dances - see some of the best players of Irish music play for dancers - it's a wonderful week because it's not just focused on the concertina, you will have a blast! There is not enough time to do /see everything.

                                          Alan.

 

Alan,

If you thought things quieted down after the concert you weren't looking :). The Celi I think is usually going before the concert is over.

 

One other thought, the people who are up practicing before breakfast are really sick... Since 2.AM or later is routine for bed time I tend to sleep as late as I can and not be late for class.

 

Maybe the C.netters should have a get together at some point at the Catskills this year ;).

 

--

Bill

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It is a tough decision between NHICS and IAW.

 

But there's a big difference in what you get. At NHICS you will learn a lot. If you want to learn a lot about how to play the concertina, NHICS is your best bet. If you want school, go to NHICS.

 

At Irish Arts Week, you experience a lot. Sessions all night every night, performances by lots of people, a town up in the Catskills that for one week every year is suddenly populated by musicians, like some kind of myth. It's an opportunity to hear lots of music, make friends and socialize, etc. But it's not really for learning. You do learn a little, but you don't have much time to work.

 

BTW, I took the class w/ Michael Rooney last year, and I think he's a great teacher. You can tell that he has experience teaching, probably kids, by the way he kept everyone in line. Musicians at IAW don't always provide a lot of structure---some are just, "um, here's some tunes"---but I learned a lot from Mr. Rooney.

 

Caj

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