Irish Fest 2002

Irish Fest was a great success this year with over 60 people attending with the largest class being Susan Hammer’s beginner pennywhistle class with a stunning 24 students. The beginner bodhran class was a close second with 21 students and created such a shortage of bodhrans and boxes that garbage cans had to be pressed into service. (We should have kept the pizza boxes)

Susan Hammer, Paul Hammer, Larry Fisher, Alice Berube, Cathy Rayner, Jordan McConnell, Mary Louise Chown, Liz Goosen and Tom Naughten were the instructors and Leslie Brown, Chloe Labella and Alexandra Hutton demonstrated dance steps and taught ceili dance.

Many of the instructors performed heroic feats. Larry for instance took a break from leading workshops to haul a harp the size of a horse upstairs to the Theatre to perform a musical story.  Thank you Larry.

There were a total of 15 one hour workshops throughout the day but there were so many groups of twos and threes practicing tunes, discussing instruments or getting coffee and food from Bill Sullivan in the Canteen that music seemed to come from even the darkest corners.

Throughout the day  Rick “Let’s do it again in March” Brown was always there welcoming students, taking tickets, directing people and doing whatever else it took to make the day work.  In the Hall, the fine hand built harps of Liz Goossen and Roger Paliser were on display right next to the magnificently constructed and ornamented harps of Larry. Alistair Dennett and Rob McConnell showed how their beautiful bodhrans are built and Rob displayed his brand new low D whistle line.  Barb Brown ran a Swap Meet for instruments and other things musical.

Instead of an evening concert we had a session.  The session began at 6pm (right after the pizza) and the tunes and the songs were sweet with everyone participating.  Alexandra led the Ceili.

That was the theme of the Irish Fest this year – it was for everyone.

Sponsored jointly by the Winnipeg Chapter of Comhaltas and the Irish Association of Manitoba, this teaching festival clearly demonstrated how much quality talent there is in Winnipeg.

Irish Fest 2002 was run solely by volunteers and a big thanks goes out to everyone for their time and effort.

Well done! Go raibh mile maith agaibh go leir.

Tom Naughten


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