Friday, December 24, 2010


Here is a nice article written for one of our local papers...

Schalick freshman off to fast start

Bill Evans, December 23, 2010 1:43 a.m.

Stewart “Newt” Richardson was seeded last at 119 pounds at the season-opening Pine Barrens Tournament at Shawnee High School on Saturday.
He won, capturing a major decision in the final.

On Tuesday night, Richardson faced Penns Grove district finalist and senior Ricky Sassi in the final match of a dual meet. Richardson notched a stunning 18-3 technical fall.

Less than a week into his first varsity season, the Schalick High School freshman has already made a name for himself. “The secret’s getting out on him a little bit,” said Schalick coach Justin Martin with a smile. “Guys know he’s good, but now they’re starting to figure out how good he actually is.”

The affable, soft-spoken freshman has been pleased — though not entirely surprised — with his fast start.

“I felt I wrestled pretty good (at Pine Barrens),” sad Richardson. “I wasn’t really expecting to win, but wanted to do my best and hopefully winning would be the outcome. Now beating kids who have placed in districts, the bar’s been raised pretty high.”

Richardson, who said he has been wrestling for seven or eight years, placed fifth in a national MAWA tournament this summer.

Martin doesn’t want to put too many expectations on a freshman, but he said Richardson’s presence has already had an impact on the young, rebuilding team.

“He’s wrestled his whole life and he’s on the mat all year long,” said Martin. “Anything Newt gets this year is because he deserves it, because he worked hard and got it. I’m very, very proud of how he’s approaching this team and taken charge of this team. You can see the difference in the practice room because he’s in there.”

Asked about the nickname, Martin laughed and said “It’s just what I’ve called him since he was 6.”

Richardson said the nickname was given him by his grandfather after he was born premature and showed the fighting spirit of former Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. Knute became Newt and the name stuck.

The freshman should be tested again next week when the Cougars compete in the Arthur Marinelli Tournament at Egg Harbor Township, annually one of the bigger tournaments in South Jersey.

“He’s pumping on all cylinders right now, but everything is a test from here on out,” said Martin.

While the early success has boosted Richardson’s confidence, he admits his goals for the season have been set high since the beginning.

“I want to place first in districts, place in regions and make it to states,” said Richardson. “That’s been my goal for a while.”

Richardson’s results the opening week make those lofty goals certainly attainable.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Setting up a takedown.
It seems like Newt has been working toward this year his entire life...well since he was 5 years old. He started wrestling because his Uncle Karl was a wrestler. Newt went to his 1st wrestling match at the Naval Academy when he was 2 months old. He slept through all the yelling, cheering, and airhorn blowing.

At 5yo he began wrestling himself. He was a tiny 5yo and lost all his matches that 1st year but he went out on that mat with a smile on his little face and came off it with the same smile. At practice he asked his coach for more exercises, "Give me more push-ups coach to make me stronger." He loved the exercises...hadn't yet learned from the other kids that exercises were not supposed to be fun.

Through the years he won matches and lost matches. He had good seasons and bad. He went to wrestling practices year-round and wrestling clinics in the summer. We never pushed wrestling on him, never allowed weight cutting because winning was less important that his health, and I tried to hug him when he came off the mat no matter what the outcome of the match.

This past year, Newt asked Poppop to help him with his wrestling. He began lifting weights and Poppop coached him at matches. He began to take it more seriously. Last weekend, he won his 1st 3 high school matches.

Last night he was supposed to have a tough match against a senior who made it to Regions last year. He easily handled his opponent...controlling the entire match. He took the boy down and let him up to take him down again then in the last minute turned him twice to win a technical fall 18-3.

Back points
He'll win some and lose some this year and we'll hug him no matter what the outcome...but he's off to a good start!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Weekend in Review...

Our normally busy weekends have been even busier with Christmas fast approaching. Not only do we have the normal items on our schedule like Friday evening orchestra rehearsal but it is also wrestling season for Newt which means weekend tournaments and high school matches.

Newt began his high school wrestling career by winning his first 3 matches at the Pine Barrens Tournament this weekend. His coach said he told the other coaches at the seeding meeting that he had a freshman who is pretty good and the other coaches told him "We don't seed freshmen."

So Newt ended up last seed meaning he had to wrestle the 1st seed 1st, the 4th seed 2nd, then the 2nd seed 3rd. He won all his matches by over 10 points and even earned a technical fall on his second opponent (won by 15 points). Maybe next time, they'll seed him. Huh?

I was unable to go to Newt's tournament because Haley and Dylan were scheduled to take fiddle and guitar seminars with Pat Mangan (fiddler for Riverdance and former student of Haley's teacher, Brian Conway) and Ryan McGiver (a wonderful guitar player and singer).

The attendance at the seminars was low, only 2 per class. Haley class consisted of her and another 9yo little girl who was relatively new to violin playing and had never played Irish music before. I was impressed with Pat for keeping both girls involved in the class given the huge difference in experience/playing level. It couldn't have been an easy feat.

Dylan's class consisted of him...very experienced playing Irish music in DADGAD and another gentleman who had never played in DADGAD. I didn't watch his class but Ryan split them up and taught Dylan a fingerpicking tune so he was happy.

The classes were early in the afternoon and we were hanging around for a concert at 8pm so we went and had an early dinner then headed back to the Irish center so Haley could practice her classical and orchestra music. Dylan helped set up for the show and they messed around with their buddy, Tom, who was taking care of the sound equipment. The concert was wonderful. We had planned to only stay for the first half but Haley and Dylan were enjoying the music so much they wanted to keep listening.

 Sunday, we spent the day helping out at the wrestling booster club's JV tournament. I always get roped into helping with the table...putting out the matches and getting them on the board so it tends to be a long day. Yesterday wasn't bad because the tournament was small and we kept things moving so were finished by 2:30pm.

Last night Haley sang a solo, O Holy Night, in our church's children's Christmas play. Every year they save her a solo. She sings beautifully!

Only 5 days until Christmas......

Monday, December 13, 2010

Con Murphys

Paraic Keane asked Haley and Dylan to join him for a few tunes at a gig he was playing at Con Murphys Pub in Philly on Black Friday but Haley had orchestra rehearsal and couldn't miss so when we saw him at the Fergies Pub session last weekend, he asked them to join him this weekend.

We went over after Next Gen. Paraic and Sean played some sets, there were some songs, then Haley and Dylan joined them for some sets. While Paraic and Sean took a break, the kids played some tunes together. They had a lot of fun,

A few tunes...

Haley fiddlin'


Haley and Dyl jammin'

Boys and their toys!

Dylan and Sean talked guitars and Sean let Dylan try his bouzouki (I have no idea how to spell that). Guess what instrument Dylan wants now?? Hmmmm. Haley and Paraic joked around all night. She's so quick. We were talking about not being able to understand people with Irish accents and Paraic said, in his Irish accent, "Yeah, but Haley, you understand me perfectly, right?"

She looked at him confused and said, "Huh?" Then started giggling! So funny!

Next Generation of Irish Musicians

Haley has been playing once a month with the Next Generation of Irish Musicians group since she was 5yo. Dylan began going a couple years ago. They meet once a month and learn a new tune for an hour, take a quick snack break, then play "session style" for the last hour. Kathy, Dennis, and Chris run the group free of charge. The only requirement is to bring a snack to share with the group. There is a nice variety of instruments and a nice group of kids who attend. The group plays for the Children's Discovery Museum and the New Jersey Folk Arts Festival every year. It is a great experience for anyone (child or adult) wanting to try Irish music or who just wants to learn some new tunes. Here are some photos of the last session of 2010...

Dylan accompanying on guitar.

Learning a new tune!

Fiddles waiting for their fiddlers to have a snack.

Haley and Alex fiddling a tune.

Miss Chris and Haley

Next Gen Kids session

Friday, December 10, 2010


Dylan had my camera out last night for an art project. He took some neat shots....

Haley practicing her Handel Sonata.

Look at all that rosin! LOL

Blue strings!

What they are doing out in the cold is beyond me!

Too cold to hold the handlebars.

Self photo?


I always feel strange saying my kids are playing a "gig." Lately they've had quite a few paid performances and are loving them. They've played a house party, a Christmas Candlelight Tour, and had their own show in a coffeehouse setting.

Jim, from the Down Jersey radio show, who plays sets from the kids' CD on his show, encouraged the coffeehouse people to hire them after he'd played at that venue because they have a wonderful, appreciative audience in a large living room type setting. I was a little worried at first because they were to play for 2 hours but once I factored in a 15-20 min. break and all the talking between tune sets introducing them, it didn't end up being too much music and Haley and Dylan played their last set just as energetically as the first. They were asked to come back in 2011.

Haley is a natural in front of an audience, not just with her playing. She introduces the tunes adding in her own little quips and jokes. She's quick on her feet so has a comeback whenever anyone tries to trip her up. She had the audience laughing throughout the evening. Dylan doesn't like talking in front of people as much as Haley but his comfort level playing is improving every performance. As someone who hates to be in front of a group of people, they amaze me!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Colonial Cooking

Haley and I are working our way through Everyday Life: Colonial Times by Walter Hazen, a workbook with readings and activities. On our chapter about food and drink in Colonial Times, we came upon a recipe for journeycakes "or johnnycakes." Did you know that early colonial people ate corn in some form or another nearly 365 days a year?? (And I worry about having chili more than once a month. Ha!)

Haley made our journeycakes herself and they were very yummy.


1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup sugar

Grease 9x13 pan (or smaller if you prefer thicker cakes) with oil or butter. Mix dry ingredients together then add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Pour into baking pan and bake at 350 deg. The recipe said to bake 20 minutes but we needed to bake ours for about 35-40 min for the middle to get dry enough and I imagine in a smaller pan, you'd need to bake even longer.

Haley took a journeycake for breakfast on the way to violin. "A journeycake for her journey to violin lessons." LOL