Monday, August 06, 2012

Dublin Ohio Celtic Festival 2012

This past weekend Haley was invited to play with The John Whelan Band at the Dublin Celtic Festival in Dublin, Ohio. We drove out to Dublin on Thursday with John and a couple fiddlers for the band, Lisa and Kathleen. It was a 9-10 hour drive but went pretty quickly. We were put up in the Crown Plaza Hotel. That evening we walked to a local restaurant for dinner with most of the band, all who had arrived. We got back to the hotel rather late so Haley and I went to bed. 

The following morning we had a breakfast buffet...delicious then I took Haley swimming in the hotel pool. After she'd showered we met with the rest of the band for a rehearsal that ended up being 4 hours long since most of the band members had never played together. They spent the time deciding on orchestration of the tune sets and rehearsing. I was amazed at the number of musicians playing together, making suggestions and harmonizing so musically and with so much respect for each other's opinions. Haley had so much fun. She wasn't playing the entire set with the band but she rehearsed with them most of the time (she missed about 40 min while I took her for the lunch buffet when she got hungry). She learned most of the melodies of tunes she'd never heard before during the rehearsal and also had fun figuring out how to harmonize and play around with that part of music making.

Four hour rehearsal #1.

Haley and John rehearsing their duet.
 We rode over to the festival around 4:30pm on Friday evening. We checked in and got our backstage passes then went to the room where they had a buffet for the performers. We were finishing up our meal when a festival representative came in asking if they'd like to play on the local evening news during the weatherman's spot. John and the fiddlers headed over and played a couple tunes while the weatherman did his report then he interviewed them.

Getting ready to play on the news.

After the news broadcast we walked over to the stage and they did a sound check then performed.  Haley went on stage about halfway through the show and played a duet with John then he had her play a solo tune set with the pianist, Cormac, accompanying her. She got a standing ovation after each, the duet and the solo. She then stayed on stage and played the rest of the set with the band.

Here are a couple videos of Haley's part in the performance. I only got her hornpipe recorded in her solo because people kept walking in front of me...not a bad thing since John told them all Haley was headed to Ireland to represent the US and if anyone would like to help, please do. So people were going up to the stage to donate. It was so amazing and they were so generous that I couldn't help but get emotional.

After their performance, the band T with the Maggies was coming onstage. Haley got a chance to play Mairead's beautiful hardanger fiddle which had a really interesting, different sound. She then got her picture with the band members.

Mairead and her hardanger fiddle.

Haley with the lovely ladies of  T with the Maggies.
She then got a chance to meet and talk with Eileen Ivers and her husband (and adorable little boy).

Haley with Eileen Ivers.

We rode back to the hospitality building on a golf cart...Haley thinks her brothers will be really jealous of that so we took a picture.

We didn't stay out very late Friday night but she did go to the hotel bar and played some late night tunes with John then we went to bed. Saturday morning we slept in...I kept the shades drawn tight so our room was really dark...until 8:40am. I knew we'd have very little sleep the next 48 hours so that was on purpose. We had breakfast with our friend Charlene, a fiddler we met at Swannanoa who was also performing at the festival, and her husband. After breakfast, Haley and I went over to the festival to listen to Charlene play and take a look at the vendor's wares. It was really hot. We walked back to the hospitality building for lunch then took the van back to the hotel just in time, well actually about 15 min late, for the day's rehearsal.

They did another 4 hour rehearsal which Haley attended the entire time. She loved it! Afterward we had dinner in the hotel bar because we were tired of buffet food. We then went up to get a shower and Haley dressed for the evening.

We headed over to the festival around 8pm and hung out in the hospitality room. Haley played Twister with John then ping pong with John, Cormac, and Oisin. When it got closer to time we headed over to the stage for Saturday night's performance which was to begin at 10:15pm.

 It took a really long time for the sound check. The stage was smaller than the night before and there were 12 musicians including Haley. They did a great performance but were asked to stop about 15 min. early. I wasn't quite sure why when it happened but a few minutes after they got off the stage, there was a really loud alarm throughout the festival and an announcement to find shelter due to "imminent severe weather." Thunder and lightening were close but it wasn't really raining. The severe weather missed the festival but it was almost time to close and they had cleared the park. We headed straight back the hotel and got in bed about 12:30am.

I got up at 3am to call and try to change my accidentally booked PM flight to an AM flight. We had to be home before 1pm for Haley's Ireland fundraiser. I had to call less than 3 hours prior to a flight to get on it cheaply. The 6am flights were already full but we already had a taxi coming at 4am from the festival to pick us up in case we got on one and had no way to get in touch with someone to get a later taxi (paid for by the festival) so I got Haley up and we went to the airport.

We got to the airport and just before 5am got to our turn in line. The attendant was very nice and waited the 5 min. he needed to wait before putting us on an 8am flight that would get us home in time. Haley slept a bit at the airport and our flight went smoothly. We got home just in time to head to the fundraising ceili. (I'll talk about that in another post on another day...I need to go get something done today. We leave for Ireland on Sunday.)

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