Monday, March 25, 2013

Fiddling video...

I took this video St. Patrick's Day weekend then forgot to upload it....It's Haley playing with her teacher  and a couple of his other students at a library concert.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Classical music....

It seems like all I blog about lately are our Irish music adventures. Haley has been working really hard on her classical music as well. In the past few months she's started and polished up all these pieces. she finished going over and putting the final touches on the Kabalevsky with her teacher just days before she recorded it.

She seems to practice more, work harder, and enjoy herself more when she has more to work on so the past few months have been fun. Now she is getting some new notes which is always her favorite thing to do.

Mozart Sonata in C Major

Kabalevsky Concerto 3rd Movement

Bach Partita in E Major Prelude

She also worked on and recorded a Kreutzer etude but I think she might be angry if I post that so I won't.

Monday, March 18, 2013

All Gigs Great and Small....Ha!

Last weekend we spent most of our time at home. Haley was practicing a lot so she could track her hours for her orchestra's practice marathon. She had a small gig for a Brave-themed birthday party for probably her youngest, biggest fan. Kansas' mom surprised her at her birthday by inviting Haley to play her a personal little concert. Kansas was thrilled....the look on her face when she saw Haley was priceless and as she hugged her mom, she was all smiles. The kids had a great time dancing to Haley's fiddling.

Tuesday Haley joined some local ceili dancers and played a few tune sets for an area church's elderly folks' luncheon in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

This weekend, Haley and I spent no time at home. Friday night after orchestra, we made the drive to New York and stayed with her teacher so she could have a lesson in the morning before heading out with him to play a couple gigs. The first was his annual library concert at Ossining Library. What a library they have there! This library has a room with a small stage. They draw a nice sized crowd. Brian plays with Brendan accompanying him on piano and throughout the gig, brings up his students one at a time to perform a set, then at the end he has them all up for a finale.

Concert finale
After the library concert, we drove through the snow and rain into NYC for the Sober St. Patrick's Day Celebration. This sold-out celebration was huge! All week we had been seeing the press leading up to the event and while there Haley was recorded by Channel 11's news crew and her photo was taken by a photographer from Time magazine. Haley's buddy, John Whelan and his band were also performing throughout the event. There were singers, bands, story-tellers, and they even had a simulcast of a similar event going on in Dublin, Ireland at the same time.

Haley's teacher played a set by himself, his talented daughter, Fiona, sang a solo, then he had Haley up for a fiddle solo. After Haley's solo, Brian and Haley played one of their favorite sets together then he brought up the rest of his students for another set. After Haley played, we were honored to meet the Irish Consulate General and his wife. The man who set up the event, Bill Reilly, also asked Haley to help him present an award...the Emerald Spirit Award to Jerry Moe, VP and National Director of Betty Ford Center's Children's Programs. This award recognizes individuals who have shown extraordinary dedication and devotion to improving the lives of family members of alcoholics and addicts.

Waiting to go on stage

Haley waiting to perform

Haley, Finbar, Brian, Kate, and Johanna 

After the gig in NYC, we drove through the traffic and snow to Fairfield, CT. We took John Whelan Band member/fiddler, Genevieve with us because we all had to spend the night in a hotel so we'd be there for a gig at a church in the morning. The band played at the Bridgeport United Congregational Church. They joined the church choirs for some lovely Gaelic hymns. The pastor gave a lovely sermon on respecting other religious walks to God while remaining strong in our own faith. She was a powerful speaker and I really enjoyed her message.

Rehearsing with the choir 

Sound check

After church this adorable 3 year old was fascinated by John's accordion. He sat with her for a long while letting her press the keys. Watching her mind work as she ran her fingers up and down the keys playing scales then pushing in buttons to change keys and playing the next scale, I was fascinated by the way bright, young children learn when interested in something. She was so systematic in her experimentation with the keys.

Haley, Genevieve, and I joined our friends Kate and Sofia for brunch at a little pub in Bridgeport then I took the girls to the local mall for awhile to waste time while we waited for the last gig of the weekend. The last gig of the weekend was a ceili in East Haven, CT.

Ceili playing is a bit different than playing on a stage in a concert. The music is fast and furious because the dancers like it that way. Haley played for the better part of four hours (and said it was the most fun she had all weekend...the child is a bit crazy)! They did take breaks now and then while the piano player sang Frank Sinatra songs.

Ceili band performing

Sofia, Haley, and Genevieve dancing

John invited Sofia to perform Czardas on her viola for the crowd.
We drove from the ceili to Kate and Sofia's house to spend the night. The girls played dolls and baked Hagrid's Pumpkin Pasties together (though we had to take Haley's home to bake because we had to drive home in time to get Dylan to the doctors....that's another story entirely) before we drove him.

This weekend I learned that being "on tour" is exhausting but it is also a lot of fun. We met a lot of new people, saw a number of "old" friends, and participated in some great events!

History Project...

Haley has been enjoying her Civil War history class. This week she put her new sewing machine to good use. She learned how women would often make their soldiers a "housewife." This was a small material bag with pockets to hold buttons, bits of thread, pins, needles, and sometimes a thimble so the soldier could make clothing repairs if he needed.

Haley used the pattern supplied by her teacher and used some material and ribbon she had collected. She did all her own sewing then filled her housewife with some buttons, a thimble, thread, and a couple needles.

She is very proud of her craft project.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Week in Review...

This weekend was the start of the St. Patrick's Day rush for my Irish musicians and the end of wrestling for my wrestler (well...for the school season anyway).

First, we spent all day Saturday watching Newt wrestle at Regions. He won his match on Friday night. Then he lost, won, and lost on Saturday. He placed 4th again this year by getting caught in a pin hold after an error on his part.

It was heartbreaking to see how upset he was. He did not show his disappointment on the mat....the boy who pinned him is a friend, but after leaving the mat, he took his loss hard. He had really hoped and worked to make it to the state tournament this year but it just wasn't to be. Next year will be his final chance to try.

Right after Newt finished and we got to talk to him, we took Haley and Dylan to their gig at an area church's St. Patrick's Day celebration. They started off the concert with a 20 minute set then later in the show joined the other performers for some tunes in a session-style format. It was a really nice performance/concert with a great crowd. The dancers were really good, too.

Sunday, the kids had their yearly gig at Cumberland County College. Two of the guys from the gig the night before had hired Haley and Dylan to play with them so the four of them sat on the stage taking turns playing duets and playing together. Mike and Bob play multiple instruments and sing traditional songs and songs they have composed. This was another really nice gig. The venue was nearly sold out and the crowd was great.

                                                           Dylan playing bouzouki.

              I couldn't take any photos during the actual event but took these during sound check.

Haley has had a busy week. She played some Irish fiddle for a bereavement luncheon on Monday that was more an Irish celebration of a woman's life. The woman who had passed frequently came to hear Haley perform the past couple years so it was nice for Haley to be able to honor her in this way.

Tuesday, she joined some adult friends in a performance for an area nursing home. The adults did some ceili/set dancing and Haley played some fiddle tunes.

Today the kids spread some Irish culture for Philadelphia's City Council during their weekly council meeting. A few months ago we had met Councilman Kenney at a Plough and the Stars Sunday night session. Ritch and I happened to be sitting next to him and he was impressed with Haley sitting and playing with all the adults so started talking to us. He asked for a card and a couple weeks ago, we were contacted and asked if the kids would come perform.

Councilman Kenney's staff, especially Ms. Mahler, were very nice. They took the us around and showed us how city council works. We were able to see the beginning of a caucus and the start of the actual meeting. The kids did their performance then we were able to take a tour and go to the top of City Hall just underneath the huge statue of Willliam Penn. It was a beautiful day and we had a great view of the entire city.

The kids were later on the local news...they did a short blurb on their performance.