Monday, June 22, 2015

Logging Miles…and Hours of Music

A bag of goodies!!
Two weekends ago was a weekend of sessions. Haley attended three sessions in as many days, played a CD release concert gig for her friend, Andy Lamy (who's CD The New Blackthorn Stick she appeared on), took a fiddle lesson, performed in a classical violin concert, and practiced.

She logged in over 18 hours of violin/fiddle playing in three days!!

This weekend was a weekend of festivals. Fun, fun, fun!!! We had a bit of a taste of what it is like to be touring musicians. Ha!

We drove to Glen Rock, PA Friday afternoon and were welcomed at our hotel with a huge bag full of snacks courtesy of the Penn-Mar Irish Festival. We had a few hours before a scheduled Skype fiddle lesson for Haley so we went over to the festival grounds to help set up wherever we were needed. We set up chairs in the main stage tent, brought out mannequins for t-shirt sales, and filled sandbags needed to hold down the tents in the wind. Dylan also rode around helping set up buckets filled with sand to hold up the fencing around the festival grounds.

We drove back to the hotel in time for Haley to do a bit of practicing then she had a Skype lesson with Brian before we walked to dinner at a nearby restaurant. After our late dinner, we hung out in our room and watched some TV before bed.

Haley and Dylan were part of the Next Generation performance at the festival in the morning so we had breakfast at our hotel with John Whelan and Mairtin de Cogain then drove to the festival grounds for a sound check. Festival attendance tends to increase as the day goes on, so mornings at a festival tend to be a bit quiet. There was a nice sized crowd for the Next Generation performances though, and the kids did a great job.

Haley was interviewed for the local news station.

Haley got a picture with the friendly festival devil.

John asked them to play with him for his set as well so we hung around for a bit then went back to the hotel for a couple hours (it was really hot and humid outside and Haley wanted to practice her classical music) before going back to the festival grounds to see our friends, Burning Bridget Cleary, perform before John's set.

I used to get nervous when Haley was younger and didn't know exactly what she was doing before going on stage but at this point, Haley is a professional (Dylan as well). She can get up on stage, play whatever she needs to play on the fly, and give a great performance. John came in a few minutes before the sound check and the three of them, along with Pete (BBC's percussionist), put on a great show!

We left the festival for some supper as the rain clouds started rolling in. By the time we were finished dinner, it was raining heavily and late. We went to bed a little earlier than usual so we could get up in the morning for our four hour ride to Fairfield, CT in the morning.

After an early morning breakfast, Haley and I followed John and Dylan to Connecticut.

We arrived at the Fairfield County Festival a couple hours before the kids' set with John. We watched some local Irish dancers then local young musicians, got a short lesson on speaking Irish, looked at the Irish merchandise, had some ice-cream, then it was time to play.

John, Haley, and Dylan played an awesome set and received two standing ovations!!

We sold some CDs, met with the "fans," then walked over to the main stage to watch a bit of The Elders (Haley wanted to listen to her friend, Colin, playing fiddle with them) before grabbing some burgers then driving through a thunderstorm to get home.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Classic-al Haley

I rarely blog about Haley's classical music anymore.

Haley has a lukewarm relationship with classical music.

She knows continuing her study of classical music improves her overall violin/fiddle technique.
She practices faithfully for hours each day on her own...though she often says she would not be sad if she never had to play another etude or scale again.
Sometimes she talks about doing only Irish music then in the next moment decides to continue classical as well.

She loves the challenge of learning new pieces though it has been quite a while since she was really passionate about a new piece. When she had her last lesson of the "school year" with her teacher this year, he told her to begin learning Bach Partita in D minor and she was excited. She did some listening and began playing the first movement then decided she really liked the second movement so began playing that, too.

She was excited to have her first summer lesson with her previous, long-time classical violin teacher because she had mentioned beginning a certain piece at the concert on Sunday. When we arrived on Monday afternoon, her teacher had changed her mind about which piece to begin and Haley was a little thrown but, by the end of the lesson, she was completely on board.

She has listened to it played by many different musicians and listened carefully marking their dynamics so she can compare and contrast their different takes on the piece. She has practiced much more each day than usual using her Dr. Beat for rhythm or droning for intonation. She has even been caught singing it at odd times during the day. (I cannot remember the last time I caught her absentmindedly singing a classical piece.)

Today, every time she picked up her fiddle to play fiddle tunes at an outdoor event we attended all day, it became a violin first for a little while as she played through the two pages she had memorized the day after she began practicing the piece.

The piece she is thrilled to be playing…..

Sometimes I wonder how much longer Haley will happily take classical violin lessons...then moments like this happen to remind her how many really cool pieces there are out there for her to learn.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Where Have We Been??

I realized last night I hadn't blogged in a few weeks.

I've been a little busy.

I have spent most of my weeknights researching and contacting Celtic radio stations around the world then mailing out copies of Haley and Dylan's CD for airplay to those who reply (and a number who hear about their music and contact me). These are some of my new "mom-ager" duties. We purchased a world map to hang on the wall that has pins to place where their music is being played. When it arrived, they had fun putting in the pins.

Since the MidAtlantic Fleadh, Haley and Dylan were interviewed by Denise Foley at Irish Philadelphia who wrote a nice article about them and their new album. Haley was also interviewed by a fairly major music publication (though she doesn't want me to let anyone know until the article is published, we think sometime this winter, but she's very excited because it is one we receive and read cover to cover).

They performed for Vineland Community Day and the re-enactors from Founder's Day the day prior allowed her to shoot off a cannon. The night before Founder's Day, there is a campfire evening because re-enactors camp for the weekend on the grounds. I took Haley over to talk to the re-enactors and play some tunes with the musicians there.

They did a CD release mini-concert then hosted the session at the IAANWJ the following weekend. There was a good sized, appreciative crowd of music lovers so they had a blast performing then sharing tunes with the other musicians.

Here's a video the woman who hosted them, Iris, took at the event… (this is the first track of their CD).

Last weekend they played some tunes between dance numbers at the Fitzpatrick School of Irish Dance-Sellersville Branch's end of year dance show. This is their 4th year doing this and they look forward to it every year.

Last night, Dylan went to the prom of the high school he used to attend before coming home to homeschool. He had a great time. He and his date, Sophia, looked fabulous!!

Tonight, Haley and I head up to north Jersey to a CD release event for a CD she recorded a couple of tracks on. Our friend, Andy Lamy, recorded a CD of Irish music on clarinet called The New Blackthorn Stick and invited some of the world's best Irish musicians to collaborate with him. Haley was honored to be included and she provided fiddle on a slow air and another set of tunes. Tonight they will perform a concert then after the concert we'll head around the corner for a session. She is really excited to be able to play with the musicians who will be there.