Saturday, March 26, 2016

March Madness 2016

March is the best month to be an Irish musician! St. Patrick's Day brings out the Irish in everyone. This year, both Haley and Dylan had a full calendar of events with everything from small performances at a school or nursing home to huge concerts with well over 1200 people attending.

Here's a quick summary of our March fun!

The first weekend of March, Dylan headed off for a weekend long festival in West Virginia with his band, Poor Man's Gambit. They played five shows and Dylan taught a Irish guitar workshop. It was his first group teaching experience and he received a nice note afterward from one of his "students" saying how much he enjoyed the class and that he learned a lot.

A few weeks before Dylan's trip, I had to do some quick thinking and juggling because he was supposed to perform with Haley that Saturday night at the local community college. I remembered Haley's buddy, John Whelan, was performing close to us the night before so asked if he'd mind staying over and helping Haley out with the performance. He agreed!  The concert was an "onstage" concert where they had the musicians with the audience onstage sitting on chairs in bleachers around them with a house concert-like vibe. The two of them had a blast working out a set list Saturday afternoon then performing it that night. They always sound great together!

Afterward Haley went out to meet the audience and autograph CDs. The little guy below was so enthusiastic throughout the concert, clapping and dancing in his seat!

That Sunday, Haley was part of a recording project with other Philadelphia area Irish musician then we made a mad dash back across the bridge where she performed for an area nursing home. The next two days were spent working on completing a recording of Miss Kathy's second audiobook project Bugaboo Bee's Bop with Haley doing the music and sound effects on her fiddle. The book and audiobook will be released on April 4th.

On Wednesday March 9th, we all piled in a stuffed full car with Keegan and his mom, Lynette, for the drive to Long Island to begin a mini-tour. Méara Meara had four gigs in two days out on the end of Long Island all arranged by our friend, Kira McLaughlin, who was also kind enough to put us up and feed us.

We were up bright and early Thursday morning for a gig at the middle school where Kira is librarian, Pierson Middle School in Sag Harbor, NY. Haley worked with the school strings students on a tune she had sent them previously to help them make the tune sound "Irish." (They will be performing the tune as part of their spring concert.) Afterward we took a walk around Sag Harbor then later went back to the school where the band performed a concert and answered questions for all the middle school students.

That night they joined more musicians to perform for the residents of beautiful Peconic Landing. 

Friday morning, Haley, Dylan, and Keegan were part of a group performing for the workers at  Southampton Hospital. They performed during lunch in the cafeteria. After the hospital, Haley and I took a walk with Kira on the beach looking for sea glass while Lynette and the boys stayed back at the house to rest and catch up on school work.

Then we took the ferry over to Shelter Island where they performed for a full house at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church. 

Saturday morning Haley, Dylan, and I were up very early to catch the 7am ferry over to Connecticut then we drove up to Burlington, VT for the next leg of the tour in VT. Haley and Dylan had been looking forward to going to Burlington, VT because they were teaming up with Studio2Stage vocalist Gerlisa for the gig and they hadn't seen her since last summer! We met with Gerlisa shortly after arriving and they worked out their set, mixing songs and tune sets with a little dancing by Gerlisa. We checked into our hotel and settled our luggage then it was time to head over to the venue. The concert was a fundraiser to send the Young Traditions Vermont group to Ireland next month. Haley, Dylan, and Gerlisa performed in the first half then the Young Traditions Vermont Performance group performed. Everyone did a great job and it was an enjoyable concert.

The next morning we took a walk around Burlington to see the shops and Lake Champlain then had some lunch at The Skinny Pancake where they had a Bluegrass band playing live. We then drove to Montpelier where Haley and Dylan performed a house concert hosted by Donna and John, two wonderful people with the cutest pups! There was a nice crowd with a number of young people attending. We had fun talking to and meeting people after the concert then we went to the small cottage in their backyard for the night. (Dylan wants one.)

Monday was an early morning followed by a meet-up with Mark from Young Traditions Vermont then a drive to do two different school programs. The first was at Randolph Elementary School where they played and talked to a gym full of kids and the other at Braintree Elementary, a much smaller school, where after the concert, Haley sat with the 5th and 6th grade girls and Dylan sat with the boys for interviews. They students came up with some great questions and follow-ups and they had some nice discussion…the students will write up their interviews for a class assignment.

After the school programs, we drove through snow to Boston…if you've read about any of our other trips to Vermont, you would know we have not yet been to Vermont without snow involved. We drove straight to the North End, looking forward to home-made pasta at our favorite Italian restaurant. We were not disappointed!  After dinner we drove to Haley and my "home" for the next week with the Coyne family. They are an awesome family of musicians and it was nice to spend some time with them and get to know them better. There were tunes before bed.

Tuesday we sent Dylan on an Uber to the airport where he flew home for five days of gigs with his band Poor Man's Gambit. Haley and I hung out for the day…did a little shopping and spent some time at the Boston Science Museum where we enjoyed the butterfly garden, a talk about astronauts, and a movie about dinosaurs in the huge theater.

Butterfly photos courtesy of Haley…

Wednesday was a very long day of rehearsals for the show A St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn. Haley loved every minute of it. They started at 10am and, I think, we left some time after 5pm. They worked out the show order, multiple different collaborations, and ran through everything until it was ready for tomorrow's performance.

The show ran Thursday night in Worcester, Friday night in New Bedford, two shows on Saturday in Cambridge, and the final show Sunday afternoon in Cambridge. We had a blast! The show was awesome! There were little surprises (the dancer in the green dress for instance), lots of silliness, and instant friendships! The show host and his wife were amazing, the music director was on top of everything, the musicians were all wonderful, and the dancers were fabulous! I never get tired of seeing Haley collaborating with other musicians and sharing her music with an audience. She is completely at ease and her love of the music and fun she is having are so evident! She amazes me!

The photos below are from sound checks...

Haley starting the show.

Irish traditional music…session band.

It will be an experience Haley will never forget!!