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!

1 comment:

Stacy said...

Wow! What a weekend! It's impressive that Hayley has so many performing oppoetunitied, and kudos to you for helping her make it to all of them!