This page contains messages
and reports from local branch members, Comhaltas worldwide, and our
esteemed Comhaltas North America Secretary, John E. Pendergast.
Please read this message from Michael Reimer (October 21, 2002):
Dear Dance friends at the Plough,
I'm writing with some news and views about one of our favorite places
to set dance.
As many of you know, the Plough and Stars is a venerable institution,
known by Irish musicians around the country and beyond as a consistent
supporter of traditional music for over 25 years. The Plough is especially
noteworthy in having such fine music nearly every night, rather than
just a token presence occasionally on the calendar. What you may be
less aware of is the increasing difficulty of supporting so much music,
especially in the present challenging economy.
We have been especially lucky these past two years or so, in which
we have enjoyed excellent live music provided explicitly for set dancing,
nearly every Thursday, at no cost. The thanks for this go to Jack
Gilder and Sean Heaney, both of whom have been very supportive of
our group in the past.
I have talked with several of our experienced leaders within the dancing
group, and we have agreed that while we may have become accustomed
to the current arrangement, it is both appropriate, and in our own
best interest, to help support this "scene" that we enjoy
To that end, we will be starting something new at the Plough, beginning
this Thursday (10/24): voluntary contributions will be collected from
those who dance, and donated to the Plough to help support these evenings.
The suggested contribution will be $5 for the night, and only those
actively dancing are expected to contribute -- it will not be a "door
I trust that those of you who value our set dancing community at the
Plough will be willing to show that appreciation by contributing this
modest amount. I am confident that if we demonstrate our support for
live set dancing music in this concrete way, the "Thursday scene"
can continue and thrive for years to come.
I will be happy to talk with anyone about their ideas and/or concerns
about this -- please send an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call
me at (510) 548-4727.
Public Relations Officer:
North America Province News & Announcements
September 29th 2001 Ard Chomhairle meeting at CCÉ Head Office
Chairman Frank Kennedy and Delegates Helen Gannon and John Pendergast
represented North America at the September 29th Ard Chomhairle meeting
at CCÉ Head Office in Dublin. We were joined by our spouses
and Honorary President Bill McEvoy for the Tionól 2001 activities
honoring Kit Hodge, and the CCÉ 50th Anniversary dinner at
the Mansion House in Dublin. Here are some of the significant items
from these events:
1. SEPTEMBER 11. The Ard Chomhairle expressed heartfelt solidarity
with America. They extended their sympathy, prayers and support to
the North American contingent; to those who suffered; to those who
grieve the loss of loved ones; to the Government of the United States
and to the people ot America whom "we are always proud to number
among our closest friends and allies." The victims and their
families were also remembered at mass.
As a mark of respect and solidarity, and in consultation with your
leadership in the United States, the Ard Chomhairle Standing Committee
decided on Monday, September 17, to cancel the 2001 North American
Concert Tour which was scheduled to leave Ireland on October 1st.
2. BACK TO LISTOWEL. The Ard Chomhairle selected Listowel, County
Kerry for the 2002 Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann after another wonderful
run in August 2001. Warrenpoint, County Down withdrew their application
for 2002 but plan to resubmit for 2003.
3. SCOIL EIGSE 2001. This long running Summer College of Irish traditional
music, song, dance and language that occurs the week before the Fleadh
was a resounding success. There were 39 separate classes and 669 students.
The teachers recorded their "party pieces' and a CCE 50th Anniversary
CD entitled "Rogha Orda" will soon be on the market from
Head Office. The only problem with Scoil Eigse will be the tough job
finding venues large enough to accommodate its success.
4. TIONOL 2001. CCE Head Office stalwart Kit Hodge was this years
recipient. Many tributes were paid to Kit for both her administrative
work and also for her leadership of the Liverpool Ceili Band when
it won the All-Ireland. There was great music from the likes of Joe
Burke, plus Charlie Lennon and Sean McNamara of the old Liverpool
Ceili Band, and many others.
5. ANNIVERSARY BANQUET. A highlight of the weekend was the 50th Anniversary
Banquet held at the Mansion House in Dublin. The Mansion House is
the residence of the Lord Mayor and has a long history that includes
the hosting of the first Dail. Irish President Mary MacAleese's speech
was one of the best ever heard. It included Irish Government public
acknowledgement of the role played by Comhaltas in preserving traditional
Irish music, song and dance. Great stuff! We are working on getting
a copy of the speech.
The following were presented awards on the night for their support
to Comhaltas and Irish culture:
Fr. Pat Ahern, Peter Browne, Pat Butler, Doris Crawford, Kieran Hanrahan,
P. J. Kennedy, Eilis Lawrie, Tomas MacAnna, Breandan MacLua, Ciaran
MacMathuna, Tony McCarthy, Paddy MoElvaney, Andy McCann, John 0' Conor
Mairtin Davy O'Coisdealbha, Donncha 0'Dulaing, Micheal 0' hEidhin,
Mairtin 0' Fatharta, Liam 0' Murchu', Willie Reynolds, Rev. Chris
Warren, and John Williams.
[Note: John will send each Regional Secretary a copy of the Anniversary
Dinner program which includes a write-up on each awardee.]
6. LIMERICK CONCERT. The 50th Anniversary Concert will be held at
Limerick University Concert Hall on Saturday, November 3, 2001. The
artist lineup reads like a "who's who" of traditional music.
Tickets are £10 and available at Head Office. If you plan to
be there, get your tickets early as they are on a ''first come'' basis.
7. 2001 CCÉ CONGRESS. The Congress, which was postponed due
to Foot and Mouth disease precautions, will be held on 16-18 November
at Head Office. A number of younger members of Comhaltas have been
invited to present their views on a variety of Comhaltas related subjects.
8. BRU BORU. The new subterranean addition to the CCÉ facility
in Cashel, County Tipperary was officially opened by Arts Minister
Sile DeValera in June. The new addition will enhance the role of Bru
Boru in the areas of education, research, information and performance.
You should really try to include Bru Boru in any travel plans to Ireland,
particularly in the summer when there are musical performances many
nights of the week.
9. CÉILÍ BANDS REUNION. The Céilí Bands
reunion at the 2001 Fleadh Nua was an emotional and inspiring event.
It captured the vision, dedication and passion of the past 50 years.
Fortunately, the event itself was captured on both CD and video. These
items are just coming off the press and will soon be available at
Other music related items in the pipeline include a booklet containing
all the tunes that have appeared in Treoir; a flute tutor; a fiddle
tutor; and CDs containing all the North American Concert Tour tracks,
probably divided into one CD per decade.
10. SESSION TUNES BOOK. Available now at Head Office is a booklet
of session tunes that were field tested at the great Wednesday Night
Sessions at Head Office. These 116 tunes are arranged into 39 sets
of three tunes each that play together well. Each Branch should have
a copy of this £5 music book.
11. AN GHAEILGE. A new draft Irish Language Guide is being prepared
and should be available at Congress.
12. ADMINISTRATION ITEMS. AGM PACKETS: Head office is in the process
of mailing these packets direct to your 2001 Branch Secretary. NASC:
NASC tickets will be in the AGM packs. Branches get to keep 90% of
the funds raised. Its easy money to support your Branch music education
13. FRIENDS OF COMHALTAS: Another Branch fund raiser being tested
this year is the sponsorship proposal. Each Branch solicits 10 sponsors
at $25 each and CCE provides the sponsors with 4 issues of Treoir
and sponsor cards. Best of all, Branches keep all of the funds raised.
CCE is attempting to provide additional means for branches to raise
funds for your activities. It is the hope of Head Office that Branch
Officers will take advantage of these programs.
John E. Pendergast
Comhaltas North America
14A North East Isles Drive
North East, MD 21901 USA
World Wide News & Announcements