Ryan Behnke · Sean Egan · Mattie Ernst · Jode Dowling · Danielle Enblom · Hannah Flowers · Cory Froehlich · Charlie Heymann · Tom Klein · Iain Dove Lempke · Chad McAnally · John McCormick · Mag McDermott · Alisa Mee · Todd Menton · Brian Miller · Cormac O'Sé · Norah Rendell · Dáithí Sproule · AJ Srubas · Mary Vanorny · Rosa Wells
Rosa Wells has been playing violin since she was very small and developed a love of Irish music early in her learning. She has extensive classical training but has been focusing on fiddle music for the past six years. As the fiddler for local Irish band Trout in the Milk she has played at pubs, weddings and other events. For over a year Rosa has also been one of three fiddler's with Paddy O'Brien's ensemble O'Rourke's Feast and performed with them at the MN Irish Fair 2013. As a common face in the community she can be found at local sessions, community open mic nights and many CIM events.
Mary has spent many hours absorbing Irish music through recordings and live at sessions and concerts, and credits the numerous and talented Irish musicians in the Twin Cities with helping her learn and giving her encouragement. She began playing the violin as a small child, and has been performing since then with various groups all over the Midwest and in Ireland. She was heavily influenced by Cape Breton music growing up in addition to the Suzuki method, which she has taught for several years. Today Mary is influenced by greats like Michael Coleman, Andy McGann, Brian Conway, Liz Carroll, and Tommy Peoples. She currently studies privately with Brian Conway and step dances with Rince na Chroi.
AJ has been playing fiddle for eleven years and is entirely self-taught. His musical career started with his family band that specialized in playing Irish music at festivals, weddings and pubs. Being in a musical family allowed him to play in sessions and attend workshops taught by greats Liz Carroll and Tommy Peoples. Traditional Irish music is AJ’s first love, but he also plays Oldtime and Bluegrass.
Dáithí, originally from Derry in the North of Ireland, is one of the pioneers of guitar in Irish music, with a wide repertoire of traditional songs in both English and Irish (Gaelic). He has toured the world with the band Altan, and has performed and recorded with many other great Irish musicians including Trian, Fingal, Skara Brae, Liz Carroll, Paddy O'Brien, James Kelly, and Tommy Peoples. As well as traditional music, Dáithí teaches Irish language, mythology, and Celtic culture. www.daithisproule.com
Named “Best Female Vocalist" two years in a row in the Live Ireland Awards, Norah is equally dedicated to performing and teaching. She has a master's in Irish traditional music performance from the University of Limerick in Ireland and a bachelor of music degree with a major in Music Education and Early Music Performance from McGill University. Norah is also an award-winning singer and Irish flute-player with an active performing career as a soloist and with the Two Tap Trio. From 2006-2013, she toured internationally as lead vocalist of UK/Ireland-based band, The Outside Track.
Norah has given guest lectures and workshops at University College Cork, the University of Limerick, the Folk Steps Conference in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia. Her performances have been featured live on MPR's Heartland Radio, CBC's Canada Live, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland and Radio nan Gaidheal. Norah's recordings have been broadcast on the CBC, BBC, RTÉ Radio na Gaeltachta (Ireland) and on folk shows across Canada and the United States. Norah is also the Executive Director of the Center for Irish Music. norahrendell.com
Cormac was born and raised in Dublin. He began playing traditional Irish music on piano accordion at the age of 6 while also studying classical music until he was 16. Traditional music was always his passion, in particular playing for Irish dance, which was a major part of Cormac’s upbringing and early professional life as one of the original dancers in Riverdance. Cormac plays music for dancers all over the United States, UK and Ireland at feiseanna and is the director of O’Shea Irish Dance. In 2014, he released an album of feis music called Feistunes with Brian O'Sullivan. Due to his commitment to teaching Irish dance with O'Shea Irish Dance, Cormac is only available to teach lessons on an ad-hoc basis. Please contact us if you'd like to set up a lesson or two with Cormac.
Brian Miller’s intricate yet driving guitar style has made him a sought-after guitar accompanist in the North American Irish music scene. Also a flute, whistle, bouzouki player, singer and researcher, he co-founded the Traditional Singers Club of the Twin Cities. Brian has performed across North America and in Ireland with various groups including Irish Music Awards’ 2009 “Top Traditional Group” Bua, Chulrua with Paddy O'Brien, the Two Tap Trio and Laura MacKenzie. His recordings have been featured on MPR, CBC Radio’s "Canada Live", and in Ireland on RTE and TG4 (television) and RTE (radio). Brian is a two-time recipient of the Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board for his work with the Irish-influenced music of Midwestern lumberjacks. Brian has taught at the CIM since 2006. www.evergreentrad.com
Todd is a multi-instrumentalist and the lead singer in Boiled in Lead, a Twin Cities-based punk/folk/world-music band. He has toured extensively with the band, and is also a solo recording artist for New Folk Records. His music is a combination of original and traditional Irish tunes and songs, rendered in a unique, edgy style. The bodhrán and mandolin are featured prominently on his recordings, and are his two favorite instruments. www.toddmenton.com
Alisa is a fiddler and early childhood music teacher who embarked on the Irish music journey while living in Galway with her husband, a native of Dublin. She particularly values the community-building aspect of the Irish music tradition, and strives to encourage family and community music-making. She sings in an a cappella group, Common Chord, and plays West African and Caribbean drums. Alisa teaches our Celtic Cuties and Singing Sweeties classes when she is not leading storytime for children at the St. Paul Public Library.
Mag McDermott has an extensive background performing and teaching fiddle and is devoted to educating youth in playing proficiency, confidence in performance, and musical group camaraderie on the violin and viola. She has travelled several times to Ireland and Irish music venues in London, bringing back traditional fiddle material from each area. Mag can be heard on numerous recordings with Laura MacKenzie and The Clumsy Lovers.
Accordion player John McCormick is a member of the local Irish band, Barra, and frequently plays in sessions around the Twin Cities. Besides the C#/D button accordion, John plays the bagpipes in the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band. He has served as the band’s Pipe Major for many years and has taught countless piping students. He can also be heard playing in the Twin Cities in his band, Barra.
Chad has been passionately involved in traditional music since he was a child. He holds a BA in Music, did graduate work in ethno-musicology, studied with master harper Ann Heymann and won the SHSA National Scottish Harp championship in 2009. In 2011, the American Composers Forum invited Chad to take part in the launch of their new Composer Teaching Artist training program. In 2010, he received an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to record. Chad brings his joy of teaching and experience as performer, parent, and composer to his work at the CIM. Chad's harp website
Iain Dove Lempke has been playing whistle since the age of 8. He started attending sessions while studying abroad in Scotland and regularly attends the Merlins Rest and Keegans sessions. When not playing traditional music, Iain is also a K-12 educator, with a passion for teaching. In addition to whistle, he also plays the guitar, Irish flute, occasionally the highland bagpipes, and is a classically trained singer. He is a member of the local band Dorain.
Tom spent his childhood studying western classical music, but after hearing the first few notes from Finbar Furey’s Irish Pipe Music, he gave himself over to Irish music. In addition to studying the uilleann piping of long-passed masters, he has been instructed by many of today’s greatest pipers. Once referred to as “The Tim Burton of the pipes” for his unusual and quirky settings of traditional tunes, Tom revels in expanding upon the already highly-idiosyncratic sound of the instrument. He currently performs solo, as well as with Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton in the pipes-and-accordion duo The Bellows Brothers. www.irishpipertom.com.
Originally from Chicago, Charlie has been immersed in Irish music for over forty years. With his wife Ann on Gaelic harp, he has recorded three albums and performed throughout much of Australia, Europe and the U.S. Button accordion is Charlie’s main instrument, but he also plays cittern, concertina and guitar. Charlie has a large repertoire of ballads and comic songs in both English and Irish and a special interest in medieval Irish lays (laoi). www.clairsach.com
Cory was introduced to the silver (orchestral) flute as a child, and continued study through university. Love of the instrument enticed him to explore its use in traditional music. A very capable wooden flute player in the Irish tradition, Cory’s study of both flutes allows him to explore a wide range of genres. He specializes in the adaptation of wooden flute techniques to the Boehm instrument. Cory also has a BA in Classical Vocal Performance.
HANNAH FLOWERS - HARP, SINGING (technique)
Hannah fell in love with the harp as a small child and was classically trained before discovering Irish music in her teens. Since then she has had the opportunity to travel to Ireland multiple times to study harp with masters such as Michelle Mulcahy, Gráinne Hambly, and Elaine Hogan. In 2016 Hannah was awarded a “Next Step Fund” Grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to study ancient Gaelic harp in Kilkenny, Ireland. A trained vocalist and traditional singer, her passion is using her harp playing to accompany herself while singing songs in English and Irish. Hannah holds a BA in music.
Mattie fell in love with Irish music when she started playing harp at the age of 12 after having started as a violinist as a young child. Originally a student at the CIM, she is now a regular musician at local sessions on the concertina and fiddle. On fiddle, Mattie has studied under great players such as Jode Dowling, Bill Hinckley, and Connie O’Connell. Familiar with both classical and Irish fiddle/violin technique, Mattie enjoys teaching students of all ages and abilities. She is an avid composer of both Irish and classical chamber music, holds a BA in Music Composition and is a very talented seamstress and costume artist!
Danielle is a fiddle player and dancer offering instruction to both children and adults. Danielle has studied under fiddlers such as Matt Cranitch, Connie O’Connell and Bobby Gardiner and holds a Diploma in Traditional Irish Music from University College Cork. Danielle teaches by ear and/or note reading and is flexible to meeting each individual's needs, from a basic education on the fiddle to advanced technique, ornamentation, variation and repertoire development.
Sean has been an Irish traditional musician for over 25 years. He has been a member of the Celtic music groups The Blackbirds, The Doon Ceili Band, Field Day, and Baal Tinne; and has worked with Irish traditional musicians Kate and Jode Dowling, Laura MacKenzie, Dáithí Sproule, Sean O'Driscoll, Marty McHugh, and Martin Hayes. He also works in several other genres, and has a degree in composition from DePaul University. www.seaneganmusic.com
Jode has been playing Irish traditional music on the fiddle for over 30 years, learning from his musical family and at workshops in the US and Ireland. Jode has been teaching fiddle for over 9 years andin 2004, co-founded the Center for Irish Music with his wife, Kate Dowling. Jode teaches his lessons by ear, leveraging a large repertoire of tunes and experiences. A skilled and natural musician, Jode particularly enjoys teaching young students and teenagers. hibs.com
Ryan Behnke originally studied the highland bagpipe and still is an active member in the Macalester College pipe band. It was through this organization he discovered the Uilleann pipes and has been playing them ever since. Ryan has a master’s in Irish traditional music performance from the University of Limerick in Ireland as well as an undergraduate degree in Music Therapy from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He can be frequently found playing in pubs and performing with various groups. Ryan Also plays the whistle and flute. Ryan is also an active member in the Great Northern Irish piper’s Club.