Midwest Fleadh 2019

Chicago, Illinois - April 26-28, 2019

IMG 1671

General Information

The Midwest Fleadh Cheoil (pronounced 'flah') is a the main regional traditional Irish music competition hosted annually by a Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann branched that is based in the Midwest. In 2019, the fleadh will be hosted by the Murphy Roche Irish Music Club at the Crown Plaza hotel in Northbrook (suburb of Chicago) in Illinois from April 26-28.

The Advanced Youth Ensemble and Starling ensembles will compete in a few of the group competitions. We would like to extend a warm invitation to all CIM students to join the group in traveling and competing in solo, duet or trios!  

In addition to a great opportunity to improve your skills & music through competition (including receiving comments from experienced judges/instructors in the field), the Midwest Fleadh Cheoil is an amazing opportunity to connect to a larger community of Irish musicians. You will also experience of enjoyment and satisfaction of focusing on becoming a better musician.

We hope you will join us this year!

The Midwest Regional Fleadh - Tips and Information

  • The Fleadh atmosphere is a great gathering of musicians - it's a fun and supportive environment.
  • The goal is to have fun through meeting and hearing other talented young traditional musicians in the Midwest.
  • Choose your tunes and songs early, making sure they are memorized with variations at least a month ahead of time.  Practice rigorously so that you can relax and enjoy yourself at the competition!
  • All competitions are open to public. Family members are encouraged to listen to competitions on Friday and Saturday, whether you know someone who is competing or not.  
  • All families, instructors and students will attend the Saturday night group competitions (Ceili Band and Grúpa Ceoil). It’s like a concert with a great lively atmosphere – the best part of the weekend.  Don't miss it, and wear your CIM t-shirts (available from the office for $15).
  • CIM supports students preparing for solo, duet and trio competitions at the fleadh.  Private weekly lessons are necessary if you would like to compete.  It takes instructors' time and expertise to come up with repertoire, variations etc.  Please respect instructors' time if you need extra time from them (you might want to book a few extra lessons, for example) and don't hesitate to contact admin@centerforirishmusic.org to help with booking these.
  • Fleadh registration deadlines and categories are rigid, so please make sure you register for the correct competitions. Contact your instructor, Executive Artistic Director Norah Rendell or Advanced Youth Ensemble director, Brian Miller with questions. There are many other CIM instructors who have experience with the fleadh as well, such as Mary Vanorny, Hannah Flowers, Cory Froehlich, Mattie Ernst, Sean Gavin etc.



  • Registration is open!
  • Norah registers groups (CIM covers the cost)
  • Parents register for solos, duets & trios.
  • Entries after March 31 will incur a $50 late fee per competition.
  • Entries after April 25 will incur a $100 late fee per competition.
  • Go to the Midwest Fleadh Cheoil page and go to the registration page. 
  • $25 per competition for non CCÉ members (CIM students are not CCÉ members as CIM is not a Comhaltas branch)
  • You MUST register ONLINE for ALL competitions - excluding band or group dance fees (céilí bands, marching bands, grúpaí cheoil, céilí/set dance competitions).  CIM will register groups.

What to Wear

  • Group Competitions - refer to CIM Ceili Care Wear document
  • Solo, duets & trios - A nice outfit that you are comfortable in, your CIM shirt. You will notice that the competitions are quite casual, and some competitors wear very casual clothes.
  • CIM LOGOWEAR for students, families and friends - Show your enthusiasm for the Center for Irish Music! Logowear orders are due on March 29th. See the students page for details.


Crowne Plaza Northbrook-Chicago
2875 Milwaukee Ave
Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 298-2525

There is a block booking set up for that weekend with the code "FLE." The rooms are $109/night. Reserve a room as soon as you can as the block booking fills up quickly.

The Competition

Here is a link to a document prepared by CIM instructor, Brian Miller, that explains the competition categories and options for each instrument:  

Everything You Need To Know about the Midwest Regional Fleadh

Practice Fleadh - April 13, 2019

CIM will host a practice fleadh (20-minute slots with an "adjudicator") on Saturday, April 13th. Each competitor is allowed up to 2 slots for now, including duos & trios, depending on availability. Sign-up here.

Qualifying for Ireland

Musicians who place first or second in the Midwest competitions qualify to compete in Ireland at the All-Ireland Fleadh. The All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil / Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann will be in Drogheda, Co. Louth from August 11 - 18, 2019. More information is on the fleadhcheoil.ie website.

For the past several years, a small group of CIM students have decided to make the trip with their families. In the past two years, CIM has sent an instructor to the All-Ireland to support competitors, but not to chaperone. All of these families are available to share information about any aspect of the trip to Ireland with you! Contact Norah Rendell at nrendell@centerforirishmusic.org for more information.

Bus Information

  • Due to keen interest from many students, we are organizing a charter bus for the Midwest Fleadh 2019!
    • THERE: The bus will depart from the Celtic Junction at 7:00am on Friday, April 26th. Please arrive by 6:45am at the latest! The drive is approximately 6 hours, so with a lunch break on the way, it will arrive at the hotel around 2pm.
    • BACK: The bus will leave the hotel on Sunday, April 28th at 9:30am, arriving back at the Celtic Junction at approximately 4:30pm.
  • COST: $80/non-competitor, $50/competitor ($30 credit from CIM donors).
  • PAYMENT DEADLINE - Friday, March 8th

Merged session