Amanda Hogan and her family are relatively new to the Twin Cities and have immersed themselves in Irish cultural activities, including both music and dance.Amanda plays classical piano and has picked up several Irish instruments, but has come to focus on Irish flute as her primary instrument.
Amanda studies with Kate Dowling at the Center for Irish Music and performs with the Center’s Student Ensemble.As part of the ensemble, Amanda has performed at the IMDA’s St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration at LandmarkCenter, Irish Fair Minnesota, and Celtic Fest in Chicago, as well as presenting pre-concert entertainment for Cherish the Ladies at Orchestra Hall and opening for the Celtic Tenors at the Fitzgerald Theatre.
Amanda hopes that having a quality flute of her own will help her obtain better playing skills, tonal quality, and confidence in performing.She really enjoys performing and hopes to “continue doing it always.”
Amanda will use her Educational Grant to purchase her own Irish flute.The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Amanda continue her study of Irish music.
Megan Maloney is from Mankato and came by her love of Irish dancing naturally.While she can claim Irish heritage on both sides of her family, she is strongly influenced by her 100% Irish Grandmother, who has shared her deep pride in being Irish with Megan.Her Grandmother is a former Irish dancer, who at 95 years young has slowed down a bit.Megan says that she “wanted to keep Irish dancing ‘alive’ in our family.”Megan is amazed at how “an Irish dancer is able to move in such a graceful, beautiful way expressing their heritage for others to see and learn about” and she felt she “just had to learn to do it.”
Megan began her study through a community education class and now studies with Erin Cooney at the Cooney School of Irish Dance.She also performs with Irish harpist Amy Kortuem.
Megan has found lots of ways to share her love of Irish dance:dancing in classrooms at school for students who are learning about Ireland, at church and community festivals, and nursing homes.Megan has also enjoyed performing at IMDA’s St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration at Landmark Center, Irish Fair Minnesota and the Minnesota State Fair.
In addition to Irish dancing, Megan is active as a member of student council, helping at church dinners, serving mass at church and volunteering with Special Olympics.
Megan will use her Educational Grant for dance lessons and traveling expenses for Irish dancing.The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Megan continue her study of Irish dance.
Autumn Odean is the youngest grant winner.As a little girl, Autumn was inspired to learn Irish dancing when she came to Landmark Center for the IMDA’s St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration and watched the Irish dancers.Now nine years old, Autumn has been studying for two years with Rachel Knutson at the Shamrock School of Irish Step Dance.
Autumn has danced in a variety of settings, from Landmark Center and Irish Fair Minnesota to her school’s talent show to her Grandma’s 60th Birthday Party.She also enjoys Feis competition, because she enjoys traveling to different states, meeting other Irish dancers and celebrating with the girls from Shamrock.
This has been a big year for Autumn, who got her first solo dress this year and has participated in five competitions, moved from advance beginner to novice level in both softshoe and hardshoe dances, and made open level in her favorite softshoe dance, the slip jig.
As an Irish dancer, Autumn serves as ambassador for her Irish Heritage and for the Irish community, sharing her love of Irish dance with her school friends and the community and even inspiring a friend to begin studying Irish dance.
Autumn will use her Educational Grant to help with a new solo dance dress or her first pair of hard soled dance shoes.The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Autumn continue her study of Irish dance.
Colleen White is an enthusiastic young tin whistle and flute player who particularly enjoys playing at local sessions and ceilis here in the Twin Cities (she considers it one of her favorite aspects of playing Irish music).
Colleen studies with Kate Dowling at the Center for Irish Music and performs with the Center’s Student Ensemble.As part of the ensemble, Colleen has performed at the IMDA’s St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration at Landmark Center, Irish Fair Minnesota, and Celtic Fest in Chicago, and (perhaps most exciting of all) on stage with Cherish the Ladies at Orchestra Hall.Colleen has also taken part in solo competitions at the Fleigh Ceoil in St. Louis the past two years.As a member of the group Celtic Rose, Colleen has performed at Irish Fair Minnesota and other community festivals.
Colleen feels that the greatest influence on her music has come from the time she has spent in Ireland.She has studied at the Willy Clancy Music School in Miltown Malbay, County Clare, the South Sligo Summer School in Tubbersurry, County Sligo and the Joe Mooney festival in County Leitrim.
Colleen will use her Educational Grant for travel to Ireland this summer to continue her music education and hopes to spend part of her college career studying in Ireland.The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Colleen continue her study of Irish music.
Patrick McCormick’s path to learning Irish music started at a young age.His grandfather, Ed McCormick and his uncle, John McCormick, both play with the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band.According to Patrick “every family affair was steeped with Irish music:births, deaths, weddings, celebrations” of all kinds.
Patrick began playing the Highland pipes in 2004 and now teaches others interested in learning to play this very demanding instrument. He is studying Uilleann pipes with Tom Klein and the Great Northern Irish Pipers Club.According to Tom, the Uilleann pipes are a notoriously difficult instrument to learn; it is often held that it takes 21 years to master them.Pat has made very quick progress, gaining an enviable level of proficiency in just two years.Pat also augments his learning by attending regular meetings with local pipers, participating in annual workshops and traveling to meet and learn from other pipers.
Pat contributes his time and talent as the Student Coordinator for the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band, setting up prospective new students with teachers and materials.He also teaches Highland pipes, carrying on the tradition by providing instruction to students without charge.He hopes to master the Uilleann pipes well enough to pass that skill along as well.
Pat will use his Educational Grant for travel to Ireland for an extended stay and the opportunity to “immerse himself in Irish ways – to explore Irish music, piping, poetry, literature, history and language.”The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Patrick continue his study of Irish music.