Nicholas Wolf came to his interest in the Irish language through his interest in the history of Ireland. A graduate student from Minneapolis, Nick became fascinated by the language because of its long tradition and current troubled status.Nick says that "Irish was one of the first vernaculars in Europe to be used in creating literature, and it is often forgotten that by the time Shakespeare advanced the cause of the English language, writers in Irish had already peen producing rich collections of poetry for centuries."
Nick has been studying Irish intensely for four years, and has developed mastery enough to teach at the intermediate level through Gaeltacht Minnesota.Because advanced courses in the language are difficult to find in the U.S., Nick will be traveling to Ireland next summer to study at the School of Celtic Studies at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.The course focuses on learning to read and translate the more complex poetic forms of the language.
The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Nick continue his study of the Irish language.
Rachel Olson is the youngest grant winner.As a little girl, Rachel was inspired to learn Irish dancing when she visited Milwaukee Irish Fest.Rachel says that “seeing the Irish dancers just made something click, sort of like ‘this is where I belong.’”She says it was one of the best days ever.Now twelve years old, Rachel has been studying since she was seven with Brenda Buckley at Scoil na dTri.
Rachel is a dedicated dancer, having achieved Championship level at the tender age of 12.She performs several times a month at places like county fairs, churches, nursing homes and hospitals.This summer, Rachel competed at the Minnesota State County Fair Talent contest - and won!It was a wonderful chance to share her love of Irish dance with a big audience.
Rachel will use her Educational Grant to help her attend camp Rince Ceol, an Irish dance workshop at Union College in Schenectady, New York.She is very excited about the opportunity to study with instructors who have all been in Riverdance or Lord of the Dance, as one of her goals is to be in Riverdance herself.
The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Rachel continue her study of Irish dance.
Elizabeth Hines has been a dancer since the age of three.She discovered Irish dance at Irish Fair Minnesota as a grade schooler and thought “I can do that!”Liz has been dancing for 10 years and is a Preliminary Championship level competitor, representing Scoil na dTri at Mid-America Championships four times.
While she loves dancing and competing, Liz is passionate about teaching.Liz says “I have learned so much about my culture and myself from my teachers over the years that I can’t help but desire to share that with new dancers, big and small, young and old!”Liz feels that “every time a dancer learns a dance, they gain an understanding of Irish music, of history, and they step into the something those before them enjoyed.”Liz is now away at college, but the first place she goes when she’s home is to the studio and she says “I’m simply blown away at how much ‘my’ dancers have improved and grown.”Liz tells us that “it’s fulfilling to know that I am part of their progress; I get to be a player in their dreams coming true.”
Liz is committed to becoming a certified dance teacher by sitting for the TCRG exam, administered by An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha, the international governing body of Irish dance.Success in passing this exam requires an extensive knowledge of all 30 ceili dances, all dances, traditional and non-traditional sets as well as each of the tunes – and will require extensive study and preparation.Liz will use her IMDA grant to help with the travel expenses and fees of sitting for the exam.
The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Liz continue her study of Irish dance.
Bonnie Hogan became interested in Irish Culture when her family visited Irish Fair Minnesota back in 2004 and did a little ceili dancing.From dancing to music was a quick transition, and Bonnie began studying pennywhistle with Kate Dowling at the Center for Irish Music the next year, and joined the Center for Irish Music Performance Ensemble in the fall of 2006.
Her teachers tell us that Bonnie works earnestly at her instrument and has expanded her play-list and style well beyond what she's been taught in the classroom.She seeks out a greater repertoire from her peers and from recordings, and has a personal style that is quite well developed for someone of her age.
Bonnie will use her Educational Grant to purchase her own hand-made whistle.(While many folks still remember that a tin whistle was called a penny whistle, a fine hand-made instrument is a significant investment.)
The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help Bonnie continue her study of Irish music.