Brian Miller will be receiving an IMDA Educational Grant to continue his study of Irish Songs of Early Minnesota.A traditional singer and guitarist, Brian has toured and played with several groups, including File Mile Chase, Bua and Two Tap Trio.Brian also takes an active role in the musical life of the Twin Cities, on stage in pubs, gigging with friends, playing in sessions, and nurturing the local Traditional Singers Club. Brian will use his IMDA grant to continue his research in Irish songs that were sung in early Minnesota.Brian’s interest in these songs began some time ago, when he was introduced to some songs collected in the early 1920s in his hometown of Bemidji.With the help of an Irish Fair Legacy Fund grant, Brian has already delved deeply into this topic, studying original transcriptions housed in the University of Madison’s music archives, and has begun performing these songs in a variety of settings.The IMDA grant will allow him to travel to historical societies and music archives to work with authentic source material, including unique song collections, journals and transcriptions.In some cases, Brian will be searching for the melodies that go with these songs; in other cases, he’ll be looking for background.His goal is to develop a new performance program of music and history focusing on the importance of Irish songs to Minnesotans (not just lumberjacks) in the late 1880s.Eventually, he hopes to publish a new edition of one of the most significant song collections. IMDA is pleased to be able to help Brian continue this interesting work.IMDA members and guests can look forward to hearing more about these old song traditions from this gifted artist.
David Ochs fell in love with Irish dance at the tender age of 4 when he first saw the Riverdance video with Michael Flatley.His dance journey began with tap dance lessons at 6 and he moved on to Irish dance at nine.He says he was lucky when found out that his dance instructor, Cormac O’Shea, was in that show.Now an 11 year old, David is inspired by Cormac, and “likes to encourage younger kids in class (especially boys.)”David comes by his love of Irish dance naturally – his grandmother on his dad’s side of the family is Irish and his great, great, grandfather came over from Ireland.
David has performed at Irish Fair Minnesota and our own St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration at LandmarkCenter, and competes in Twin Cities Feile and the Minnesota Feis.David “has always wanted to dance” and particularly enjoys performing.His dance teachers tell us that his commitment to hard work, discipline and learning to trust himself show in the progress he has made as dancer.
David is also learning to play traditional fiddle, a great complement to his study of Irish dance. His music teacher says that he is a motivated student and “has made remarkable progress in his fiddling skills.”David hopes to compete on fiddle at Twin Cities Feile.
IMDA is pleased to be able to help David continue his study of Irish dance.IMDA members and guests can look forward to seeing this dedicated young dancer on our stages for years to come.