Monica Nigon is a passionate young fiddler who has been making music with her family since she was four years old!Monica grew up listening to her mother playing in an Irish and bluegrass band and looks forward to the chance to jam with her brother, who plays guitar, when he’s home from college.Monica has classical violin training “with a fiddle tune tossed in here and there.”Monica studies every traditional musician’s CD she can find, and continues to take lessons.She has been deeply influenced by her teacher, John Reed, who often discusses musicians he’s studied with in Ireland and shares videos of great performances.
Monica, who lives in Zumbrota, MN, joins family friends to play in the Bitter Creek Band, performing Irish and bluegrass tunes along with American favorites for a variety of audiences, including nursing homes, fundraisers, and area restaurants and coffee shops.She recently played for a fundraiser for the Zumbrota Area Arts Council..
Monica will use her Educational Grant to study with Theresa Bourke at the Fiddler’s Retreat in Tipperary, Ireland next summer..The 3 day program includes morning study with a focus on the techniques and stylistic features that make the tunes sound uniquely Irish.Afternoons are for sightseeing, the evenings for Irish sessions, and the program includes a homestay with an Irish family.Monica looks forward to deepening her knowledge of genuine Irish music.
The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help this dedicated young fiddler continue her study of Irish music.
Emily and Katie Gerlach
Emily and Katie Gerlach both love Irish dancing, both study with O’Shea Irish Dance and both are receiving Educational Grants to “keep on dancing.” Emily, at age eight and a half, began dancing at three with Trinity Irish Dancers in Milwaukee. When she was preparing her application for an IMDA grant, Emily was preparing for Oireachtas, the annual regional championship competition that qualifies dancers for the World Irish Dance Championship. Emily has competed at Oireachtas before, having placed 38th in solo competition when she was only seven!
Emily first became interested in Irish dancing when she watched the DVD Lord of the Dance. She says that “watching the dancers made me want to dance.” She enjoys dancing for people – “entertaining them and making them happy.” Emily is in the Intermediate class and works hard to continue to improve her steps.
Katie is a year younger than Emily and would watch her sister at dance lessons and long to dance as well.Katie says “even though I was only three, the teachers knew that I really, really wanted to dance and they let me.”Katie thinks that dancing is fun and always has a big smile for the audience.
Their teachers say that Emily and Katie are both very promising students, who bring great intensity and commitment to their study of Irish dance. Emily and Katie will use their Educational Grants to continue their dance classes. The Irish Music and Dance Association is delighted to help these fine young dancers continue their study of Irish dance.
Irish dancer Anna Purtle has been studying with Rince na Chroi
for five years and hopes to become a dance teacher herself one day. Anna’s enthusiasm for Irish dance is
infectious – she even teaches her friends at school! Anna’s teacher, Katie Stevens Spangler, tells
us that Anna is a fast learner and once she has mastered her steps, she helps
her classmates learn them, too.
This is just the sort of devoted young dancer that IMDA had in
mind for our Educational Grants. This
year’s grant to Anna is a very special one – as its was given by the Mooncoin
Ceili Dancers in honor of the late Brenda Buckley, who also loved Irish dance
and loved teaching.
Anna is twelve years old and comes from Minneapolis.
Anna fell in love with Irish dance at Irish Fair Minnesota – she loves
the dance steps, the choreography and the costumes! Anna said that it was so much fun to watch
that she couldn’t wait to start classes.
Anna truly enjoys dancing, practices all the time and is often seen in
performance with Rince na Chroi.
The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to be able to
help this dedicated young dancer continue her study of Irish dance.