Thanks to community support, 18 students from the Center for Irish Music attended Scoil Éigse tuition-free, spending four full days in music workshops taught by some of Ireland’s master artists.
Fiddle is a popular instrument at the Center for Irish Music, but in Ireland, it’s positively ubiquitous.
In fact, when four of CIM’s youth fiddle players turned up for their first day of instruction at at Scoil Éigse, the official summer music school organized by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, there were so many young Irish, English, Scottish and other international fiddler players enrolled, it took 24 classrooms to hold them all.
Scoil Éigse offered classes to 900 students from around the world, including new set of courses for special needs students. Listen to Clare FM’s coverage of fleadh week here:
“The incredible reach of Irish music around the world is probably the best lesson the kids have taken home from this experience in Ennis,” says Nick Coleman, a CIM parent. “If you’re learning Irish music in Minnesota you might think this is a minority taste, but being in Ireland opened their eyes to the fact that this music means something to people everywhere. It was a big teachable moment.”
Scoil Éigse is open to all comers, and attracted more than 900 students from around the world to Ennis in 2017. While it’s optional for the young players who’ve earned the chance to compete at the All-Ireland Fleadh, ensuring that all of CIM’s Ireland-bound players got a chance to attend the four-day workshop became a priority for the CIM community, which raised enough private funding to cover the tuition for every student who chose to attend.
“For a lot of our families, coming to the fleadh was a once-in-a-lifetime trip that was a huge financial commitment,” says Norah Rendell, executive director. “Making sure that everyone in our group could experience Scoil Éigse fit our mission as a community music school, and I really believe it made the experience so much richer for all of our students. Every day our kids got a chance to learn from fantastic traditional artists, try new tunes, and meet other young musicians from around the world, and play Irish music all day and into the night. It was an exhausting and amazing experience.” Here’s a look:
Reporting for duty
Class started every day at 9 a.m., and CIM students were tuned up and ready to learn from traditional artists. While their kids were in class, CIM parents braved the crowds on O’Connell Street.
During the midday break, CIM students caught up together in the cafeteria of Coláiste Muire, set out exploring Ennis, and checked out live performances at the Gig Rig.