Our Performers

In addition to our instructor concerts each night, we have music at every meal featuring established bands and individuals who have been invited to perform in ensembles. This year's performers include (click on name to see bio):

Brianna Brown (Concertina) -- Lunch Concert, 12:30 p.m., Saturday
Chris Buckley (Fiddler) -- with Lone Star Ceili Band at Thursday and Saturday evening Ceilis
Joseph Carmichael (Guitarist) -- Dinner Concert, 5:30 p.m., Saturday
Sarah Copus (Harpist & Singer) -- Breakfast Concert, 8 a.m., Saturday
Margaret Graham (Fiddler) -- Dinner Concert, 5:30 p.m., Saturday
Harps Accord (Harp Duo) -- Breakfast Concert, 8 a.m., Sunday
Therese Honey (Harpist) -- Breakfast Concert, 8 a.m., Friday
The Jig Is Up! -- Dinner Concert, 5:30 p.m., Friday
Daniel Mehalko (Tenor Banjo & Flute) -- Dinner Concert, 5:30 p.m., Saturday and with Lone Star Ceili Band at Thursday and Saturday evening Ceilis
Don Penzien (Guitar) -- Lunch Concert, 12:30 p.m., Saturday and Dinner Concert, 5:30 p.m., Sunday
Reel Treble -- Lunch Concert, 12:30 p.m., Friday
Haley Richardson (Fiddle) -- Dinner Concert, 5:30 p.m., Sunday and with Lone Star Ceili Band at Thursday and Saturday evening Ceilis
Kendall Rogers (Pianoist) -- with Lone Star Ceili Band at Thursday and Saturday evening Ceilis
String Theory -- Lunch Concert, 12:30 p.m., Sunday

Brianna Brown – Concertina

Brianna BrownBrianna Brown is a talented, young multi-instrumentalist from St. Louis, MO. She is a two-time All-Ireland World Champion. At age 11, she won the 2015 All-Ireland World Championship in the under-12 concertina, and in 2016, she won the All-Ireland World Championship in the under-12 mouth organ. Brianna is the youngest American to ever win a world title at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, and the first to ever win in the concertina and mouth organ under-12 categories. She has recently won a Silver medal in the mouth organ competition at the 2018 All-Ireland World Championships in Drogheda.


Brianna is a six-time Midwest Fleadh Champion on concertina, harp, harp slow airs, mouth organ, tin whistle, and tin whistle slow airs. She has qualified to compete at the world championships a total of 58 times since the age of seven on various instruments and in various categories. She has been a student at the Saint Louis Irish Arts School of Music and Dance since the age of three.

 

 

 

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Chris Buckley – Fiddler

Chris BuckleyChris Buckley grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and began studying the violin at the ripe young age of three through the Suzuki method. He was introduced to Irish music as a teenager, and his Irish music roots developed under the tutelage of renowned fiddlers Martin Dowling, Liz Carroll, Brendan Mulvihill and James Kelly.

Christopher has received numerous awards and recognitions for his outstanding achievements in Irish music and has performed at festivals and in venues across Europe and the United States. After finishing a performance degree at the University of Minnesota, he came to Austin in 2001 to pursue his Master's of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas. During his time in Austin, Christopher has been a member of and recorded with Cluan, Blaggards, the Tea Merchants, and currently, The Here and Now, www.thehereandnowmusicatx.com. Teaching has become a passion for him and he maintains a large studio in Austin to go along with a very busy performance schedule.

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Joseph Carmichael – Guitarist

Joseph CarmichaelGuitarist Joseph Carmichael has spent the past several years collecting an impressive resume in the world of traditional music. An in-demand accompanist in a wide array of Celtic and folk styles, he has performed with such musicians as Brendan Power, Cormac De Barra, Buddy Connolly, Oisín MacDiarmada, James Kelly, Liz Carroll and John Williams. 

Joseph's primary project for several years, folk trio Flashpoint, has recorded one full album and one EP, and has opened for bands such as FullSet and the legendary Solas before going on hiatus in 2016. 

Joseph has been a regular member with singer/songwriter, Ashley Davis, and toured with internationally acclaimed musicians, Hanz Araki and Colleen Raney, as well as a special performance in Cavan with Gregory and Alex Grene of the Prodigals, as part of The Gathering in 2013.

More recently, Joseph has joined forces with Austin musicians Chris Buckley, Rob Forkner and Niamh Fahy as The Here & Now, and has recorded one album with the group.

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Sarah Copus – Harpist and Singer

Sarah CopusSarah Copus is an award-winning and Billboard charting singer/songwriter and harpist from the Dallas area. She has been performing and recording for over seven years with her parent's platinum selling band, and more recently as a solo artist. She is a voting member of the Recording Academy (GRAMMY). Her first recordings in the Irish language of Gaelic appear on the album “Winter Air” in 2013. Sarah has been featured as a soloist at concerts of major touring artists like Celtic Woman and The Irish Tenors. She sang a duet with Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder during his performance in Dallas. She has also performed with Irish musical sensations, Téada as an opening act for their Irish Christmas in America tour.    

Sarah is in her 6th year at The North Texas School of Irish Music and is an active member in the Texas Celtic music scene. Performance venues include The Celt Irish Pub, Trinity Hall Pub, North Texas Irish Festival, Kimbellfest: Scotland, Sherman Celtic Festival, Texas Scottish Festival, and Sherwood Forest Faire, among others. In 2017 and again in 2018, Sarah was a featured performer at the North Texas Irish Festival. She was also the headline act at Celtic Night 2017 at the Allen Civic Auditorium, performing to a sold-out, standing-room-only audience. Her latest album, “Moorland Winds” has been nominated for “Best Vocal Album” and also “Best New Artist” by ZMR Music Awards. It has also been nominated by One World Music Awards for “Best Vocal Album” and also “The People’s Choice Award”. (Results coming in May/June for these 4 awards). 

In addition to harp, Sarah plays fiddle, piano, and baritone ukulele. 

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Margaret Graham – Fiddler

Margaret Graham, an engineering student at Southern Methodist University, is a classically-trained violinist and former concertmistress of the Richmond Youth Symphony Orchestra. Maggie began playing traditional music six years ago. In 2014, the Virginia Folk Music Association named her the State Bluegrass Champion. Last year, bluegrass legend Eddie Adcock recorded her premier album, ging the Grass, with the masterful guitarist, Jack Abeel. The two play at venues from festivals and gatherings, to concert halls, to the famed bluegrass stage at the Station Inn in Nashville.

Maggie displays most passion, though, with her Irish music. She finds sessions everywhere she travels--in her hometown in Virginia, her adopted city of Dallas, and during her travels to Ireland and Spain. She helped found the Irish band, Scalaheen, and is a member of the Time Session Players in Dallas. Along with the fiddle, Maggie also plays the piano and is pursuing the button accordion and guitar. Performing Irish music is Maggie's way of unwinding from her studies and work, which she delightfully shares with her fellow musicians.

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Harps Accord

Harps AccordHarps Accord is comprised of Aeryn Richardson and Caroline Davis - two of the most experienced harpists out of the North Texas School of Irish Music. They have performed in a number of venues and festivals including North Texas Irish Festal, McKinney Celtic Festival, Sherman Celtic Festival and Texas Scottish Festival. They perform monthly at local restaurants and pubs like The Celt in McKinney, as well as a multitude of retirement homes.
Their music is largely instrumental  played on harp. It is mostly Celtic music - Irish, Scottish, Welsh and others plus some folk songs and popular songs from the radio and Broadway. The music is upbeat, beautiful, and wonderful for audiences of all ages.

 

 

 

 

 

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Therese Honey – Harpist

Therese HoneyTherese Honey’s childhood fascination with the harp blossomed into an exciting and successful career as a full-time harpist, recording artist and teacher.

She has performed as solo harpist with the Chieftains, has been featured at the Chicago Irish Festival, the Milwaukee Irish Festival, the annual Carolan Festival in Keadue, Co. Roscommon, in addition to the North Texas Irish Festival, O'Flaherty's Irish Music Retreat, the San Antonio Highland Games, and the Sherwood Celtic Music Festival. She is a two time first-place winner of the Gulf Coast Celtic Harp Competition.

A Waterbug recording artist, Ms. Honey has released five solo recordings and has published several books of harp arrangements of traditional music.

Her recent recording, “Summer End”, received rave reviews. Chris Spector, writing in the Midwest Record, said, "This solo Celtic harpist, whose chops have taken her all the way to performances with The Chieftains, gets so into the music you feel this is harp music like you’ve never heard it. Honey goes well above and beyond making this more of an experience than a record. Honey could single handedly usher in a new era of contemporary acoustic music that does not need any flag waving genre banners to herald the arrival. Killer stuff throughout.”

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The Jig Is Up!

The Jig Is UpHouston's premier traditional Irish band, The Jig Is Up!, has performed at festivals
and venues across Texas, Louisiana and the Southeast and has been broadcast
nationally on NPR's Thistle and Shamrock show and across Ireland on
Kieran Hanrahan's Ceili House show on RTE. The band's innovative arrangements
include traditional Irish tunes and songs from both the Irish and American
repertoire. Whether playing flute tunes from Sligo and Roscommon, fiddle tunes
from Clare, or polkas and slides from Cork and Kerry, The Jig is Up! will set your
feet to tapping.

 

 

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Daniel Mehalko – Tenor Banjo & Flute

Daniel MehalkoDaniel Mehalko is a young multi instrumentalist from the Dallas Texas area.
Performing with his band Flashpoint and touring with legends such as the Brock McGuire band he has quickly established his reputation as one of the top banjo and mandolin players in the country.

Daniel has been playing music from an early age but first delved into traditional Irish music in 2009 at the age of 13. Starting on whistle and bodhran, he later picked up the banjo and mandolin, which then became his instruments of choice.

A passion for the music quickly developed and he pursued the art by studying under acclaimed instructors at teaching schools such as the Swannanoa Gathering and the O'Flaherty Retreat, having been awarded scholarships to both.

It wasn't long before he founded the band Flashpoint with his brother David and Joseph Carmichael, and with them he has recorded two albums as well as appearing as a guest on several other recordings. He has performed nationwide at festivals including the Milwaukee Irish Festival, North Texas Irish Festival and Kansas City Irish Festival, as well as sharing the stage with greats such as Liz Carroll and the Brock McGuire band. He also is a member of the TIMES Band & Session Players.

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Don Penzien -- Guitarist

Don PenzienDon Penzien has long been a top-flight performer of Irish traditional music. He frequently is on the road playing concerts and festivals with Gailfean (featuring All-Ireland winners Brian Conway, John Whelan and Máirtín de Cógáin), The Máirtín de Cógáin Project, and Shared Madness (featuring Haley Richardson and Megan Irby). Widely recognized for his reserved backing style, Don’s dexterous work on DADGAD-tuned guitar provides solid, driving rhythms to traditional tunes as well as perceptive and sensitive accompaniments to songs and airs.

Don is a Michigan native with strong roots in Irish culture and an affinity for Celtic music. Upon relocating south, he found Mississippi sorely lacking as per it’s appreciation of the Irish and Scottish traditions native to many of the state’s citizens. So, in 1992, he founded and for 25 years he directed what has evolved into a much-revered celebration of traditional Celtic music and dance—CelticFest Mississippi. Don has now relocated to North Carolina (where he works as Professor of Anesthesiology and Neurology at Wake Forest).

And if there’s an Irish trad. tune session anywhere nearby, odds are, you’ll find him there.

E-mail: penzien@gmail.com Web Sites: www.Gailfean.com and www.SharedMadnessMusic.com

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Reel Treble

Reel TrebleThe friendship of these young talented musicians began Reel Treble through their passion for playing traditional up-tempo tunes from Irish, Scottish and Old Time music. A great mix of Celtic and Americana foot tapping tunes!

They are: Antonio Santiago on tenor banjo, mandolin, tenor guitar and acoustic guitar; Arthur Hatch on button accordion, flute and whistle; Elijah Vuong on bass; Jordan Merritt on fiddle; and Sam Hatch on acoustic guitar and harmonica.
  
Antonio was one of the first youth Midwest Fleadh Champions from Texas to compete on tenor banjo and mandolin at the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo and Ennis, Ireland.

They have performed throughout Texas and Louisiana at venues and events including, The State Fair of Texas, The Cowtown Scottish Society, The Tartan Festival, The Sherman Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games, Celtic Bayou Festival, North Texas Irish Festival, McKinney Celtic Music Festival, Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival, Tyler Scottish Festival & Highland Games, and Plano Artfest. Check out their website www.reeltreble.com.

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Haley Richardson – Fiddle

Haley RichardsonDynamic, young fiddler, Haley Richardson, began making her mark in the Irish music world at six years old when she won the All Ireland qualifier in the under 12 age category. Over the past ten years, she has amassed a long list of accomplishments and performed at venues all over the United States, Ireland, Scotland, England, and Thailand. Haley, with her highly ornamented Sligo style perfected under the tutelage of fiddler Brian Conway, is the 2017 All Ireland U15 Fiddle slow air champion, 2015 Junior Fiddler of Dooney, and 2013 All Ireland U12 Champion in both fiddle and fiddle slow airs.

Haley has performed with many of the most well-known names in Irish music including The Chieftains, Altan, Dervish, Mick Moloney, Pride of New York, Liz Carroll with Cherish the Ladies, Paddy Keenan, and is a regular member of Green Fields of American and The John Whelan Band. She has been the band fiddler in the Studio2Stage Irish dance production, That's Dancing, from 2014-2017.

Haley was also featured in an article in Fiddler Magazine's Fall 2015 issue. Haley released her debut CD, Heart on a String, in 2015. In March 2017, Haley released Music for Mercy, a compilation CD she organized and produced featuring donated tracks from many of the best Irish musicians under 21 years from around the world. All proceeds from this CD benefit the Mercy Centre in Bangkok, Thailand.

Find out more about Haley at www.HaleyRichardsonMusic.com or Haley Richardson Music on Facebook.

 

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Kendall Rogers – Piano

Kendall RogersKendall Rogers is a piano player with bodhrán, piano accordion, whistle and DADGAD guitar habits.  A native Kentuckian, he grew up amid the rich folk music and dance traditions there, with folk influences from the British Isles, Denmark, and North America.  He also studied classical piano, played clarinet through high school and played jazz piano in high school and college, with each new thing leaving an indelible mark on his own music.  Since college, Kendall has focused on playing for folk dance and music events across the US, and has led various folk dance band and piano workshops.  Currently living in Houston, Texas, Kendall enjoys playing with his traditional Irish band, The Jig is Up!, as well as calling or playing music for American contra dancing and English country dancing.  His love of community dancing is reflected in his playing and often colors the way he understands the world.

 


 

 

 

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String Theory

String TheoryString Theory is an Irish folk band in the Dallas area that specializes in high energy Irish trad tunes and songs. Recently ranked one of the top 5 Irish Bands in Texas by the Dallas Observer, the band features Jesse Ramirez on guitar and mandolin, Linda Relph on fiddle and backing vocals, Nathan Kennedy on fiddle, Bill Zauner on upright bass, and Matt Cook on vocals and bodhran.

The band premiered in 2015 with performances at The Celt and Trinity Hall – the leading Irish pubs in North Texas, and has since had over 100 shows between those two pubs. The have also performed in many other venues, festivals, retreats, and weddings. They were selected to open for Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder. And, they were a featured performer at the North Texas Irish Festival in 2016-2018 as well as Irishfest Atlanta. Other key events have include the McKinney Celtic Music Festival, McKinney St. Patricks Festival, Irving Canalfest, Sherman Celtic Festival, and the Shamrock Shindig St. Patricks Festival.

 

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