School spirit

Danny Noveck (back to camera) leads the ceili band class at the Boston Comhaltas School of Traditional Irish Music.

When it comes to Irish traditional music, those who can do, also teach. And quite a few of these can-do musicians are to be found at the Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann Traditional School of Music run by Boston’s Hanafin-Cooley CCE branch. For 10 weeks each fall and winter/spring, the Boston Comhaltas School faculty undertakes the all-important task of passing along their insights, know-how and love of Irish music to pupils of all ages, from schoolkids to senior citizens.

Tomorrow night (June 11) at 7:30 p.m., a number of Boston Comhaltas School faculty, along with a few special guests, will perform as part of BCMFest’s Celtic Music Monday series at Club Passim in Harvard Square. Here’s the line-up: Flynn Cohen,  Patrick Hutchinson, Danny Noveck, Tommy Sheridan, Joey Abarta, Bridget Fitzgerald, Matt and Shannon Heaton, Tina Lech and Ted Davis, and John and Josie Coyne.

There are any number of good reasons to come out and see this event, and we’re not just talking about the quality of the performers. For one thing, a sizable portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the school. For another, the concert is essentially a big thank-you/standing “O” to Hanafin-Cooley branch Chairman and co-founder Larry Reynolds, who helped start the school 15 years ago.

Larry Reynolds, a key figure in the Boston Comhaltas School’s establishment and development.

Larry, as most anyone familiar with Boston’s Irish music scene knows, has done a multitude of good works throughout the years to keep the tradition strong in these parts. But surely one of his best achievements was helping to establish the Boston Comhaltas School, and thus ensure that Boston has a ready supply of fiddlers, accordionists, tenor banjoists, harpists, Uilleann pipers, flute/whistle players, accompanists and singers.

Boston Comhaltas School Director Lisa Coyne with two youthful whistle players.

If you’re into outcomes assessment as a yardstick of a school’s effectiveness, you might consider the consistently splendid performance of Boston Comhaltas School faculty and students in the annual Mid Atlantic Fleadh Ceoil. But, really, the best way to know what the school is all about is to walk the halls of the St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton (which has hosted the school for the last couple of years) some Saturday morning, and watch the teaching and learning that goes on. Maybe it’s a trio of elementary school-age fiddlers working out a reel under the tutelage of Tina Lech, or an amiable gathering of budding accordion players grouped around the ever-gregarious Mike Reynolds, or Danny Noveck putting the school’s ceili band (second-place finishers in this year’s fleadh) through its toe-tapping paces.

If you want a zippy, Internet-ready meme for the Boston Comhaltas School, you could say, “This is where tradition happens.” In any case, come out to Passim this Monday night and have a listen to the people who make it happen.

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One Response to School spirit

  1. Pingback: A better kind of F-word: “Féile” | The BCMFest Blog

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