2015 teachers include Mary BerginSeán ClelandPauline ConneelyKathy CowanMaggie DanaherSeán GavinSamantha HarveyOisín Mac DiarmadaJackie MoranRobert McLeodBrian Ó hAirt, Rosemary O'Malley...and more!

Click tutor names above for bio information.

Adult Immersion Program

The 2015 Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week Adult Program offers classes and events Saturday, June 27 through Wednesday, July 1 (please click here for at-a-glance schedule).  

There is something for everyone, whether you have never played an instrument, love to sing, or have played an instrument for years.  Everyone can participate in this unforgettable week that celebrates the unique art forms of traditional Irish music, song and dance.

Level One players are those students who have basic command of their instrument and are able to identify and play specific notes. Level Two players should have good command of their instrument and experience learning by ear.  

The Adult Immersion Program offers the following events:

Saturday, June 27

Opening Day with Mary Bergin

Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week 2015 kicks off with everyone getting together for a welcome and opening session at 3pm with faculty at Concordia Place (3300 N. Whipple - Chicago).  Students will split up into groups for classes from 3:15-5pm:

Beginning Players / Non-Instrument

  • Intro to Tin Whistle with Rosemary O'Malley
  • Singing with Brian Ó hAirt
  • Dancing with Pauline Conneely

Level One Players

  • Tin Whistle with Rob McLeod
  • Fiddle with Seán Cleland
  • Concertina with Maggie Danaher

Level Two Players

  • Melody Instrument Repertoire Class with Mary Bergin
  • Bodhrán with Jackie Moran

Mary Bergin IN Concert

An unforgettable evening with the inimitable Mary Bergin and special guests at the beautiful and intimate Concordia Lutheran Church (3855 N. Seeley -Chicago). Concert begins at 8pm.  Click here for ticket information.

Sunday, June 28

Chief O'Neill Musical Pilgrimage
a Chicago
 live Irish music adventure...with brunch!

Let's celebrate the namesake of Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week with a musical morning pilgrimage!  The day will start at Chief O'Neill's Restaurant & Pub (3471 N. Elston, Chicago) at 12:30pm for sustenance with Chief O'Neill's famous Irish buffet brunch.  At 2pm, board a bus for a lively tunes-filled trip down to Mt. Olivet Cemetery where the Chief is buried and learn some fun historical facts along the way.  We'll visit his mausoleum to pay our respects and have some tunes in his honor with Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week faculty.  Then it's back on the bus for some more Chicago Irish history connections and a trip back up to Chief O'Neill's for the Hooley.

Irish Heritage Hooley

Our monthly Irish Heritage Hooley, which brings together musicians of all ages and levels, begins at 5pm at Chief O'Neill's.  Everyone is welcome at this lively event that brings together this generations.  This Hooley honors Tom O'Malley, Pat McPartland and Jack Murray with the Living Tradition Award.  The evening will surely be filled with amazing stories and tunes.

Monday, June 29

1-3 PM: afternoon classes
6-7 PM: evening classes
7-8:30 PM: 
The Sligo Masters and Their Chicago Legacy
Oisín Mac Diarmada and special guests

The exciting, ruggedly beautiful style of playing irish music associated with County Sligo and championed by fiddle masters Michael Coleman, James Morrison, and Paddy Killoran had an enormous impact on how Irish music is now played. Those three giants’ emigration to America in the first few decades of the 20th century coincided with the birth and rapid expansion of the recording industry, and their recordings would find their way back across the Atlantic, exercising a powerful influence on musicians throughout Ireland. Colleagues and musical disciples of those masters numbered among the Irish players who settled in Chicago, and their imprint on the city’s Irish music scene was profound.

The evening, hosted by fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, will begin with a screening of excerpts from the recently released documentary, "The Sligo Masters", a fascinating exploration of the music and lives of Coleman, Morrison, and Killoran. A celebration of the Sligo/Chicago connection, past and present, will follow, focusing on the legacy of local musicians with roots in the Sligo/Mayo/Roscommon region such as Kevin Henry, Albert Neary, Jimmy Neary, Tom Masterson, Johnny McGreevy, and Phil Durkin. Join Oisín and special guests as they share tunes and stories that shine a spotlight on the richly productive musical pipeline between these two locales, so far apart in miles but in musical terms so intimately linked.

Everyone attending this special evening will receive their own DVD copy of "The Sligo Masters" documentary.

This workshop is open to everyone and will take place at Chief O'Neill's.

8:30PM: Session

Tuesday, June 30

1-3 PM: afternoon CLASSES
7-8:30 PM: 
Exploring Rhythm in Irish Music, Dance and Song...It’s All About the Tune!
Jackie Moran (bodhrán), Samantha Harvey (dance), Oisín Mac Diarmada (fiddle), Brían Ó Hairt (song/dance), Pauline Conneely (banjo/dance)

There’s much more to Irish trad than catchy melodies. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, a singer or a dancer, this invaluable and accessible workshop will guide you through the intricacies of rhythm as it relates to all aspects of Irish music.  

In this workshop we will explore the role that percussion plays, and learn how rhythmic accompaniment to the music has evolved and is still evolving. Participants will discover how the tune relates to the dance, and how the best players and dancers manage to create a conversation and collaboration between the two. Our expert teachers will provide insight into the structural complexities of Irish rhythmic accompaniment, and help you learn how to provide it while preserving the timeless energy of reels, jigs, and hornpipes.

This workshop is open to everyone.


Wednesday, July 1

7:30 PM:  Closing concert
Mary Bergin, Seán Cleland, Pauline Conneely, Kathy Cowan, Maggie Danaher, Seán Gavin, Samantha Harvey, Oisín Mac Diarmada, Jackie Moran, Robert McLeod, Brian Ó hAirt, Rosemary O'Malley

This concert will take place at Chief O'Neill's.

Monday - Wednesday Afternoon Classes (1-3pm)

Afternoon classes take place at First Free Church (5255 N. Ashland - Chicago).

Beginning Players / Non-Instrument
Intro to Tin Whistle with Rosemary O'Malley
Singing with Brian Ó hAirt
Dancing with Pauline Conneely and Samantha Harvey

Level One Players
Tin Whistle with Rob McLeod
Fiddle with Seán Cleland
Concertina with Maggie Danaher

Level Two Players
Tin Whistle with Mary Bergin
Fiddle with Oisín Mac Diarmada
Bodhrán with Jackie Moran
Flute with Seán Gavin

Monday - Tuesday Evening Classes

Evening classes take place at Chief O'Neill's.

Tunes Repertory Workshops (Monday & Tuesday)
Mary Bergin, Seán Cleland and Oisín Mac Diarmada

These workshops are open to Level One and Two melody instrument players including fiddle, tin whistle, flute, concertina, button accordion, piano accordion, tenor banjo and uilleann pipes.  Level One players are those students who have basic command of their instrument and are able to identify and play specific notes. Level Two players should have good command of their instrument and experience learning by ear.  These workshops are offered Monday and Tuesday and will be alternately taught by Mary Bergin, Seán Cleland and Oisín Mac Diarmada.

Sliabh Luachra Bodhrán (Monday)
Jackie Moran

Playing bodhran for Slides and Polkas. How does one play the bodhrán for these wild and often fast, elusive tunes without either slowing down or messing things up? Jackie will show you how. 

Bodhrán in a Performance (Tuesday)
Jackie Moran and Jim DeWan

One of the most satisfying and creative ways to play the bodhrán can be in a performance with a guitar player. Teachers Jackie Moran (bodhrán) and Jim DeWan (guitar) will challenge you to begin thinking of the bodhrán in a new way through exploring playing tonal bass lines on the bodhrán that are designed to match the chords that the guitar player is playing. This approach can really add to both the rhythm and texture of the tune and performance with the effect being that the whole could become greater than the sum of its parts.

Songs of the Sailors, the Laborers, the Lovers, the Fighters and the Land (Monday)
Rory Makem

Rory Makem (Makem and Spain Brothers) will teach songs and tell stories influenced by his father, the legendary Tommy Makem, and grandmother, Sarah Makem.  No singing experience is required, and songs will be taught by ear with lyrics provided.

Singing Irish Gaelic Songs in the Sean-nós Style (Tuesday)
Brian Ó hAirt

Brian Ó hAirt will teach beautiful songs in the unique Sean-nós Style.  No singing experience is required, and songs will be taught by ear with lyrics provided.