Upcoming Classes Celebrate Irish Music & Dance

Irish Set Dancing in Open House near the Folk School Vegetable Garden

Do you love the sounds of Irish music? Do you dream of playing a reel or dancing a jig? We have some great upcoming classes to immerse you in the spirit of Ireland! Gain confidence to join in the fun of traditional Irish music and dance in your community and abroad.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day is the wildly fun weekend class, Irish Set Dancing. If you are familiar with American square dancing, Irish set dancing is like the Celtic cousin waving from across the Atlantic. Both Irish set dancing and square dancing are descendants of quadrilles, so they are a little similar. Jim Morrison is an excellent teacher who will break down the moves and figures patiently and clearly. The music is jumpin’ and lively and will keep you in the St. Patty’s spirit for the rest of March.

Anglo concertina (left), bodhrán (right)

Two upcoming music classes,  Get a Good Start on Concertina! and Bodhrán: Intro to Irish Drumming will introduce you to an Irish instrument, even if you are a complete beginner. Like an accordion, a concertina is a bellow-driven, free reed instrument. The Anglo concertina (which is shaped like a hexagonal box with buttons) is the specific instrument Aaron Olwell will be teaching in his class. Students will learn to play melodies and chords and to learn tunes by ear. A bodhrán (pronounced bow-rawn) is a handheld drum beaten with a tipper, a short wooden stick. The bodhrán is always played vertically, resting on the musician’s knee. Instructor Andrew Kruspe will focus on instrument background and practical application, giving student a good balance of historical and cultural, along with lots of playing time. Both classes cover fundamentals, Irish rhythms, and will give you the confidence to join in a beginning Irish music session in your town.

Fiddling in the Music Studio

Already play the fiddle and looking to expand your repertoire to include Irish tunes and rhythms? Tom Morley’s intermediate weekend class, Irish Fiddle: Intro to Fun Irish Trad Tunes, will provide the tools, skills, and tip to play Irish-style music. We also have a Folk Harp Gathering week-long class led by Lorinda Jones & Sue Richards geared toward continuing and intermediate harpists who want to gather, share, play and learn together. This class is during Scottish Heritage Week, but this beautiful, fairytale-like sounding instrument has its roots in ancient Celtic culture, trickling down to both Scottish and Irish cultures.

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Forging the Past Into the Future

Knives forge in
Knives forged in “The American Hand-forged Knife.”

We have a natural human desire to discover our heritage and celebrate the ways our ancestors survived and thrived. At the Folk School, we offer many Blacksmithing classes offering a window to that past. From the Civil War, to Ancient Scotland, to Medieval times, to Colonial America – many of us are drawn to certain eras and cultures. Come to the forge and celebrate techniques, styles, and aesthetics from days gone by. Check out this list of classes that may interest the old soul smith in you:

Resident Blacksmith Paul Garrett at the anvil

Arts and Crafts Ironwork
Paul Garrett • February 2227 (A Salute to the Arts & Crafts Movement Week)

Expand your skills as a blacksmith while immersing in the timeless elegance of the Arts and Crafts style. Explore traditional and modern techniques of forging, joining, and finishing metals to create strong, simple, and functional designs based on those of Greene & Greene, Stickley, Roycroft, and others. Gain professional shop knowledge, resources, and some toolmaking skills in this intermediate to advanced class. Basic blacksmithing skills required.

Projects forged in Viking-style Ironwork.

Viking-style Ironwork
Elmer Roush • March 22-28 (Scandinavian Heritage Week)

Do you enjoy blacksmithing with a historical perspective? This class will focus on reproducing 10th-century Viking relics, including spearheads, axes, arrowheads, and locks. Drawings and tracings of original pieces will be available as guides. Knowledge of how to build and maintain a forge fire and basic blacksmithing skills are needed. Scandinavian Heritage Week honors the Folk School’s roots, inspired by “folkehøjskole” of these northern European countries. In the company of newfound friends, you will enjoy special food, music, dance, and craft traditional to the region.

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