Entry for October 14, 2005

 Yay,  I’m in Charlotteville Contra Dancing

The above picture is of Hell on the Nine Mile, who played Friday night at the twenty-ninth annual Charlottesville Dance Festival.  What a high energy band! 

The site link shows the line-up as of 2002.  Still with the group from that time are:

Matthew Olwell, who has  played flute, tin whistle and bodhran for twenty  years. At twelve, his love of Irish dance took him to study with National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship winner Donny Golden at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, W.V. There he also began studying with Eileen Carson, artistic director of Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, with whom he spent nine years touring full-time.

Aaron Olwell who has been playing flute and fiddle for thirteen  years. Annual visits to Ireland have fueled his ever-growing love of Irish music. He’s a three-time All Ireland Champion on flute in solo and duet category, and has performed at the Washington DC Irish Folk Festival, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Kennedy Center.

Meg Madden began playing Irish fiddle when she was thirteen. She studied and performed with the Blue Ridge Irish Music School for several years. During that time, she also took lessons in Irish and Cape Breton step dance, and proved a quick study at clogging, tap and other percussive dance styles.

Joining them was Cleek Schrey of Richmond, VA, who aso studied at the Blue Ridge Irish Music School  At that time, Ii June 1999, at the age of 15, he tied for third place in fiddle at the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil, the qualifying competition for the All-Ireland, and has won other fiddling prizes locally. In his spare time that year,  he hosted  an Irish music radio program on WTJU Charlottesville and was  any active volunteer at the Prism Coffeehouse, an organization known for presenting concerts of acoustic and traditional music.   He performed at the Catskills Irish Arts Week in July.    He teaches private lessons on Irish fiddle and piano.

The callers were Herschel Nelson of Richmond and our own Shawn Brenneman of Radford, with whom I drove up to the dance.

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