At a time of fragmentation in society, when people are atomized, if you want to use the word, and alienated, to come together into a genuine community is a bonding thing.. It’s nice to be part of a community, and I think the teaching weeks affirm that. –Mick Moloney

Here is the unofficial (but guaranteed definitive) episode about traditional music and dance gatherings:
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When Dr. Mick Moloney started the first Irish teaching week in the States in 1982, he didn’t know how many recordings, videos, tune apps, and discussion groups the internet would eventually offer. But as we chatted in the Catskills this summer, young and old musicians and dancers streamed past us on their way to classes, humming tunes and drinking coffee.

Fans of traditional music and dance are still unplugging and heading to summer music camp.

With Mick—and Kathleen Conneely, Seamus Connolly, Lissa Schneckenburger, Robbie O’Connell, Kevin Crawford, Cecilia Farran, Deirdre Cronin, Fiona Howell, and Brennish Thomson—I investigate the history of teaching weeks, and why people still travel to remote settings for jigs and reels. 

Kathleen Conneely shared her summer school tapeworm story with me. When she went to the Willie Clancy Summer school on her 21st birthday, she heard an abundance of great music. She described the “sessions in the streets, in the pubs. Eventually you’d worm your way in. We were called tapeworms, because we’d have our tape recorders out in the middle of the sessions.”

And Robbie O’Connell talked about how reassuring summer camps can be:

You’re a bit of an oddity when you’re playing music… When you meet fellow spirits that have the same way of looking at the world as you do, it reinforces, it keeps you going. So I think those weeks are wonderful. I wish there were more of them.

Learn where instructors get their motivation. Hear ideas about online and remote learning. And consider why musicians and dancers bother with trad camp in the 21st century.

And enjoy these jigs from Kevin with fiddler Colin Farrell and guitarist Patrick Doocey 

And this great song and tune (and hilarious video) from Lissa with guitarist Bethany Waickman:

Whether you already play the fiddle, or you’ve never had a Stroopwaffel, this episode might inspire you to pack your own flashlight and tune notebook. And to find connection, creativity, and community that goes way beyond a few jigs and reels.

And if you haven’t heard every episode, I hope you’ll listen to the gems you missed:
Episode 01-Trip to Sligo
Episode 00-Introducing Irish Music Stories
Episode 02-Cuppa Tea with Karan Casey
Episode 03-Every Tuesday at Nine
– Episode 04 – Cuppa Tea with McKinneys and McCarthy
– Episode 05 – Handed Down
Episode 06 – The Backer
Episode 07 – The Piper
Episode 08 – Miss McCleod’s Reel at 113
– Episode 09 – Want of Wit
– Episode 10 – Cuppa Tea with Daithi Sproule
– Episode 11 – Return to Sligo
– Episode 12 – Season Two Preview
– Episode 13 – The C-Word
– Episode 14 – Dance Hall Days
– Episode 15 – Heartbeat of Irish Music
– Episode 16 – Pushing all the Right Buttons
– Episode 17 – Why Willie and Mary Matter
– Episode 18 – Wax Cylinders to the World Wide Web
Episode 19 – Fiddle in the Windy City

Music Heard on IMS Episode 20
all music traditional, unless otherwise indicated

Tune: “Pound the Floor,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Hometown Lullaby,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “The Collier’s Reel,” from Classics of Irish Piping
Artist: Leo Rowsome 

Track: “Halloween_Street02,” From FreeSound
Artist: Pooleside, licensed under the Attribution License

Tune: “Kitty in the Lane,” from Beginish
Artist: Paul O’Shaughnessy

Tune: “The Blackbird and the Hen, from Uncommon Bonds
Artist: Mick Moloney

Tune: “Abbey Reel,” from Kitchen Session
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Reel Beatrice/The Abbey Reel,” from Liz Carroll
Artist: Liz Carroll & Dáithí Sproule

Tune: “Heartstrings Theme,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “A Week Before Easter,” from Recollections Vol 1
Artist: Robbie O’Connell

Tune: “Meaning of Life,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Free the Heel,” from Rehearsal
Artist: Matt & Shannon Heaton

Tune: “Megan & Jarrod,” from Ports of Call
Artist: Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas

Tune: “John’s Theme,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Eugenia’s Waltz,” from Dance
Artist: Lissa Schneckenburger

Tune: Session Reel
Artist: Baltimore musicians, including Sean McComiskey, Josh Dukes, Laura Byrne (playing the part of Red Sox bleachers musicians)

Tune: “Mountain Lark,” from Carrying the Tune
Artist: Kevin Crawford 

Tune: “Dermot Grogan’s” from The Coming of Spring
Artist: Kathleen Conneely

Tune: “Slip Jig Dreams,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Larry Get Out of the Bin / Elzic’s Farewell,” from Rubai
Artist: Flook

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thank you for listening. Thank you, Matt and Nigel for helping me make the show. Thank you, William and Christine for helping with the opening montage. Thank you Daniel Neely for the insights. And thank you to John MacDonald, John Kerr, Sharon Murphy, Paul DeCamp, Billie Neal, and Brian Benscoter for underwriting this episode. Donations help me share this show with everybody.

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