2017 Instructors (more to come)
Albert Alfonso- Bodhrán
Albert Alfonso has been playing bodhrán since the 1980s, and designing and building bodhráns since the early 1990s. He has taught at Irish Arts Week in the Catskills and held workshops throughout the US and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and P.E.I. Canada. He has also been a part of the North Texas Irish Festival from its beginning in 1983. He has since served as both vice president and president of the festival’s governing sponsoring organization, the Southwest Celtic Music Association (SCMA). He has been a performer at the NTIF every year, and has also played at the Milwaukee Irish Fest, the Walnut Valley Festival, and the Kerrville Folk Festival. As America’s premier bodhrán maker, Albert continues to lead the way in innovation, taking his drums to even greater heights. They are unmatched for sound, playability and ease of tuning. His distinctive drums can be found on the concert stage and in sessions around the world.
Clare Adkins Cason – Fiddle
Clare Adkins Cason began violin studies at the age of 4, having been born into a family of musicians. She attended the University of North Texas, where she was chosen as Outstanding Undergraduate in Music. Presently she holds leadership positions in the Sherman Symphony, East Texas Symphony, and the Dallas Bach Society. Teaching, however, has been her chief enthusiasm, and in addition to maintaining an active private studio for seventeen years, she is the author of the thirteen-volume Mountain Road series for violin and viola students. She became interested in Celtic music as a teenager through the recordings of Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, and since then has had the opportunity to study with several well-known fiddle players including Matt Cranitch and John McEvoy. Clare has taught Irish fiddle at both the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat and the O’Flaherty Irish Music Youth Camp, and plays regularly with the Dallas-area performing group known as the Trinity Hall Session Players. She also serves as Music Director of the North Texas School of Irish Music’s Allen campus, and as co-director of the O’Flaherty Irish Music Youth Camp.
Janis Deane – Tinwhistle Basic Skills
Janis Deane has been playing Irish flute/whistle for 25 years and played with the bands Mad Sweeny and Tir Na Nogh in North Carolina and Ohio respectively. She currently performs with the Trinity Hall Session Players. Recording credits include Morning Star, Transilience and Confluence with husband Christopher Deane on the Quiet Hall Music label, and Music from Trinity Hall with the Trinity Hall Session Players. Janis is also currently serving as president of the Traditional Irish Music Education Society.
Michelle Feldman – Fiddle
Michelle Feldman has over thirty years of experience as an Irish fiddler, including performance and teaching. She became an Irish session fiddler while attending California State University at Sonoma, and has played for contra and ceilidh dancers and performed with Shannon, the only all-girl Celtic band in Los Angeles. Since coming to Texas, Michelle has played Celtic music for festivals, parties, and pub gigs with several Dallas area groups, and is currently performing with the eclectic/Celtic acoustic band, 5 Second Rule. She is also a composer in both traditional and folk/pop styles and has performed and recorded her tunes and songs with several bands.
Ken Fleming – Guitar
Ken has played traditional Irish music for more than 30 years on a number of instruments including guitar, bouzouki, tenor banjo, mandolin, tinwhistle, button accordion and Anglo concertina. Ken and his wife Peggy are co-founders of the Southwest Celtic Music Association and the North Texas Irish Festival of which Ken was their first president and festival director respectively. He has also been a member of Tinker’s Dam, Waifs & Strays, Loose Change and is a current member of Jigsaw, the Lone Star Ceili Band and the Trinity Hall Session Players. He is the founder and former president of the Traditional Irish Music Education Society (TIMES) and the founder and current director of the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat and founder of the O’Flaherty Irish Music Youth Camp.
Dylan Foley – Advanced Fiddle
Dylan Foley is 4-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, who has delighted audiences from Lincoln Center to the Austin Celtic Festival, and from the mayor’s Gracie Mansion in NYC to Irish Television channels RTE and TG4. In 2013, Foley traveled with Mick Moloney to Vietnam as part of Irish Aid, bringing Irish music and culture to those who were affected by the horrors of the Vietnam War. Dylan is in demand as a teacher and performer at the major Irish music summer camps on both sides of the Atlantic. He is a member of The Yanks, the hot trad band that has been called” the next Irish American dream team”. Dylan is committed to passing on the tradition, as it was graciously passed to him, by the incomparable Rose Flanagan and others. You can hear his passion for the music is in his lively and fluid playing.
“One the finest Irish fiddlers of his generation.” – Brian Conway
Hazel and Dave Greene – Foundations of Irish Music
Hazel Greene holds a master’s degree with a major in early childhood development and a minor in music education. She also has an associates degree in theater production.
She has enjoyed directing both adult and children’s choirs, and works with her husband Dave to entertain children with their musical and storytelling gifts. They are members of The National Storytelling Network; the Tejas Storytelling Association; Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance; and the Dallas Storytellers Guild. Hazel and Dave are also known as Willow and Her Giant. They love entertaining the Wee Ones!
Hazel is first generation American. Her maternal grandmother was an award-winning sean-nos (“old-style”) singer who hails from Carrick On Suir in Ireland.
Dave Greene is a classically trained harpist and vocalist. He has performed with several a capella choirs, and a harp ensemble. He is a dramatist in his own right. In 2011 Dave was invited to audition for the Dallas Opera. He decided to opt out so that he could focus his efforts on Irish and folk music. He is a true Irish tenor.
Susan L. Harrison, TMRF- Introduction to Irish Social Dance; Tune Tussle: Dance Focus
Susan first performed Celtic social dancing in the 1980s at a local Renaissance festival. In 1997, thanks to the attention Riverdance brought to Irish dancing, she found Irish step and céilí dance classes offered by the Emerald School of Irish Dance in Dallas. Over the next 12 years she studied and performed at local festivals including the North Texas Irish Festival (NTIF). During a trip to Ireland in 2001, Susan and her husband Michael found and fell in love with Irish set dancing. The couple travels to study and dance sets at workshops in North America and Ireland whenever possible. Susan is a certified Irish céilí dance teacher, having obtained the TMRF certification from An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha in 2007. She and Michael have called the NTIF céilís since 2006, they teach traditional Irish céilí and set dancing in the Dallas area, and they call monthly dances at Trinity Hall Irish Pub.
Gordon McLeod – Fiddle
Gordon has been performing professionally on fiddle and guitar for over 30 years. Gordon founded and performs regularly with the band Beyond The Pale and also with The Aisling String Trio and in a duo with his wife, Christy. He is a regular participant in Irish music sessions in the DFW area and also performs with the Trinity Hall Session Players. He has traveled to Ireland regularly to study with many notable Irish fiddle experts and play traditional Irish music. He is the director of the O’Flaherty Irish Music Youth Camp, and is a past president of the Traditional Irish Music Education Society that organizes the camp. In addition to performing music, Gordon owns and operates a recording studio and produces recordings of all types of acoustic music.
Kendall Rogers – Intermediate Piano
Kendall Rogers is a piano player with bodhrán, piano accordion, whistle and DADGAD guitar habits. A native Kentuckian, he grew up amid the rich folk music and dance traditions there, with folk influences from the British Isles, Denmark, and North America. He also studied classical piano, played clarinet through high school and played jazz piano in high school and college, with each new thing leaving an indelible mark on his own music. Since college, Kendall has focused on playing for folk dance and music events across the US, and has led various folk dance band and piano workshops. Currently living in Baton Rouge, Kendall enjoys playing Celtic festivals around the southern U.S. and cultivating the burgeoning contra dance community in south Louisiana.
Blaine Russell – Tinwhistle for Beginners
Blaine Russell is a 19 year old Oklahoman who has been playing music for thirteen years. He started with classical violin, but when his grandpa started taking his family to Irish festivals, traditional music took hold. Blaine started attending the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreats in 2008, and has only missed one since, taking classes in both fiddle and whistle. He also attended the O’Flaherty Youth Camp from 2009 till 2014. He is the second born of seven, and therefore enjoys (and is experienced at!) working with children. He plays music with his family band, RussellClan, at festivals, churches, and private venues. Their website can be found at www.ourrussellclan.com. Blaine’s other passions lie in sustainable agriculture and photography.