Middlebury College celebrates Irish dance and music for St. Paddy’s day

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College Affiliate Artist Timothy Cummings (bagpipes, whistles) will join colleagues Pete Sutherland (fiddle, song) and Dominique Dodge (harp, song), along with special guests Jeremiah McLane (accordion, piano) and Mary Wesley (dance caller) in a free concert celebrating the traditional music and dance of Ireland and Vermont on March 12 at McCullough Student Center.
Audience members can expect a program of instrumentals, audience-inclusive songs and participatory folk dances. (Those unable or not wishing to dance are very welcome to stay and enjoy the continuing celebration.)
Also featured will be selections from Tim and Jeremiah’s new duo CD, “The Wind Among the Reeds.” (Sometimes the duo is known by “McLane & Cummings” but more often known by their ‘affectionate nickname’ “Wheezer & Squeezer.”
Cummings, who began piping at age eight, holds a Bachelors in Music Education degree from the College of Wooster, Ohio, and a B.A. Honors Degree in Ethnomusicology, and M.A. in Musicology from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He served as the Artist in Residence at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside, Prince Edward Island in 2003. He studied at the National Piping Centre and Royal Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow, Scotland in 2004. In addition to teaching, performing, and composing, Cummings operates Birchen Music & Publishing, a cottage industry devoted to publishing a diverse array of new music for Scottish-style pipes.
Fiddler Pete Sutherland has long been one of Vermont’s premier folk musicians, known for his masterful fiddling and songsmithing. Equally at home on the banjo, guitar and keyboards, he has toured extensively with groups such as Metamora and The Clawfoot Strutters and his current multi-generational trio, Pete’s Posse. Pete has also been a record producer, festival director, collage artist, and writer, and next month will be taking a group of twenty youngsters to Ireland as the Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group.
Harper Dominique Dodge, a native of the White Mountains, completed her B.A. Honors Degree in Scottish Music at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire ? overlapping briefly with Cummings ? and in 2013 she earned her M.A. in Irish Music Performance as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Limerick, Ireland. She is now a performer, teacher and recording artist whose approach brings depth and clarity to songs from the Gaelic, Scottish, and American traditions.
Accordionist and pianist Jeremiah McLane has a diverse musical background including blues, jazz, Celtic, Québécois, French and other roots influenced music. He has a M.A. in Contemporary Improvisation from the New England Conservatory of Music and is the founder-director of the Floating Bridge Music Camp. In the early 1990s he formed The Clayfoot Strutters and Nightingale, two bands that have helped shape the sound of traditional New England roots music. He has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, including such venues as the Royal Festival Hall, the Picolo Spoleto Festival, and the Carrefour Mondiale de l’Accordéon.
Mary Wesley is a dance leader, caller and organizer for contras, squares, morris, and family and community dances. She is a founding member of the Mad Robin Callers Collective in Burlington, and works locally with Young Tradition Vermont, a nonprofit organization supporting youth involvement in traditional dance and music. Originally from Lincoln, Vt., and the granddaughter of two dance callers, she travels throughout the U.S. and Canada to follow and share her love of dance.
The celebration led by Timothy Cummings and Guests will take place on Sunday, March 12, at 4 p.m. at Middlebury College’s McCullough Student Center, in Wilson Hall. The performance, sponsored by the Department of Music, is free and open to the public. The McCullough Student Center is located at 14 Old Chapel Road, stretching between Routes 30 and 125, on the campus of Middlebury College. Free parking is available. For more information call 802-443-5221 or visit www.middlebury.edu/arts.

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