On Tuesday, February 18, retired UC-Davis Professor John Gillespie will speak about the aural tradition in Ireland that has given the world of music the jigs, reels, hornpipes, etc. that are part and parcel of the Irish music so many love today.
Professor Gillespie will not only speak about the music, he will also accompany his talk by playing pieces on the tin whistle and concertina. The performance will provide insight to the central role that Irish dance and music has in the development of Irish culture and how music migrated along with the Irish out of Ireland during the potato famine of the 19th century and returned to Ireland in the early 20th century. The Church, the Gaelic League and the Folk Revival of the 60s also shaped contemporary practices.
Professor Gillespie learned to play Irish music on the concertina in the traditional, aural way from Gearoid O hAllmhurain, an ethnomusicologist and holder of five All-Ireland music titles. Gillespie was a founding member of the Talbot County Irish band “The Boys of Bay Hundred” and, with Paul McDonald, Chestertown’s own “Jigs and Reels.” In the late 60s and into the 70s, Gillespie played early music with various university groups. He has taught courses on Celtic Music for adult learning programs at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and at Washington College.
So, if you love Irish music, or even if you can’t tell a jig from a reel, you’ll want to join others at the February Learn at Lunch at noon in Hodgson Hall on the Washington College campus.
A buffett lunch will begin at noon. For event parking, a shuttle service will run from the north student parking lot, which can be accessed from State Route #291 (Speer Road). The last shuttle leaves the lot at 11:55AM.
There is a small charge of $20 per person for WC-ALL members and $25 for non-members. Checks should be sent to WC-ALL, 300 Washington Ave., Chestertown, MD 21620. Please remember to include your name, phone number and email address. Be sure to sign up by Thursday, February 13 or before, as seats will go fast. Phone or electronic reservations cannot be accepted.
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