Join Shannon Dunne (renowned Old Style Irish Dancer) and Friends for an evening of traditional Irish music, dance, song, and comedy!

 

To purchase, visit: 

https://www.capitalfringe.org/events/1021-make-st-patrick-s-day-great-again-a-variety-show

Featuring dancers:

Kate Spanos

Catherine Marafino

& Sean-nos Dancers

 

Musicians:

Donna Long,

Laura Byrne,

Mitch Fanning

Maelstrom

& the Bog Band

 

2 pm: Family St Patrick’s Day Celebration

 

7:30 pm : St Patrick’s Day Variety Show (best for ages 10 and up) 

 

*Traditional session in the bar following both performances*

 

Tickets

$15 Students

$20 General Admission

 

About the performers:

 

Shannon Dunne:

Shannon Dunne was captivated by the Broadway style of tap as a young child growing up in New Jersey. Her early education in this form focused on the overall musicality of dance, which has served Shannon well over the years as her love of tap spread to encompass a host of percussive dance forms including hoofing, flatfoot and clogging, Irish and Cape Breton step dance, and sean-nós.  

Bolstered by a slew of collaborations and residencies early in her career with several dance companies including Footworks and Childsplay, Shannon soon found herself with an impressive collection of shoes to match her diverse abilities.  Time spent with these companies of renowned and gifted dancers resulted in the development of learning and teaching styles focused on inquiry and cultural sensitivity with an understanding that context is equal to form.  

As is evident, Shannon’s technique and skill as a dancer blossomed during these formative years. This exploration of dance brought her understanding about what was at once universal and yet wholly unique about these dance forms and helped launch her into the professional and successful career she pursues today.

 

Kate Spanos:

Kate Spanos is an Irish dancer who also trains in a variety of other genres, focusing primarily on percussive styles and Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean dances. She grew up in the DC area and first trained at the O’Neill-James School of Irish Dance; she also danced with Carmel O’Rourke-Tighe in Charlottesville, VA and Maria Oliver in Chico, CA. In 2008, she completed a Master’s degree in Traditional Irish Dance Performance at the University of Limerick in Ireland. In 2016, she completed her PhD in Dance and Performance Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focused on African and Irish culture on the island of Montserrat (also known as the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean”), especially during their festivals and in their music and dance. As a dancer-scholar, she is interested in how traditional dance and music styles contribute to cultural identities, performances of resistance, and festival culture—that is, how dance can be empowering, but also a lot of fun!

 

Catherine Marafino:

Catherine Marafino is a percussive dancer from the Shenandoah Valley. She specializes in old-style Irish step dancing and American tap.   

Catherine began step dancing and tap dancing as a child, and as a teenager learned from Emily Oleson and Matthew Olwell of Good Foot Dance Company.  During college, she built a small repertoire of American flat-footing and clogging steps, and learned a handful of Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island patterns from Helen Bergeron.  She also learned several of Dan Furey's set dances from Michael Tubridy.

Catherine has a long love-affair with traditional steps, but she is most impressive for her ability to improvise them.  Among dancers in Washington and Baltimore, she is highly regarded for her aptness to devise new dances that are musically and choreographically entertaining.

Catherine holds a BS in Sociology and International Relations from Bridgewater College, and is pursuing a Master's in Nursing at Johns Hopkins University.  She is the merchandise director for the New Century American Irish-Arts Company, and a past programmer for the Washington Folk Festival.  She teaches old-style Irish dancing classes as part of the New Century's educational program for girls, boys and adults.

 

Donna Long:

A native Californian, Donna began music at a young age. Her father, Byron Long, a jazz and classical pianist taught her formal classical piano lessons and played LP's of many genres of music in the household. After moving to Baltimore in the early ‘80s a chance meeting with Irish fiddler Brendan Mulvihill inspired Donna to learn the fiddle and also accompany him on the piano. They played as a duo for ten years and recorded two duet albums together, The Steeplechase and The Morning Dew. In 1995 Donna became a member of Cherish the Ladies and toured with them for ten years. She recorded six albums with them, including New Day Dawning, Threads of Time and The Girls Won't Leave the Boys Alone. Donna currently performs with fellow Baltimore musicians, Billy McComiskey, Laura Byrne, and Irish fiddler James Kelly. She teaches both piano and fiddle in the Baltimore and Washington DC area, and won the MD Arts Council Teacher/Apprentice Grant in 2010 which honored her student, Matthew Mulqueen. Donna's first solo piano cd, Handprints was released in 2003 to critical acclaim. Currently, she is working on a new cd with Internationally known Irish fiddler James Kelly.

 

Laura Byrne:

Highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic, Laura left her native Vermont in 1989 to attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music in her current home of Baltimore, MD.  After earning her degree, Laura devoted her musical career to Irish traditional music, learning from the older generation of emigrees to the U.S. and on many visits to Ireland. Laura has performed at countless festivals, ceilis and concerts in the U.S., Canada and Ireland including venues such as the Kennedy Center, Birchmere, several National Folk Festivals and the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, NY She is a two time recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council grant in solo performance and has received awards from Maryland Traditions. Her recordings include two solo albums, Lucky Day (2010) and Tune for the Road (2005); an acclaimed duo recording, Forget Me Not (2014) with NY based fiddler Rose Flanagan; and Crabs in the Skillet (2011) with the Old Bay Ceili Band. A sought-after teacher, Laura has taught at Goucher College and at workshops across the U.S.

 

Mitch Fanning:

Mitch Fanning is not only a consummate fiddle player, but an inspiring fiddle and violin teacher who can rightly take credit for gracing our area with scores of young musicians.  He has himself studied violin at Catholic University’s School of Music, where he received a Bachelor’s of Music degree in violin performance in 1982.   

He studied Irish music with Brendan Mulvihill and others, and in 2014 was awarded a TTCT (Teastas Teagaisc Ceolta Tire), a diploma given to master teachers of Irish music by the CCE in Ireland.  Mitch is also founder and director of Musical Arts and Dance (MAD) Week, a now-celebrated school of instruction whose faculty, for one incredible week, includes a galaxy of Irish music stars.  He also directs The Bog Band, a talented group of young musicians who are mad for trad Irish music, and who have performed at venues of stature throughout the DC metro area.

A frequent participant in festivals and sessions in Ireland,  Mitch performs closer to home at events throughout the Washington metro area—he can be heard, for example, every Monday night with his fellow "Inn Mates" at the Irish Inn at Glen Echo.

Mitch teaches privately and conducts classes in traditional Irish music in his home studio.  Mitch is also a faculty member of Washington Conservatory of Music,  where he teaches traditional Irish fiddle classes designed for violinists.

 

Maelstrom:

MAELSTROM is a group of three young fiddlers from the DC area.  Although their roots are in Celtic music, they are inspired by the variety of folk traditions, exploring them through innovative fusions.  Peri, Darrow, and Abe perform their own compositions as well as original arrangements of everything from French Canadian to Klezmer tunes and songs.  Their sound is recognized for its tight and creative harmonies. In January 2017, they released their first album together; Deep Roots, New Growth.

 

The Bog Band:

The Bog Band is a talented group of young musicians with a passion for traditional Irish music and dance. The group began some fifteen years ago at the Washington Waldorf School, where director Mitch Fanning taught violin.

Most of the members are middle/high school students living in the Greater Washington D.C. area. While members of the Bog Band are young, they are remarkably accomplished musicians. Many members have competed and placed at a variety of local and regional competitions. Some have competed internationally.

Over the years and even now, fiddles remain the focus, but the band has also featured a variety of other traditional Irish instruments including guitar, bouzouki, bodhran (drum), flute, Uilleann pipes, tin whistle, banjo, button accordion and piano.

The Bog Band has performed and earned great reviews at events and festivals throughout the Baltimore/Washington area including the Embassy of Ireland, Potomac Celtic Festival, The Folklore Society of Greater Washington, Smithsonian's Discovery Theatre, The DC Mayor's Awards Gala, Montgomery County Arts Council events, ShamRock Fest, Takoma Park Folk Festival, The Glen Echo Irish Festival, EuroNight, Kid’s Euro Fest, MetroPerforms!, Washington Folk Festival, and at Glucksman Ireland House at NYU and many other private parties throughout the area.

The Bog Band has also helped raise tens of thousands of dollars by concertizing for charities and public interest groups, most notably for Child Justice, a child-advocacy organization and The Father McKenna Center, a homeless shelter in DC.

The Bog Band has produced three CD'S: "Got Bog?", a studio album; "On Their Own Turf", a live session recording that captures the excitement and enthusiasm these musicians bring to their performances; and "Our Voyage with Brendan" which is a celebration of their work with legendary Irish fiddler Brendan Mulvihill. Another CD project is in the offing and is scheduled for release in June of 2017.