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An outdoor fleadh

N.Y. Fleadh for Pearl River

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An outdoor fleadh

The annual New York Fleadh organized by the Mid-Atlantic Region of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann is coming up on the weekend of May 29-31 in Pearl River, New York. 

The popular event turns the Rockland County area into a bustling Mecca for students of traditional music where they will vie to become qualifying competitors for the 58th annual Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann (www.fleadh2009.com) being held in Tullamore, Co. Offaly for the third year in a row.  

It isn’t all about competition because over the years, many of the students have taken the opportunity to take classes in Ireland during the week preceding the August fleadh weekend at the Scoil Eigse.  Over 800 students from all over the six provinces of Comhaltas (Ireland, Britain and North America) enroll for this summer school with many of the top musicians in traditional music as part of the faculty.  It features classes by instruments by day and plenty of social interaction and concerts by evening to build bonds for aspiring young musicians from so many different communities.

The weekend kicks off with the fleadh ceili on May 29, Friday night from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Clarkstown Reformed Church on Strawtown Road in West Nyack (site of the Pearl River ceili).  Music is the Glinside Ceili Band from Limerick visiting for the weekend.  For more info on the ceili contact 845-359-6047. 

On Saturday, May 30 at 8 p.m., the fleadh hotel the Holiday Inn in Orangeburg (329-Route 303 at Orangeburg Road) will be the site of the evening sessions with Mike Rafferty and Willie Kelly slated to anchor the main session, though last year there were at least two or three percolating for much of the evening.

The fleadh itself will be at the Pearl River Middle School (520 Gilbert Avenue) on Saturday, May 30 at 10 a.m. with all the solo competitions scheduled on the first day. 

In addition a set dancing competition has been revived and is scheduled for Saturday afternoon for mixed set, all ladies and half set combinations which is also a qualifying for the All-Ireland championships.

For more details and rules on the dancing competition, contact Fergal O’Halloran at gallor33@yahoo.com or 347-613-3655. 

Sunday, May 31 begins with Mass at 10 a.m. at the school with the duets, trios, grupai cheoils and ceili band competitions to follow.

All events are open to the general public for a nominal admission. Contact secretary Terry Rafferty at 201-288-4267 or visit www.nyfleadh.com.

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