The Boxwood Festival and Workshop returns for its 22nd year in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, bringing together an amazing group of artists from across the spectrum of traditional folk (Irish, Scottish, Breton, Cape Breton, French Canadian, Appalachian, Ozark & Old-Time) baroque, and renaissance music & dance for a week of classes, performances, sessions and social dancing. The deep connections between traditional music, song, dance, language and food are at the heart of our program as musicians, dancers and singers alike experience and discover the fire that connects their traditions. The breadth, scope and versatility of this group of artists will inspire, astound, and challenge the way you think about music. Join the party with us in Lunenburg!
Fintan Vallely is a musician, writer, lecturer and researcher on Traditional music. From Co. Armagh, he has taught flute at the Willie Clancy summer school in Co. Clare since 1986, and in that year was the author of the first tutor for Irish flute. A commentator on Traditional music, he has been writing about it since 1990, and lecturing on it at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, University of Ulster, Trinity College Dublin, Dundalk Institute of Technology and in the USA.
He began to play Traditional music in the early 1960s, later studying horticulture at University College Dublin, then ethnomusicology at Queens University Belfast. He was The Irish Times‘ Traditional music correspondent and reviewer from 1994-2000, was columnist in that field with The Sunday Tribune 1996-2002, and was consultant editor for Traditional music to The Encyclopedia of Ireland (2003, ed. Brian Lalor). His published work includes The Blooming Meadows (a collaboration with musician Charlie Piggott and photographer Nutan, 1998), Together in Time (a biography of Antrim flute player John Kennedy, 2002), and a major reference work, the edited, A-Z Companion to Irish Traditional Music (1999). This book is being published in a new, greatly expanded edition in November, 2011, as is the new edition of his The Irish Flute Tutor. The writing also covers social and political issues in music, with Tuned Out – Traditional Music and Identity in Northern Ireland (2008) his main researched work; his satirical song collection – Sing Up! Irish Comic Songs and Satires for Every Occasion – takes this into the realm of humour (2008). He played full time in the 1970s and ‘80s, in the US, Scotland and England, and features on three CD albums – a solo recording Traditional Irish Flute Music (1979, 2008), with guitarist Mark Simos on The Starry Lane to Monaghan (1992, 2008), and Big Guns and Hairy Drums, satirical song with singer Tim Lyons (2002).
He is a contributor to conferences and journals on Traditional music, and was one of the organisers of The Crossroads Conference series (1996 and 2003). His PhD research – Flute Routes to 21st Century Ireland– concerned the entry of the flute in Ireland, and his work since includes investigation of the origins of the bodhrán in Ireland. A lecturer on Irish traditional music, he has taught on programmes in NUI Maynooth, University of Ulster, DkIT and Trinity College Dublin.
June comes from Ballintogher, Co. Sligo. In 1998, June was presented with the Young Traditional Musician of the Year award by TG4 (Irish Language T.V. Channel). A primary school teacher by profession, June has published two flute tutorial books in recent years, Fliúit (2006) and Fliúit 2 (2009). She has recorded two CDs with Michael Rooney; 'Draíocht' (2004) and 'Land's End' (2006).
A leading exponent of historical flutes, Rachel Brown is in great demand worldwide, as a soloist, orchestral player and teacher. As principal flute and recorder player with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Hanover Band, the Brandenburg Consort, Collegium Musicum 90, Ex Cathedra and, more recently, Arcangelo, she has recorded extensively and performed throughout Europe, North and South America, Japan, China and Australia. Her acclaimed solo recordings include the Telemann Fantasias, sonatas and concertos by JS, CPE and JC Bach, Handel, Quantz and Leclair. With her ‘dream-team’ London Handel Players, Rachel has immersed herself in the rich repertoire of baroque chamber music. Their performance at the 2013 Göttingen Handel Festival was reviewed:
“What was at once captured was the pure, silky smooth and wonderfully expressive flute sound of Rachel Brown. It is not impossible that even Orpheus, in his time, considered - whoever plays the flute like this, might almost soften stones”. - Göttinger Tageblatt
Rachel’s publications include The Early Flute, A Practical Guide, cadenzas for the Mozart Concertos, two volumes of Quantz Flute Sonatas and her own completion of the Bach A major flute sonata. She has pioneered a new baroque chamber music course in the UK (Pro Corda) for modern and baroque instrumentalists and teaches on annual summer schools in Brazil and Croatia. She leads a thriving flute class at the Royal College of Music. Rachel’s recording of Bach Flute Sonatas and Arias with Laurence Cummings and the London Handel Players was released in January 2016.
Adrianne Greenbaum, Professor of Flute at Mount Holyoke College and pioneer of the klezmer flute tradition, is a nationally recognized and acclaimed flutist and clinician, performing on historical instruments of the 18th and 19th centuries and modern Boehm system flutes and piccolo. Her classical training and career ranks among the finest flutists of her time. As a classical musician she has performed as soloist and orchestral musician in all of New York’s major concert halls and in many major cities of the US. She has appeared with such prestigious orchestras as New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Berlin Ballet at the Met, the Period Orchestra of the Fairfield Academy, and for many years performed with the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Flute society performances and master classes include the British Flute Society, the New York Flute Club series, Portland Oregon Flute Association and many college and university flute studios including LSU, OSU, USC and USA.
She continues as leader of her flute-based klezmer ensembles, “FleytMuzik” and The Klezical Tradition and of the period instrument trio “L’Uhrovska Baroque” with performances and lectures in France, Scotland, Poland and Germany. Her newest recording “Farewell to the Homeland: Poyln” received reviews of note from the flute and klezmer communities at large. The album was hailed for “achieving a rawness that poignantly evokes the spirit of the homeland (SongLines) and “ totally changing awareness of what flute music is." (Klezmershack) "Spine chilling...Greenbaum ignites that fire in your soul” Adrianne was a National Flute Association Gala soloist in 2016, performing her own klezmer suite orchestration. Additionally, she is a published composer (Mozart G major cadenzas) and arranger (F. Doppler’s Andante and Rondo) as well as her own klezmer book of tunes.
She is solo flutist with the Wall Street Chamber Players and maintains an active free-lance life in the US and Canada. Greenbaum’s decades-long symphonic career was as Principal of both the New Haven Symphony and Orchestra New England. She has held faculty positions at Wesleyan and Yale Universities, at Smith College, and is currently a resident artist at the Boxwood Festival in Lunenburg, NS, the New England Adult Music Camp in Maine and the Newport Music Festival. She can be heard in recording on the Koch and Music Masters labels as well as her own solo classical album “Sounds of America” and her other two FleytMuzik records. Greenbaum received her BM from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and her MM from the Yale School of Music. www.klezmerflute.com
Dr. Andra Bohnet is a flutist who embraces a rich variety of musical styles with both virtuosity and sensitivity. In addition to her position as Professor of Music at USA where she teaches flute, music history/literature and chamber music, she is the principal flutist with Mobile Symphony Orchestra where she has been a featured soloist on several occasions. Her newest project is the CD Clinton on Clinton, the culmination of a research project which has been to rediscover the music of John Clinton (1809-1864), an Irish flutist, composer and flutemaker who was a major figure in the nineteenth-century flute design controversy. For this project, she performed Clinton's music on seven flutes manufactured by Clinton & Co. over 150 years ago! This research has been presented to the National Flute Association and the British Flute Society.
Her chamber ensemble for flute and strings, the Silverwood Quartet, has performed throughout the United States and in Japan, including a performance for the National Flute Association. The group specializes in exploring popular and world music in addition to the classical repertoire. Also the group’s primary arranger, Andra’s creative charts capture the musical essence of styles ranging from Irish traditional to Tibetan Chant and alternative rock and roll. Their newest project, A Celtic Mosaic, explores a variety of unique and original music from Celtic sources including music from Riverdance, Lord of the Rings, Ballykissangel and a trilogy of tunes by Loreena McKennitt. The Classic Rock Album, was released in 2005. Rock icon Ian Anderson, flutist and leader of Jethro Tull, said, "Many thanks for the CD. I enjoyed it very much and especially the variety of musical styles it incorporated. Keep up the good work and help bring the worlds of pop/rock and the Classical traditions together." She also performs on Irish and other folk flutes with her group Mithril, a high-energy Celtic/world music band, which has released four CDs which have been featured on NPR's syndicated show "Celtic Connections." Mithril is currently being featured with symphony orchestras for “Celtic Christmas,” "Celtic Halloween" and "Celtic Celebration" pops concerts. Andra performs and records on flutes of all shapes and sizes (classical, traditional wooden, baroque and a variety of ethnic instruments), as well as Celtic harp.
Chris’ influential work as performer, composer, recording artist, teacher and flutemaker has earned him worldwide recognition. His distinctive flute playing has appeared on more than 40 recordings and can be heard featured on numerous Hollywood soundtracks. Chris is founder and director of the Boxwood Festivals and Workshops taking place for the past 22 years in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the USA, inspiring thousands of musicians of all ages. As a flute maker, he brings to bear a discernment forged over a 30-year career to make world-class flutes for traditional, baroque and renaissance music.
Fiddle virtuoso Lisa Ornstein is an outstanding interpreter of the traditional music of French Canada and Appalachia, blending compelling and inventive playing with impeccable tune choice. Befriended by North Carolina fiddle legend Tommy Jarrell while she was in her teens, Lisa quickly became an accomplished fiddler in the Round Peak style. A musical friendship with Franco-American fiddler Louis Beaudoin set her on a path to Quebec in 1978. When La Bottine Souriante — Quebec’s internationally renowned traditional supergroup — invited her to join the band, Lisa’s projected six-month stay began to stretch, eventually lasting twelve years. While in Quebec, Lisa spent countless hours visiting with older musicians and playing in kitchens and dance halls. She also squeezed in a master’s in folklore on the life and music of master fiddler Louis “Pitou” Boudreault. She has taught, concertized, and toured extensively in North America and Europe with some of Quebec’s finest musicians, and recorded for both Smithsonian Folkways and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Her music appears on a number of La Bottine’s albums, and on critically acclaimed CDs with former bandmates André Marchand and Normand Miron.
Adrian Butterfield is a violinist, director, conductor and teacher who specialises in performing music from 1600-1900 on period instruments. He is Musical Director of the Tilford Bach Society and Associate Director of the London Handel Festival and regularly directs the London Handel Orchestra and Players as well as working as a guest soloist and director in Europe and North America with modern and period ensembles.
Born in London, he started playing the violin at the age of four, was a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral and went on to read music at Trinity College, Cambridge and study as a postgraduate at the Royal College of Music. He has worked with most of the period-instrument ensembles in London.
He is a founder-member of the London Handel Players who perform regularly at Wigmore Hall and throughout Europe and North America and who made their debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014. He also leads the Revolutionary Drawing Room, an ensemble which specialises in performing Classical and Romantic repertoire on period instruments. A recording of quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Vanhal and Dittersdorf, 'A Viennese Quartet Party', was released by RDR to coincide with their 25th anniversary in 2015. Recent other releases include Mozart's Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson on Clarinet Classics and Geminiani's complete Op.1 sonatas (SOMM) by LHP in 2012. He has taken part in numerous other recordings and his world premiere complete recordings of Leclair’s first two books of violin sonatas, which were released in 2009 and 2013, have been widely acclaimed.
He works annually with the Southbank Sinfonia, is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music, gives masterclasses in Europe and North America and teaches on the Aestas Musica International Summer School of Baroque Music and Dance in Croatia.
He has conducted the major choral works of Bach as well as Handel's Israel in Egypt at St. George's, Hanover Square and La Resurrezione at Wigmore Hall and directed ensembles such as the Croatian Baroque Ensemble in Zagreb and the London Mozart Players.
Plans for the 16/17 season include conducting and directing the London Handel Orchestra in Mozart’s C minor Mass and D major Violin Concerto and Bach’s St. John Passion as well as performing and recording some of Handel's Chandos works, the making of a baroque dance video with the London Handel Players and a return with them to Wigmore Hall as well as the beginning of a complete Beethoven quartet cycle at St. John’s, Smith Square with the Revolutionary Drawing Room. He will also make his debut with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2016 in a programme of Handel and Mozart.
“How does a critic begin to describe the most perfectly performed musical experience in many years? By listing, of course, in a roll of honour, those who created it, beginning with the masterly Adrian Butterfield, whose sure direction (from the violin) and complete immersion in the idiom was undoubtedly responsible for the exceptional quality of the performance.”
Barry Creasy - Music OMH
"Technically and musically, Butterfield is a marvel"
Michael Rooney is a prolific composer and is widely regarded as one of the foremost players of the traditional Irish harp. He is a music graduate of Queen's University, Belfast. Michael is an internationally recognized harpist and concertina player, as well as a tutor and producer on the Irish musical scene. He has recorded two albums with flutist June McCormack under the name Draíocht. Michael spent three years working for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and produced the Comhaltas tours of Britain, Ireland and America during that time. He is senior All-Ireland Champion on the harp and winner of the prestigious Granard and Keadue harp competitions on several occasions. He recorded with The Chieftains on their Grammy award winning CD entitled 'The Celtic Harp' and toured the US with the group. In 2006 he published a book entitled 'Harp Tunes', which contains twenty three of his compositions.
Michael has recently been announced as the TG4 Composer of the Year for 2017.Michael has composed nine suites of music in the past 20 years, including The Macalla Suite (2016), Boróimhe Suite (2014), The Second Coming (2014), De Cuellar Suite (2011) and Battle of the Books Suite (2007). In May 2015, Michael was commissioned to write music and perform on the occasion of Prince Charles’ visit to Sligo. His music features on ‘The Queen's Speech’, RTÉ's documentary of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland.
Magnus Holmström is a three time world champion on Nyckelharpa. He started to play the instrument when he was 12 years old. At that time he lived in Bullmark, a small village outside of Umeå, in the north of Sweden. After one year of study at the "Eric Sahlström Institute" (2000) ,he decided to take the music to a higher level, and got accepted at Royal College of Music in 2003. After five years of studying he now works with music full time, both as musician, teacher, project manager and runs the recordcompany "Dimma Sweden" with two friends... You can hear him in both "Storis & Limpan Band", Fomp and "Face The Bear"
To find a unique voice on so ubiquitous an instrument as the acoustic guitar is quite an achievement: to do so within a centuries old idiom where the instrument has no real history is truly remarkable. Tony McManus has come to be recognised throughout the world as the leading guitarist in Celtic Music. From early childhood his twin obsessions of traditional music and acoustic guitar have worked together to produce a startlingly original approach to this ancient art. In Tony’s hands the complex ornamentation normally associated with fiddles and pipes are accurately transferred to guitar in a way that preserves the integrity and emotional impact of the music.
Tony’s work has come to represent Celtic music in the guitar world, making regular appearances at guitar specific events where just a few years ago jigs and reels would be unheard of. He is invited annually to the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville, has appeared at Guitar Festivals in Soave and Pescantina, Sarzana and Francacorta Italy; Frankston, Australia; Issoudun and Bordeaux France; Kirkmichael, Scotland; Bath and Kent, England; Bochum and Osnabruck, Germany. In 2004 he appeared at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in the “All Star Guitar Night” featuring Steve Morse, Bryan Sutton, Muriel Anderson, Béla Fleck and Victor Wooten and headlined by the legendary Les Paul. His ability to reach audiences unfamiliar with traditional music is remarkable- he is quite comfortable at predominantly classical events such as the Dundee and Derry Guitar Festivals (appearing six times between the two) the Uppsala Guitar Festival and even The Bogotá International Guitar Festival where he followed virtuoso Eduardo Fernandez.
Today his live work ranges from intimate solo performance through his trio with brothers Gary and Greg Grainger to the quartet Men of Steel (with fellow guitarists Dan Crary, Beppe Gambetta and Don Ross). He is an enthusiastic collaborator both as a leader and as a sideman having worked with, among many others Dougie McLean, Phil Cunningham, Mairi MacInnes, Liam O’Flynn, Martin Simpson, Kevin Burke, Alison Brown, Martyn Bennett, Natalie MacMaster, Patrick and Jacky Molard, Mairead ní Mhoanaigh and Dermot Byrne, The Nashville Chamber Orchestra, John Jorgenson, Jean Michel Veillon, Catriona Macdonald, Seikou Keita, Xosé Manuel Budiño, Ewen Vernal and Andy Irvine. He is also in great demand as a studio musician having contributed to over 60 albums. In addition to his solo output Tony has worked with both singers and instrumentalists providing his distinctive sound on many successful projects. His 2009 release “The Makers’s Mark” saw him showcase 15 of the finest luthier built guitars available. Recording a solo piece on each instrument, the project caught the attention of the mainstream rock guitar press in a way that acoustic work rarely does. The following year, a chance hearing on Irish radio led to an invite to contribute music to the soundtrack of Oscar winning director Neil Jordan’s film “Ondine” starring Colin Farrell. Never one to be typecast, Tony’s new album “Mysterious Boundaries” is his most ambitious to date. An encouraging challenge from mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall to learn the Bach E Major Prelude on guitar led to an exploration of classical and baroque music – seemingly very different to the jigs and reels that he grew up with.
By examining the boundaries between genres and sticking to his steel string guitar (rather than the conventional classical guitar) McManus has produced a work of great originality and beauty, hailed by his peers as “a masterpiece” (Renbourn), “beyond beautiful… it’s PERFECT!” (Tommy Emmanuel) and which contains a truly remarkable rendition of Bach’s colossal Chaconne in D Minor – one of the greatest compositions of any age. Whatever work McManus brings within his scope the listener is assured a journey into the depths of the music in the company of a great talent.
Tomas 'Limpan' Lindberg was born in Heby, Uppland, Sweden. He plays guitars, mandola and Swedish bozouki. He plays in the groups Draupner, Storis & Loaf Band, Fomp, Face The Bear and Captain Wave. He has also toured with Nordman and Love letters and russian satellites (the album "Love Letter and Russian satellites" with singers Johanna Wave Hertzberg, Katarina Hallberg, Emma Härdelin and Kersti Ståbi was nominated for a Grammy for best folk / show 2005). Limpan has also worked as a theater musician at the Folk Theatre in Gävle where he wrote and arranged music for including three major summer theaters at Stenegård in Järvsö. He also works as artistic director of Upplands Låtverkstad and his music is being played right now in TVcommercials for Bregott Butter.
Well established in the Baroque music world, Marie Bouchard leads an active performing career as a chamber and orchestral musician, accompanist and soloist. She collaborates with several ensembles, including the Ottawa Baroque Consort, Thirteen Strings, Seventeen Voyces, Symphony Nova Scotia, and various festivals. She also worked with the MSO, Les Violons du Roy, SMAM and Tafelmusik. Marie recorded CDs with Les Boréades, Les Voix Baroques, Aradia, the Ottawa Bach Choir, Tempest and Thirteen Strings.
In addition to sharing her love of Baroque music with her audiences, Marie is very involved as an accompanist and pedagogue in harpsichord, organ, piano, chamber music and Kindermusik. Marie holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from McGill University. She also completed training in Germany and France. She studied with John Grew, Hank Knox, Noëlle Spieth and Jean Boyer. When she is not off camping in the woods, Marie enjoys participating in summer music festivals such as Music and Beyond, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and Boxwood.
Mary Jane Lamond is a sharer of songs, stories and spirit. This sharing has garnered Mary Jane numerous JUNO and East Coast Music award nominations, critical acclaim, and a worldwide audience.
Her latest recording, SEINN, is released on September 18. It reflects the great love and respect that Mary Jane and Wendy have for Nova Scotia tradition, and for each other. The record achieves a delicate balance between the musical sensibilities of two artists, showcasing traditional and original compositions among the melancholy of Gaelic song and the joy of fiddle tunes. Some of the material was learned from the recordings of older Cape Breton singers and fiddlers, some songs were chosen from existing repertoires, and some were written specifically for this project. The record fuses Roots arrangements with a traditional presentation, capturing the enjoyment and fun that Mary Jane and Wendy have together on and off the stage.
This is a powerful collaboration borne of a long-time friendship and a shared love of Celtic music. Whether it’s the mesmerizing Gaelic vocals of Mary Jane, or the superb and true musicianship of Wendy on the fiddle, these ladies have been making their mark with traditional audiences worldwide for over two decades. Mary Jane and Wendy have both been recognized internationally for their solo music careers, and Wendy has been Mary Jane’s steadfast comrade in the presentation of her music for many years. It seems only natural that these two impressive talents now come together to create a true musical partnership, which will combine their musical sensibilities, their strong Celtic roots, and their colourful personalities.
On the North Shore of Cape Breton Island, the rich heritage of the region’s Scottish settlers was kept alive through song. It was in Nova Scotia, visiting her grandparents throughout her youth, that Mary Jane Lamond fell in love with Scottish Gaelic traditions and song. While enrolled in Saint Francis Xavier University’s Celtic Studies programme, Lamond released her first album, Bho Thir Nan Craobh, a collection of traditional material that introduced her unique singing voice and a then unknown fiddler named Ashley MacIsaac. The two talented Maritimers then collaborated on the award-winning radio smash “Sleepy Maggie”.
Mary Jane Lamond took time-honoured Gaelic songs to the next level on Suas e!, which combined classic texts with contemporary pop sounds. The Globe & Mail praised it for its “refreshing balance between modern and ancient,” and the album earned several Juno and East Coast Music award nominations, as well as a MuchMusic Global Groove Award for the video “Bog a’Lochain.”
The success of Suas e! contributed to an explosion of interest in Celtic culture and Lamond took the songs on the road with a live band. Her experiences on the stage directly influenced the sound of Làn Dùil.
On Làn Dùil Lamond’s spell-binding renditions of treasured Gaelic songs are fused with original arrangements using a variety of instruments, from the familiar fiddle and bagpipes to Indian tabla. Ultimately, it’s a style of world music that is unique to Mary Jane Lamond.
Yet as the singer herself will tell you, it’s the stories that matter. While Làn Dùil soothes and stirs, it also chronicles Cape Breton’s living Scottish Gaelic culture. The sounds of friends, family and local legends are heard throughout the album.
Despite the important role her music plays in preserving Scottish Gaelic songs that would otherwise rarely be heard outside Cape Breton. “This is a huge oral literary tradition that is being lost at an alarming rate,” she says, “and I am involved with community things that help conserve it for younger people. But I’m also an interpreter, a singer and musician and in my music the challenge is to create something new and exciting that doesn’t destroy the heart of it.”
Òrain Ghaidhlig (Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton), focuses on the songs and poetry which are the cornerstone of this tradition. This recording remains true to the simple sharing of music that is the foundation of Gaelic culture – from the engaging milling songs performed by a group of Cape Breton’s finest traditional Gaelic singers to the lively old style fiddling of Joe Peter MacLean, a musician never before captured on recording. Recorded at the beautiful North River Church in Cape Breton, this enhanced cd also features visuals taken during the recording sessions.
Mary Jane’s solo recording, Stòras (Gaelic meaning “a treasure”), is a beautiful interpretation of some of the Scottish Gaelic songs that have become part of Nova Scotia’s Gaelic tradition. Her use of modern instrumentation and arrangements provides a respectful and beautiful framework for these Gaelic treasures but it is Mary Jane’s spell binding vocal performance and heartfelt delivery that makes these selections truly come alive for the listener.
Mary Jane Lamond makes timeless music for a modern age and continues to make a unique contribution to both World and Pop music.
Originally from Dublin, Eamon has lived in New York City for the last twenty years. He has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, performing and recording with many of Irish music's great players. In 2004, he and Patrick Ourceau released a live recording, Live at Mona's, documenting their many years hosting a session on New York's Lower East Side. In 2012 he and Jefferson Hamer released an album of traditional songs, The Murphy Beds, described by the Huffington Post as "ten beautiful, crystalline songs." Eamon's songwriting can be heard on the 2013 album Old Clump. He also tours and records as part of the trad. Irish trio The Alt with Nuala Kennedy and John Doyle.
Michigan-born dancer, musician, and dance researcher Nic Gareiss has studied a broad variety of percussive movement forms from around the world. At the age of eight he began taking tap lessons with Sam and Lisa Williams at Vision Studio of Performing Arts in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Soon after, he was exposed to fiddle music and traditional dance at the Wheatland Music Organization’s annual Traditional Arts Weekend. It was there that he had his first instruction in Appalachian clogging with Michigan dance mentor, Sheila Graziano. As a teenager, Nic also studied Irish step dance with John Heinzman, T.C.R.G., Appalachian flat-footing with Ira Bernstein, Québécois step dance with Benoit Bourque, and improvisation and composition with Sandy Silva.
In 2001, Nic began an educational relationship with the internationally-renowned company, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. After meeting Footworks’ director, NEA Choreography Fellow Eileen Carson at the Augusta Heritage Center dance camp, Nic was invited to spend nine weeks apprenticing with the company in Annapolis, Maryland. While working with Footworks, Gareiss danced in their evening-length theater show, Incredible Feets as well as two new collaborative works: SoleMates, with StepAfrika and The Crossing, with Grammy-winning recording artist Tim O’Brien.
In 2007, Nic spent a year studying traditional Irish music and dance performance at the Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick, Ireland. There he studied Cape Breton step dance with Mats Melin as well as Irish dance and choreography with Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain, T.C.R.G, A.D.C.R.G. He also studied privately with contemporary dance artist and Irish dancer Colin Dunne and sean-nós dancer Seosamh Ó Néachtain.
Nic has performed with many of the luminaries of traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, and North America, including The Chieftains, Dervish, Gráda, Beoga, Téada, FIDIL, Le Vent du Nord, Genticorum, Dr. Anthony Barrand, Buille, Liz Carroll, Frankie Gavin, Martin Hayes, Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger and Alasdair Fraser. His dancing has been seen on CMT in Uncle Earl's music video, Streak O' Lean, Steak O' Fat, and also on Ireland's RTÉ 2 in the film Unsung, commissioned by the Irish Arts Council, which premiered during the 2008 Dublin Dance Festival. He has performed for the Irish head of state, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen and American Energy Secretary Steven Chu. In 2011, Nic received two commissions from the Cork Opera House to create new solo percussive dance works for Reich’s pieces Six Marimbas and Clapping Music in honor of the composer’s 75th birthday. The commissions were hailed by the Irish Times as “a leftfield tour-de-force with irresistible wow factor.”
Nic continues to study, seeking out new forms of floor-music and shoe rhythms, recently studying flamenco with Felipe de Algeciras in Dublin and American percussive dance with Rhythm in Shoes founder and artistic director Sharon Leahy of Dayton, Ohio.
Nic has taught workshops in percussive dance technique, American clogging, musicality and improvisation internationally. He has had the pleasure of teaching at Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle Camp in northern California, as well as for Scottish Culture & Traditions Organization, The University of Limerick, Michigan State University, Alma College, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Derry, Northern Ireland. Through workshops for both movers and musicians, Nic seeks to remind students of the crucial, intrinsic, and historic place that percussive dance has held in the formation and development of many world music traditions as well as encourage dancers with the innately sonic capabilities of movement.
Nic holds degrees in anthropology and music from Central Michigan University. In 2011, he earned a distinction from the Norwegian University for Science and Technology’s IPEDAM Erasmus Intensive for Ethnochoreologists. Nic completed post-graduate work in 2012, earning a MA in ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick. He continues to tour internationally, working with dance communities and presenting solo percussive dance choreography and dance research.
Nick Halley is a drummer/percussionist, keyboardist, composer, and conductor. As a drummer and world percussionist, Nick has performed and recorded internationally with a wide range of musicians including James Taylor, Oscar Castro-Neves, Maucha Adnet, David McGuinness & Revenge of the Folk Singers, Concerto Caledonia, Jefferson Hamer & Eamon O’Leary, Old Man Luedecke & Tim O’Brien, the Chris Norman Ensemble, various Paul Halley ensembles, Suzie LeBlanc, Theresa Thomason, Diomira with Dinuk Wijeratne & Joseph Petric, and occasionally the Nick Halley Band. The recording Barnum Hill (2008) features Nick and his ensemble performing some of Nick’s original compositions.
Nick is the founder and Artistic Director of the Capella Regalis Men and Boys Choir in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is the founder and Director of The King’s Chorus, a choir for members of the King’s and Dalhousie University communities in Halifax. Nick is also the Assistant Director of the acclaimed University of King’s College Chapel Choir directed by his father, Paul Halley. He is Cantor and Director for the chapel’s male Compline choir. He is also Assistant Director of Music at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax. In 2012, Nick was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contribution to Canada and Nova Scotia through the arts, particularly for his work with Capella Regalis Men and Boys Choir. Nick was the Host of CBC’s Choral Concert for the 2013-14 season.
Marlys Yvonne is a dancer, arts producer, and Pilates instructor originally from Baltimore, MD. Her dance career led her to perform and train across North America in Baltimore, New York, Austin, San Francisco, Harrisburg, Portland, Toronto, Irvine, and Washington DC. She continues to perform as a freelance artist based out of Seattle and has had the opportunity to produce performance, visual art, and music events in the city. She has also had the pleasure of building her own Pilates business Studio YVY and works with clients in the Seattle area.