Crackerjacks of traditional instrumental music and singing, these women join together for a musical celebration of life. In the Celtic tradition, they will perform lilting dance tunes, heartfelt airs and enchanting ballads.
Sharon Pyne, on wooden flute, tin whistle and bodhran , began playing while living with relatives in Ireland in 1977. She studied for a year from master flute players, and by ear, learned the Irish dance music genre and it’s ornamentation. Returning to Boston, she became involved in Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, a world-wide organization that provides educational support for Irish music, language and dance. After playing on her first recording with this group, Sharon came to Maine with her family, where she helped form the Portland Ceili Band to play for regular Irish American Club dances. She has performed and recorded with Julia Lane of Castlebay and with the Ladybugs, who specialize in music and dance for children and families. She leads Music Together classes and Family Dances for children and parents in Bath, Brunswick and Wiscasset Maine and spends weekends and summers performing at wedding, festivals and teaching at Maine Fiddle Camp.
Maggie Ericson, on vocals, button accordion and guitar, is an accomplished singer and instrumentalist, performing an eclectic mix of folk and traditional music. Maggie was a founding member of Maine’s Old Grey Goose band, and helped to revive traditional dance in Ithaca (NY) by performing with bands such as the Traveling Rant and Possum Hollow, playing button accordion for dancers. As a soloist, she has performed at the Chocolate Church in Bath, A Company of Women Gallery (Peterborough, NH), and coffeehouses, radio stations and concert venues throughout the Northeast and the Middle-Atlantic since the 1970s. In Boston during the 1990s, she played with musicians from both sides of the Atlantic in this city’s first rate Irish music venues. This year she traveled to Ireland conducting research on the history of women in Irish music. She is head of the Art and Music Library at Colby College.
Kristin Tescher hails from Rockland and specializes in Celtic music on harp and 12-string guitar. She is a past member of the band, Any Monday, known for their sea chanties and romantic ballads. She runs a business with the help of Catholic Charities of Maine, to provide care and help for the elderly and home-bound. She
Susanne Ward grew up listening to her father play Heart & Soul on the banjo and has never recovered. She took up the Irish uilleann pipes at the tender age of 41. When she asked her father why he never signed her up for uilleann piping lessons as a kid, he was heard to declare: “But I hate the bagpipes!” Ward hosted a traditional Irish session at Second Read Books & Coffee in Rockland, Maine for eleven years and continues to host occasional sessions at Rock City Café in Rockland. She recently took up the concertina, hoping to find a more reasonable instrument for those days when she doesn’t feel up to a wrestling match. Although Irish music is her great passion, if she had the time to pursue another genre, it would be jazz.
Ellen Gawler is a veteran fiddler conversant in many styles including Irish, French Canadian, Maritime, and New England. She began fiddling at a young age and traveled to Ireland, British Isles and the Shetland Islands, studying with masters and collecting tunes while there. She has recorded on eight occasions, touring the U. S. and Europe with groups such as The Old Grey Goose, Trillium, Childsplay, The Gawler Family Band and Village Harmony. Ellen is a Suzuki violin/fiddle teacher and founder if the Pineland Fiddlers, a group of twenty youngsters who travel abroad as musical ambassadors. They have a few CDs to their credit. She teaches at dance camps and folk music workshops, and hails from Belgrade Lakes, Maine, where she and her family have hosted the Buttermilk Hill Festival on their farm.