Finding the Fiddle

I grew up in a musical household where live music and recordings where held in high regard.

I started taking violin lessons at the age of 7, and soon after played in quartets and youth orchestras. I enjoyed playing with others, but it wasn’t until I was exposed to the sound of the “fiddle” at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, that I found my passion in music.

The first fiddling genres I explored were Canadian Old-Time and Appalachian/StringBand.  I had the great privilege of travelling to West Virginia to study for a week with Bruce Molsky, at the Augusta Old-Time fiddle week.

Irish Music

Around 26 years ago, I fell in love with Irish traditional music while listening to Frankie Gavin in my car as I drove to my weekly Appalachian band practice.

Right then, Irish music became an integral part of my life.  I met some fabulous Irish musicians who became my bandmates, and are dear friends to this day!

I began taking workshops once a year with master musicians as they came to Winnipeg from Ireland, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, and New York, to perform and teach at the annual Winnipeg Irish Festival.

Some of the Irish musicians I have taken classes with:

Dale Russ

Randal Bayes

Oisin Mac Diarmada

James Kelly

Michelle Mulcahy

Gerry O’Connor

This was a time before Youtube, smartphones or even CDs!  The only option was to practice what I recorded on cassette or learned at the workshop (rewind…rewind…) day in and day out until the next expert arrived.  I practiced and played in as many sessions around town as I could.

My love of Irish music has led me to play in several bands (Culainn, Stray Celts, Barefoot Ceili Band) and to perform as far away as the Milwaukee Irish Festival.  I spent some time in Ireland, playing the pubs of Limerick and Galway.

To this day, I continue to have a grand time playing at fabulous sessions here in town!

Need a fiddler for your next event?

Exploring Different Styles

While playing and learning Irish trad has been a steady in my life, that hasn’t stopped me from exploring other styles of music on the fiddle, and more recently, the mandolin.

I love any type of music that can be played with others!

I have interest and experience in:

  • Canadian Old-Time 
  • Ragtime
  • Bluegrass and Jamming
  • Scandinavian
  • Swing

I love to learn and take workshops myself.  I’m always happy to share the new skills and tunes I’m working on!

Playing for Dancers

Fiddle music is dance music! I have enjoyed playing many, many hours of music for dancers over the years:

Contras, Ceilis and Square Dances.  These are all community events led by a “caller” who teaches the formations and calls out the moves.  The caller picks the dances while the band chooses and plays corresponding tunes.

Playing for the McConnell School of Irish Dance.  Performances of traditional and contemporary Irish and Welsh dance choreography, partnered with live music. Together, we have performed shows here in town, as well as taking some of them on tour to festivals in Costa Rica, Bulgaria, Ireland and Peru.

The Winnipeg Mandolin Orchestra. Playing for Ukrainian dancers.  High energy fun!

Most recently, I branched out to play for Scandinavian dancers at Folklorama.

Teaching Music

My teaching experience includes:

  • 18 years of private studio lessons (fiddle and mandolin)
  • Irish traditional style workshops
  • Elementary theory instruction
  • Orff-based music classes for preschool and kindergarten.

Ages range from 3-93.  Beginner to advanced.

Toss the Feathers Reel

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