Ted Soulos–flute, whistle 

  • Ted Soulos has been playing Irish music for about twelve years, primarily whistle and flute. He has attended Irish Arts Week in the Catskills numerous times where he took classes with Conal O’Grada, Catherine McEvoy, Mary Bergin, and June McCormack. He’s traveled to Ireland numerous times as well, and enjoys traveling to various Irish sessions in New England and anywhere else he can get to them. He is also occasionally a “student” member of the LVISS  so that he can work on his tenor banjo skills.
  • Email Ted

Kira Jewett–fiddle

  • Kira Jewett began playing violin at age 3 1/2 and has been playing ever since.  She grew up in the classical music world, but a chance encounter with Mark O’Connor led her to his fiddle camp, where Martin Hayes’ music captivated her.  She began voraciously learning Irish fiddle, apprenticing herself to the New York Sligo fiddler Brian Conway.  Soon after she recorded a CD (Almost Home, 1998), began attending summer teaching festivals, and in 2003 qualified for the All Ireland open and slow airs.  She competed in both and won the Slow Airs competition in Clonmel, Ireland.  Currently Kira plays with the band Banish Misfortune.
  • Banish Misfortune website
  • Kira’s website

Dan Foster–fiddle

  • Dan Foster first picked up the violin aged 7 whilst living in his hometown of York, UK. He switched over to traditional fiddle playing aged 18. His passion and respect for the fiddle music of Ireland has driven him to complete his Bachelor of Music with honors at The International Centre for Music – Newcastle University as well as at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance where in 2012 he studied under master musicians such as Eileen O’Brien and Derek Hickey. Whilst living in Ireland, he met his future wife Courtney Jay TCRG, and he emigrated from England to New England in the Spring of 2015 to build a new family life and a professional music career there. Dan is in high demand for his violin and fiddle instruction services. He is currently involved in multiple music projects, including the bands Caravan of Thieves and Daymark and he plays live across North America for Irish dance competitions.
  • Email Dan
  • Dan’s website

Corey Walters–flute, mandolin, tenor banjo

  • Corey grew up in Baltimore, cutting his teeth early at the legendary sessions at J. Patrick’s.  He then attended  Oberlin College, where he started and led a session with fiddle player Jonah Sidman.  He now lives in Amherst and plays regularly with sean nós dancer Rebecca McGowan in The Sunny Banks, and for contra dances with both Black River Ironworks (w/ Jonah Sidman and Michael Friedman) and Phoenix (w/ Nora Smith and Christopher Jacoby).
  • Email Corey

Benedict Gagliardi (on hiatus)–concertina and much, much more!

  • Ben is a self-taught concertina player who stumbled into trad music by chance in high school and has never looked back. He plays multiple instruments completely by ear and enjoys learning tunes the old fashioned way — from other musicians who take the time to sit and teach the melody. Ben spends most weekends traversing New England in search of the best traditional music. He regularly guest hosts Irish sessions in Connecticut, and has played at numerous festivals, coffeehouses, and venues with musicians such as Robbie O’Connell, Dan Milner, Jeff Davis, and his bands, Full Gael and The Vox Hunters. He is currently an instructor at the Connecticut Irish Music Academy, teaching beginner concertina and leading a slow session.
  • Email Ben
  • Full Gael website
  • Vox Hunters website

TJ Ezold (elusive, but still around)–flute, concertina, and everything else!

  • TJ gives lessons in a variety of instruments-Accordion, Flute, Banjo, Whistle, Bouzouki, and if he doesn’t know how to play what you want to learn, he’ll figure it out and then teach you, he says. He is also a member of the western Massachusetts band “Banish Misfortune.” For more  band info see www.banishmisfortune.com/. For lesson info email TJ directly.
  • Email TJ

Do you live in the area and have a hankerin’ to be anchorin’? Shoot me an EMAIL and we’ll talk!

Super-Official Guidelines for Anchoring at the LVISS:
  • You should be someone who attends Irish tune sessions regularly, and be able to play Irish traditional dance music at an advanced intermediate level or better.
  • Be ready to give advice about playing in general, playing with others, session etiquette, session experiences, etc. Members will ask you all kinds of questions!
  • You should play a melody instrument, not accompaniment. See the general GUIDELINES.
  • Please teach one tune. We used to learn two and it was crayzay. If a tune has more than three parts it’s fine, we just need extra time and to be asked if we can handle it beforehand.
  • It has to be an Irish dance tune (not Scottish or Cape Breton. No Quebecois, or Bluegrass or Old Time. Definitely no Oompa or Khomei.
  • A list of previously learned and variously practiced tunes can be found at https://lvirishslowsession.wordpress.com/tunes/ or, for a tabbed spreadsheet organized by type — https://lvirishslowsession.wordpress.com/tune-spreadsheet/
  • It’s nice to check the TUNE LIST to:
    • be sure you’re not teaching one we already know
    • see if there is/are (a) tune/s that can be paired (tripleted, quadrupleted) with the tune you want to teach, to, like, make a SET, like.
  • Don’t be afraid to teach us a mazurka, or fling, or barn dance. We love them all, not just jigs and reels.
  • Have more than one choice for a tune so we can choose the one that matches our current ability to deal with melodic complexity as moderated by how exhausted we are due to the workday and life in general. I’m exhausted just writing that sentence.

One thought on “OUR ANCHORS

  1. Pingback: Anchor Spotlight: Ben Gagliardi | Lower Valley Beginner Irish Session

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