Hitting the right notes in the Windy City
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Irish music is safe and well in far off Chicago – the adopted home of Police Chief Captain Francis O’Neill who collected and published the music heritage of Ireland.
One hundred years ago in 1907 Captain Francis O’Neill (1848- 1936) published his monumental collection, The Dance Music of Ireland O’Neill’s 1001. This influential collection subsequently became known to Irish traditional musicians worldwide as The Book. O’Neill, a flute-player, emigrated from his native Tralibane in West Cork to Chicago where he became Chief of Police. During his lifetime, in which he experienced much tragedy, he dedicated himself to the study and compilation of Irish music, but also committed himself to sharing this repository of both music and knowledge.
Comhaltas has always had a strong base in Chicago and down through the years the Comhaltas Concert Tour has visited there on many occasions meeting with Frank Thornton, Johnny McGreevy, Tom Masterson, James Coyle, Noel Rice, Jimmy Thornton, John O’Grady, Fr. Dwan, Liz Carroll, Michael Flatley and his parents Mike and Elizabeth, Mike Flannery, Kevin Henry and so many more.
Kelly and Mike Chole are now prominent in passing on the native music of Ireland to a new generation. The fruits of their labour can be heard at many a traditional music session and the music of Ireland has, indeed, a bright future in the Windy City. Our photographer dropped in on Kelly and Mike Chole’s Murphy Roche School of Music and we are pleased to publish some of the young up-and-coming champions of the future.