This past week was spent in Elkins, West Virginia attending Irish Week at the Augusta Heritage Cultural Center at Davis and Elkins Collge. This was the third year Jack and I attended this intensive program, myself for flute this year with John Skelton, and Jack for a week of fiddle with Liz Kane. We are both exhausted and stuffed with new tunes and techniques.
I was tremendously nervous to try a week of flute having only been playing for about 6 months. But I survived not only the classes, but the student showcase performance…
Next to me is John Skelton who taught the intermediate flute class. As a teacher myself, I can, without a doubt, say that John is the best teacher I have ever encountered in any subject. His teaching style is the perfect blend of wisdom, wit, technique and understanding. He is, for lack of a better word, brilliant. I am already looking forward to the start if Riley School in the fall to get back to classes with him on a weekly basis.
On the right side of the photo above is John Doyle, whom John Skelton invited to play with us on our showcase pieces. In the small world of Irish Music, these two Johns are considered sort of rock stars. Needless to say, I was just a little nervous. But I felt like a musician, a real one. Those moments are few and far between. I am inspired to keep learning and practicing to get more of those musical moments in the future.
Many a night was spent wandering the Davis and Elkins campus listening to various sessions scattered about. We did a fair amount of ceili dancing as well. There was not very much sleep to be had, but plenty of coffee, and laughter and of course, music. I am already looking forward to next year’s trip to Elkins to reconnect with old and new Augusta friends, but for now, I am off to sleep some more!