One of the newer celebrations of traditional Irish music in Boston returns for its second go-round this month, when Féile Cheoil Boston takes place on May 17 in Melrose. The day-long (10 a.m.-10 p.m.) event, established by Boston’s Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE) Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley Boston School of Music to showcase area Irish musicians – especially young ones – includes competitions in instrument and vocal categories, children’s activities, performances, sessions, and an evening concert headlined by the trio Open the Door for Three.
The Féile Cheoil, co-hosted by the CCE School of Music and the Melrose Messina Arts Fund, will be held at the First United Methodist Church at 645 Main St. in Melrose.
“So many things worked well last year, even with it being the first time,” says CCE School Executive Director Lisa Coyne, a co-founder and co-organizer of the Féile Cheoil. “We had a very good turn-out for the competitions, we had lots of adult volunteers – especially parents – helping out, and they did a great job. We also had music going out on the front lawn all afternoon, where people going by could stop and listen, and this was very important in terms of engaging with the community.
“Now, we want to do even better, and we’re very excited about this year.”
Competitions will be held in such categories as fiddle, flute, accordion and singing. Entrants can register online through the Féile Cheoil website [sites.google.com/a/ccebostonmusicschool.org/feile-cheoil-boston] or from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the venue. The competitions will take place from 1-4 p.m. Also there will be afternoon performances and sessions with local musicians such as Armand Aromin and Daniel Accardi, Cara Frankowicz and the trio Ceol Corvus, among others.
A highlight of the inaugural Féile, says Coyne, was the evening concert given by the competition adjudicators, which included piper Kieran O’Hare and fiddler Liz Knowles. O’Hare and Knowles return this year, along with bouzouki player and vocalist Pat Broaders, as Open the Door for Three – a trio of highly acclaimed musicians with strong roots in the Irish tradition whose individual and collective resumes include “Riverdance,” Cherish the Ladies, Mick Moloney and The Greenfields of America, Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Danú, Robbie O’Connell, The String Sisters, and John Whelan.
Before the evening concert begins there will be a 6 p.m. performance by Realta Geala, an ensemble of young musicians from the Comhaltas School. Féile Cheoil 2014 champions will be featured at 7:30 p.m., followed by Open the Door for Three. There is a suggested donation of $10, $5 for children and seniors.
Coyne notes that the evening event will be the launch of a four-part concert series hosted by the Comhaltas School and the Melrose Messina Arts Fund, proceeds from which will go to support a young traditional musicians exchange program involving the Boston Comhaltas School and a ceili band in Tulla directed by renowned concertina player Mary MacNamara. The Tulla musicians are scheduled to come to Boston in November, and will give a concert during their stay; their Boston counterparts would visit Ireland next February.
Updates and other information are available at https://sites.google.com/a/ccebostonmusicschool.org/feile-cheoil-boston.