Concert Season 2016-2017

Aoife Clancy with Robin Bullock
Friday, October 7 , 8pm
St. Peters Lutheran Church

Aoife Clancy (pronounced “Eefa”) brings a refreshing new voice to folk music, one that ranges from traditional Irish songs to ballads and contemporary folk. Aoife comes from the small town of Carrick-on-Suir, in Co Tipperary, Ireland, where her musical career began at an early age. Her father Bobby Clancy of the legendary Clancy Brothers, placed a guitar in her hands at age ten, and by age fourteen was playing with her father in nearby pubs.

Aoife has performed at festivals and concerts sharing the stage with some of Ireland’s greatest performers, including Christy Moore, the Furey Brothers, and the Clancy Brothers, as well as a tour with the renowned Paddy Noonan Show.  In 1995 Aoife joined the acclaimed group “Cherish the Ladies”, one of the most sought-after Irish American groups in history. For four years Aoife toured extensively doing no less than two hundred dates a year throughout the United States and Europe. She has been a featured soloist with orchestras such as the Boston Pops and Cincinnati Pops and, while performing with Cherish the Ladies, collaborated with the Boston Pops on their Grammy nominated Celtic album.

As one reviewer remarked, “she has a breadth of styles that make her concerts fascinating. Her singing would melt packed ice with it’s warmth and richness”—Mike Jackson, Canberra Times. On Aoife’s second Rego solo album, “Soldiers and Dreams,” Al Riess, from Dirty Linen magazine, wrote: “Soldiers and Dreams has a contemporary-meets-traditional-music feel and Clancy’s smooth, expressive singing works both ways—ensuring a successful merger of the two approaches and an enjoyable listening pleasure”.

Robin Bullock is a prolific composer and multi-instrumentalist, whose virtuosity on guitar, cittern and mandolin blends the ancient melodies of the Celtic lands and their vigorous Appalachian descendants into one powerful musical vision.  The 17th-century harp tunes of legendary Irish bard Turlough O’Carolan, the spirited jigs and reels of rural Ireland, the haunting ballads of the southern Appalachians and evocative original compositions all find a musical common ground in Robin’s music, where lightning-fast fingerwork one moment is perfectly balanced with tender, quiet intimacy the next.  A warm, friendly presence onstage, Robin effortlessly creates a magical world for the audience with his multi-instrumental wizardry, taking them on a journey to the heart and soul of Celtic and American traditions.

Originally rising to prominence as a founding member of the innovative acoustic world-music trio Helicon, Robin’s solo career has won him three Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Awards, a Governor’s Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a feature broadcast on National Public Radio’s hugely popular Celtic music program “The Thistle and Shamrock.”  His recorded work includes nine critically acclaimed solo CDs and numerous collaborations, the most recent of which, Celtic Guitar Summit with California fingerstylist Steve Baughman, was honored by Acoustic Guitar Magazine with three “Editor’s Pick” awards as one of the top ten CDs of the year.

Born in 1964 in Washington DC, a major focal point for both bluegrass and Irish music, Robin began playing guitar at age seven, initially inspired by Doc and Merle Watson, Norman Blake and John Fahey.  Robin’s apprenticeship years were spent at fiddlers’ conventions, bluegrass festivals and Irish seisuns, mastering the subtleties of a half-dozen instruments in both American and Celtic styles.  Today, Robin is recognized as one of the few musicians who can so successfully blend the ancient airs and dance tunes of the Celtic lands with the roots music traditions of the “New World.”

Admission is $20 adults, $18 seniors and $15 members and $10 students.
For more information call Joanie at (304) 263-2531 or email

Cape Breton Music with Cassie and Maggie MacDonald
Wednesday, November 16

Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church

These two young women from Nova Scotia two encompass everything you could ask for in a musical act. Exciting and innovative, they have found a perfect balance between musical integrity, and sheer entertainment. While staying true to their Celtic roots, Cassie & Maggie MacDonald have explored and tested the boundaries of traditional music, bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre with original compositions and arrangements. They have been enchanting audiences far and wide with their infectious energy, driving rhythms and lilting melodies.

“What an unbelievably gifted duo. … The train is just gathering steam and leaving the station on these new stars. It is going to be a glorious journey, and it is already well-begun.”Live Ireland Radio, Dublin

Live Ireland Radio’s NEW GROUP OF THE YEAR ~ Chicago Irish-American Newspaper’s EMERGING ARTIST RECORDING OF THE YEAR ~ Galaxie Radio Rising Stars ~ Independent Music Award “World Song of the Year” nominees ~ multiple Canadian Folk Music Award, East Coast Music Award and Music Nova Scotia Award nominees.
Tickets: $22 adults, $20 seniors, $18 members, $10 students, Advance tickets on sale at O’Hurley’s General Store, or by mail. For more information call Joanie at (304) 263-2531 or email

Fiddle Summit Showcase
Friday, January 6, 8pm
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church
This annual concert presents some of the finest fiddlers from a variety of traditions, including Cape Breton, English, Scottish, Irish, New England, Gypsy Jazz, and Appalachian into a showcase concert with some extraordinary accompaniment. Elke Baker and  Katie McNally are national Scottish Fiddle champions whose fiery renditions of Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle music are in great demand, Grammy Award nominee Swedish fiddler Andrea Hoag is known for her adventurousness and curiosity, which has led her to develop skills in musical styles from Irish to Klezmer, from country rock to swing, Alexander Mitchell called his first recording Chameleon for good reason, he’s adept on fiddle, guitar and mandolin in a range of diverse styles as Appalachian, bluegrass, Celtic, Klezmer, traditional roots dance music, ballroom, sizzling hot swing and jazz,  Graham DeZarn is a third generation fiddle player well known for his prowess in Irish and Appalachian fiddle, and Alan Jabbour has done extensive field recordings of legendary old-time fiddlers that have influenced his nuanced Appalachian style and have fueled his research for the Library of Congress. Karen Ashbrook is known for her delicate touch, trademark shimmering lilt and ear for authentic ornamentation, and is considered one of the finest Irish hammered dulcimer players anywhere. Pianist and composer, Dave Wiesler is a consummate dance musician of many styles, and last, but not least, Belgian-born, Paul Oorts is a multi-instrumentalist whose fine accompaniment enriches such bands as the Gigmeisters, Gold Crest and Cabaret Sauvignon. Together, this incredible line-up promises to bring a night of enchantment to all who love the folk violin. Co-sponsored with Upper Potomac Fiddle Retreat. Jam session to follow.
Visit the web page to get more information to sign up for classes. Early bird discount before Dec. 1!
Admission is $20 adults, $18 seniors, $15 SMD members, $10 students. For more information call Joanie at (304) 263-2531 or email

Squeeze the Bag!
Saturday, January 14, 8pm
Shepherd University, Reynolds Hall
The bellows-blown bagpipe is a quieter, more parlor-oriented cousin to the great highland bagpipes most folks are familiar with. You’ll see pipes that are far more likely to be played with flutes, guitars, mandolins, bouzoukis, drums and other instruments in a session-like atmosphere for concerts or dances in smaller, more intimate settings. Four kinds of bagpipes will be featured: the Scottish smallpipe, the quieter cousin of the great highland pipes, the Irish uilleann (or Union) pipes, Northumbrian smallpipes and the Border pipes which are played in the border region between Scotland and England.
The concert is divided into three sections… We’ll open with the tiny Northumbrian pipes of England with Dick Hensold, then we’ll move to Irish section of the program with uilleann piper, Joey Abarta, flutist John Skelton, and fiddler, Nathan Gourley. The Scottish section of the concert will feature pipers Hollis Easter, Nick Hudson, and Ian MacHarg all tied together by our host piper, Bob Mitchell and more, in a set of music from the highlands and border regions of Scotland and Cape Breton on both Scottish smallpipes and Border pipes.
The concert will take place at Shepherd University’s Reynolds Hall.
Co-sponsored with the Upper Potomac Pipers Weekend. Classes available in many kinds of bellows blown bagpipes, flute, whistle and mixed-instruments. More information is on the web page.
Admission: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $15 SMD members, $10 students. For more information call the Upper Potomac office at 304.263.2531 or email Come on out and watch these pipers Squeeze the Bag.

Adilei: Traditional Georgian Polyphonic Song
Saturday, January 28, 8pm
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church

Ensemble Adilei performs traditional Georgian polyphonic songs and chants. Most of the members were introduced to folk singing in their families or children’s music groups early on in life. After informally singing together for several years, they officially formed the ensemble and started conducting regular rehearsals in 2012.

Adilei’s main passion lies in the songs from the province of Guria in Western Georgia, which is the most musically developed region in the country, though other regions are also represented in their repertoire. Gurian music has often been compared to jazz, because improvisation is its main component, and all the voice parts move independently of each other, creating contrapuntal polyphony. Gurian song is also characterized by krimanchuli, a yodeling technique often present in the upper voice.

For the members of Adilei singing is the primary mode of communication with the world: it is more of a lifestyle than a performance practice– it is not just relegated to official concerts. They sing every time they gather, wherever that may be.

Admission is $20 adults, $18 seniors and $15 members and $10 students.
For more information call Joanie at (304) 263-2531 or email

Valentines Day Irish Concert with Oisin MacDiarmada, Seamus Begley and Samantha Harvey
Tuesday, February 14, 8 pm
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church

Looking for something special to do with the one you love this Valentines Day?  Look no farther as we bring back 3 of our favorite performers from the Irish Christmas in America concert we did two years ago.

Expect sparks to fly when West Kerry accordionist and singer Séamus Begley joins forces with Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada. This duet of button accordion and fiddle might be a new collaboration, but both Séamus and Oisín have a distinguished past within Irish traditional music. Joined by Oisin’s wife, the lovely and talented Samantha Harvey, who adds piano and step dance to the performance and you have a winning combination

Begley is the quintessential Irish musician, an eager storyteller known for his sharp wit and famous for pumping out tune after tune at all night sessions with an energy that is sometimes alarming. Displaying a frisky spontaneity in his accordion-playing, he has toured extensively with performers such as Altan, Steve Cooney and Mary Black. TG4 has recently awarded Séamus the prestigious Traditional Singer of the Year award in recognition of his major contribution to Irish singing.

Fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, founder of noted group Téada, has been described by The Irish Echo’s Earle Hitchner as “one of the most gifted and creative traditional fiddlers playing today”. He has appeared as guest soloist with the Southern Georgia Symphony Orchestra in the US and accompanied Irish President Mary McAleese on a State visit to Romania.

Begley and Mac Diarmada have teamed up in an exciting and intimate combination, exploring tunes and songs from West Kerry to Sligo. Having already released 2 duo albums – Le Chéile and An Irish Christmas Soundscape,  Séamus has recently also teamed up with Oisín in the band Téada.

Admission: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $15 SMD members, $10 students. Online ticket sales from Brown Paper Tickets.  For more information call Joanie at (304) 263-2531 or email

Celebration of Strings: Scandinavian Music with lydia ievans and Andrea Larson and our annual Hammered Dulcimer Showcase
Friday, March 24, 8 pm
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church
The hammered dulcimer is alive and well in Shepherdstown, West Virginia; not only does the area boast two of the instrument’s most respected builders and designers, but also is home to the Upper Potomac Music Weekends, where hammered dulcimer players, fiddlers and other musicians share tunes and techniques and explore a range of musical styles over three days of workshops, concerts and jam sessions on Shepherd University’s campus and the surrounding historic buildings several times each year. The concert this year features special guests, Swedish fiddle and nickelharp players lydia ievans and Andrea Larsen. Representing our dulcimer staff will be  Jody Marshall and Steve Schneider accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Paul Oorts.
Admission: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $15 SMD members, $10 students. For more information call Joanie at (304) 263-2531 or email