Artists in Schools Directory
Traditional Irish stories, music and dance come alive in this humorous and interactive presentation for grades K-5. Enjoyed by all students, the program is tailored in its approach to the various grade levels. Unusual Irish instruments such as the uilleann bagpipes and tin whistle are introduced into the brief stories. The program reflects upon the Ireland of the mid-1800s and how folk arts of the time remain popular today. With the aid of a model of the Dunbrody sailing ship, there is mention of the immigration at the time of Ireland's 'Potato Famine'. Followed by a jig dance illustration, an onstage jig teach-in with audience members provides great fun for everyone. The anglo concertina is included as an accompaniment instrument for a song with students encouraged to sing along. Celtic art is introduced as a painting on the bodhran drum. Providing interest and merriment, along with some very curious and unique props, are puppets such as an 1800s style leprechaun and comical raven.
John attended Irish Heritage summer studies at Elkins College in West Virginia, receiving instruction on the Irish uilleann bagpipes, step dance, songs and Irish culture. Storytelling techniques were developed through a course at the Carrboro, NC Arts Center. Prior to these studies he followed an interest in circus design developed at the NCSU School of Design and began a five year clowning career on the 103rd-107th editions of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus. Through the years he has performed numerous elementary school programs on a variety of beneficial themes featuring puppetry and audience participation. John played Irish music as a band member of Celtic Jam, which produced two CDs, and he traveled in Ireland.