By Earle Hitchner
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, the old joke goes.
How do you get to compete at Fleadh Cheoil na h+ireann, a hugely popular festival sponsored by Comhaltas Ceolt=irf +ireann near the end of August in Ireland? Practice helps. But if you’re from the Northeastern, Southern, or Mid-Atlantic region of the United States or from Eastern Canada, you also have to qualify through CC+’s Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil, which will be held in New York City on June 2.
Competitions start at 10 a.m. this Sunday at Miguel and Smith Halls, Manhattan College, Riverdale, the Bronx. Each competition is divided into four age categories: under 12, 12-15, 15-18, and 18 or older.
Included will be fiddle, flute, accordion, concertina, whistle, pipes, harp, banjo, mandolin, piano, and bodhr_n. There will also be duet, trio, cTilf band (5-10 members), gr_pa cheoil (“music group” of 4-20 members), and singing, lilting, and song-composing competitions.
Those who finish first or second in these competitions will be eligible to compete for “All-Ireland” titles at Fleadh Cheoil na h+ireann from Aug. 23-25 in Listowel, Co. Kerry.
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To register or get a syllabus for the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil, contact Terry Rafferty at (201) 288-4267 or email@example.com. More general information can be obtained from Tom Vesey at (973) 977-8863, Ira Goldman at (914) 476-9385 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and (for dormitory accommodations) Paul Keating at (201) 722-0059 or email@example.com.
Kicking off the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil weekend will be a cTilf on Saturday night, June 1, from 8 to midnight at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 106 Bergen Ave., Ridgefield Park, Bergen County, N.J. Performing for this dance will be Coolmagort, featuring Paddy Furlong, Brendan Dolan, Dana Lynn, Frankie McCormick, STamus Burke, and, visiting from Ireland, former Shannonside and Castle CTilf Band member John Dwyer. An Irish Mass will precede the cTilf at 7 p.m. For further info, including directions, contact Paul Keating.