Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/17/2010 - Thursday

My symposium experience got off to a different kind of start this year. I flew into Hartford a day early so that I could spend some time with John Whelan the day before. He lives just over an hour south of Hartford, is a world-class Irish traditional musician (seven-time All Ireland Champion on button accordian, no less), and a relatively new turner.

I had visited John's house last year for his 50th birthday party, but didn't have time to spend with him in his shop. We found the time during this visit. After inspecting John's gouges and skew, we spent most of that time regrinding profiles and sharpening tools. Then we played a bit on turning a bottle stopper. From this bit of time, I had a better idea of what sessions to recommend to John for the AAW symposium.

The rest of the evening was open for a bit of practice on the sets I wanted to play for the Thursday evening entertainment. Less than three notes into my first tune, John stopped me and started a lesson. (Louise, his wife, told me that's what always happens ;-) when someone plays for John for the first time). This, for me, was the best part of the evening - a master class with a masterful traditional Irish musician. I learned so much in that short bit of time - thanks, John!

Thursday morning got off to a delicious start with John making omelets for breakfast.

Multi-tasking to the max! John was on the phone organizing some details for a future concert while he was preparing breakfast.

I summarized most of the day's events in my live-blogging from the symposium. You can read about it here:

2010 AAW Symposium - Thursday report

The "AAW's got talent - not!" show was a lot of fun, and the audience was enthusiastic. Here are some pics from the evening:

Terry Martin sang a song he composed for the occasion.

Terry Martin

John Whelan and Flynn Cohen backstage before their set.

Deborah Kermode danced the hulu to Jerry's folk songs.

Jerry Kermode

Woodturner's yoga - aka, stupid human tricks!

Hans Weissflog was supposed to be a ringer in the audience, but he wasn't feeling well and so Jacques played the part. His imitation of Hans is pretty accurate, even down to the facial expressions.

Jerry Kermode, telling a joke.

The highlight for the evening was a set of traditional tunes by John Whelan and Flynn Cohen. I played a couple of tune sets with them at the beginning. I posted the YouTube video links in a prior post, so please go check those out.

John Whelan and Flynn Cohen

I can't say enough great things about these two musicians. It was a rare treat to hear them play in this kind of setting.

Please visit iTunes and buy their CD's! You can also look for mine via the links at the top right hand side of this blog page.

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