We're back home now, after an intermittently relaxing spring break down South--lots of fun, lots of drama, and lots of work now hanging over my head. But no regrets, except that we don't have another week of vacation!
Friday night the Blue Ridge Irish Music School had its annual Paddy's Day fundraiser at Gravity Lounge. It was a blast as always. The kids did a great job performing, and the evening was made more special because it was singer Philippa Balestrieri's last public performance with the trad ensemble before she goes to Oxford for college. All the kids have come a long way since I left Charlottesville in 2004, and several of them (Marie Borgman, Fiona Balestrieri, and Carleigh Nesbitt) have formed their own band, Pixy-Led, and I think they'll be playing at Gravity Lounge sometime soon, with Marina Madden as the warm-up act (she's doing a lot of songwriting these days, under the tutelage of Devon Sproule). I think both Pixy-Led and Marina have MySpace music pages, but I haven't had time to find them. The dancing looked great, thanks to the efforts of Lori and Meg Madden (and, of course, the kids, who are awesome), and trad ensemble leader Cleek Schrey has shepherded the group through a lot of new material.
For the grand finale, we had a sort of Roaring Mary reunion. Rob Greenway (flute), Sara Read (fiddle), Cleek Schrey (piano), and I played a set of reels for Meg Madden's Cape Breton stepdance class's debut performance.
We all had a great time hanging out, sessioning, and talking shite after the concert, as well as collecting items won in the silent auction. The auction was a hoot--lots of good stuff, and it made a nice chunk of change for BRIMS. I had been pretty intent on winning a set of 3 azaleas for our backyard, and got them, despite some competition from Alex Caton and Patrick Olwell, who won the other set of azaleas. I gave Alex one as a consolation. I also attempted to nudge some bids up on other items--a ploy that backfired in one instance! I'm now the proud (??) owner of a chocolate-looking "man on a stick" green man garden thingy. It'll be nice in the backyard, but I didn't intend to come home with it. Oh, well--all for a good cause.
(I'm realizing this all sounds very formal for a group of people I and many of you know quite well...but since this is public, I'm feeling a little reticent about mentioning all the kids by name, especially the younger ones, and I know of several readers who aren't part of the C-ville/trad crowds.)
Anyway, lots of other highlights to talk about, but the schoolwork is calling!
The Book I'm Not Reading: Punk Productions: Unfinished Business by Stacy Thompson. So far, it seems abysmally written. Oh, well. Time to go read that sucker.
Only two more months (more or less) until the end of coursework!