Fresno’s Young All-Stars of Irish Music & Dance in Benefit for Community Alliance
Some of Fresno’s finest young musicians and dancers will be performing in a benefit concert for the Community Alliance this St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a rich collection of talent that has never gathered under one roof before, so plan to wear your green to raise some green for the greenest paper around in the greenest building in town—the Universalist Unitarian Church. Everyone, including the church, is donating their time, resources and talent to the event.
The evening will be an energetic mix of musical performances by young musicians playing in bands with family and friends, dance exhibitions by the McTeggart Irish Dancers, sing-a-longs led by local songster Jim Michael and comedic intervals by the Misalliance Improv Players led by Mike Beevers. Here’s a full description of the performers:
Blackberry is a family band consisting of 14-year-old Ilexis Jacoby on the fiddle, 12-year-old Ilia Jacoby on the guitar and mandolin, and their dad, Mitch Jacoby, on the guitar. They’ve been jamming together for more than a year now and enjoy playing mainly Irish and old-time tunes. Ilexis is classically trained on the violin, and Ilia is learning the harp and piano.
Jem & Masha Bluestein
Family music has survived unbroken through the generations of the Bluestein family. The daughter-father duo of Masha and Jem will play strings and winds and sing a few Irish family faves in this celebration of our Alliance community.
The Danny Boys
A trio of friends for many years, Joey Hall, Tyler Baker and Neil Cusick are The Danny’s. They will be performing together for the first time…because somebody has to sing that song every year! Joey will do the honors this time around. Nineteen years old, Joey has been studying voice for seven and most recently performed in the Fresno Grand Opera presentation of The Pirates of Penzance. He also dances with his grandmother’s McTeggart Irish Dancers. Pianist Tyler Baker is a 16-year-old junior who is homeschooled and recently joined the Willow International Community College campus as a college student. He has been playing piano for 10 years and pipe organ and saxophone for two with an emphasis in classical and jazz. For a description of Danny No. 3, Neil, please see Roscanna below.
A dynamic sophomore attending University High School, Adam has been playing Irish music for more than four years now. Although his musical tastes vary far and wide and include playing bassoon, drums, saxophone, percussion, flute, piano and many other instruments, his primary interests are the Irish whistle and the Scottish Highland Bagpipes. Adam can frequently be seen playing around Fresno with his friends and colleagues in the Irish traditional music scene.
The McTeggart Irish Dancers
The McTeggarts are an ever-changing group of boys and girls interested in traditional Irish step dancing. Their director, Fresno resident Maureen McTeggart Hall, is a master of the art who teaches classes in Fresno, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Lexington. She is the longest active teacher in North America having taught continually here since 1959. The Fresno class meets every Wednesday night and beginners are always welcome.
Jim has been playing with various Irish and barn dance bands in Fresno, Visalia, Yosemite and Northern California since the 1980s. Best known as a singer and guitar player, Jim began his musical career busking in Southern California in the early 1970s. Always happy when the crowd starts to sing along, Jim asks that you come ready to sing and have a great time!
The Misalliance Improv Players
Misalliance is an improv group formed by the friends of Mike Beevers (9-year veteran on the Valley Improvisational Players). In preparation for this event, Mike is looking for what friends he has. If Mike can’t find any, he will be answering your questions on insects and the animal human hybrid issue during the breaks.
Roscanna, translated from the Irish, means “a spell to conjure up Ireland.” This family band consists of Larry Cusick on fiddle, his wife of 23 years Susan Heidebrecht on bodhran and their 19-year-old son Neil Cusick on Irish flute. Larry and Susan have been playing music together for more than 20 years. Neil started playing Irish flute when he was 14. Larry also plays Irish flute and uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes). Neil is classically trained on the clarinet and plays with the local Klezmer band Frezmorim. They will be joined by Jim Michael.
Mark Ryan and Neil Cusick will present a fiddle and flute duet of Irish trad tunes. Mark has been playing music for most of his 19 years. A University High graduate, he currently attends U.C. Berkeley. Neil, the hardest working musician of the night, is described in Roscanna above.
Thursday, March 17
7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year with an evening of traditional Irish music, song and dance featuring many our community’s talented young musicians and dancers. Performing with family and friends, bands will include members of the Bluestein, Cusick, Hall, Hendey and Jacoby clans. The concert will include sing-alongs led by Jim Michael and performances by the McTeggart Irish Dancers of Fresno.
Tickets are on sale now at Patrick’s Music, 769 E. Barstow and the Brass Unicorn at 845 E Fern.. Admission for adults is $15 in advance and $20 at the door; for people under 18, admission is $10 in advance or at the door. This is an open seating event and is wheelchair accessible. Proceeds will benefit Community Alliance newspaper. This event will take place at the Unitarian Church 2672 E. Alluvial. For more information call 994-9390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .