preserving the cultural tradition of Irish ceili and set dancing since 1991
News about the RKIDs
March 25, 2020
St. Patrick's Day Parades Cancelled.
March Classes Cancelled.
A Dance Group Practicing Social Distancing.
But We're Still Here!
During these tough days of isolation, Roger has these solemn and uplifting words to pass along to all …
Irish Blessing, updated
May the road rise up to meet you,
But please do not meet up with anyone else.
May the winds be at your back,
And your coughs be in your elbow.
May the sun shine upon your face,
The rain fall upon your fields,
And until we meet again, in no less than 14 days,
Though potentially up to 4 months,
May God hold you in the palm of his thoroughly washed hands.
To have the party or not to have the party? It was a tough question. With events being cancelled all around, it was finally decided to go ahead with our annual St. Patrick's Day party and encourage people to decide for themselves if they wanted to come. And they came! The crowd was slightly smaller than usual, but everyone who came was very happy to see each other. There was warmth, laughter, and chatter all around.
We survived MERS and SARS and Ebola,
But you came and took the world by surprise, Corona!
We've been cautioned not to shake hands, we've changed our plans,
We have to think about you all the time, Corona!
Better wash my hands, not touch my face, and cough into my sleeve,
I always beat the flu, but from you, there is no reprieve,
My, my, my, aye-aye, Whoa!
(More verses upon request)
We Banjo Many
The view from John and Mo’s house is worth the drive to Braddock Heights. From their grand living room, you can see the wide Middletown Valley and the rolling South Mountain. The RKIDs were recently invited to their house, not only for the view, but also to eat a delicious meal, mingle with friends and John and Mo’s family.
We then hustled off to see We Banjo 3 at the Weinberg Center in Frederick. What a time! The logistics worked perfectly and, from our great seats, we participated in an entertaining show. We jumped, hopped, clapped, and danced in the aisle while the band played a variety of old and new tunes. It was a great day for everyone. A huge thank you goes out to John and Mo for providing us with a wonderful day and evening. Those present were: Brian, Dan and Nancy, Christine, David and Kathy, Emmett and Robin, Jack, Kate and Dan, Linda, Maddy and Bill, Marie G and friend Mary Lee, Linda, David D, Connie, Marie V and Bob, Marilyn and Obie, Maureen and Chuck, Meaghan and Keith and her parents John and Margarete, Tom and Sonja, Michelle, John and Mo, daughter Maddie plus Maddie's husband Dan, Mo's sister-in-law Lori, her nieces Sara and Alyse, plus Murphy the dog, who was in the center of it all!
Photos courtesy of John N. and Mo D.
David M. played piano, and Maddie entertained us singing You and I on her ukelele:
After most classes, a group of RKIDs collect at nearby Dogfish Head Alehouse to discuss the news of the week. Conversations are always lively and interesting. Recently, one of our largest groups ever gathered around the table — Bill, Maddy, Evan, Sandy, Roger, Kate, Dan, Marilyn, Obie, Robin, Emmett, Chuck, Maureen. Everyone is invited. If you plan to attend, please let Obie know during class.
The AFI Theater in Silver Spring, along with Solas Nua, hosts an Irish Film Festival every year just before St. Patrick’s Day. This year Dan and Kate, Dan and Nancy, Christine, Jack, Evan and Sandy, Marilyn and Obie were in the audience for different films throughout the weekend. Marilyn O particularly liked The Dig (typical Irish tragedy) and Gaza (an insightful documentary). Other Irish dance aficionados in the audience were Paul O’D, Don K and Kevita.
Spring 2020 Blackthorn Ceili
As we all know, just about every St. Patrick's Day event was cancelled this year. Luckily, just before everything closed down, the Blackthorn Ceili took place as scheduled. And once again McCathran Hall in Washington Grove was rockin' with the tunes provided by Joe Dezarn, Tina Eck, and Marc Glickman. A lively crowd gathered and danced with gusto the Haymaker's Jig, the Clare Lancers Set, the High Cauled Cap, the Ballyvourney Jig, the North Kerry Set and many other favorites. It was a "brilliant evening" and even more special because it was the only ceili this season.
So many people make this event possible. Thanks go out to Obie for getting it organized, Ann Marie R for providing the raffle baskets, and all the people who took care of the potluck, decorations, clean up, and collecting/counting the money. A real team effort.
David and Carol, our Washington Grove Sponsors, at the Head of the Lines
Photos courtesy of Robin D.
The Washington area Irish set and ceili dancers were well represented at the Téada concert on March 11th at the Montgomery College Cultural Center in Silver Spring. Téada, a well-known traditional group from Galway, entertained an appreciative crowd which included Larisa, Donna (our newest RKID), Connie, Linda, Chuck, Maureen Kn, Emmett, Robin, Kate, Dan O'C, Obie, Marilyn O, Colleen, and Roger. Robin, who has seen the group many times, reported, "Seamus (the lead singer) has the beautiful voice of an old Irish soul and Brian's sean nos style dancing was enjoyable … It's always nice to see a man who knows his way with a broom! Téada is a treat to the ears, heart, and feet."
Maddy, Bill and Larisa caught the Ocean Celtic Quartet concert at Black Rock Arts Center in Germantown on February 15. Led by Jennifer Cutting of the Ocean Orchestra, this group sings mystical songs of the sea and land. Working in the folk arts archive section of the Library of Congress, Jennifer and Steven Winnick are true experts in Celtic folk music and art.
Costa Rica and Panama
After hearing encouraging stories from Bob H., Marilyn O., Obie, David M and Kathy, Maddy and Bill signed up for a Road Scholar tour of two central American countries.
Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03 percent of the earth's surface but has nearly 6 percent of the world's biodiversity. It did not disappoint. They were treated to a profusion of tropical bird, arthropods and mammals, including Howler and Capuchin monkeys, sloths, toucans, macaws, bats, blue morpho butterflies, and tarantulas.
Along the Tarcoles River, an egret showed how difficult eating frogs legs – and the rest of the frog – could be.
The Panama Canal was a highlight as well, particularly the lock system. They toured an Embera Indian village, where Maddy got a souvenir tattoo. But due to the pandemic, they had to cut the trip short by a day and hustle home.
Embera Indian Chief's Daughter Displays Her Craft Work
Marilyn W. and Bob enjoyed the good life in Delray Beach, saying "It was a tropical paradise. Small “casita” but a private swimming pool surrounded by a gorgeous garden." They visited friends on the way home, observing CDC precautions regarding proximity to microbiomes.
While traveling in Florida, Mary D, a former RKID, popped in to visit with Kevin and Liz who have been in the Palm Beach area for the winter. Mary is now living in the Raleigh-Durham region and continues to participate in an Irish dance group. In fact, it was her teacher with whom she was traveling when she saw Kevin and Liz. A nice reunion for all. As of this writing, Kevin and Liz are trying to return to Virginia, but their flights keep being cancelled. A suggestion to drive home didn't go over well. All the rest stops on I-95 are closed and you can't go into McDonald's to use the facilities.
Gerry and Bill have made it all the way to 50 years of marital bliss. Gerry reported, "We went to Hawaii for a week to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We had a wonderful time. It was a trip of a lifetime!"
Maura and Larry have settled into their new home in Northern Virginia just in time to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. Congratulations to the happy couple!
During these difficult days, we are lucky to have email, texting, our phones, Zoom, Skype, and many other forms of communication to help us stay in touch with our loved ones. Jim C has cousins in Ireland, Australia, England, and the United States who use WhatsApp to keep up with the latest family news. Sometimes they share old family photos like the one shown here. One of his cousins, Patty O'Reilly, teaches Irish dancing and shares his thoughts with all on his website. Tom has looked it over and made these comments: "It is an interesting website … You'll find he is very opinionated and very firm about not calling dances and preventing dance partners from trying to teach within sets. But I think it's worth sorting through to glean some ideas for improvement for our classes."
Many of you will remember Joan and Ed O'Connor who were members of the RKIDs for years. They were involved with EVERYTHING! Sadly, Joan passed away a couple years ago, but Ed is still as Irish as ever. This photo and the following verse were received from Ed and the O'Connor family this St. Patrick's Day Season:
May your troubles be less,
And your blessings be more,
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.
Lastly but Not Leastly
Collector's Item? This NCAA Final Four shirt was on sale at Atlanta's airport on March 17. Sad that the event was cancelled – the pandemic created a different form of March Madness – but there's some humor in it.