Fiddle and Pick, more formally known as the Musical Heritage Center of Middle Tennessee (MHCMT), will be hosting several Irish music events in March. They include The Irish Trio Concert on Monday, March 13; The Irish Session on Tuesdays, March 14 and 21; and Irish Music classes on Fridays, March 10 and 24.
The Irish Trio Concert will feature Gretchen Priest-May, founder of MHCMT, along with Robert Johnson and Eamonn Dillon. The trio has been offering this concert for years. It will take place at Erin United Methodist Church in Erin, Tennessee beginning at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 40 East Walnut Street. It is a free concert sponsored by the Houston County Arts Council. A jam session follows featuring local musicians.
Originally from South Bend, Indiana, Priest-May plays the fiddle and tenor banjo. She came to Nashville in 1995 and has played for audiences at the Grand Ole Opry with a number of country names, as well as touring with both Irish and Bluegrass bands. She has also been a music teacher for many years.
From Memphis, where he makes furniture when not playing music, Robert Johnson has been accompanying fiddle players on the guitar for more than 40 years. He regularly performs in Memphis at local clubs, and he has traveled the world with various groups.
Eamonn Dillon was born in Belfast, Ireland. Dillion plays the uilleann pipes and tin whistle. He was mentored by Sean McAloon, a master pipe maker and player. He owns one of the 20 sets of pipes McAloon made in his lifetime. He moved to Nashville in 2014, where he continues to play at local pubs, tour, record and pass along his skills to students.
Irish Sessions are jams that take place at MHCMT in Pegram, Tennessee every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. All levels of musicians are invited to play. These sessions draw everything from fine Nashville Session musicians to classically trained musicians to new students from the Musical Heritage Center’s music school. Everything is very informal, with the audience seating in a hodgepodge of chairs and couches that can be found in the “living room” of the Center. While there is no charge, a donation is suggested.
For $25 per class, Priest-May offers classes at MHCMT for students wishing to learn or enhance their Irish music-playing skills. The class is taught by ear and with sheet music. Priest-May covers timing and technique, as well as rhythm, phrasing and flourishes. Every class offers a review of previous music covered. These classes are designed to help musicians prepare to play in the Irish Sessions, but participation in them is not required.
Priest-May founded MHCMT in 2008 to provide affordable private and group music lessons to children and adults in Middle Tennessee. Classes are open to all levels of ability, with workshops available for advanced musicians throughout the year. Lessons are available in fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo. They are taught by a variety of teachers, each with their own specialty. MHCMT is located at 456 US-70 in Pegram, Tennessee.