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HALEY RICHARDSON with DON PENZIEN and MEGAN BENNETT IRBY Appearing Thu Oct 12th 2017 at 7:30pm

$12 in advance

$15 at the door

A Night Of Fine Irish Songs and Tunes

featuring the celtic trio


Haley's playing is infused with an integrity that comes from disciplined hard work and unwavering focus on one simple goal: to play the music with a traditional Irish sound.

-Brian Conway, liner notes of Heart on a String

Haley Richardson is a young traditional Irish fiddler making her mark in the Irish music world. Over the past eight years, she has amassed a long list of accomplishments and performed at venues all over the United States sharing the stage with many of the icons in Irish music. 

Haley with her highly ornamented Sligo style, perfected under the tutelage of fiddler Brian Conway, is the 2015 Junior Fiddler of Dooney and in 2013 won All Ireland Championships in both fiddle and fiddle slow airs.

 In addition to multiple All Ireland medals, she is an 9X MidAtlantic Fleadh Champion, winning her first championship in the under twelve age category at only six years old.

After asking to learn to play the violin at age two, Haley began Suzuki violin lessons at the age of three.. Her enthusiasm and love of playing was quickly recognized and at four she began lessons with Gerry Rice of Haddonfield NJ who remained her teacher until fall 2015. Haley currently studies classical violin with Madison Day of Audobon, NJ.

Before her 5th birthday, Haley fell in love with Irish music inspired by fiddler Kevin Burke during a live performance. She began learning fiddle tunes from Kevin's How to Play Celtic Fiddle DVD and by listening to his CD and playing along while riding in the car. Formal study of Irish fiddle began with Kathy DeAngelo of Voorhees, NJ in August of 2007. In July 2009, after winning her first MidAtlantic under 12 Irish fiddle competition at just six years old, she met fiddling legend and teacher, Brian Conway, who became her teacher a couple months later. 

By April 2014, Haley was a 6X MidAtlantic Region under 12 Irish fiddle champion. She is a 3X MidAtlantic Fleadh Under 15 solo fiddle championship and 2X Under 15 fiddle slow airs champion, bringing the number of MidAtlantic solo fiddle wins to nine consecutive championships. She has placed numerous times in the All Ireland competition in both solo fiddle, fiddle slow airs, and in trio competitions including second place in both under 15 solo fiddle and fiddle slow airs in August 2016.

In addition to being a dynamic solo performer, Haley has performed with many of the most well-known names in Irish music today including The Chieftains, Altan, Dervish, Mick Moloney, Pride of New York, Liz Carroll with Cherish the Ladies, John Whelan, Paddy Keenan, and is a regular member of Green Fields of American and The John Whelan Band. She has also participated as the band fiddler in the Studio2Stage Irish dance production, That's Dancing, from 2014-2017.

John Whelan has been a wonderful mentor to Haley. He recorded and produced Haley's debut CD, Heart on a String, in March 2015, Haley also appeared on two tracks as part of Andy Lamy's Mixed Flock on his CD, The New Blackthorn Stick. In March 2017, Haley released a CD she produced entitled Music for Mercy, a compilation CD featuring donated tracks from many of the best Irish musicians under 21 years old from around the world. All proceeds from the CD benefit the Mercy Centre in Bangkok, Thailand.

The first time I met Haley she was only five, I think. I was introduced to her by my friend, harpist Kathy DeAngelo. Kathy was her teacher and even though she had done a great job with her it was obvious that Haley was special. She was so comfortable with the instrument and really seemed to understand how the music was supposed to sound. It's no surprise she is still continuing to develop her playing every day- a natural player.

-Kevin Burke, Fiddler Magazine Fall 2015 

Beirt le Chéile 
is a guitar and vocal duo
Megan Bennett and Don Penzien 
 based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 
performing songs from the Irish tradition. 

The duo band  name is inspired by two old Irish proverbs, "Giorraíonn beirt bóthar" (two shorten the road) and "Ní neart go cur le chéile" (there is no strength without unity). Taken together, these two proverbs convey the value of friendship: when two share a journey together, united in strength, the path that lies ahead is made more fruitful and harmonious.

Megan Bennett Irby Though she has long been a vocalist, Megan only recently found her inspiration to perform in the Irish music scene after assisting in an impromptu sound check, which moved John Whelan to stand and exclaim, "Don't stop singing!" With the backing of seasoned DADGAD guitarist Don Penzien, Megan brings her own powerful and emotive style to much-loved traditional Irish songs.

While relatively new to the genre, Megan already has captured the attention of top Irish musicians: John Whelan, 7-time All-Ireland accordion player, "Brilliant - the perfect voice for traditional Irish music"; Bridget Fitzgerald, master sean nós (old style) Irish singer, "Really lovely. Just beautiful"; Damien Connolly, All-Ireland accordion/melodian player, "Wow! so much emotion in her voice!"; Sean Clohessy, recipient of multiple All-Ireland titles, "Simply beautiful"; Don Meade, All-Ireland harmonica player, "Her song was the absolute highlight of this festival for me."

Megan is the heart and soul of Beirt le Chéile—the vocal/guitar and vocal duo based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina which also features Shared Madness bandmate Don Penzien and performing songs in the Irish tradition. Their name was inspired by two old Irish proverbs, "Giorraíonn beirt bóthar" (two shorten the road) and "Ní neart go cur le chéile" (there is no strength without unity). Taken together, these two proverbs convey the value of friendship: when two share a journey together, united in strength, the path that lies ahead is made more fruitful and harmonious.

Don Penzien 
Don also has long been a top-flight performer of Irish traditional music. He frequently is on the road playing concerts and festivals with Gailfean (featuring All-Ireland winners Brian Conway, John Whelan & Máirtín de Cógáin), The Máirtín de Cógáin Project, Jil Chambless, Ed Miller, Beirt le Chéile (featuring Megan Irby), and most recently Haley Richardson. He’s performed in the past with Captain Mackey’s Goatskin & String Band (Jimmy Crowley, Máirtín de Cógáin & Valerie Plested), and Legacy (Plested, Justin Murphy, & Beth Patterson). Along the way, he’s performed on stage with the likes of Randal Bays, Tim Britton, Siobhan Butler, Donie Carroll, Sean Clohessy, Pauline Conneely, Tony DeMarco, Kevin Doyle, Mike Dugger, Shannon Dunne, Bridgette Fitzgerald, Jim Flanagan, Rose Conway Flanagan, Ken Fleming, Shannon Heaton, Heather Martin Bixler, Billy McComiskey, Martin O’Connell, Brían Ó hAirt, Patrick Ourceau, and Caitlin Warbelow.

It was the never-ending traditional music playing at the Irish pub he frequented while earning his Ph.D. (clinical psychology) in Athens, Ohio that inspired Don to play. It was back then that he began his exclusive use of the “DADGAD” guitar tuning with tips from such notables as Zan McLeod and Daíthí Sproule. Widely recognized for his reserved backing style, Don’s dexterous work on guitar provides solid, driving rhythms to traditional tunes as well as perceptive and sensitive accompaniments to songs and airs. When called upon, he occasionally adds whistle, bodhran and vocals to arrangements.