T.C.R.G. & A.D.C.R.G.
Tara School of Irish Dance
Tara Dancers Performance Association
Maréad O’Brien 152
Top Ten in Regional & North American competitions
“Mae” learned her dancing in her native Dublin where she also met and married Patrick “Paddy” Joseph Butler. Mae and Paddy arrived in Toronto in 1953 with their sons Michael, Patrick Jr. and daughter June.
Mae opened an Irish Dancing School and there Irish Dancing was taught in its true and traditional manner. Both Mae and Paddy were instrumental in revolutionizing Irish Dancing in Canada and throughout North America. Each was held in high esteem among their fellow teachers, parents and students. It was a perfection realized through their highly trained dancers who competed with honour and excellence throughout North America and Ireland.
The Butlers produced many champion dancers, (including their son, Patrick Jr. and their daughter, June) teachers and World Champions along with winners of the very coveted North American Feis Commission belt. In 1964, Mae travelled to New York to become one of the founding members of IDTANA (Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America). Mae served as Vice President of Án Coimisiún located in Dublin Ireland and was a moving force in the Canadian and North American Irish Dance Teachers’ Association. In 1982 Mae was inducted into the Irish Cultural Hall of Fame by The North American Feis Commission. This partnership certainly exceeded boundaries in Traditional Irish Dancing. There seemed to be no end to the efforts of Mae Butler.
Paddy, retired from the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission), died June 27, 1999 in Toronto. Mae Butler died in Toronto on January 16, 2003 was a Life long Vice President of the Irish Dancing Commission. Their daughter June died on June 19, 2003.
People of Irish heritage are thankful for Mae and Paddy ... their memory will live on forever in their children through Irish Dancing and Music.
Canadian Eastern Region Music Hall of Fame Inductee (2000)
Elizabeth’s great-great-grandparents Brian and Bridget McKeever McKeever emigrated to St. John, NB. from Limavady, Co. Derry ca. 1854-60 Elizabeth's contribution to the promotion and preservation of Irish culture in Canada was recognized by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann with her Induction into the Canadian Eastern Region Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
A professional Highland dancer, Elizabeth first discovered traditional Irish dance while living in Toronto in the late 1980s. A professional Highland dancer, Elizabeth first discovered traditional Irish dance while living in Toronto in the late 1980s. Upon moving back to Nova Scotia, she established the Scaip na Cleití dance group in Halifax, which she has led for nearly 20 years. She is credited with introducing traditional Irish set and Sean-Nós step dance to Nova Scotia.
A highly regarded workshop leader and dance caller, Elizabeth has taught at festivals and dance camps throughout Eastern Canada. Living in Europe, 2003 – 2007, Elizabeth taught the Brussels set dancers and instructed at events throughout Belgium and Northern France.
President of An Cumann, the Irish Association of Nova Scotia, she also serves on the executive of the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax. When not dancing or teaching others to dance, Elizabeth runs her own writing and editorial services firm, Acappella Communications Inc.
Jessica Christine Crowley.
The Nelson Doyle Irish Dancers
A volunteer organization keeping the tradition alive
Angela Hogan T.C.R.G. & A.D.C.R.G.
The Knock School of Dance
Jessica is a Cape Breton fiddler whose forebears come from Counties Cork and Kerry in Ireland. Her Dad comes from Grand Bank Newfoundland and moved to Cape Breton as a teenager. So it is that Chrissie, now living in Sydne was steeped in the culture of the beautiful Margaree area of Nova Scotia, Canada, a place known for its cherished musical culture. The music of the ceilidh resonates in the majestic mountains and peaceful valleys incorporating not only the tunes of the Scottish Gaels but also those of the area’s Irish and French-Acadians.
Inspired by the traditions of artists who have gone before her, with a firm foundation in the traditional music of Cape Breton she is nonetheless one of an irrepressible curiosity and desire to create and discover, Now she is bringing her music worldwide. She has performed throughout Canada, the United States, the UK, as well as Ireland, France, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, captivating audiences with a talent that belies her youth.
But it wasn't always that way. Being traditional and ‘cool’ didn’t seem possible to a girl handed a fiddle at 12 years of age. She pretty well kept her fiddle 'hidden'.. However, a surprise visit to her school by a group of traditional artists with - piano, bagpipes, drums and fiddle – in one band. She loved them for being traditional in every way and beyond!
The visitors were part of the Celtic Colours ‘In the School Program.’ Launched in 2000, to give Cape Breton students an opportunity to witness fresh, first-rate Celtic music. This Oct. 2017, for the second straight year, Crowley and company will be part of 13 festival artists who will visit 21 schools across the island as part of a Celtic Colours programme being sponsored by TD Canada Trust aimed at sustaining the island's Celtic culture, knowing that its survival hinges on a younger generation that believes its culture is worth preserving. ... '"it's something we grow here and share with the rest of the world"
Christie Crowley's first recording, released in 2007 when she was 17, heralded the emergence of a fascinating new talent. A Sonicbids “Artists Spotlight” honour and various Music Nova Scotia and East Coast Music Award showcases including the ECMA Rising Star and Roots Room, were acknowledgement of her great potential.Her debut record was nominated for a Music Nova Scotia Award, ECMA and Canadian Folk Music Award, leading her to be selected as the CBC Galaxie’s Celtic Artist of the Month (May 2009). Her music is in a new direction; a path of fearless innovation which has earned her a 2013 Canadian Folk Music Award, a Top 20 Under 20 in Canada award, and numerous East Coast Music Association and Music Nova Scotia nominations.
To maintain a fresh and lively sound that often gets lost in a recording process, all track arrangements took place the night before each studio session. The result is an album recorded with the same energy and spontaneity you’d find in Chrissy’s live shows… an honest and raw sound once described as ”fiery fiddle playing with a distinctly mischievous personality” (Tim Readman, Penguin Eggs Magazine).”
Her highly anticipated second album, released in 2010, did not disappoint, garnering the same nominations once again. Many fans expected a recording of the traditional tunes of her repertoire, and were pleasantly surprised to discover that Chrissy had recorded a mixture of new and old. Chrissy Crowley’s original compositions and her experimentation with various instruments and contemporary arrangements are the 'voice' of her irrepressible free spirit.
Ena O'Brien 151
Invited to perform at the Tuam Traditional Music Festival for the “Gathering”.
Michaela Hinds .
Chair: Canadian Region Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
Mairead began her dancing career in Toronto. After moving to Vancouver, she danced and taught for the Comerford School where she continued to compete at the highest levels including the Western Regionals, North American and the World Championships. Successful in competition, Mairead placed top ten (1st to 10th) eight times in the regional and top ten six times in North America. Though she enjoyed performing and countless shows, her passion was with teaching where she could share her enthusiasm and energy! Mairead opened her class on Vancouver Island in 1995 while attending the University of Victoria and has taught on the island ever since. Outside of dancing, she is a certified Fitness Instructor and can be found running around the seawall or managing her three children.
The daughter of Irish parents living away from home,
Mullen was sent at the age of five to one of the first Irish
Dance classes held in Coventry, England. At age sixteen
having trained and danced competitively in England and Ireland, she started teaching for St. Brendan’s Irish Club in Coventry.
Margaret, with her husband Matt and daughter Jackie, emigrated to Canada in 1964, living first in Uranium City for two years and then making Fort McMurray home. The call of the dance returned and Fort McMurray soon became a huge part of the pioneer days of Irish Dancing in Western Canada, and the Tara School of Irish Dancing excelled in solo, ceili and figure dancing. Over 100 dancers travelled regularly to competitions in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Her highly successful dancing schools in Alberta and British Columbia have developed dancers who represented Western Canada at the World Championships of Irish Dancing and produced many stirring Irish Dance Shows.
Margaret is an experienced Irish Dancing Teacher and Adjudicator registered with the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin. The school is a member of the Western Canada Irish Dance Teachers Association and the North American Irish Dance Teachers Association.She is furthermore founder and director of the non-profit Tara Dancers Performance Association formed to support the performance activities of the Tara School of Irish Dancing. This is a low-profile association which acts in an advisory capacity re fundraising and costume and performance costs. All parents of dancers in the school belong to the association. There is no mandatory commitment; however parent help at school productions, fundraisers etc. is needed and appreciated.
Irish Dancing is a constantly evolving art form based on tradition, with a history tracing back to the 1500’s. Combining artistry, grace and physical strength, the dance itself has become increasingly intricate and athletic. Dance shows such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance have popularized this art form worldwide.
The Tara School of Irish Dancing continued to flourish in Fort McMurray, competing at the World level until Mullen moved to Kamloops in 1983. Once there, Margaret and daughter Jackie established The Tara School of Irish Dancing in Kamloops shortly after the relocation from Fort McMurray. When she relocated to Campbell River in 2005, despite her best intentions to hang up the dance shoes, within six months she opened a branch of The Tara School of Irish Dancing in Campbell River, continuing the community performance focus. Audiences in Kamloops and Campbell River enthusiastically welcomed the dancers, and Irish Dancing is now enjoyed and appreciated in both communities. Mullen earned her TCRG (Teacher’s Certificate) and ADCRG (Adjudicator) in 1975 and became a Grade Examiner in 2010. She travels extensively to adjudicate dance competitions and conduct Grade Exams.
When the annual World Championships were being held for the first time in Canada Montreal, 2015, the Irish Dancing Commission (An Comisiun Rinci Gaelacha) honoured eight “Legends of Canada” as being at the forefront of Irish Dancing in the country - Margaret was one of them! More than 5,000 dancers from all over the world competed in the nine-day event. The majority of dancers were from Canada, the United States, Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, but there were also dancers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Russia, European mainland and other far-flung countries. There were 13 Fort McMurray dancers who qualified at the first Western Canada Oireachtas (Qualifying Event for World Championships) in Edmonton in 1975 and all travelled to dance at the World’s at the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland the following Easter.
Choosing to be non-competitive at this time, the school focused on a community performance and produced many stirring dance shows in Kamloops.
Violet Moore School of Irish Dance
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Vancouver, Canada
Anne was born and raised in Co Galway. She graduated as a registered nurse and, in 1960, emigrated to Canada where she lived in Montreal for 4 years before moving on to make Kingston, Ontario, her permanent home. In 1972 Anne interrupted her operating room nursing career to become co-owner of the Frontenac Hotel. General manager for the hotel, she also managed two Irish pubs called Finnegan’s and Muldoon’s. It was there that Anne introduced Kingston to traditional Irish music. In addition to travelling to Ireland to recruit bands and musicians she hired many talented Canadian performers to provide Irish musical entertainment in the pubs.
In 1978 Anne arranged for the Echoes of Erin Concert Tour Group to include Kingston in their schedule . There was no looking back - she founded the Kingston Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann, was its Chairperson for the following two years, and helped to help create the first school of Irish dancing in Kingston in 1981.
When she resumed her nursing career at the Kingston General Hospital in 1983, Anne began taking Irish dancing instruction from Peggy Kendellan in Ottawa. During this time she introduced Brockville to the Irish dancing and music culture through association with the Kingston Comhaltas Branch.
In 1988 Anne was elected Chairperson of the Eastern Comhaltas Regional Board. When the North American Provincial Council was formed in 1992, she was elected Vice Chairperson, a role which she continued to fill until she stepped down in 2012. Somehow Anne found time to introduce the Comhaltas Music Hall of Fame to Canada in 1996.
Through her encouragement and guidance the CCE Western Region was established in 1997. She so successively lobbied Ireland Head Office and the North American Provincial Council to have Canada included in the Adjudicator Program that Toronto was selected for a seminar in 2003! Through Anne’s efforts an annual Feile Cheoil was established in 2006 - it is hoped this will lead to a North American qualifying Fleadh being held in Canada.
From 2002 Anne coordinated the Echoes of Erin concert tours in Canada and, in since 2003, was elected annually as one of two delegates to represent CCE North America at the most senior Comhaltas management committee (Ardchomhairle) in Ireland. She stepped down from this role in 2012.
For most of her adult life Anne ceaselessly promoted the development and preservation of Irish traditional culture in North America. Her contributions to this cause have been immeasurable and her untimely, accidental death in 2016 has left a deep sense of loss to associations and in the hearts of countless people.
Anne McConnell Strong
Award Winning Cape Breton Fiddler Passing on the Tradition
Margaret (Peggy) Kendalan
A pillar of Irish Culture in Canada
The Ottawa School of Dance
Violet Moore began teaching Irish Dance in 1963 in the basement of St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Vancouver. In the early 70’s, a few years into her new challenge, a pupil told Violet of a Championship competition to be held in San Francisco. The purpose of that competition was to find a dancer who would qualify for the first ever All-World Irish Dance Championship to be held at Grafton Street, Dublin.
Violet recognized an outstanding dancer in her class and, with permission from the girl’s parents, the Violet Moore School of Irish Dance entry, Iris Peake, was off to San Francisco. Iris won first place. She received her silver trophy, and an Airline ticket to the Dublin Irish Dancing Championships. While in Dublin, Iris and her mother stayed in Violet’s family home. This momentous event meant that Iris Peake became the first western Canadian and possibly the first eastern Canadian to represent Canada’s Irish dance community.
ince the early seventies, the Violet Moore School of Irish Dance has gained much acclaim in Irish Dancing as more pupils of the school cotinue to succeed at Championship competitions throughout North America and Ireland. Violet has long since acquired her adjudication qualifications and judges championship competitions throughout North America and Ireland.
Passing on the tradition: each of the ex-dancers of Violet’s School qualified under an extremely demanding, two day “An Coimisún exams” and many of Violet’s former pupils have successful schools of their own in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver.
Angela Hogan’s parents, Ann and Patrick, were born and raised in the Liberties in the heart of Dublin city They moved to Canada when Angela was 7. There she began dancing and, at 10 years of age, won the “Most Promising Dancer” award - a brilliant beginning as she went on to win more than 21 “Open Championships” during her dancing career.
In 1996 Angela opened the Knock School of Irish Dance with just over ten dancers. In 1999 she received her T.C.R.G status and was certified by An Coimsiun le Rinci Gaelacha (World Irish Dancing Commission) as a teacher in Irish Dance. In 2010, Angela received her A.D.C.R.G. adjudicator certification. Today, the Knock School boasts over 110 dancers of all ages and levels. Angela’s qualifications, experience and commitment to her dancers at all program levels led to considerable success and in 2008 Angela received her A.D.C.R.G.
Angela has had more than eighteen Western Canadian Championships, third and sixth place in the National Championships. Her teams have placed first in Western Canada and among the top three at the National Championships. In 2013 she set a Western Canadian record having one of her dancers place 2nd in the World Championships and her team place 6th.
Each year in June, Angela choreographs and produces Knock School’s annual Dance Drama. The magnificent Winspear Centre is the venue, with just over 800 spectators for this presentation. Featuring every dancer at the school, lights, costumes, music, narration and dance bring to life traditional Irish tales - The Bee, the Mouse and the Bumclock; The Children of Lir; Maureen’s Fiddle; Fair, Brown and Trembling; Guleesh; Grainne O’Malley, the Pirate Queen, Brian Boru – King of Ireland, and Deirdre of the Sorrows. Angela’s choreography has excited and wowed audiences all over Western Canada and her commitment to her careers has brought her outstanding success within Canada, North America and the World.
Michaela Marie Siegmund-Hinds was born in 1995 at Brampton, Ontario. Growing up in her Irish family culture, she took up the love and talent for Irish dancing at age 3. She has been Irish dancing for the past 18 years and has achieved more than another Canadian in Irish Dancing to date. Her record is remarkable: 11-time Canadian Champion, 8-time North American, 5-time Great Britain, 3-time All-Ireland and 6-time World Champion.
Michaela's mother, Catherine, was born in Belfast, Ireland, and a dancer herself. Michaela truly believes it has been her Mum’s constant support and dedication that has enabled her to achieve so much in Irish Dancing and in other aspects of her life. She is grateful to her Mum for all the sacrifices made which have allowed her to reach the pinnacle of Irish Dancing world wide. In her own words, :My Mum guided me constantly and I am so grateful for all the sacrifices made that have allowed me to pursue my dreams of becoming a world champion Irish Dancer. My success is all because of her dedication and belief she has had in me.”
Currently studying Kinesiology and Health Promotion at Sheridan College, Ontario, her hometown, allows her to continue in her passion for Dancing and her dream of becoming a dance teacher, following in the footsteps of Rose Fearon, who is one of her biggest role models.
Upon completion of her studies Michaela plans to pursue a career in kinesiology and rehabilitation which can be applied to Irish dancing. On her minimal spare time she enjoys being with her friends and family, as well as reading and exercising.
Sixth Time World Champion Irish Dancer
Mary Josephine (McDonnell) Butler
Founding member of Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America
President of Án Coimisiún , Dublin Irish Cultural Hall of Fame Inductee 2007
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
(Gathering of the Musicians of Ireland)
was founded in 1951 by a group of Irish pipers who were concerned Ireland's traditional music was in decline and in danger of being lost. The organization has grown into a global movement involving tens of thousands of people encompassing traditional Irish dance and the Irish language as well as the music.
The Comhaltas movement is organised into local branches, where most activities and classes take place. The Branch is the fundamental unit as it brings members together to organize sessions, classes, concerts, festivals, exhibitions, fleadhanna cheoil (music competitions), and other events both for their own enjoyment and that of the community at large..
The Nelson Doyle Irish Dancers. Miramichi New Brunswick was a volunteer organization for about 20 years, instructed by Ellen Doyle and including boys & girls age 5 to adult instructed in traditional Irish dance, language and history. Students paid no fee for lessons and advanced by merit within the group. Ellen had over 30 years dance training and experience. Her vision was that all children have the opportunity to dance, no matter their economic situation. Regular fundraisers helped cover expenses.
Well known on both the local and international stage. TV appearances included (CBC), Breakfast Televison (ASN) and documentaries featuring Irish immigration to New Brunswick (CTV and BBC). They performed in Ireland and are featured annually at Canada’s Irish Festival on the Miramichi. As well, they have performed at Celtic Colours International Festival, Souffle d’Irlande Festival in Gaspé, Quebec and at the RBC Multicultural Festival in Halifax.
They regularly performed for Seniors and Children’s charities including Senior’s Multicultural Day, Santa’s Helpers, and countless benefit concerts.
A native of Killimor, Co. Galway, Ena immigrated to Toronto over 30 years ago. Since that time she has been in constant demand as a musician for the thriving Irish scene - playing at various concerts, feis and dance competitions.
She hails from an area that is a hotbed of traditional music in East Galway, Ireland and has played accordion since she was a wee girl. Her older brother, Joe, was an accordionist and the renowned accordion player Joe Burke was a neighbour. She moved to Canada in the early 60’s and was soon playing professionally with a folk/traditional group, a gig that lasted for about seven years, with gigs throughout Canada, including the North West Territories, and the United States. Her 2 children Ciara and Ruari grew up in a home filled with music and both became champion Irish stepdancers. As her children grew, Ena continued to be involved with Irish traditional music, playing for Irish Dancing competitions across Canada and the US, helping to found a Toronto branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the international Irish music association, as well as teaching music from her home and at Comhaltas conventions
in 1999, Ena recorded the CD “The Galway Rambler” with her good friend Pat O’Gorman on flute, a musical partnership that started on a Comhaltas bus trip to Buffalo in 1981 – the tune was “The Yellow Tinker”. Ena was invited back to Ireland in 2013 to perform at the Tuam Traditional Music Festival for the “Gathering”. This was a project put forward by the Irish Government to encourage emigrants to return home to Ireland for a visit. Ena continues to play for dances and sessions around Toronto and Southern Ontario and also provides music for Irish Stepdance contests throughout North America.i
Peggy (nee Geraghty) was born and raised in a cottage in Creggs, Co. Galway. The cottage is now a museum dedicated to Charles Stewart Parnell. The village of Creggs remains a small village on the west coast of Ireland and you'll want to visit when you're next there.
She excelled in the Irish language and won a scholarship in the language as a teenager. The west coast of Ireland is the heart of Irish culture and Peggy was influenced - winning Irish dancing champion medals she was the county champion for three consecutive years.
Peggy moved to Dublin where she met and married Joe Kendellan.Together they emigrated to Canada in 1957 and settled in Ottawa. Peggy worked as a secretary for the federal government. Soon she would return to her passion of dancing and began teaching her two daughters and neighborhood girls in Sandy Hill. Her Irish dancing classes grew and she would teach for over 30 years. Her daughter Joan recalled, “My parents’ social life revolved around Irish dancing, music and anything Irish ... those years no one had heard of Irish dancing but the Irish immigrants ... we were new on the scene and even booed at our first performance - the majoity of Ottawa citizens were still very British ."
Her contributions to her community and her legacy lives on through her former student Síle Scott who continues to be involved in dance, teaching set dances, céilí dances and sean nós steps on Monday evenings for the local Comhaltas Ceolteorí Éireann branch in Ottawa. Peggy was proud that her name is among those to be part of theIreland Canada Monument in Vancouver.
Peggy moved to British Columbia to be near their daughter following the death of her husband, Joe. There she passed away peacefully at the age of 93 on Friday, November 3, 2016., leaving a legacy of love and Irish culture.