In the Fall of 2006 All-Ireland Champion flute and whistle player Turlach Boylan established The Kansas City School of Irish Music (KCSIM) at what was then called The Kansas City Irish Museum and Cultural Center, and located in Union Station (30 West Pershing Road, KCMO) — the KC Irish Center is now at Drexel Hall (corner of Baltimore and Linwood). The first classes were on tin whistle. At the start of 2007 Dave Agee began teaching fiddle at the school. Turlach applied and won a grant from the KC Irish Fest in 2008, and greatly expanded the collection of Irish Traditional Music (ITM) held at the center. Also in 2008 two more teachers joined the school: Douglas Goodhart (Fiddle, Bodhrán, and Tin Whistle), and Emily McIntyre (Harp and vocals). At that time all the classes at KCSIM were one-on-one. The school flourished for a time, but classes were no longer being held by mid-2009.
In late 2012 Leslie Edward Jones — who is also better known in music circles as Eddie Edwards (thanks to his friend Eddie KC Delahunt) — began discussing teaching Irish music classes as the KC Irish Center (then still in Union Station). In January 2013 Eddie Edwards and his friend David Agee began teaching group classes. By the second group class in late March, KC new-comer Molly McLaughlin (whistle, flute, and bodhran) agreed to join us as an instructor, contributing her substantial musical ability and knowledge. Though open to players of all levels, our classes were eventually divided into beginner classes and intermediate/advanced level.
We added a bodhrán class in November 2013; and at the start of 2014 we officially became part of Turlach Boylan’s Kansas City School of Irish Music. These Tuesday evening group classes continued into the Spring of 2015. In addition to the group classes, individual lessons on flute, tin-whistle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, and bodhrán were also available.
When the KC Irish Center relocated to Drexel Hall in 2016, discussion soon started about of music classes. So what was the result? After a three year hiatus, we are very exited to re-launch the Kansas City School of Irish Music at the new Kansas City Irish Center. The first class was offered in late January of 2019! Just as in the 2013-2015 group classes, our six-week tune-learning class focuses on teaching tunes played in Irish sessions, both local ones and those around the globe. We set out the basic melody, the “bones” of the tunes, phrase by phrase, and then discuss and illustrate some variations if time permits. Our beginning bodhrán class provides a starting point for playing the traditional Irish drum in sessions. The goal of these classes is to get you started on the joyful road toward playing in any session, anywhere in the world!
Please be aware, that though 2019 is our relaunch of group tune-learning classes and beginning bodhrán, we are not holding classes in 2020 due to Covid-19. You can expect the school to build over the next few years, beginning again in 2021. Also, depending on interest/requests, we plan on adding classes for guitar/bouzouki backing once we get going again. We are also anticipating adding one-on-one classes on various instruments, with a number of different instructors; and eventually classes in other genres of traditional music! Remember, your requests and your feedback will be very important as we move forward. So, thank you in advance!