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May 11, 2024


Charlottesville Waldorf School

Joey Abarta in Concert featuring Brightwood

Joey Abarta performs with BRIMS Pipers

May 11, 7pm

Charlottesville Waldorf School

*if you are an uilleann piper looking to register for the tionol and workshops please use the link below*

Joey Abarta has spent more than half his life traveling, teaching, and performing music on the uilleann pipes. Originally from California, he first received instruction on the pipes from Dubliner Pat D’Arcy, a founding member of the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club.

In August of 2009, Joey’s accomplished playing won him a second place title worldwide at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. In the fall of 2014 Joey won first prize at the An tOireachtas, becoming the first American uilleann piper to do so since 1969. In 2015 Joey was honored to be a recipient of a traditional arts apprenticeship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council meaning he was awarded a grant to teach his art to the next generation. This year Joey was awarded an Artist Fellowship in the Traditional Arts from the Massachusetts Cultural Council meaning he was recognized as a bearer and conduit of a cultural tradition by his peers and the state of Massachusetts.

Currently based in Boston, Joey divides his attention between performance, teaching, and recording. In addition to performing solo, he performs with his wife, old-style step dancer Jaclyn O'Riley, Nathan Gourley of “Life is all Checkered", and has toured with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America. He is currently the acting President of the Boston Pipers Club (1908-present) and through the club organizes uilleann piping workshops and concerts for its members and public. Joey is also the president of The Patrick J. Touhey Memorial Weekend which is an annual festival focusing on historical presentations and workshops based around early American piping styles and pipers. In 2018 Joey was invited by Na Píobairí Uilleann to represent piping in America by performing for the president of Ireland at the Abbey Theater in Dublin Ireland. The concert was a part of the country's celebration of uilleann piping being recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Brightwood (Brenda Bowen Cox, Mimi Vidaver-Davis, and Tes Slominski) are a Charlottesville-based trio of Irish musicians who delight in performing for audiences of all ages. With carefully crafted instrumental music on harp, Irish flute, and fiddle—and the occasional interlude of Irish and Cape Breton step dance!—Brightwood is passionate about the music of Ireland and its neighbors. Each member of the trio brings decades of experience. Brenda is a highly regarded harp player in the southeastern United States and in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where she spends several months every year. Here in Central Virginia, she is a certified therapeutic musician at Hospice of the Piedmont. Mimi, a credentialed yoga instructor who specializes in working with musicians, is an experienced Irish and Cape Breton step dancer and teacher in addition to her prowess on the Irish flute and tin whistle. Tes co-founded the Blue Ridge Irish Music School (BRIMS) in 1999 and went on to receive a Ph.D. in Music and publish Trad Nation: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Irish Traditional Music. All three members of Brightwood teach at the Blue Ridge Irish Music School and can be seen performing throughout Central Virginia.

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