Musician Joe DeGeorgeo, 18, of Minneapolis has been playing violin for 15 years and playing Irish for just under 10 years. As student at the Center for Irish Music (CIM), Joe has been a member of the Center’s Advanced Youth Ensemble and the Taking Flight Collective. In addition to studying at the Center for Irish Music, Joe has helped in leading youth summer camps with the CIM.
While Joe began his musical study with classical music, he began listening to Irish music when his family lived in Ireland for a year. When he returned to the Minnesota, Joe began to study with Jode Dowling at the Center for Irish Music, going to fleadhs and “getting serious about the music.” Joe tells us that he is very interested in the old style of playing. He has competed in the Fleadh Cheoil na Éireann for the last four years.
Joe’s recommender tells us that Joe has “an unmistakable love and affinity for traditional Irish music.” Joe has taken advantage of Skype to study with master musician James Kelly and his most recent studies have been with the Center for Irish Music also via Skype. Even given that challenge, his recommender calls him “one of the finest fiddle players of his age in North America” and tells us that Joe’s “hard work and dedication are principally responsible for his advancement.”
The ongoing pandemic meant that the Fleadh Cheoil na Éireann 2021 (also known as the All Ireland competition) scheduled for Mullingar, Ireland was cancelled. The event was replaced with FleadhFest 2021. After qualifying for what was thought to be a virtual event, Joe found out that he was invited to come to Sligo to compete in person. Joe was anxious to have the opportunity to participate in person – the last year he could compete in the Under18 category. Joe used his IMDA Educational Grant to help with travel expenses. Joe also planned to enhance the experience by reaching out to individual musicians in the area to share and learn music from them. In addition to preparing for his own competition, Joe worked with Morien the competition.
Joe really enjoyed the opportunity. In his own words: “Thanks for the great opportunity and the support to make it over to Ireland. The IMDA grant alleviated some of the stresses that were made greater by the covid pandemic. The trip was amazing and I got so much out of the experience!”
The Irish Music and Dance Association is delighted to help this dedicated musician continue to expand his skills and enjoyment of the music.