I have been taking Irish dance and music lessons with a group called St. Louis Irish Arts since I was ten. This summer, 38 of us spent two weeks in Ireland to compete in the world championships of Irish music, also known as the All-Irelands.
The second week, we headed up to Derry, Northern Ireland for the week of celebration that is known in Ireland as the Fleadh Cheoil. For that week, all of us competitors attended music workshops and practiced every day.
We had two bands competing, one in the 18 year and older category, and one in the 15-18 year-old category, so we would all listen to each other play and each group would give constructive criticism to the other.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was watching the younger group practice and perfect its music. It wasn’t always fun to sit and work on the same things each day, but in order to do well in the competition we had to do it. It was so exciting to see the younger kids working so hard without being told.
Practices were long and sometimes frustrating, but all of our hard work paid off on the very last day of the trip when we went up on stage, played our hearts out, and all went home as world champions.
Both groups placed third in their respective categories, which was an incredible accomplishment for an American group. It was a bummer having to miss recruitment, but I can now say that I’m part of a team that is the third best in the world, which is a great feeling.
Post written by: Katie Alexander