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Each year IDMA plans a special evening to celebrate the contributions of a long-standing member of our community. This year the evening will be in honor of Will Kenny.
Will Kenny carries a torch for the Irish language, and does more to share his passion than just about anybody else in Minnesota. And he’s been doing it for years.
In the early 1980s, Will joined a fledgling program at the University of Minnesota led by Dr. Nancy Stenson. Gaeltacht Minnesota was founded by Denis Clarke at about the same time. By the mid-90s Denis decided to step down from teaching, and Frank Joyce and Seán T. Kelly needed some help. Enter Will Kenny. Along with Mary Roguski, these teachers offered four levels of classes every week, meeting in pubs and coffee shops.
Will quietly assumed responsibilities for more and more of Gaeltacht Minnesota’s programs and, when Seán Kelly passed in 2002, stepped in to fill Seán’s shoes. Under Will’s leadership the group has offered three or four levels of language instruction on Monday evenings ever since; hosted half-day, all-day, and weekend immersion workshops; and introduced hundreds of students to the Irish language.
New students now begin through the St. Paul Community Ed program thanks to Will’s efforts. Partnerships with the University of St. Thomas and a number of other cultural groups have connected native Irish speakers with Gaeltacht Minnesota students, again thanks to Will.
While Will’s students receive the most benefit of his insight and guidance, an international community of language learners and Irish speakers has been touched by his prodigious output. The quarterly newsletter An Gaeilgoir was mailed to students in the US and abroad for 16 years with Will as its editor and principal writer. A monthly eZine The GaelMinn Gazette began in 2005, a compilation of study tips sent via email to more than 600 learners around the world. Will has written a story for every edition of the Irish Gazette since Fall 2008, and The Gaelic Corner has filled Page 3 of the IMDA monthly newsletter for over 15 years. Will even tweets in Irish (we learned that the Irish Vice Consul General in Chicago follows him!).
Become a Member of the Irish Music and Dance Association!
It's time to renew your membership in IMDA.
In the past, people have often become “paying” IMDA members ($20 for individuals, $25 for families and organizations) simply to indicate their support for the IMDA’s programs and activities, including the annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Day of Irish Dance at the Landmark Center, the IMDA Workshop Tent at the Irish Fair of Minnesota, the “IMDA Honors” series, the IMDA Educational Grant Program, the “Decade of Dance” awards.
While that will still be the primary motivation for many, all of our new and renewed 2017 members will also receive the following: * A one-year (January to December 2017) subscription to the IMDA’s monthly email newsletter, which features (among many other things) Amy Shaw’s “Tune of the Month,” Will Kenny’s always-fascinating articles about theIrish language, Sherry Ladig’s book reviews, Brian’s Miller’s “Northwoods Songs” series, and a comprehensive list of local Irish music performances and cultural events in the newsletter’s “Community Calendar” section. * A “Proud Member of the Irish Music and Dance Association” 3” x 10” bumper sticker or 4” x 4” decal. * An IMDA "Hooley in the Heartland" 2-CD set ($18 value), featuring 30 tracks of songs and tune sets performed by local bands and musicians, including Daithi Sproule, Norah Rendell and Brian Miller, Laura MacKenzie, the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band, the Irish Brigade, Tom Dahill, The Hounds of Finn and many others. * “Priority listing” in our popular on-line Community Resources Directory, which is frequently used by people who are seeking local Irish musicians, bands, dancers and entertainers for performances, ethnic festivals, wedding receptions, corporate events, etc. * Public recognition in a “New or Renewed Members” section of future IMDA newsletters and in related posts to the IMDA web site and Facebook page.
Support the Irish Music and Dance Association when you shop on Amazon! When you select the Irish Music and Dance Association as your preferred charity on AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a donation to IMDA.
We are growing and expanding all the time to fit the needs of our community! Looking for a rousing Irish band on the weekend? Need to locate the best spots for traditional Irish music? Itching to try out some Irish dance? Find it all on the Irish Community Events Calendar.
The Irish Music and Dance Association is a 501(c)(3) organization.