Making Music in the Midlands: the Music Network Teaching Residencies

Making Music in the Midlands: the Music Network Teaching Residencies

Making Music in the Midlands: the Music Network Teaching Residencies
Music Network and Age Friendly Ireland are inviting residents of counties Laois, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon and Westmeath, aged 55 and over, to join an exciting music project.

Making Music in the Midlands is led by renowned musicians Alec O’Leary (guitar), Angelina Carberry (banjo/mandolin/whistle), Dan Brouder (button accordion), Adele O'Dwyer (violin/viola/cello), Phil Robson (guitar), Ciaran Wilde (saxophone/clarinet), Catherine McEvoy (flute), and Jacinta McEvoy (guitar/concertina).

The focus of this project is on returning to playing an instrument and sharing the joy of group music-making. Residents of the five counties can apply now to take part over eight weeks between August and September 2022.

Applicants must be aged 55 or over, resident in one of the five counties mentioned above, and have some previous experience of playing music. The ability to read music is not essential. People resident in the five counties may apply to take part in any one of the five residencies, however priority within each county will go to applicants resident in that particular county.

Tuition is free of charge and instruments can be provided if necessary for the duration of the project. With a view to ensuring inclusivity and that financial circumstances or lack of transport do not act as barriers to participation, one of the residencies may be offered as an online experience, according to demand. Technical support to enable online learning will be provided to participants if necessary.

The Midlands Teaching Residencies are presented by Music Network and Age Friendly Ireland. Music Network is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. This initiative is supported by Creative Ireland.

Benefitting from the combined musical backgrounds of the teaching musicians, the tuition programmes will offer participants the opportunity to experience an array of musical styles and techniques.

Over eight weeks, three one-to-one and two group lessons and two ensemble sessions will be provided in each county. Two coffee sessions will also be held per county to give people the opportunity to socialise and reflect on their musical journey.

Places are limited to nine per county. Priority will be given on a first come, first served basis. However, additional criteria that will be used for selection include county of residence, availability of teaching slots, ability to partake in the entire programme and geographical spread throughout the midlands.

Applications are now closed.

Individual Residency Details

*Please note, some dates and venues may change with the agreement of artists and participants

Participants will receive individual and group tuition and will play together as part of a guitar ensemble led by Alec O'Leary at LOETB Learning Hub, 2 Park Villas, Harpur’s Lane, Mountmellick Rd., Portlaoise, Co Laois. R32 ED21.

Tuition is entirely free of charge and instruments will be provided as needed for the duration of the project.


  • Wednesday 10th August, -2-3pm - Introductory Session
  • Wednesday 17th/Thursday 18th August, 2-5pm- Lesson 1 (40 minute slot per participant)
  • Wednesday 24th/Thursday 25th August, 2-5pm – Lesson 2 (40 minute slot per participant)
  • Wednesday 31st August/Thursday 1st September, 2-5pm – Lesson 3 (40 minute slot per participant)
  • Wednesday 7th September, 2-3pm – Coffee Session 1
  • Thursday 8th September, 2-5pm - Group Lesson 1 (90 minute slot per group)
  • Wednesday 14th September, 2-5pm – Group Lesson 2 (90 minute slot per group)
  • Wednesday 21st September, 2-3pm – Coffee Session
  • Wednesday 28th September, 2-4pm – Ensemble Session 1
  • Thursday 29th September, 2-4pm – Ensemble Session 2

Alec O’Leary was born with a guitar in his hands into a family of musicians and artists. Naturally his love for music grew with him from an early age. He was guided by his father and grandfather who played guitar in the style of Segovia and Bream. Subsequently he went on to study guitar at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama with Irish guitarist John Feeley. During this period Alec regularly travelled abroad for masterclasses with some of the world’s most distinguished musicians including Manuel Barreuco, Scott Tennant, Sergio Assad, Roberto Aussel and Roland Dyens. Alec has also studied in Naples with Maestro Aniello Desiderio aided by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Today Alec is one of the most talented, charismatic and creative guitarists of his age performing to international critical acclaim, winning praise for his impressive technique, outstanding musicianship, unique educational vision and inspired concert programming.

As an active performer, arranger, educator and a committed concert promoter, Alec is cofounder and director of one of Europe’s most prestigious guitar festivals, the Guitar Festival of Ireland. Along with a busy performing schedule, festival commitments, and teaching posts Alec is equally dedicated to making bespoke high-end guitars with his father, world-renowned luthier Michael J. O’Leary.

Alec has also commissioned many new works for guitar from some of the instrument’s most celebrated composers such as Leo Brouwer, Roland Dyens and Sergio Assad. He has also facilitated several major music projects including ‘Guitar Traditions’ seminar series in the Royal Irish Academy of Music with John Williams, Paco Pena & Pavel Steidl and the Sony recording ‘Places Between’ with John Williams and John Etheridge.

Participants will receive individual and group tuition on banjo, mandolin, whistle, or button accordion from Angelina Carberry and Dan Brouder at Ballymahon Library, Main Street, Ballymahon, Co Longford N39 E5C7.

Tuition is entirely free of charge and instruments will be provided as needed for the duration of the project.


  • Wednesday 10th August, 4-5pm – Introductory Session
  • Wednesday 17th August, 4pm onwards – Lesson 1 (40 min slot per participant)
  • Wednesday 24th August, 4pm onwards – Lesson 2 (40 min slot per participant)
  • Wednesday 31st August, 4pm onwards – Lesson 3 (40 min slot per participant)
  • Friday 2nd September, 4-5pm – Coffee Session 1
  • Wednesday 7th September, 4-7pm – Group Lesson 1 (90 minute slot per group)
  • Friday 9th September, 4-5pm – Coffee Session 2
  • Wednesday 14th September, 4-7pm, Group Lesson 2 (90 minute slot per group)
  • Wednesday 21st September, 4-6pm – Ensemble Session 1
  • Wednesday 28th September, 4-6pm – Ensemble Session 2

Angelina Carberry was born in Manchester, England into a County Longford musical family steeped in traditional music. Starting on the tin whistle, she later moved on onto the banjo following in the footsteps of her father Peter and grandfather Kevin Carberry. Angelina moved to Galway in the late 90s where she recorded the highly acclaimed album Memories from the Holla with her father Peter on accordion and John Blake on guitar and piano.

Over the years, Angelina has developed a highly personal style with unique rhythmical characteristics. Her unmistakable banjo sound is captured on her solo 2005 CD, An Traidisún Beo & Pluckin’ Mad (2014), which were awarded among the Irish Echo’s Top 10 CDs of the year.

In addition to performing, Angelina is also a respected music teacher and popular banjo tutor at many festivals throughout the country and abroad. Angelina was awarded the prestigious TG4 award Ceoltóir na Bliana / Musician of the Year, 2021.

Dan Brouder is a well-respected exponent of the West Limerick accordion style from Monagae, a parish on the outskirts of Newcastle West. He learned his music in the surrounding parishes of Ardagh, Carrigkerry and Glin on the Sliabbh Luachra boundary from accordion player Donal de Barra, Athea, Co. Limerick and from flute players Francis O’Connor and Donal O’Sullivan who learned their music from fiddle player, Peadlin Aherne and flure player, Pajo Gleesen from the 1930s and 40s, whose styles are strongly bedded in West Limerick roots.

Dan plays regularly in sessions and festivals in both West Limerick and around the country. His solo album The Larks Air (2011) received critical acclaim by musicians and music reviewers. Dan also guested on numerous recordings, festival appearances, and performances on radio and TV. Dan is a musician held in high regard among his peers for his musical integrity and the enjoyment he passes on through the music he plays and cherishes.

Participants will receive individual and group tuition on violin, viola or cello from Adele O'Dwyer at Tullamore Library, O'Connor Square, Tullamore, Co Offaly R35 X226. Tuition is entirely free of charge and instruments will be provided as needed for the duration of the project.


  • Thursday 4th August, 7-8pm – Introductory Session
  • Tuesday 9th August, 5-8pm/Thursday 11th August 4-8pm– Lesson 1 (40 minute slot per participant)
  • Tuesday 16th August, 5-8pm/Thursday 18th August, 4-8pm – Lesson 2 (40 minute slot per participant)
  • Tuesday 23rd August, 5.30-6.30pm – Coffee Session 1
  • Thursday 25th August, 4-8pm/Tuesday 30th August, 5-8pm – Lesson 3 (40 minute slot per participant)
  • Thursday 1st September, 5-8pm – Group Lesson 1 (90 minute slot per group)
  • Tuesday 6th September, 5-8pm – Group Lesson 2
  • Thursday 8th September, 5.30-6.30pm – Coffee Session 2
  • Thursday 15th September, 6-8pm – Ensemble Session 1
  • Thursday 22nd September, 6-8pm – Ensemble Session 2

With a long and varied career as performing artist, chamber musician, composer and educator, Adele’s early training took place under the guidance of Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Leonard Chausow and the Chicago Civic Orchestra (Chicago Symphony Training Orchestra). In addition, Adele had the privilege of advanced-level mentorships with artists Zara Nelsova, Antony Cooke, and Martha Gerschefski which influenced her greatly. Professionally, Adele has performed on both sides of the Atlantic with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Opera Theatre Company and Irish Film Orchestras as well as in a number of festival chamber orchestras in Ireland and in the US.

Adele’s interest in musical composition began in her childhood where she was exposed to a staggering array of folk, blues and jazz artists who visited the Chicago area regularly to perform. As a result of these early musical influences, Adele cultivated a taste for a wide variety of music and it is this interest which has shaped her style of musical composition. From 'Black is the Earth', inspired by the great Bog of Allen in Ireland to 'North Circular Road Blues' and 'Song for the Blackfoot Pathways' influenced by the raw energy of the Chicago Blues and the hauntingly beautiful mountains of Montana in the US, Adele’s compositions draw the listener in through their story-telling character.

Adele has many CD recordings to her credit both as performer and as composer/arranger. She has performed and recorded with some of Ireland’s finest musicians such as the RTÉ Contempo Quartet, the late Micheál O’Súilleabháin and Dé Dannan to name but a few. Adele later went on to study composition in the IMRO Composition School and obtained a film-scoring certification from FÁS – University of California Los Angeles.

Adele has long demonstrated a particular interest in ‘music in communities’ having developed and delivered a multitude of projects ranging from long-term artistic collaborations such as the Café Music Nights, Winter Chamber Music Series, Millennium Children’s Messiah and Discovering Music projects to one-off educational workshops, Adele enjoys knitting together divergent musical styles and approaches to create musical experiences for listeners and participants alike. Her latest digital music learning platform, Emsona, aims to democratize access to musical expertise and learning know-how for learners and educators wherever they are in the world.

Participants will receive individual and group tuition on guitar, saxophone, or clarinet from Phil Robson and Ciaran Wilde at Trinity Arts Centre, Church Road, Castlerea, Co Roscommon F45 AW27.

Tuition is entirely free of charge and instruments will be provided as needed for the duration of the project.


  • Tuesday 2nd August, 11am-12pm – Introductory Session
  • Monday 8th August, 11am onwards – Lesson 1 (40 min slot per participant)
  • Monday 15th August, 11am onwards – Lesson 2 (40 min slot per participant)
  • Monday 22nd August, 11am onwards – Lesson 3, saxophone and clarinet players (40 min slot per participant)
  • Wednesday 24th August, 11am onwards – Lesson 3, guitar players (40 min slot per participant)
  • Friday 26th August, 11am-12pm – Coffee Session 1
  • Monday 29th August, 11am-12.30pm – Group Lesson 1
  • Monday 5th September, 11am-12.30pm – Group Lesson 2
  • Friday 9th September, 11am-12pm – Coffee Session 2
  • Monday 12th September, 11am-1pm – Ensemble Session 1
  • Monday 26th September, 11am-1pm – Ensemble Session 2

Phil Robson is a multi-award-winning guitarist and composer, originally from the UK who relocated to New York City in 2015 for five years and is currently based in Co. Roscommon, Ireland. He has led bands featuring jazz legends such as David Liebman, Mark Turner, Billy Hart, James Genus, Marc Copland and many more as well as working as a sideman with Kenny Wheeler, Barbra Streisand, Steve Lacy, Charles Earland, Donny McCaslin, Django Bates, The BBC Big Band, Ingrid Jenson, Phil Woods, Mike Gibbs, Bob Brookmeyer, Steve Wilson and a hugely diverse spectrum of internationally renowned artists.

In Europe he is renowned as the co-leader of the cult UK band Partisans with saxophonist Julian Siegel which ran for 23 years as well as for his work with his partner, the great singer/songwriter Christine Tobin.

In New York he is best known for his collaboration with the master saxophonist/composer Jed Levy. He's also a Whirlwind Recordings artist with highly acclaimed albums who performs at major venues and festivals around the world.

Ciaran Wilde studied classical clarinet and classical saxophone under Tim Hanafin in the Conservatory Of Music, Dublin. He began gigging professionally at 15 with gypsy jazz group The Burglers and punk singer Hazel O Conor.

Over the years he has recorded and performed with various different acts ranging from The Waterboys, The Pogues and Sharon Shannon to jazz musicians Dr Louis Stewart, Jim Doherty, Hugh Buckley, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, All Ireland Jazz Orchestra and RTÉ Big Band.

In 2006 he founded the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra which featured Ernie Watts, Rick Margitza and Anders Bercantz to name but a few. Ciaran currently performs, teaches and composes and is based in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Participants will receive individual and group tuition on traditional flute, guitar or concertina from Catherine McEvoy and Jacinta McEvoy at Mullingar County Library, Áras an Chontae, Mount Street, Co Westmeath N91 FH4N.

Tuition is entirely free of charge and instruments will be provided as needed for the duration of the project.


  • Friday 19th August, 10-11am – Introductory Session, 10-11am
  • Friday 26th August, 10am onwards – Lesson 1 (40 min slot per participant)
  • Friday 2nd September, 10am onwards– Lesson 2 (40 min slot per participant)
  • Friday 9th September, 10am onwards – Lesson 3 (40 min slot per participant)
  • Saturday 10th September, 10-11am – Coffee Session 1
  • Friday 16th September, 10-11.30am – Group Lesson 1
  • Saturday 17th September, 10-11am – Coffee Session 2
  • Friday 23rd September, 10-11.30am – Group Lesson 2
  • Friday 30th September, 10am-12pm – Ensemble Session 1
  • Saturday 1st October, 10am-12pm – Ensemble Session 2

Catherine McEvoy was born in Birmingham of Roscommon parents. With such influences as Josie McDermott, Peg McGrath, Seamus Tansey and Patsy Hanley in her early years, she soon came to prominence as one of the ground-breaking female flute players of her generation. While in her teens, she toured extensively with the Birmingham Céilí Band.

Returning to Ireland in 1977, she became part of the traditional music scene in Dublin playing regularly in the Four Seasons pub in Capel Street. She was also a member of the first all-female traditional group Macalla, formed in 1983 with Mary McNamara, concertina from Tulla, Mairead Ní Mhaoneagh of Altan, and Maura O’Keeffe, fiddle from Kerry.

To date, Catherine has recorded two solo albums. Music in the Sligo Roscommon Style with legendary pianist Felix Dolan from New York now deceased, and The Home Ruler featuring Steve Cooney, Geraldine Cotter, Paddy McEvoy, Joe Kennedy, and Felix Dolan as accompanist. She has recorded a duet album with her brother John, a well-known and respected fiddle player, and a trio with Caoimhín O’Raghallaigh (fiddle) and Micheál O’Raghallaigh (concertina). Along with Micheál O’Raghallaigh, Catherine was a member of the three times All Ireland Champion Táin Céilí Band.

She is much in demand as a performer and teacher and is a senior tutor at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare. She has also taught at the Catskills Irish Arts Week, New York, Gaelic Roots in Boston College and in France, Germany, and Spain. Catherine is a visiting tutor at the University of Limerick where she teaches on the MA and BA courses. She is also well known for her association with blind musicians as she was a music teacher at ChildVision - National Campus for Children with a Visual Impairment and Complex Disabilities and encompassing St. Josephs School for Children with Visual Impairment, now retired.

Catherine received the prestigious TG4 Ceoltóir na Bliana/Musician of the Year award in 2019.

Dubliner Jacinta McEvoy is an accomplished guitarist, concertina player and teacher. In 2009 she published Dancin’ Time and An Damhsa, a folk and Irish dance resource pack for primary schools.

A frequent performer on TV and radio, she has recorded with a number of musicians including the late Chris Droney and was a founder member of the groups Turlough and Keeper Hill.

She has appeared at a number of festivals with the all-female traditional group Macalla. Jacinta is much sought after as an arranger and accompanist, and has performed throughout Europe and Ireland. She currently performs with Roscommon based group Gatehouse.