All classes are taught in the traditional style, by ear, and students are expected to be familiar with playing traditional Irish music and comfortable learning by ear. The classes are not suitable for beginners. Most classes will be taught at an intermediate to advanced level. If you have any questions, or would like advice in evaluating your playing level, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Tutors for 2022
Rennie started playing the Boehm system flute at an early age. Initially learning classical music, he soon found his heart lay in the Celtic traditional music. He switched to playing the wooden flute under the tutelage of leading New Zealand flute players, Pat Higgins and Brendyn Montgomery, as well as wooden flute maistro Chris Norman from Canada. Rennie spent a year in Canada and USA studying flute and performing with some of Celtic music’s leading musicians including Chris Norman, David Greenberg, and Catherine McEvoy. In 2016 he received a Boxwood scholarship for rising young performers.
Rennie has music in his veins and plays many instruments which he incorporates in his performances to great effect. He currently lives in Golden Bay.
James McNamara has been playing traditional Irish music on the fiddle for nearly 20 years. He started while a student in his hometown, Wellington, and is a regular contributor to sessions in the city. During ten years studying and working abroad, he tracked down the Irish music community in parts of Europe, Asia and North America. He loves learning and teaching tunes, and exploring the variety in traditional rhythms and repertoires. He is a keen player for dancing, gaining a wealth of experience through the Cambridge University Ceilidh Band, which he also led for a year. In 2017 he was a founding member of Vic Folk at Victoria University. Other assorted highlights have included playing at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis, the Cambridge Folk Festival, and a gala opening at Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing. With the group Silent Sessions, James has devised, performed and recorded folk music soundtracks for theatre, touring the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010, and adapting a soundtrack for The Tempest in 2016. Lately he’s been getting people up and dancing in NZ with Irish trad band Criú.
Brendyn Montgomery is an award winning traditional Irish musician based in Nelson, New Zealand. He spent time living in Limerick, Ireland while doing his Masters in Traditional Irish Music Performance on the flute. He is one of New Zealands foremost performers and teachers of Irish music.
Originally from a multi-instrumental background including classical clarinet, Richard took up Irish music on the mandolin on a whim and ended up discovering his musical passion. He started playing banjo simply because it was louder at sessions, and now loves both instruments. A keen student of banjo technique, he has honed his playing for the last few years under the expert guidance of Sligo-based banjoista and All-Ireland champion Theresa O’Grady. Hailing from Wellington, Richard is a stalwart of the session at the Welsh Dragon.
Bob McNeill is a musician in Wellington, New Zealand who plays with Project Feijoa and the Celtic groups Triske, Criu and Crossroads. His latest recording Lost Stars, a collection of songs written and recorded during lockdown in New Zealand, was released in late 2020. Remastered in 2022, it’s available to download on Bandcamp free. Check out the music page.
Karen Reid is a whistle/flute player and singer living in Arrowtown. She is well known in NZ Irish music circles and has been playing performing and recording traditional music in various lineups for over 30 years. Her most recent recording was as part of a longstanding duo with pianist Mark Wilson. Karen has a great interest in the tradition and history of Irish music and she has recently begun research into the history of Traditional music in NZ. She’s really looking forward to sharing her love for the whistle with students at Ceol Aneas.
Multi-string-instrumentalist Steve started life as a classical guitarist and lute player who got drawn into folk music in his early varsity years. Playing guitar, bouzouki, banjo and mandolin, his remarkable versatility is reflected in his musical career, having played and sung in many ceilidh, Irish and European-influenced bands. In recent times Old Time and bluegrass music have appeared on his musical palette. He loves teaching tunes and is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and experience with others.
The bouzouki workshop will be held as a one-off during the weekend. Sign up for this special workshop here.
Born in Dublin into a musical family, Evey travelled the world for a number of years before settling in Aotearoa New Zealand. Although she has lived in Nelson since 1987, she has never lost touch with her Irish roots. As well as being a founding member of the all women group, Cairde, she has enjoyed performing with her multi instrumentalist husband, Bob Bickerton. No stranger to Ceol Aneas, having attended each year since its foundation, Evey is happy to share her knowledge of Irish song, in both Irish Gaelic and English, with those keen to learn.
Pete first fell in love with the pipes in 1998 while visiting Dingle. He has been involved with the New Zealand Uilleann pipers club for the last 20 years and describes himself as an enthusiastic amateur pipe maker, still in love with the pipes and workshop.
Sean Connolly has been enjoying his addiction to the uilleann pipes for over twenty years, and is well-known in the Auckland session scene. Like many players who come to the pipes as adults, he’s picked up various bad habits, but has shaken some of them and is now well positioned to help other less experienced pipers on their musical journey. His main focus during the classes will be on working towards achieving rhythm and “lift” with the pipes rather than on teaching new tunes and piping specific techniques.
Kris is an Uilleann piper based in Wellington. He plays with the bands Ceann an Éisc and Criú. He also occasionally plays some Scottish small pipes and whistle, and came to Irish music after growing up playing in the highland piping tradition.
Now living in Hawkes Bay, Helen has been teaching Irish dancing for 30 years, running classes in the UK before moving to New Zealand.
Helen and company gave a set-dancing performance at Ceol Aneas 2021. Here’s the first figure of the Sliabh Luachra set.
The set dancing workshop will be held as a one-off during the weekend. Sign up for this special workshop here.