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 2021
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.
Robert grew up in Perth Western Australia where he learnt to play by ear from his mentors, Mick Doherty and Sean Doherty (no relation). Mick hails from a long line of travelling fiddle players, storytellers and tinsmiths from Donegal. His Uncle, the renowned Johnny Doherty featured on Ireland’s RTE documentary “The Fiddler On The Road.”
At age seventeen Robert moved to Ireland and spent fourteen years on the west coast, learning and immersing himself in the traditional music of the older players. He met and played with musicians including P.J. and Martin Hayes and was ten years with one of his most loved mentors Andy Davey, father of Junior Davey and master of the Sligo style.
Robert taught for three years at the Galway School of Traditional Irish Music and in the year 2000 he won Ireland’s Michael Coleman Traditional Fiddle Player of the year Award. He has toured in both the USA and Europe and played at Fairbridge Festival, National Folk Festival in Canberra, Turning Wave Festival, Flybynite Musicians Club and recently was guest soloist with the Perth Chamber Orchestra.
In 2013 Robert and Mick Doherty recorded their debut Album “Out West” released by the National Library of Australia to preserve the musical legacy of Mick’s family. Rob, a highly regarded luthier, continues to teach fiddle and has his own album due to be released in May.
Robert Zielinski and phil Waldron live in the flyby by night musicians club. The Fantastic Reel set.
Kara Dawson plays button accordion and whistle, and is a regular at sessions and festivals around NZ, usually being the last to leave a session! She has attended Ceol Aneas since 2008, and is on the organising committee. She has previously taught whistle and Irish song at the NZ Gaidhealtachd. Her passion for Irish music has led her to visit Ireland twice, and she currently takes lessons from David Munnelly in Westport, Co. Mayo. She admires the playing of Sharon Shannon, the Begley family and Damien Mullane. Kara is looking forward to seeing old and new friends at our homegrown Ceol Aneas 2021.
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.
Bob McNeill is a guitarist, songwriter and producer based in Wellington. Originally from Scotland, he sojourned in France, Ireland and the US before settling in NZ in 1998. He has released five albums of original songs, including Lost Starts, a solo recording written, recorded and released during NZ’s 2020 lockdown. Three of his albums have won best folk album at the New Zealand Music Awards.
A sought-after guitarist, McNeill plays with Canadian fiddler Gillian Boucher and the Celtic groups Criu and Crossroads, as well as his own genre-challenging group, Project Feijoa. He is a frequent guest at NZ festivals and has played in Australia, the UK, Canada and the US.
Alex grew up in the Hutt Valley and developed a love for Irish traditional music as a teenager. He was fortunate to be encouraged and guided by session members such as Pat Higgins and Ruairidh Morrison at Wellington’s Molly Malone’s in the 80’s and early 90’s. Playing Scottish highland bagpipes in pipe band and solo piping competitions under strict and regimented rules and style, Alex was delighted to learn from Hamish Moore of the older piping tradition founded in dance that survived the Clearances in Scotland when musicians emigrated to Cape Breton. Here he found a style of piping that was more closely linked with Irish traditional music, particularly the music shared between Donegal and Scottish West Coast Island and Highland communities. Alex has gone on to learn and play Irish whistle, flute and guitar, along with Scottish small pipes and highland pipes.
Alex particularly enjoys the musical collaborations he’s been fortunate to be a part of over the years. These include musicians that have come together for various Folk Club performances in Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch and while living in Nelson, concerts at the Nelson Centre for Musical Arts and the special performances of Cruisich, The Standing Stone at the Tauranga and Nelson Arts Festivals, driven by the creative energy and music of Bob Bickerton. On his family’s return to Nelson recently, Alex has re-connected with his love of the session, with the warmth and friendship of local musicians inspiring the learning of new tunes and musical collaborations.
Alex is looking forward to sharing tunes, thoughts and techniques with attendees at this year’s Ceol Aneas whistle workshops.
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.