Our instructors and musicians are a big part of the enjoyment and success of our weekend.
This year's weekend features these talented individuals:
Pádraig and Róisín Mc Eneany, dance instructors
Pádraig and Róisín Mc Eneany are among the most popular and sought after Set Dance Masters on the Irish dance scene. Pádraig hails from South Armagh, and Róisín from Dublin, but together they make their home in Termonfechin, Co Louth and have been dancing together since they met over twenty years ago. Indeed it was through dancing that they first met, when mutual friends paired them together as the "perfect couple" on and off the dance floor. Both of them studied Irish Dancing, but when they met legendary set dance Master Connie Ryan, they both were hooked on the Traditional Sets of Ireland. They were members of the Slievenamon Set Dancers who toured throughout the United States in 1988 and 1991. They have also performed at various functions and numerous television programs including the "Come Dance with me in Ireland" series of videos. They have produced two DVD/CD packages entitled "The Full Set" 1&2 with their group "Faoi Do Chois" (On your feet). They continue to teach weekly workshops throughout Ireland and also have held master classes in the USA, UK, Italy, France, Dubai, Germany, Denmark, Canada, Corsica and others. They are known for their fancy footwork and attention to detail in maintaining the special features of each individual set. They cater for dancers of all ages and abilities in a relaxed and friendly manner.
Brendan Dolan, piano
One of the foremost pianists in Irish music and a multi-instrumentalist excelling at flute and tin whistle, Brendan holds a Master's degree in Irish and Irish-American Studies from New York University. A member of Pride of New York (with Joanie Madden, Billy McComiskey & Brian Conway), Brendan can also be heard on the latest recordings of Mick Maloney's The Green Fields of America, as well as Pride of New York, Live at Mona's, Billy McComiskey's Outside the Box, Brian Conway's Consider the Source, Mick Moloney's Far From the Shamrock Shore, McNally's Row of Flats, and If It Wasn't For the Irish and the Jews. Brendan has also performed with classical musician Itzhak Perlman and klezmer musician Andy Statman, among others. He has taught for many years at the Augusta Heritage Center in WV, and at the Catskills Irish Arts Week in NY. He works as an archivist and teaches privately in the NYC area.
Linda Hickman, flute
Flute and tin whistle player Linda Hickman, a member of the original Washington, DC-based band Celtic Thunder, can be heard on all of their recordings. She learned to play Irish traditional flute from Jack Coen in the Bronx, and later from Mike Rafferty and Monsignor Charlie Coen. She has performed three times with Celtic Thunder at the White House and at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Her original composition, “Lament for Ron,” from her first solo CD (The Windy Day) was the title track for the 2003 PBS/NATO special “Children Soldiers of the Sierra Leone.” The Perolof Munck Orchestra in Finland recorded another composition from that CD, “Waltz for Maureen,” in 2013. She plays regularly for Irish set dancing in the NY area as a member of Ceol na gCroi Ceili Band. In 2012, she received the People’s Choice Award from New York City and Staten Island Arts for her work teaching and performing Irish music on Staten Island and in the New York area. In 2012 she, along with the Staten Island MS Group, received the Dana and Christopher Reeves Foundation Quality of Life Grant to teach tin whistle to people with Multiple Sclerosis. In 2015 she was honored by the Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural Center in East Durham, NY for her contributions to Irish trad music. 2016 includes receiving an Original Works grant from Staten Island Arts for her new CD, The Forest Path, and summer induction to the Mid-Atlantic Region Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Hall of Fame. In addition to playing traditional Irish music Linda works as a music therapist, running programs in long-term care facilities to help people with disabilities with pain management and self esteem.
John Nolan, accordion
Born and raised in the Bronx, John Nolan’s first introduction to Irish music was listening to his father play accordion. Pieces of his early music education came from John Glynn, Martin Mulvihill & Billy McComiskey. While a student at Fordham University, he played regularly at local pubs and released A Taste for the Traditional with Pat Keogh. In 1982 John became the first American to win the Senior All Ireland Championship on both the two and three row button accordions. He has played in Carnegie Hall with Pat Keogh, with Joanie Madden & Cherish the Ladies, and is a highly sought after stage & recording musician. John released his solo recording A Rake of Reels in 2000 and in 2009 he was inducted into the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Hall of Fame. We are lucky to have him as a mainstay of our Cape May Dance Weekend musical program for the last few years.
Bernadette Fee, fiddle / dance
Bernadette, a veteran performer very active in Irish traditional music circles, is well known in NY as an Irish fiddler, music teacher and champion step dancer. Recent musical collaborations include the Cape May Ceili Band, Andy Cooney's Cruise of Irish Stars, and with Chicago Reel at the Hollywood Bowl. She organizes and participates in traditional Irish music played at various NYC venues. For over 20 years Bernadette has prepared and led a large award-winning group of dancers/musicians in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Michael Fee, ceili drumming
Michael has been involved with traditional music and dance from an early age, studying Irish step dancing with Cyril McNiff and music with Maureen Glynn. He has competed in many Ceili Band competitions, earning 2nd place in the all-Ireland senior category, the highest achieved by any U.S band. He has the distinction of winning both 1st & 2nd place in the Under 18 category ... in the same competition … by also playing button accordion in another band. A fixture around the New York trad music scene, he has played with many of the greats of Irish music over the years at various festivals and set dancing weekends, including regularly at the GWCC Cape May Dance Weekend.