PHOENIX (Feb. 18, 2013) The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with “Experience Ireland,” a two-day event exploring the rich traditions of Ireland. On March 16 and 17, MIM will feature multiple activities, performances, and presentations designed to fully immerse the community in Irish culture and heritage.
“Experience Ireland” is the third event in MIM’s “Unity Through Diversity” partnership with Phoenix-based PetSmart®. The initiative brings the largest specialty pet retailer and the world’s first global musical instrument museum together to highlight musical traditions that celebrate cultural diversities while reinforcing the museum’s overriding message that music is the language of the soul.
Museum guests will get in the Irish spirit with live performances in MIM’s Main Courtyard. From 12:30 to 1 p.m. on Saturday and from 2 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, the Maguire Academy of Irish Dance will give a demonstration of Irish céilí and step dancing. Many of the performers from this school dance competitively around the country. Following the demonstration, guests can learn a jig with the help of the academy instructors and students who will be teaching basic steps. The demonstrations and dance lessons are free with museum admission.
On Sunday, guests will be treated to a special performance by Tramor, the new traditional music project of John Good. A well-known multi-instrumentalist, Good brings the subtly different flavor of traditional Celtic and Welsh music to the Phoenix stage. On this occasion, he will be aided by mandolin virtuoso Billy Parker, harpist John Piggott and storyteller Liz Warren. The group will perform at 11 a.m. and again at noon in MIM’s Main Courtyard; the performance is free with museum admission.
Throughout the weekend, children and adults of all ages will enjoy two different craft activities, both free with museum admission. First, guests can create and decorate a bodhran frame drum. This instrument is used in traditional Irish music and is played with a special drumstick known as a “tipper.” Guests can also make an Irish badge, which is customarily worn by children to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Both activities are available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Each day, MIM curatorial assistant Clint Spell will give an exhibit talk discussing elements of Irish and Irish American musical culture, such as flutes and whistles, harps, bodhrans, concertinas and more. The exhibit talk is free with museum admission and will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
“Many Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each year, but they may not have the opportunity to learn about Irish culture in a meaningful and authentic way,” said Carly Ofsthun, education manager at MIM. “We are excited to host a family-friendly celebration that allows the community to learn about the traditions of Ireland with hands-on activities and engaging performances.”
The Café at MIM will feature a variety of Irish entrées and beverages available for purchase. The menu will include corned beef and cabbage soup; Irish-stout lamb stew with potatoes, carrots and parsley; roasted salmon marinated in Irish whiskey and honey; and chicken and dumplings with black and tan sauce and mustard-spiced potatoes. The signature cocktail for the weekend is the Irish Julep and it will also be available for purchase.
Guests will have the opportunity to learn Celtic drum rhythms in a special installment of MIM’s monthly “Get the Beat! World Drumming Series.” This fun, family-friendly session takes place on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and will highlight Irish culture and provide plenty of time for making music. The class is not included in general museum admission and the fee is $12 per person. Advanced registration is recommended. To register, contact grouptours@MIM.org.
The Irish festivities conclude with two concerts by Altan at MIM Music Theater on Sunday night. Altan is an Irish folk and traditional music group that was formed in County Donegal in 1987. Led by the world-renowned fiddler and vocalist Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Altan emerged during the 1990s as one of Ireland’s premier traditional musical groups. From the most sensitive and touching old Irish songs all the way to hard-hitting reels and jigs, Altan has moved audiences from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle and has since sold millions of records worldwide. The group will perform at 6 and 8 p.m. and tickets range from $32.50 to $42.50.
The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix (corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of Loop 101). For general museum information and a full schedule of events, visit MIM.org or call 480.478.6000.
MIM enriches the world community by collecting, preserving, and making accessible high-quality musical instruments, images and music from every country in the world. We celebrate our world’s diverse musical cultures and foster global understanding by offering our guests an incomparable interactive experience, a welcome and fun environment, dynamic programming and exceptional musical performances.
Erin Miller, Media Relations Manager, MIM