Send Maia to the All-Ireland Fleadh 2.0!

I'm hosting this for my daughter Maia. Her words:

Hello! My name is Maia. I’m a 16 year old cellist who plays almost entirely in the Irish and Scottish traditions. For the second year in a row, I’ve won first place (with a 92% composite score) in the 15-18 Miscellaneous Instruments category at the Midwest Fleadh Cheoil, qualifying for the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Last year I went to Doire to compete in the same event and received a respectable 87% - not bad for a Midwesterner with a large case of nerves! I’m once again taking this opportunity to compete at the All-Ireland Fleadh, visit a university with an undergraduate Irish Music and Dance program, and experience more of Éireann.

Last year, I had an amazing experience. I loved being surrounded by so much music and beauty. I visited Dublin, Derry, Donegal, and Belfast, saw the natural landscape, the museums, the Irish Traditional Music Archives, and learned more about politics, history, and, of course, music, along the way.

The University of Limerick’s Irish Music and Dance program is the only one of its kind in the world. I have made plans to visit the campus after the competition. There, I will take a tour, meet instructors, and learn more about the program and the application process. I am hoping to be able to audition.

I have had to pave my way on my musical path. At the moment, there are few (or no) other cellists like me. I am unique in that I am an Irish musician first, and am developing appropriate cello skills to support my musical focus. I will never sound like a classically trained cellist playing Irish music, since I approach from within the tradition.

I will put all of my resources toward the plane ticket, food, and board in Ireland. This trip to Ireland and the Fleadh will be funded in part by my work this summer at a spectacular camp for young artists and engineers, and busking for tips and practice. But once again, I won’t be able to do it alone.

Last year, your generosity made this amazing trip possible. I’m asking that you help me once again in raising the funds that I need to visit a country that I love and have another go at the Fleadh.

I'll be taking pictures and updating my Facebook as much as possible. I’ll also post an account of my experiences in Ireland here once I’ve returned.

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Shawn McBurnie 
Minneapolis, MN
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