Irish Musical Arts & Dance

$2,390 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 15 people in 9 months
Most people have a wee bit of Irish in their DNA - especially on St. Patrick’s Day!

By accident of birth, we receive our heritage from our forbears.  

Cultural heritage, on the other hand, is not an accident - it is made, not born.   If cultural heritage is to remain vibrant, relevant and compelling, it must constantly be explored, shared and celebrated.  

Musical Arts & Dance (MAD) Week is a place, an annual event, and a community where traditional Irish music, dance and culture are explored, shared and celebrated anew each summer and throughout the year.

Now in its thirteenth year, MAD Week - an annual intergenerational week-long summer camp and music festival - has earned its international reputation as one of the premiere summer camps in North America. 

Irish Music & Dance In America:   An Immigration Story

The story of the Irish in America is an immigration story that needs to be remembered.  It is also a story of America which seems all but forgotten.  

When the Irish arrived on American shores, they arrived as refugees.   Destitute and starving, the Irish were the victims of a famine, but they were also displaced by other powerful and cruel political, religious and economic forces beyond their control.

Some of the American press at the time depicted the Irish refugees as subhuman ape-like creatures.  They were broadly denounced as criminals, papists, fornicators and worse.  “Irish Need Not Apply” was the ubiquitous sign of the times.

Despite those circumstances, and the racism and bigotry that greeted them, these Irish refugees somehow managed to become an Irish immigrant community and began to re-build their lives and make their way in America.  In doing so, they also contributed mightily to America’s language and culture, fought her wars  and built her cities and railroads and highways.   Today, though the original refugees are largely forgotten, many of their 34.5 million descendants now occupy some of the highest offices in our civic, religious, business and political institutions.  

Perhaps now more than ever, the story of the Irish in America needs to be remembered.    To celebrate traditional Irish music and dance is to remember that story and to more deeply understand our own story as a nation and a people.    

Explore your Irish at MAD Week and enrich your understanding and appreciation for what it means to be an American!

Project Goals

This project has one primary and one secondary goal.   

Our primary goal is to raise $50,000 for MAD Week between now and December 31, 2018 so that we can exceed our financial obligations this year and help fund the expansion of our programming in 2019.

Our secondary goal is to build our local community and base of financial support by expanding our reach and letting a broader audience learn more about MAD Week and the other activities of the local Irish community. 

Accomplishing our primary goal will lead to the substantial accomplishment of our second.

About MAD Week - A Brief History

MAD Week began in 2006 as a natural outgrowth of Mitch Fanning’s work with a group of his violin students at the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, Maryland.  In 2004, five of Mitch’s fifth grade violin students (all boys) formed a fiddle club and asked him to teach them traditional Irish music. 

Not knowing the first thing about Irish music, Mitch began to listen to trad CDs, attend local sessions and concerts, and take fiddle lessons with all-Ireland champion fiddler Brendan Mulvihill and others.

The fiddle club expanded and became a performance group called the Bog Boys.  Through their busking and performing, other kids were exposed to the music and began to study and eventually joined - girls too!

The Bog Boys became the Bog Band.  As they continued their work, Mitch and the Bogs became even more serious about the music and more curious about different regional styles of play.

In 2006, the Bog Band had the opportunity to study for a week over the summer with the Kane Sisters from Connemara, County Galway.  

FiddleWeek, as that summer camp became known, was a great success and continued to grow each subsequent year.   In 2008, FiddleWeek affiliated with the local O’Neill-Malcom Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE), the Dublin-based society charged with preserving and promoting traditional Irish music, dance and culture. 

With that affiliation and partnership, FiddleWeek expanded it’s programming to include instruction in flute, whistle, guitar accompaniment, bodhran and  Sean-nós dance and set dancing.

FiddleWeek thus became MAD Week.

Every year since then, MAD Week has managed to refine and expand its programming, and has earned its international reputation as one of the premiere traditional Irish music and dance camps in North America.  

This year - our thirteenth annual - MAD Week features a new MAD Week Kids program and more than fifty (50) instrumental and dance classes, Irish language, scholarly lectures, songs & singing, Celtic crafts, and various workshops for 125-150 registrants and two concerts featuring faculty performances for the general public.   Forty-three faculty and staff teach, perform and manage the program.

Why This Capital Campaign?  Why Now?

From the very beginning, MAD Week has been self-financed, primarily by tuition receipts and additional support from generous donors and sponsors within the community.

At this point in our growth and development, In order to expand our programming and meet ever increasing expenses, it is important that we develop new sources of funding to support our longer term planning and development.   

Hence this capital campaign.

GoFundMe:  How It Works

GoFundMe is a unique fundraising platform that allows us an easy-to-use online platform through which we can share the MAD Week story with a broader audience while also providing a convenient and secure mechanism through which that audience can financially support our work and mission.  

Your participation is key.   There are no minimum donation requirements.  

GoFundMe allows us to access funds throughout the term of the campaign, and does not financially penalize us should we exceed or fall short of our fundraising goals.

By donating to MAD Week’s capital campaign, you are not only supporting our mission to preserve and celebrate traditional Irish music, dance and culture.    You are also helping us to share the MAD Week experience with a broader audience in the Washington DC metro area and beyond.

Donation Awards

Participation is key.   Every donation, regardless of amount, counts and is an important component in achieving success. 

Here is a list of awards for donations at various levels of giving:

Bog Band Next Generation CD

Bog Band Next Generation CD
MAD Week Faculty Concert DVD

Half-Time Registration to MAD Week 2018 or 2019
Bog Band Next Generation CD
MAD Week Faculty Concert DVD
2 Tickets to Each of 2 Faculty Concerts 2018 Priority Seating

Bog Band Next Generation CD
MAD Week Faculty Concert DVD
2 Tickets to Each of 2 Faculty Concerts 2018 Priority Seating
Full-Time Registration to MAD Week 2018 or 2019

Bog Band Next Generation CD
MAD Week Faculty Concert DVD
2 Tickets to Each of 2 Faculty Concerts 2018 Priority Seating
Full-Time Registration to MAD Week 2018 or 2019
Invitation to MAD Week’s Strike Party & Hooley

Thank you in advance for giving as much as you can to support us in this work!

Tax Deductibility

The O’Neill-Malcom Branch of CCE is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (Federal EIN #51-0245822).   Your donation is fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.   

Please check with your CPA or tax attorney if you have any questions.

MAD Week 2018 (July 15-20) Evening Events

Sunday, 7/15, 7:30 p.m.
Opening Faculty Concert
Cedar Lane Unitarian Church
Bethesda, Maryland

Monday, 7/16, 6-8 p.m. 
Faculty, Donor & Homestay Host Reception
Embassy of Ireland  (Invitation only)
Washington, DC

Tuesday, 7/17, 7:30 p.m.
Faculty Session & Hooley
Lahinch Tavern & Grill
Potomac, Maryland

Wednesday, 7/18, 7:30 p.m.
Concert by MAD Week Performing Artists
Cedar Lane Unitarian Church
Bethesda, Maryland

Thursday, 7/19, 7-10:00 p.m.
MAD Week/GWCC Family Ceili
Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Civic Plaza
Silver Spring, Maryland

For more information about MAD Week, including faculty bios, class descriptions, lectures subjects, schedule of events, online registration and more: 

Questions?   Please send your inquiry to:
Mitch Fanning, Founding Director jmitchellfanning [@]

Special Thanks & Credits:

Thoughtcast Media for video production services related to this campaign
Ralph & Kathie Lillie and The Institute of Musical Traditions for audio/video of Bog Band & MAD Week events
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$2,390 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 15 people in 9 months
Funds raised will benefit:
Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Oneill-Malcom Branch
Certified Charity
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Springfield, VA
EIN: 510245822
How it Works
  1. You make a donation using a PayPal account or a credit/debit card to PayPal Giving Fund (a 501(c)(3) charitable organization).
  2. After the deduction of payment processing fees, PayPal Giving Fund delivers the funds it receives to the chosen charity on a monthly basis.*
* If, after reasonable efforts, PayPal Giving Fund cannot deliver donations to this charity, the funds may be donated to another charity per PayPal Giving Fund’s policies.
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