Brightwood live at The Stage

Date: 12/20/2023

Time: 6:30 pm

Brightwood will stop by WTJU on Wednesday evening to close out the final half hour of Something New with traditional Irish and Scottish tunes. Rumor is they might even have a few holiday tunes to share.

This is a free event, open to all. You can also listen on the radio (91.1 FM) or on-line, and even video stream it at WTJU’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.  But we encourage you to come out and be part of the studio audience for this very special session.

Mimi Vidaver-Davis took up classical flute in the fifth grade, and soon after stumbled upon the world of Irish music through a cassette tape of the playing of Matt Molloy. She got her first simple system flute at 15, and there was no looking back from that point on. She has since sought out opportunities to learn from and work closely with many influential Irish flute players, including the great East Galway flute player, Mike Rafferty, John Skelton, and Marcas Ó Murchú, among others. She also studied with Conal Ó Gráda while attending University College Cork in Cork City, Ireland. Mimi is also a step dancer who first attended the Tighe School of Irish Dance in Charlottesville, VA, and later studied with Peggy McTaggert, A.D.C.R.G. during her time in Cork City. While obtaining her M.A. in Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Mimi refined her skills in Cape Breton step dance, learning from and collaborating with Malke Rosenfeld, a percussive dancer and dance educator based in Bloomington, IN.

Mimi currently teaches flute, whistle and dance at the Blue Ridge Irish Music School in Charlottesville, VA.

Brenda Bowen Cox grew up playing piano from an early age and went on to study piano, organ, and classical guitar at Ball State University, where she earned degrees in music education and deaf education. While teaching in the public schools, she developed a fondness for folk and traditional music on the fretted dulcimer and other stringed instruments. She later earned her M.Ed. in deaf education and audiology from the University of Virginia, where she worked her way through graduate school playing music and performing with a local dance troupe.

Through an ever-deepening acquaintance with instrument builders, she began learning about the harp and embarked on an ongoing quest into Celtic music. In the 1990s she founded the Harpers’ Circle of Kentucky and for ten years performed in Ceol Cridhe, a Celtic band well known in central Kentucky. Her harp, keyboard, and concertina playing are featured on the band’s CD, “Like A Heartbeat.” Brenda’s involvement with the harp led her to the Music for Healing and Transition Program, and she received certification as a Certified Music Practitioner in 1997. Her belief in the healing powers of live harp music has been validated by her involvement with hospices in Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, and Virginia, where she has played bedside for hospice patients.

In 1996, Brenda first visited Cape Breton Island in Maritime Canada to learn the unique style of piano accompaniment to that particular type of traditional fiddle playing. She authored two books of Cape Breton music arranged for harp. With a summer home on the island, Brenda and her husband spend half the year there attending dances, sessions, festivals, and other musical events. In addition to her books of Cape Breton arrangements, Brenda has arranged and composed several other books of sheet music, including a therapeutic music book for harp and keyboard called “A Peaceful Harbor.”

Brenda currently works as a therapeutic musician for Hospice of the Piedmont. She is also the harp instructor at the Blue Ridge Irish Music School, where she met Tes and Mimi, and brightwood was formed.

Tes Slominski is a fiddle player and teacher who specializes in the repertoire and style of Sliabh Luachra, a region in Ireland that includes parts of counties Cork and Kerry. She co-founded the still-thriving Blue Ridge Irish Music School in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1999 and has been on staff as a fiddle teacher at Sean Nós Northwest, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, and the Maoin Cheoíl an Chlár in Ennis, Co. Clare. She is a founding member of the Isteach is Amach queer collective, a group dedicated to building community among LGBTQ+ Irish traditional musicians. Tes holds a Ph.D. in music from New York University and an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick, and authored Trad Nation: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Irish Traditional Music (Wesleyan University Press, 2020). Along with Kimberly Francis (University of Guelph), Tes is co-editor of the gender/sexuality revision of Oxford University Press’s Grove Music Online. She served as Secretary of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s board from 2019–2021. A Teaching Fellow and then Assistant Professor of music at Beloit College in Wisconsin from 2012–2019, Tes founded and directed the North Atlantic Music Ensemble, which introduced over a hundred undergraduate students to Irish traditional music. In addition to her musical work, she is a life/career/budget coach.

Tes plays a fiddle (violin) of unknown provenance made in the 1880s, possibly in what is now the Czech Republic. She has had it since she was 11, and loves its bright yet deep sound. Over the years, Tes’s fiddle and bow have been lovingly maintained by Artley Violins and Vacanti Violins.

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