Irish Music Night will feature two highly acclaimed musicians


Irish Music Night will feature two highly acclaimed musicians

John Whelen and Sean Cleland will perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 26 at the Church of the Holy Spirit.

Fans of traditional Irish music, rejoice: two masters of the genre will perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 26, at the Church of the Holy Spirit, on Vashon.

The concert will feature a formidable duo: John Whelen, one of the world’s finest living Irish accordionists and seven-time All-Ireland Champion, and Sean Cleland, award-winning Irish violinist, educator, teacher and Executive Director of the School of Music Irish from Chicago.

Whelen, a resident of Vashon since 2019, was born to Irish parents living in Dunstable, England. He grew up in London’s vibrant Irish music scene of the 1970s, learning his craft from legends such as Lucy Farr, Roger Sherlock, Paddy Taylor, Mick O’Connor and his teacher, Brendan Mulkaire.

Whelen has received the Irish Music Association’s Musician of the Year Award – twice. He recorded more than 15 CDs and spent several weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard World Music Charts. He has also appeared on over 30 albums with other artists, including the National Geographic: Ireland CD.

Whelen is known to be extraordinarily generous with his music and has a rare talent for mentoring and teaching, spotting talent in beginning musicians – regardless of instrument – and helping them develop to their full potential.

The concert marks his first concert of the year, after a heavily reduced touring schedule in 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic.

Cleland grew up on Chicago’s Northside, in an Irish-American household. His musical education in the 1970s was boosted by legends such as Liz Carroll, Michael Flatley and Jimmy Keane, who burst from Chicago onto the world stage. Additionally, there were quite a few older Irish musicians who had emigrated to the United States in the 1950s, and Cleland absorbed their wisdom and music. From 1980 to the early 2000s he toured and taught, working at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. He founded the Irish Music School in Chicago in 2003.

Donations are $25 at the door and $20 for advance reservation. Contact Jan Strolle at [email protected] or call 206-228-0730 for advance reservations. Proof of vaccination and masks are required for those attending the concert in person. Attendees will also be asked to log into the concert, in case contact tracing is needed. The concert will also be streamed live on Facebook for those unable to attend in person.

The Church of the Holy Spirit is located at 15420 Vashon Hwy. SW


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