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Posted on Fri. Mar. 21, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

FAME brings the sounds of Ireland to area schools

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FAME visiting artists this year came from the Irish Music School of Chicago.

The three performers, Kathy Cowan, vocalist; Jim DeWan, guitar; and Sean Cleland, fiddle, started their day Thursday at Oakview Elementary School, where they performed before a school assembly at 8:15 a.m. The group has been in Fort Wayne since Monday performing at various schools throughout the area. Judging by the stamping feet and head bobbing, their music was well received even at such an early hour of the day.

According to the school's website The Irish Music School of Chicago teaches children and adults as it has been done for generations in Ireland and Irish communities around the world. Students learn almost entirely by ear with little to no reference to written music. Chicago-bred and internationally acclaimed Irish fiddler Cleland founded the school in 2003. Cleland has made repeated trips to Ireland to enrich his abilities as an Irish musician. Back at home he involved himself in the Chicago Irish music community, “literally sitting at the feet of the mostly immigrant Irish musicians.”

Each year FAME contracts with artists whose work fits with the focus of its annual cultural arts theme. These artists visit throughout the year to provide presentations and activities at local FAME member schools. FAME, the Foundation for Art and Music in Education, is a professional member organization of 202 and growing art, music, dance and drama teachers and principals throughout northern Indiana. FAME programs primarily serve elementary-age children.

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