Whitehall hosts Boxwood Workshops
Boxwood returned to Queenscliff late in February for a long weekend of immersion in traditional music. Around 40 musicians from all over Australia stayed at historic Whitehall Guesthouse where they had lessons with Boxwood’s Chris Norman from Canada, James Kelly from Ireland and Rennie Pearson from New Zealand.
Chris Norman is founder and director of the Boxwood Festivals and Workshops taking place for the past 22 years in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the USA, inspiring thousands of musicians of all ages. Students of all levels came to learn more about playing the fiddle, flute, whistle and pipes. Some of them joined Chris, James and Rennie at a public performance at St George’s church where there wasn’t an empty seat.
Chris’ influential work as performer, composer, recording artist, teacher and flute maker has earned him worldwide recognition. He has made 40 recordings and featured on numerous Hollywood soundtracks. As a flute maker, he brings to bear a discernment forged over a 30-year career to make world-class flutes for traditional, baroque and renaissance music.
James Kelly, a native of Ireland, is one of the greatest Irish traditional fiddlers alive today. He learned his music from his father John Kelly, the renowned fiddle and concertina player from County Clare. After years of careful study and practice, James began recording and touring at age sixteen winning the prestigious ‘Fiddler of the Year’.
Since that time, James has toured Europe, the US, Canada and South America, and was a member of several influential Irish groups. He has 18 albums to his credit and is currently working on a teaching DVD for fiddle students, as well as compiling his over 800 compositions for publication. He continues to tour with some of Irish music’s leading accompanists.
Rennie Pearson – guitar, flutes, whistle is a multi-instrumentalist based in Golden Bay, NZ specializing in flutes,whistles, vocals and DADGAD tuned guitar. By age 15 he was immersed in the New Zealand traditional Irish music culture attending weekly sessions and learning off stalwarts of Irish flute playing tradition. Rennie has delved into the traditions of Scottish and Canadian music and the ancient classical music from India.
Chris says they are looking forward to being in Queenscliff next year and the possibility of more performances in our historic churches.