According to Terence Winch, (renowned musician, poet/writer, Bog-Father and friend) Mitch Fanning (Director, fiddle) is not only a consummate fiddle player, but an inspiring fiddle and violin teacher who can rightly take credit for gracing our area with scores of young musicians. He has himself studied violin at Catholic University’s School of Music, where he received a Bachelor’s of Music degree in violin performance in 1982. He studied Irish music with Brendan Mulvihill and others, and in 2014 was awarded a TTCT (Teastas Teagaisc Ceolta Tire), a diploma given to master teachers of Irish music by the CCE in Ireland. A frequent participant in festivals and sessions in Ireland, Mitch performs closer to home at events throughout the Washington metro area—he can be heard, for example, every Monday night with his fellow "Inn Mates" at the Irish Inn at Glen Echo. Mitch teaches privately and conducts classes in traditional Irish music in his home studio. Mitch is also a faculty member of Washington Conservatory of Music, where he teaches traditional Irish fiddle classes designed for violinists. Mitch is also founder and director of Musical Arts and Dance Week, a now-celebrated school of instruction whose faculty includes a galaxy of Irish music stars. (For more information about MAD Week and the Next-Generation sessions Mitch leads, see the "Get Involved" tab)
Michael Winch (Assistant Director, Bog Alum, fiddle & bodhran) comes from a very musical family and as a child learned to play the fiddle from Mitch Fanning. In 2013, he graduated from University of Maryland Baltimore County with a Bachelor's in Audio Technology. Since then, he's written, performed, and recorded several scores for theater and been nominated for a Helen Hayes award in music direction, all while keeping up the Irish tradition. Personally, he thinks the Bog kids are doing a great job and he hopes you'll enjoy their music!
Andrew Caden (fiddle) is a 14 year-old freshman at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD. He is a multiple All-Ireland qualifier in fiddle solos and slow airs and has traveled to Ireland for the past few years to compete in the Fleadh Cheoil. Andrew studies with the great Sligo-style fiddler Brian Conway from White Plains, NY. Andrew has also worked with Mitch Fanning, the director of the Bog Band and coordinator of the M.A.D Week Irish arts summer program. In 2014, Andrew received the Frankie Kennedy Memorial Scholarship awarded to traditional Irish musicians by the Greater Washington Ceili Club and he is a regular player at traditional Irish music sessions throughout the area. Andrew counts Brian Conway, Andy McGann, Micheal Coleman and Dylan Foley as major influences on his playing. When Andrew isn't fiddling, he plays ice hockey and loves cars.
Abraham Joyner-Meyers (guitar & fiddle) was first exposed to folk by his family of old-time musicians. While he hasn't yet inherited the banjo chops of his grandfather and uncle, he's become obsessed with music of all kinds. Abe started out playing classical violin, then began experimenting with old-time, Scottish trad, English folk, and now, Irish. As a fiddler, he is especially inspired by the playing of Johnny Cunningham and Chris Wood. Abe started playing guitar only recently but qualified for the all Ireland in both solo guitar and guitar accompaniment. He was recently appointed Youth Officer of CCE Potomac. This is Abe’s fifth year playing with the Bog Band. While he enjoys the camaraderie and music of Bog, it has also given him the tools to play other musical styles. Peri, Darrow, and Abe together started Maelstrom, a fusion folk trio that takes what they each have learned in Bog and combines it with other influences such as Quebecois, Klezmer, and Appalachian fiddle.
Peri Leighty (fiddle) first picked up a violin the winter before she turned four, studying with a violinist named Sasha Mikhlin at the Levine School of Music. After an initial battle with that most dastardly of ditties, Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, she rediscovered my love of music, thrilled by what could be done with four strings and a bow. When Peri was about seven, she started going to Suzuki summer camps, where she encountered a Scottish fiddle class taught by Melinda Crawford. There she learned about bagpipes, imitative ornamentation, crosstuning, and overall, the freedom and joy of Celtic music. Miss Crawford mentioned that she knew an Irish fiddle teacher who lived in the DC area, a Mitch Fanning, who ran a couple of sessions in local pubs. Peri found out quickly that while people are friendly in classical music, the folk community looks out for everyone. Not only Mitch, but many others, including members of the Bog Band watched over her and encouraged her to start tunes and learn to make sets. She's now a longtime member of the Bog Band, a founding member of Maelstrom, and studies and competes in both Classical and folk music.
Darrow Sherman (fiddle) lives in Washington D.C. Darrow loves folk music of many types from many areas, including traditional French Canadian (Québécois) music, klezmer, other Balkan styles, Scottish, Welsh, and -of course- Irish. He started playing fiddle at the age of six, taking lessons from another friend's violin teacher:. Mitch Fanning (A.K.A. Pete Moss). Darrow has now played for some eight years and has been in the Bog Band for about five. He also sings some folk music with Maelstrom (a different band) and choral arrangements with The Washington Revels (look them up, they're super awesome). He hopes to become a professional actor, playwright, and musician, if he doesn't starve to death in the process.
Emily McFadden (fiddle) is from Gaithersburg, Maryland and began playing classical violin in 2010. She participated in the Potomac Valley Youth Orchestra from 2014-2015 and began Irish fiddling in 2014 under the instruction of premier Irish-American fiddler Brian Conway of New York. Emily has also been an Irish dancer since she was 6 and competes regularly in Irish music events at local Irish dance competitions. In 2015 she won the Robert J. Hickey, Jr. Founder’s Award for “Most Promising Musician.” Emily was also a member of a local neighborhood band, the Kentlands Acoustic Jam, playing at venues like the Children’s Inn at NIH, the City of Gaithersburg’s Oktoberfest, and the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K. Through Irish dance, Emily has enjoyed fiddling at Walter Reed hospital and the Gaithersburg Arts Barn during the St. Patrick’s Day season. In her spare time, Emily also loves ballet, traveling, running, shopping for clothes, and baking.
Molly Milne-Gerlaugh (tin whistle) is a sixth grader at Takoma Park Elementary School. She has been playing tin whistle with the Bog Band since April 2016. She's been playing whistle for almost five years and takes lessons with Karen Ashbrook. When she's not playing the whistle she likes to hang out with friends, read books and explore the great outdoors!
Claire O'Halloran (fiddle) has been playing the violin since she was five and enjoys both Irish fiddling and classical music. Her other passion is Irish step dancing, and is an Open Championship dancer with the Duffy School of Irish Dance. She loves the opportunities that Irish dance and fiddling provide for traveling and meeting people from all over the world. When she isn't dancing or fiddling with her Bog friends, she stays busy playing with the Potomac Valley Youth Orchestra, swimming, and hanging out with her friends and cousins. She is a homeschooled high school freshman, and her favorite subjects are Latin and science. This is her first year with the Bog Band.
Jessica Zito (fiddle) is a Bethesda eighth grader and has been with the Bog Band for several years. She began playing violin in first grade, and enjoys both fiddle and classical styles. She has previously played with both Maryland Classic and Potomac Valley Youth Orchestras, but her heart is devoted to Irish fiddle. Besides violin, Jessica enjoys running cross-country and riding horses.