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!
Alice Bradley (fiddle) is a 5th grader from Bethesda, Maryland. She began studying violin with Mitch Fanning at age 5 and is now learning Sligo-style Irish fiddle with Brian Conway. She has participated in MAD Week, Scoil Éigse, and the Sligo Creek Hedge School. She is honored to be a member of the Bog Band and is grateful for the friendship, camaraderie, and mentorship of her fellow Bogs. Alice won 1st place in U12 fiddle at the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Fleadh, qualifying her to compete at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda, Co. Louth. When she isn’t fiddling, Alice is dancing at the District Irish Dance Academy. And when she isn’t playing, listening to or dancing to Trad Irish, Alice enjoys Harry Potter, riding her bike, board games, and playing with friends.
Andrew Caden (fiddle) is a junior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD. He is the 2017 All-Ireland fiddle champion (15-18) and a second place medalist in the slow air competition (15-18) at the Fleadh Cheoil in Ennis, Co. Clare, and also second place medalist in the 2017 Junior Fiddler of Dooney Contest in Sligo, Ireland. Andrew studies with the acclaimed Sligo-style fiddler Brian Conway from New York. Andrew has also worked with Mitch Fanning, the director of the Bog Band and coordinator of the MAD Week Irish arts summer program in Maryland. In 2014, Andrew received the Frankie Kennedy Memorial Scholarship awarded to traditional Irish musicians by the Greater Washington Ceili Club and serves as the Youth Officer for the O'Neill-Malcom Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Branch in the Washington DC area. Andrew is a regular player at traditional Irish music sessions and festivals throughout the area, and has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Irish Embassy, and for visiting political dignitaries, including Ireland's Prime Minister (Enda Kenny) in 2017. Andrew is predominantly influenced by many of the great Sligo-style fiddle players, most notably Brian Conway, Andy McGann, and Micheal Coleman. When Andrew isn't fiddling, he enjoys playing ice hockey and is a sports car enthusiast.
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 her 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.
Elora Martin (Flute, Tin Whistle) 14, is from Boyds, MD and plays flute and whistle. She started performing with her multi-generational family band, the Martin Family as soon as she could totter onto the stage. From a young age she was known to jump in and help demonstrate the Colonial dances at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and played Irish whistle for visitors during special events. She has performed with her family at many festivals, ceilis and events in the Washington, DC area and beyond- from the Santa Fe Bluegrass and Old Time festival in New Mexico to the Alford Heritage Center in Scotland. Elora started whistle when she was 6, learning by ear from her mom and other family members. She began attending Karen Ashbrook’s Hedge School in the summers, taking classes at Common Ground on the Hill and studied Irish step dance with the Culkin School for 4 years. Later, she was excited to pick up the flute and took her first workshops at Catskills Irish Arts Week. She’s visited Ireland many times and recently had the chance to take a flute workshop at the Scoil Eigse. She is currently enjoying studying flute with Laura Byrne and is excited to be a part of the Bog Band. Elora also enjoys acting, reading, singing and watching the Gilmore Girls.
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 currently dances with the Broesler School of Irish dance. In 2015 she won the Robert J. Hickey, Jr. Founder’s Award for “Most Promising Musician.” In 2017 she was awarded the Ed Callaghan Music Scholarship from the North American Feis Commission in the under 15 category. Emily was also a member of a local neighborhood band, the Kentlands Acoustic Jam, for a few years 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 traveling, exercising, baking pastries, shopping for clothes, and playing her ukulele.
Emily Mitchell, 16, is a singer/songwriter from Gaithersburg, Maryland. She has been singing for as long as she can remember and loves it! At the age of six, Emily joined her school choir and in 5th grade began taking class guitar lessons. She performed her first original work at the age of 11 and has continued to develop her singing, songwriting, and guitar skills, studying with Paul Hutchison, Bonnie Kunkel, and Gerry Kunkel.
Over the past few years, Emily has performed at various events and venues throughout the area including The Sandy Spring Strawberry Festival, The Louisa County Agricultural Fair, The Music Café, The New Deal Café, and at Showcases held by The World Folk Music Association and Songwriter Association of Washington. Recently Emily was named a semi-finalist in the 2018 Bernard-Ebb Songwriting Awards Competition and was a student in the Singer/Songwriter program at Interlochen’s 2018 Summer Music Camp. Emily enjoys collaborating with other artists and is a member of The Bog Band, McFlen, The Kings Cathedral Band, and the MCYBO Jazz Band. She is known for her angelic voice, accomplished guitar playing, and touching performances.
Currently Emily is a homeschool student starting 11th grade. She helps lead youth worship with church youth bands and enjoys performing a wide range of music including jazz classics, classic rock, country, folk, and modern acoustic.
On July 1, 2018 Emily released her first EP, A New Beginning; a collection of originals written and performed by Emily. The music combines, folk, jazz, and acoustic elements to create a meaningful, soothing, and relaxing musical message. She looks forward to sharing her music with others and developing her skills in the years to come.
Maddy Moss (fiddle), a 13-year-old Marylander, inherited her family’s love for folk music of all kinds. Thanks to her South American roots, Maddy was exposed to rhythm and melody from a young age. She was introduced to traditional Irish music through her step dancing with the Culkin School, where she became a Champ level dancer, and performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, and Nationals Park. Maddy started dancing at age 5, and first picked up the fiddle at 9. She has benefited from the teaching of Mitch Fanning and Brian Conway, and is a 4-year MAD week participant. Maddy is a seventh grader at the Oakcrest School, where she is a member of the choir and the middle school soccer team. In her free time Maddy enjoys playing music with her brother and sister, both of whom have followed her footsteps into traditional Irish music.
Claire O'Halloran (fiddle) Claire has been playing the violin since she was five years old and she enjoys both Irish fiddling and classical music. Her other passion is Irish step dancing, and she is an Open Championship dancer who trained with the Duffy School of Irish Dance for ten years; she has recently begun dancing with the Teelin 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 with her summer and high school swim teams and hanging out with her friends and cousins. She is a high school sophomore attending Quince Orchard High School, and her favorite subjects are Latin and science. This is her second year with the Bog Band.
Arjun Ramachandran (fiddle) is a violin student of Brian Conway. He studies at The Gilman School in Baltimore in 5th grade and with CTY math at Johns Hopkins University. Arjun is an Irish step dancer at Teelin Irish Dance. He recently attended MAD WEEK music camp and is very pleased to join the Bog Band Irish music group.
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 proces
Jessica Zito (fiddle) is a Walter Johnson High School sophmore who has been a member of the Bog Band for many years. She began playing violin in first grade, originally studying classical music before migrating to Irish fiddle. She has previously been a member of both Maryland Classic and Potomac Valley Youth Orchestras, but her heart is now completely devoted to the Bog Band and traditional Irish music. She was the grateful recipient of the 2017 Greater Washington Ceili Club's Frankie Kennedy Memorial Scholarship, which allowed her to attend the 2017 Fleadh Cheoil in Ennis, Co Clare. When not playing fiddle, Jessica loves running winter and spring track for Walter Johnson High School, and is looking forward to being able to drive.
Alaya Zsebenyi (fiddle) and her family attended a family dance, sponsored by the FSGW in Glen Echo park. There were two immensely talented musicians playing for the dance, Peri Leighty and Darrow Sherman. Through Darrow’s mom, she found out about Mitch Fanning and thus the Bog Band. That’s where it all started. Alaya has been granted the good fortune of studying with Mitch Fanning and Brian Conway. Immersion in the musical tradition of her Irish roots has inspired her to study the concertina, and Irish Dance at the District Irish Dance Academy.
Alaya is fortunate to have musical siblings and has performed at FSGW’s Mid-Winter Festival with her sister Zoe, her dad Eric and her little brother and sister. The “Zsebenyi Family Band” also performed at Deer Creek Fiddlers Convention. Alaya has benefited from MAD week, Common Ground on the Hill, the Baltimore Irish Trad fest and, of course, the wonderful playing of her fellow Bogs.
In her spare time, she likes to sing with Children’s Chorus of Maryland, run, read Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, and do anything outdoors. She is more than honored to join the Bog Band, and is very grateful for the support of her family, teachers, and peers.
Zoë Zsebenyi (fiddle) started out playing classical violin, but through Mitch Fanning realized what the instrument was truly capable of. Zoë's road to the Bog Band began at a Folk Society of Greater Washington’s Family Dance, where Peri Leighty and Darrow Sherman (see above) were playing for the dance. Their inspiring performance is what piqued Zoë's interest in folk music (she also plays Old Time and Scottish fiddle), and how she became acquainted with Mitch Fanning. Zoë started taking lessons with Mitch Fanning, going to Irish sessions, and diving deeper into the tradition with MAD week. In no time, Zoë was completely hooked on Irish music.
Another one of Zoë’s passions is singing. She sang with a children's chorus, and most recently, she has started performing with the Washington Revels (Darrow’s right, they are awesome! Definitely check them out!).
Zoë has now been playing Trad Irish for about a year, and currently studies with Brian Conway. She has been playing with the Bog Band for about six months, and is honored to be part of this wonderful group of musicians!
The Original Bog Boys: Robert Coleman, Gabriel McKenna, Casey Mueller, Benson Welles, Gardi Royce.
Second-Generation Bog Boys: Brendan Coyne, Sam Howard, Oliver Kendall, Oliver Meade, Alan Price, Wren Rudolph, Jamie Sandel.
The Bog Band: Patrick Armstrong, Kaziah Brachfeld, Daniel Brennan, Quinn Carpenter, Dessie Corbet, Maggie Corbet, Gabriel Epstein, Jack Farias, Rownan Gilkes, Tim Glenshaw, Mark Grubbs, Caitlin Hearn, Conor Hearn, Abraham Joyner-Meyers, Caroline Kemper, Jesse Kenworthy, Erika Klatt, Molly Milne-Gerlaugh, Emily Nice, Anna-Grace O'Malley, Shalini Randall, Mary Schech, Brady Stevens, Samantha Suplee, Gus Vorhees, Rebecca Weiss, Michael Winch