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Tommy Sands – Songs and Stories for a Peaceful World
Sing Out Magazine proclaims: "Sands is one of the most important songwriters in Ireland if not the rest of the world." Long-time favorite of both family and folk audiences, singer-writer Tommy Sands focuses on song-as-story in his family program. Having lived his art and written his music in the midst of one of the world's most divisive regions, Tommy's musical stories of conflict resolution come from experience, with a heartfelt message for peace among people of different viewpoints. These workshops and concerts explore the challenges of living together in culturally complicated environments by using songs like Daughters and Sons and There Were Roses, which were written about the religious and political conflict in his native Northern Ireland. The Belfast Telegraph describes Tommy's programs as including: "... the gentle songs of a gentle man, ringing out above the tumult and the shouting ... through people like Tommy Sands there will be an answer."

As important and powerful as Tommy's message is to children and parents, his performances equally include the sublimely silly, with rambunctious sing-alongs for kids of all ages. Tommy tells stories in that wonderful Irish brogue intriguing to young people and adults alike. There are spoken stories, and songs that tell stories. Replete with characters aplenty, the underlying ideas come through in a wonderful warm session.

Tommy's children's CD, Down at Bendy's Lane, a recording of "pure fun", is available to complement the performance.
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Harmonia "Music of Eastern Europe" Workshops
Harmonia offers a variety of residencies and workshops, depending on the audience's interests, level of musicianship, and length of the workshop/residency. Workshops are available for audiences ranging from general audiences to elementary schools to graduate music seminars. Group leader Walt Mahovlich is joined by the other bands members in demonstration and lecture.

These programs have been presented at the Balkan Music and Dance workshop, The National Folk Alliance Conference, The Ohio Music Educators Association, Bismarck Art & Galleries Association, Kent Folk Festival, and the Old Songs Festival in Albany NY.

  1. "Hands on" folk orchestra workshop
    Target audience: Musicians/ music students (instrumental or vocal)
    Level: Intermediate to advanced
    This is a group workshop with musicians in which Harmonia teaches them to play one or more tunes and put together a band playing our Eastern European music. We work both in sections and as a group. Appropriate instrumentalists would include: violin, viola, bass and cello; flute, recorder and clarinet, soprano sax; accordion, hammered dulcimer or cimbalom as well as percussionists. As part of this, one of the Harmonia members, Andrei, can teach the basics of playing tilinca (that's the flute without finger holes that operates on harmonics) and supply several tilincas for student use. We can also supply a few sopilkas (recorder-like folk flutes) and a panpipe for student use during the workshop. For a longer residency (three days or longer), we can also supply up to 3 small sized cimbaloms on which students can learn the fundamentals of the instrument - (additional shipping costs paid by presenter). We typically teach first by ear - which develops a sense of styling - and then supply written notes in the form of a lead sheet and chords. Beata, the group’s female vocalist, can teach one or more songs as part of this kind of workshop, as well.
  2. Lecture/demonstration of East European instruments (formal or informal)
    Target audience: General (level of detail can vary depending on audience)
    Level: Varied
    Harmonia members talk about and demonstrate a variety of East European instruments that we use - 7 different types of folk flutes, cimbalom, tilinca, tarogot, sopilka, etc. Beata discusses, demonstrates and contrasts various types of vocal styles from Eastern Europe as part of this. If appropriate (for Ethnomusicology or acoustics students), we can be very detailed about the techniques and construction of the instruments. This workshop can be offered informally (questions from the audience interspersed with Harmonia’s commentary - for younger or general audiences), or as a more formal classroom lecture.
  3. General lecture-demonstration workshop on East European music.
    Target audience: General audiences to advanced university
    Level: Beginning to advanced
    Harmonia members discuss East European music, instruments, and culture; they will also demonstrate various styles and types of music. The main topics include:
  • Locations of the countries and their cultural/political connections;
  • Instrument construction and performance techniques;
  • Performance experiences in Eastern European countries, with musical selections from each country;
  • Cultural settings of the music growing up in Eastern Europe and among US immigrant populations;
  • Wedding customs (compared and contrasted) in various Eastern European cultures.
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