Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December Slow Sesh Tonight

Hi gang, hope to see you tonight at Old Songs. (If you signed up for notifications through the blog, it was yesterday. Sorry.)

I'm excited that you have Irish traditional tunes you want to learn, and you're welcome to bring them. My favorites are often the ones from the West of Ireland, where I visit on a regular basis. Here's a perfect example of the lilting kind of music that generates from Clare/Galway/Mayo. Dymphna was a friend of ours, and a master of exactly this type of lilting lovely music. Her beauty and talent are sadly gone too soon, but fortunately we have videos like this to remember her by.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

There Will Be Tunes Tonight

Hey Y'all! I'm sick but David will lead the session tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. Classes at Old Songs have started, so we will be upstairs once Paul Draper's banjo class has completed.

We will have a discussion about November's session via email soon, because our next date is the night before Thanksgiving.



Monday, September 17, 2018

Halfway to St. Patrick's Day!

The weekend was full of fabulous music...

Altan at Fresh Grass Festival (photo by Dave Smith)

Heyya, Music Buddies! 

So...there was a lot going on this weekend, huh? Michael Eck told Eric that he did a set at Fresh Grass, played Irish 2000 and did two private gigs this weekend. I can't even begin to imagine how exhausted he is today!

I hope your last weekend of summer (half way to St. Patrick's Day too by the way) was a total blast! We...worked. Yup! That's the life. We did have a few tunes ourselves, but nothing major.

Just a quick check-in here to remind you all that we'll be having our September Old Songs Slow Session this Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Come on out and play a few tunes. If you haven't joined the mailchimp email list, you can sign up HERE. I send out the spots (sheet music) via my email newsletter, so do sign up!

And see ya Wednesday!



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

End of Summer, No End to the Tunes...

Remember When Summer Seemed Endless?

Just a few short months ago, summer seemed endless, full of potential and limitless fun. And now, in the waning days of August we can see Autumn just around the corner and the return of the school year in sight. Even though I haven't been in school for, well, decades, I still look forward to the structure that September brings.

Speaking of structure, the Irish Slow Session at Old Songs has really solidified into a nice group of folks working on tunes. Last Wednesday, August 15, 2018, we ended up our summer slow session series with a really lovely round robin.

To get the tunes, sign up for my email list in the pop-up box on this page (I use MailChimp). You might have to close and re-open the blog to see the pop-up box. If you sign up in the sidebar, you'll get this blog in your email inbox, but not the email reminders. On the email reminder list, you'll get reminders and follow-ups and announcements about Irish culture related events and activities you might be interested in.

Anyway, get ye to the MailChimp subscription to get the August tunes and tune-list! See you there...



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Irish Tunes at Old Songs on Wed., August 15

Learn by Ear and Round Robin

Hiya music buddies!

Old Songs Irish Slow Session will be held this Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Join me for tunes at 7:30 pm.



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Slow Session & Old Songs Festival

Happy Summer! 

Hiya, Music Buddies!

What's up? Festival season started this past weekend for us with a trip down to the Clearwater Revival in Croton-on-Hudson, where we played a farewell set for the Mystic Whaler and Captains Pat and John, who are hoping to retire. (If anyone wants to buy a beautiful sloop, talk to Eric and he'll put you in touch with them...)

Old Songs Irish Slow Session

We're going to have an Irish slow session tomorrow, Wednesday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Songs Community Arts Center, 37 S. Main Ave., Voorheesville, NY.

Meet us upstairs for tunes. There are plenty of chairs, but I'm not sure how many music stands there will be, if any., so if you need one, you should bring it. I know I'm woefully behind on updating the Google Drive with the most recent tunes, but that's on the list for the summer...

Irish/"Celtic" Music at the 38th Annual Old Songs Festival

Friends, if you don't know, this weekend is the annual Old Songs Festival of folk music, song and dance. There will be folk traditions from all over the world, and some of the best Irish traditional musicians will be there as well. Award-winning Fiddler Dylan Foley and Flute Player/Uilleann Piper Isaac Alderson with amazing singer/accompanist Alan Murray will be there, as will world-renowned duo Máire Ní Chathasaigh & Chris Newman, and multi-genre phenoms Low Lily. 

For families with kids, I highly recommend Roger the Jester and Arm of the Sea Theatre and the amazing Children's Area at the festival. It's not too late to get tickets - you can come for an evening, a day, or the whole thing! I hope you do if you've never been before...

Get more information about the festival, the schedule, and the performers here:

Hope to see you Wednesday night AND this weekend!

Best, Hilary

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Make-up Slow Sesh Tonight 5/23

We're Good To Go!

It's All Sunshine and Roses Again...
The majority of folks couldn't make it this week, but we will still get together tonight at 7:30 to play a few tunes. I know of two people for sure who will show up, but join us DOWNSTAIRS in the Old Songs building tonight if you want to! Contradance Tunes jam is upstairs, so just come down into the office.

Maybe see you tonight?



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Session Cancelled

Possibly Postponed

Hiya Music Buddies,

I'm sorry. I'm sick. I'm going to cancel for tonight. I'd like to reschedule to next week, but have to check with Old Songs to see if the space is available next Wednesday. Are you free for next Wednesday? Email me and let me know -

I'll be in touch. In the meantime, you might be interested to know that two of our new friends from Slow Session, Ralf and his daughter Lyra will be playing some period and Irish music at opening weekend at Fort Klock: It's a fun weekend event for the whole family on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The weekend will feature a muster, demonstrations and many hands-on activities. Experience the sights and sounds of 1776 with beer brewing, bread making, weaving, blacksmithing and much more. 

Enjoy Spring!


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Let's Kick Spring in the Butt and Play Some Tunes!

Will Spring Never Come?

Hi, Music Buddies!

Last month was awesome with a bunch of new folks and some cool tunes! Remember that our Learn By Ear tune was the simple polka Britches Full of Stitches? I've got another fun simple tune for this month. 

Just a reminder of the March Tune Playlist:

Kesh JigRakes of Mallow (polka), Harvest Home (hornpipe), Mountain Road (reel), When the Cock Crows it is Dawn (slide), The Butterfly (slip jig), Sporting Paddy (reel) , The Torn Jacket (reel), Miller of Drohan (reel), Saddle the Pony (treble jig). 

We will most likely play Kitty's Rambles (which is also known as Kitty's Rambles to the Saucepan or The Rambles of Kitty). You can check out the sound file of Paul playing it HERE. I'll bring some sheet music for it tomorrow as well.

Next events: Old Songs Slow Session for May on Wed., May 16. Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eirann slow session on Sunday, May 20.

Hope to see you somewhere around soon!



Thursday, March 29, 2018

First Thursday Slow Session is Coming...


April Flowers Bring...TUNES!
Dear Music Buddies,

Just a quick reminder that Slow Session fun starts up again next Thursday evening in Delmar. Sign up for the MailChimp email reminders to get the directions and info. Or email me at

Hope to see you next week!

Tunefully Yours,


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wednesday in Review

Thursday March 21, 2018 Recap

Hi, Music Buddies!

We had a really fun time last night with plenty of tunes and some new folks joining us. Thanks to everyone for making our March Slow Session a special one!

Our Learn By Ear tune was the simple polka Britches Full of Stitches. Everyone managed to learn it pretty well because we finished in only a half an hour. Very quick for a learn-by-ear.

March Tune Playlist:

Kesh Jig - great job, Mary!
Rakes of Mallow (polka) - great job, Ralf and Lyra!
Harvest Home (hornpipe) - nice work, Karen! (Hear piper Willie Clancy playing it.)
Mountain Road (reel)
When the Cock Crows it is Dawn (slide) (Learn by Ear tune) (Hear fiddler Nollaig Casey play it.)
The Butterfly (slip jig) - good job, Paula (so sorry to hear about your eyes...) (Hear fiddler Kevin Burke play it.)
Sporting Paddy (reel) - last month's "Learn by Ear" (Hear concertina player Jacqueline McCarthy play it.)
Liverpool Hornpipe - Paula, could you copy the version you have and send it to me? (hilary.schrauf (at) gmail (dot) com)
The Torn Jacket (reel)
Miller of Drohan (reel) - We play it in G (Hear a stunning arranged version in a different key by Lunasa.)
Saddle the Pony (treble jig) - Hear the Comhaltas version from Fionn book 1

Let me know if I missed anything!

For next month, we'll be working on Kitty's Rambles (which is also known as Kitty's Rambles to the Saucepan or The Rambles of Kitty). You can check out the sound file of Paul playing it HERE.

Sheet music links for a few of the tunes coming soon!

Next events: First Thursday slow session at Gary's House on Thursday, April 5. Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eirann slow session on Sunday, April 15. Old Songs Irish Slow Session on Wednesday, April 18.

Hope to see you somewhere around soon!



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Happy Spring! Slow Session on March 21!

Spring Feels Like Winter!

Irish Slow Session - Come in from the Cold and play some tunes...

OK, Music Buddies,

Happy Spring that Feels Like Winter... BRRRRR!

Let's see... You survived St. Patrick's Day on Saturday. You went to the Comhaltas Slow Session on Sunday. You're all geared up for more tunes! Well, hey then - the Slow Session of trad Irish music at Old Songs Community Arts Center is this Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm. What have you been playing since I last saw you in February? Looking forward to seeing you again! 

See you Wednesday night!



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February Slow Session is on for February 21!

It's the "Feels Like Summer" Session!

Irish Slow Session - Come in from the Heat and play some tunes...

OK, Music Buddies,

This might be the weirdest session we've had. The weather looks like it could be summer-like, and we might have to turn on the A/C!

Anyway, Slow Session of trad Irish music at Old Songs Community Arts Center this Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm. What have you been playing since I last saw you in November? I've got some new tunes, and I'm hoping you do too! 

See you Wednesday night!



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January 2018 Slow Session Cancelled

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful..

Photo of Winter snow in County Clare, Ireland at night
and I hear it's kind of terrible at home in the States too...

Dear Music Buddies,

I've been chatting with David and we've decided to cancel the Old Songs Traditional Irish Slow Session for tomorrow (Wednesday, January 17, 2018). It sounds like you'll be getting about 4-8 inches of snow or more.

We've got ice and snow and sleet and hail here in the West of Ireland at the moment, so we understand how you feel.

Anyway, here's wishing you all a very happy New Year from across the pond. I'll look forward to seeing you all in February.

Stay warm and safe and see you all soon!