Ah Surely – Irish Music and Dance

Ah Surely - Irish Music and Dance

Irish lore, history, and culture come alive as the Ah Surely trio weaves traditional Irish music and step dance together into an interactive foot-tapping, hand-clapping presentation. Students are fascinated by unusual instruments such as the uilleann pipes (a quieter cousin of the Scottish Highland bagpipes), bodhran (hand drum), fiddle, penny whistle, and guitar. And everyone can participate in using the universal musical instrument – the human voice – with lively traditional songs. For the climax of each program, a number of students join the band for an Irish ceili (music and dance party) on stage, either “jamming” with the band or learning and dancing a simple Irish jig step. Ah Surely has performed interactive programs for schools, community arts programs, and corporate events throughout Georgia, including Spivey Hall’s Young People’s Concert Series, The Rialto Center for the Arts, and for the Oscar N. Jonas Foundation’s Artist in Residency program.

Disciplines: Music, Dance

Grade Levels: Pre-K, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Post-secondary

Core Content Curriculum Areas:     Theatre/Drama, Music, Social Studies/History

Specialized Content Areas:  World Cultures, Irish Music and Dance

Special Populations:  Special Needs Students, At-risk Students, ELL (English Language Learners)

Pre-Service Learning and Professional Development:  Professional Development for Teaching Artists

Geographic Availability: Metro Atlanta, North Georgia, Middle Georgia, South Georgia

Program Fees:              

  • Performances: In metro Atlanta: 1 performance $600; 2 back-to-back $750; $150 for each additional performance. Travel fee may apply outside metro Atlanta.
  • Workshops: Please contact artist to discuss options.

Artistic Profile:  

Conceived in 2014, Ah Surely is a trio of three performers: John Maschinot (uilleann pipes, flute, penny whistle, and bodhran), Evan Kinney (guitar, vocals, and fiddle), and Claire Shirey (Irish Step dance, fiddle, and concertina). They’ve performed at numerous schools, festivals, and on concert stages throughout the Southeast.

John Maschinot has been performing professionally on the Irish uilleann pipes and Irish flute since 1982. In 1984, he formed the Buddy O’Reilly Band, which went on to become the leading Irish music band in the region. Since then he’s performed on concert and festival stages, both solo and in various ensembles, and produced festivals and musical productions as well, including the popular Atlanta Celtic Christmas, which celebrated it’s 25th season in 2016 at The Rialto Center for the Arts. In 2010, he received the “Stars of the South” award from Irish-American Magazine for outstanding service and dedication to Irish culture in the Southeast.

An award winning “old-time” fiddler, Evan Kinney was born into a musical family: his mother, a singer, and his father, a fiddler, in the old Georgia tradition. With guitar, banjo, and fiddle in hand, he has proven his versatility by performing with quite an array of musicians of many stripes: Ah Surely, The Amazing Spud Brothers, The Gypsy Hicks, and the Buddy O’Reilly Band. A talented vocalist and songwriter, his renditions of traditional American and Irish songs are both authentic and straight from the heart.

Claire Shirey is a champion Irish step dancer as well as fiddler, concertina, and flute player, and has traveled the U.S. and Ireland to attend numerous Irish step dance competitions. She started dancing with John Maschinot when she was 12 years old. Claire has worked extensively with The Buddy O’Reilly Band and other ensembles. A founding member of the Irish trio, Ah Surely, she teaches fiddle and concertina at the Atlanta Irish Music School and Irish step dance at the Drake School of Irish Dance.

Teaching Experience:  

John Maschinot has been a teaching artist for over 25 years, both as a soloist and with several ensembles. For over 15 of those years, he has been a member of the teaching artist ensemble Celtic Fire, working under the umbrella of Young Audiences of Atlanta and Arts for Learning. He has presented programs focusing on traditional music and dance at hundreds of schools, libraries, and workshops, impacting thousands of students of all grade levels and adults as well. In 2010, he received the “Stars of the South” award from Irish-American magazine for outstanding service and dedication to Irish culture in the Southeast.

Under the leadership of veteran teaching artist John Maschinot, Ah Surely has presented at many large and small school assemblies. They recently completed a series of school programs presented by The Creative Arts Guild and sponsored by the Jonas Foundation in Whitfield County, GA, and have appeared at Spivey Hall’s Young People’s Concert series.

Sample Programs:        

  • From Ireland to America: Ah Surely takes students on an evocative journey – “From Ireland to America” – in the mid-eighteenth century. Students will learn the importance of music and dance in Irish culture and how coming to America and interacting with other cultures created new styles and new genres of music and dance. Students will also learn about the uniquely Irish uilleann pipes, a soft-spoken version of the bagpipes, as well as the fiddle, penny whistle, guitar, and bodhran (hand drum). And of course, percussive Irish step dance is an integral part of the program. Student volunteers will participate in an Irish céilí (music and dance party) by learning a simple dance and joining the band on banjo and bodhrans. “From Ireland to America” satisfies a number of Georgia Performance Standards for Fine Arts and for Social Studies.
  • Primary Art Form: Music and Dance
  • Content/Curriculum Area: Fine Arts, Social Studies
  • Grade Levels Served: K-12, Post-Secondary
  • Number of Students: 350 plus (limited only by auditorium size)
  • Program Length: 45 minutes
  • Facility Requirements: Minimum performance area – approximately 15′ wide by 8′ deep
  • Tech Requirements: Sound system needed for 75 or more students (artist can provide sound system upon request)

Sample Lesson Plan:

Ah Surely – Lesson Plan


  • Listing ID: 5989