February 1, 2018

Since 2010, instructors at the Center for Irish Music have come together to select a common repertoire—a set list of beginning, intermediate and advanced tunes that become a shared language for students of every age to learn from and rely on. The digital recordings and sheet music that back up the common repertoire have become some of the most accessed resources on CIM’s website.

While the common repertoire draws internet visitors from around the globe, it really comes in handy at CIM celebrations, when students play a parting reel at the end of their recitals, or perform for the guests of Éigse, CIM’s annual fundraising gala. During the sold-out Master Artist Concert at the Minnesota Irish Musicians Weekend in June, more than 20 CIM students and instructors shared the stage with such master artists as Joanie Madden, Mick, Louise and Michelle Mulcahy, and Sean Clohessy to close the performance with “Old Copperplate” and “New Copperplate,” two reels on CIM’s common repertoire. 
“That mix of generations sharing their love of the music is really the heart of Irish music, and seeing these very young students playing alongside these master musicians is quite moving,” says Rendell. “It may look like everyone’s improvising, but in fact everyone is playing the same tune. It really is an incredible feat of collective intelligence – a whole group of individuals committing time to learn music they will play together while keeping the tradition alive.”