June 20, 2023


From Left: Lawrence Dunleavy, Katherine Dunleavy, Hannah Flowers, Claire Vanorny, Norah Rendell, Cora Ebinger, Mary Vanorny

Tim 'Fitz' Fitzgerald left us on March 3, 2010. Fitz was an integral part of the Twin Cities Irish community as a musician, artist, craftsman, singer, photographer, and promoter - a modern day Renaissance man who was always willing to lend a helping hand. Fitz was involved with Irish Fair Minnesota, the Emerald Society, and the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band. Over the years, Fitz also brought some great music and theater to Kieran’s Irish Pub.

For 15 years, Fitz encouraged and advanced opportunities for performing musicians in the Irish community. We would like to carry on that tradition by using the funds from the scholarship to support and recognize musicians at the Center for Irish Music.

A student who receives the Fitz Memorial Scholarship:

  • Has demonstrated to their private teacher that they are dedicated to learning their chosen instrument.
  • Has shown an interest in expanding their musical education and experience.
  • Has shown interest in the larger Irish community by attending sessions or attending concerts and workshops.

12 and under - Cora Ebinger, fiddle

Cora comes from a musical family (her parents and three siblings all play Irish music). Cora comes to her lessons with her new tunes all learned, but she has also shown great listening skills, sometimes surprising her instructor Mary at lessons with a whole set of tunes that she learned from her brother, sisters or her mom!

Cora's excellent listening skills allowed her to play confidently and easily with her younger sister Alex at the Midwest Fleadh this year, and she has been an asset to the Redwing Ensemble. She works hard to learn the tunes, loves playing music with others, and is a musical leader among her peers. 

Under 19 - Claire Vanorny, fiddle

Claire is an amazing musical leader in the Advanced Youth Ensemble, and has been involved in the CIM's ensemble program for more than 5 years. While working with the Nick Coleman Ceili Band this year, her strong playing was a focal point for the group and was central to their sound.

She has put many hours of practice and care into her fiddle playing and has had success in competitions, including placing 2nd in slow airs at the 2022 All Ireland Fleadh. Claire studies with Chicago fiddle player Katie Grennan via Zoom. She also writes tunes and performs Irish music outside of CIM.

“Claire is an outstanding young musician, a dream to work with, and has a tune repertoire and playing style that any adult musician would envy. She exudes musical creativity and it is easy to hear her love of traditional music in every note she plays.”
- Katie Grennan, Claire's fiddle instructor

Adult - Kathryn & Lawrence Dunleavy, harp & whistle

Kathryn has been playing harp for several years, but has recently gained confidence in her playing and made huge progress in her music through dedication and persistence. Her husband Lawrence is committed to self-improvement and pushing himself out of his comfort zone, including attending sessions and performing at the CIM Adult Open Mics. 

Together, Kathryn and Lawrence have shown tremendous enthusiasm for the music as well as commitment to the CIM through volunteering and eagerly involving themselves in many of the Irish music activities around town.

“[Kathryn] and her husband, Lawrence truly LOVE Irish music and culture and find great enjoyment in pursuing their music as adult students. I really admire their tenacity and dedication!”  - Hannah Flowers, Kathryn's harp instructor