- The Branch-year for activities commenced in September 2016.
- The Branch AGM was held 6 October 2016. C. Hamm was elected to Chair, changing from Acting Chair. All previous members of the executive were returned with the addition of Danny Doyle (Irish officer) and Beckie Ewald (Youth officer).
- Carol Ann Bowers and Oscar Mou attended the Eastern Canada CCE Regional AGM in Sudbury in October. We agreed to host the 2017 Regional AGM in Ottawa.
- The Executive met every month, save for Dec, June, July and August.
- On March 29 the branch changed its public-facing name to Ottawa Irish Arts. This was done to improve outreach to non-Irish in the community. The branch’s legal name did not change. All feedback has been very positive.
- A member survey was undertaken, asking members to indicate their opinion as to whether the Ottawa Branch should remain in CCE. The response rate was about 50%, and the poll was split about 50/50, and the matter was dropped.
- Oscar Mou (Public Relations officer) published a monthly newsletter each month, including summer months. Dedication and diligence!
- Patricia continues to maintain our large website which requires frequent updating throughout the year, and continues to provide content to the Branch blog, and manage the Twitter account (@ottawacce) which is growing in followers. Our thanks to G. McFee who continues to donate funds, covering the cost of the domain hosting.
Summary of Branch Events
- Monthly ceilis (Except December and May). The January to March ceilis were enthusiastically attended by many young people, making up for a slow autumn ceili season. We are indebted to the band (lead by Elizabeth Scarlett) and all callers (Carol Ann Bowers, Caitlin Crockard, Danny Doyle, in no particular order). Lisa Wright, and Oscar Mou, often work the bar and Oscar typically does the 50/50 draw. Carol Ann Bowers also arranged entertainment portions of the ceilis on several occasions. The table arrangement was altered to a U-shape, opening up the dance floor along the hall’s length, dispensing with the two-section model.
- Monday night instruction in language (4 levels) and dance (set and step) were reasonably well attended. We are very appreciative of our teachers for sharing their time, skills, and for their dedication.
- The March dinner-dance (12 March) was enthusiastically attended by 130 paid entrants, which we believe is a record over the past 3 or 4 years. We are indebted to long time, dedicated, member, Toni Forsythe who arranges for the main dish to be prepared. The Ambassador’s wife and children attended the ceili and had a grand time. (While the Ambassador was invited in December, it is understood his calendar is fully booked in March with state duties.)
- Patricia attended, for the Branch, the Rose of Tralee Selection the day after the ceili. There was no Ottawa Rose this year.
- On March 14, master fiddler Matt Cranitch and legendary accordion player Jackie Daly wowed the audience at a Branch sponsored concert (Culture Ireland sponsor travel and accommodations).
- As is the custom members of the Branch executive attended the Irish Ambassador's St Patrick’s Day reception, held at the official residence. It was the inaugural occasion for the new ambassador, His Excellency Jim Kelly.
- In late March, PA and CH attended the entire Irish Film Festival Ottawa, and co-sponsored, with the Irish Society, and Caint as Comhrá a film in the Irish language (DANCE EMERGENCY/Damhsa na hEigeandala, Dir. Deirdre Mulrooney).
- Oscar Mou organized two Irish Trivia nights, held at Paddy Bolands Pub, and also produced a Branch wall calendar, sold at minimal profit, as an outreach mechanism. A limited supply of 50 were made and sold out quickly. No small amount of effort by Oscar to pull all this off.
- Over the summer we were slightly more busy than usual. On June 16 (Bloomsday), myself, P.Avendano, Danny Doyle, Oscar Mou, and guests Mary Muckle (harp), Pat Marshall (harp), Tim Robinson (pipes) spent the day (and lead up days, preparing) at the Ottawa Irish Arts booth at the "Ireland Welcomes the World" day at the Landsdowne park Horticulture building. The estimate was about 4000-5000 people came through over about 12 hours. It was clearly the best public outreach the Irish community has had in many years, that was not St. Patrick’s.
- On August 2nd there was a spectacular concert at St Brigid’s Centre, Kildare Room, with Pierre Schryer, Dermot Byrne, and Adom Dobres. Special guests included several locals and the Schryer brothers. It was billed as a joint Old Sod and Comhaltas effort, and we got recognition for that (I helped arrangements with St. Brigid’s Centre for the hall, Patricia staffed the cd sales, which were vigorous).
- Patricia and C.Hamm attended the exhibit opening, in the Byward market hosted by the NCC and the Irish embassy, "The Irish Diaspora in Canada: A History." We met the incoming 2nd Secretary at this event, Laura Finlay.
- Patricia and C.Hamm attended the Welcome Reception at the ambassador’s Residence for the 2017 Eastern Regional GAA Championship participants. We met the incoming ICUF Scholar, Sheila Concannon (we had said farewell to the previous scholar Kate Jordan earlier in the summer at a reception held by Margaret Moriarty).
Most of CCE Ottawa's instruments continue to be used by members, and the branch over the past year acquired new members interested in learning these instruments. The harps are the most popular, but there is always somebody interested in the uilleann pipes, they are usually on loan. It is worth noting that from past loans, one student has purchased their own uilleann pipes, and one has purchased their own harp for continued study.
While we are due some criticism for lack of a Branch session, it has been difficult to find a leader, and let it not be said that we are not contributing to the furtherance of Irish traditional music through our activities, as highlighted herein.
Votes of Sympathy
Branch member, Laurie Kelly, wife of Pat Kelly, died suddenly while visiting Ireland with Pat on Aug 30. Patricia and I attended the funeral reception, and left a card on behalf of the branch.
Carol Ann Bowers, on the death of her father.
Bridget Guglich for the death of her husband.