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It's truly remarkable how fast time flies.  We announced on May 1st that the O’Flaherty Retreat was going virtual, and now here we are just three weeks until we start! We believe we have created a virtual format  that takes full advantage of technology while simultaneously respecting the traditions regarding how Irish
music is learned and performed. The feedback we have received from our instructors has been very encouraging, but ultimately, it's our students who will judge if we got it right.  We're excited to get things going, and we hope you'll join us for this unique learning experience.

Why Did We Choose Video
Lessons Over Live Online Lessons?

Thankfully, we had the luxury of time to explore both methods for teaching.  We even did a survey of our instructors and former students asking them about their preferences.  Based on the answers we got, we decided to go the route of videos because:
  1. By using the right lighting, audio and video set up with state-of-the-art equipment, instructors can capture the best views and sounds for their teachings. 
  2. Video lessons avoid common distractions experienced in live lessons such as dropped connections, others who unmute, audio and video technical difficulties, etc. 
  3. If you missed something in a live class for any reason, you can't stop and go back like you can with videos. 
  4. Videos allow you to watch lessons on your schedule and as many times as you like through December 6th.  That's seven weeks.
One final note on this.  We will have more than 154 live events associated with the Retreat so it's not all pre-recorded. Almost all of our enrichment classes, informances, sessions and workshops are live.  There are Instructor Q&A Forums that are live group discussions with instructors to explore methods and teachings.  We hope you will consider the totality of what we are offering this year.  We have gone to great lengths to bring the you best in these challenging times.   

Here Are Some Reasons to Enroll Soon

One of the benefits of a virtual music retreat is that you can wait until the last moment to enroll.  No need to worry about planning for travel, lodging, meals, and class size limits.  But for us, a last minute onslaught of enrollees can be overwhelming, so we have come up with a few incentives to entice you to register now versus later. 

Nine Instructor Concerts from Past Retreats
Between Oct. 1st and the Retreat, you will enjoy nine full-evening performances by some of Irish trad music's best. You'll virtually have the best seat in the house. 

Three Open Sessions
We will host three open sessions on Oct. 3rd, Oct. 10th and Oct. 17th to get you warmed up for the Retreat.

Three Student Training Meetings on Technologies for the Retreat
We will provide student training meetings on Oct. 6th, Oct. 11th and Oct. 13th that will cover Google Classroom, Google Meet and Slack.  You'll be amazed at how easy these platforms are, so you only need attend one meeting.
 

An amazing lineup of 25 instructors will teach and perform at this year's Virtual O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, October 18th through November 8th.  To view our teaching staff, go to INSTRUCTORS.
We have scheduled 154 live events using Google Meet and will also be offering 222 pre-recorded lessons and three Friday evenings of instructor concerts.  Go to SCHEDULE to see it all. 

PLEASE NOTE:  We intend to record all of the live events so that you can watch them later if you miss some.  You will have until December 8th to view all of our content including the lessons.  
James Keane will be honored at this year's Retreat as the recipient of our "Irish Artist in America Achievement Award" for his contribution to the teaching and performance of Irish music in the U.S. and beyond.

Sessions Galore!

What's a music camp without sessions, right?  We've got plenty scheduled will be offering a wide variety of options.  If you sign up soon, you can enjoy our pre-Retreat sessions on Oct. 3rd, 10th and 17th as well.  Once the Retreat begins, we will offer sessions most days of the week.  Here is the schedule:
  • Mondays: 7-9 p.m. (CST) Open Sessions (players take turns leading, with others playing along but muting their mics) at Slow, Moderate and Lively Tempos
     
  • Tuesdays: 7-9 p.m. (CST) "Play Along Sessions" with Former and Current Instructors and Special Guests (players will play along with their mics muted)
     
  • Wednesdays: 7-9 p.m. (CST) Open Sessions (players take turns leading, with others playing along but muting their mics) at Slow and Lively Tempos and "Play Along Moderate Sessions" using Video Submissions from sessions from all over the world.
     
  • Thursdays: 7-9 p.m. (CST) "Play Along Sessions" with Former and Current Instructors and Special Guests (players will play along with their mics muted)
     
  • Saturdays: 1-3 p.m. (CST) "Play Along Sessions" with Former Instructors and Special Guests (players will play along with their mics muted)
We are excited that our "Play Along Sessions" will feature former and current instructors Colin Farrell, Dave Curley, Chris Buckley, Jeff Moore, Rose Conway Flanagan, Brian Conway, Kelly and Colm Gannon, Shannon and Matt Heaton, Jimmy Keane, John Morrow, Randal Bays and special guests Ivan Goff and Susan Waters. See our SCHEDULE for more details.

Our Pricing and Why

When we decided to split the event and our pricing into three parts, we recognized that it may confuse some people, particularly those who have attended the Retreat in the past.  So, let's take a moment and review what each element includes:

Core Courses 
When you pay $150 for a Core Course, you will receive three pre-recorded lessons from your instructor every Sunday for three weeks beginning October 18th.  You can, however, also purchase additional courses on other instruments, which is one of the biggest benefits to a virtual camp like ours.   

Instructor Q&A Forums
For $50 more, you can enroll in a Q&A Forum with your instructor.  these provide three one-hour live group sessions in which you can discuss your lessons.  You must be enrolled in the instructor's class to enroll in their Q&A Forums, and each forum is limited to 20 students.

Extras Package
This package is key to understand because normally these events are included with the price of tuition at our in-person Retreat.  For $50, you will gain access to all of the instructor concerts for this year, enrichment classes, informances, and workshops and also have access to the recordings of these events until December 8th.  If you don't purchase the Extras when you enroll, you will miss out on a lot of great events. 

So why did we go this route?  We discarded Zoom-like lessons in favor of pre-recorded lessons because we wanted very focused teaching with good viewing and sound. We also did not want to have dozens of people struggling to have personal engagement with the instructor at the same time.  At some point, the numbers may make that impossible, and variable Internet connections could pose challenges, too.  So we lowered our Core Course tuition and created the Instructor Q&A Forums to enable students and instructors to connect in smaller groups.

Finally, we created an Extras Package for everything else.  We recognize that times are tough for many, and some students just want the lessons and nothing more.  We think that the value of everything that is being offered exceeds our in-person Retreat, but truly, the value of our being back together at Camp Hoblitzelle someday without COVID-19 will be priceless.  

Virtual Dinners with Honored Guests

As part of our community activities, we have arranged some virtual dinners with some of our favorite Retreat instructors from the past: Liz Carroll, Seamus Connolly, James Kelly, Rose Conway Flanagan, Máirtín de Cógáin and Brian Conway.  The plan is to have meals together and talk about Irish music. BYOB.

QUESTIONS?

Send us an email at info@oflahertyretreat.org or call (469) 215-1840.
O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat Group
Website of the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat
Copyright © 2020, All rights reserved.

Our Mailing Address:
1320 Navaho Trail, Richardson, TX 75080

Our Phone:
(469) 215-1840

Our Email:
info@oflaheryretreat.org

Organized by the Traditional Irish Music Education Society (TIMES)
A Texas Non-Profit Organization

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