Ward Irish Music Archives Board of Directors
I’m a retired Information Technology professional with a strong project management background. My most recent position prior to retirement was as a Project Management Office manager at US Bank (USB). I held various project services roles during my 10 years with USB. Prior to joining USB, I spent 17 years in the Information Technology Division of Miller Brewing Company (now Molson-Coors) in Milwaukee.
I have been volunteering with Milwaukee Irish Fest since the early nineties, primarily as an Entertainment Stage Manager. For the past seven years, I’ve been a member of the CelticMKE board of directors. As a result of my interest in Entertainment, I joined the Entertainment committee in 2015, serving as Committee Co-Chair for the past five years. Since 2016, I also served as board liaison for the Ward Irish Music Archives (WIMA) and was elected President of the newly formed WIMA, Inc. board a year ago.
Greg Baran has served as a volunteer in the Cultural Area of Milwaukee Irish Fest for the past 15 years, including five years as a key volunteer and the past four years as one of the coordinators for the Cultural Area setup. During this time, he came to appreciate our mission and developed a special interest in ensuring is continued success by assisting the archivist and area supervisor in procuring grants to support the activities associated with the Ward Irish Music Archives. With the recent change in the relationship between the Archives and its parent body CelticMKE, he is excited to accept the role of treasurer and looks forward to enlarging the role the Archives will play in meeting the mission of CelticMKE.
Bernard (Bernie) McCartan is a retired lawyer/insurance executive and erstwhile Irish musician who has been involved in CelticMKE and Irish Fest since the organization’s inception in 1980. Over the years, he has served on the Board of Directors, as a corporate officer, and on a number of standing committees.
Dr. Aileen Dillane
I’m a traditional musician and Senior Lecturer in Music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, Univeristy of Limerick Ireland. I received my PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago where I was a Fulbright Scholar and Century Fellow and my dissertation examined the place of Irish music in the City of Chicago by examining musical texts, performances and contexts. These research interests in Irish America have continued and expanded and now I engage in work on local/global Irish musics; musical migrations and diasporas; protest musics; popular culture; urban soundscapes and critical citizenship; and European music festivals and cultural diversity. I co-founded/co-direct the Centre for the Study of Popular Music, Popular Culture at the University of Limerick that has an associated book series with Rowman & Littlefield. I’m the Irish principle investigator on a European-funded research project with four other European partners, entitled: ‘FestiVersities: European Music Festivals, Public Spaces and Cultural Diversity’. One of my case studies, Temple Bar Tradfest, Dublin is partner to Milwaukee Irish Fest. I’ve published on Irish and Irish American music topics in various journals and books, and select edited volumes include Songs of Social Protest: International Perspectives (Rowman and Littlefield 2018), and Public and Political Discourses of Migration (Rowman and Littlefield 2016). Having worked in the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin as a student and given my long ties with the Midwest and WIMA, my hope is to bring expertise in the area of Irish and Irish American traditional and popular musics to WIMA and assist in promoting the great work of WIMA to a broader audience of scholars, musicians and the general public, with creative events, seminars and online engagement.
Danny Diamond is a musician and researcher with a background in Irish traditional music, currently based between Minneapolis, USA and Dublin, Ireland.
Born in Belfast into a cross-community family with deep roots in traditional music, Danny spent his formative years learning, playing and performing at festivals and music sessions around Ireland. Later, he was heavily involved in the revival of Dublin's folk music scene, working as a musician, archivist, sound engineer and band manager/producer. In recent years Danny has toured internationally, creating and performing collaborative projects with writers, dance companies and visual artists.
Current projects include: postgraduate research with The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at The Data Science Institute, NUIGalway, analysing melodic patterns and structures in European folk music collections as part of the EU Polifonia research project; co-ordination of an archival project with the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) on composer and fiddle player Andy Dickson; and online teaching of Irish fiddle repertoire and technique with The Center for Irish Music, St Paul MN.
Past work includes: music co-ordinator, performer and co-creator of the score for Teac Damsa’s internationally acclaimed contemporary dance theatre show Swan Lake /Loch na hEala (2016-19); founding member of the bands Slow Moving Clouds (2014-2018) and Mórga (2007-2016); Field Recordings Officer with ITMA (2008-2016).
My aspiration is for WIMA to evolve over time into a digitally-focussed cultural resource centre, documenting the contemporary and historical practice of Irish and Irish-American musics and music cultures; encouraging creative re-use of archival materials; and working to expand access to their collections via novel and innovative reference-standard online digital media resources.
Tes Slominski is a music and sound scholar who studies music, identity, and nationalism in Ireland and in its diaspora. She recently published Trad Nation: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Irish Traditional Music, and has also published articles in Ethnomusicology Ireland, the Yearbook of Traditional Music (ICTM), Women & Music, and in edited volumes including Queering the Field (eds. Barz and Cheng) and The Oxford Handbook of Music and Queerness (eds. Maus and Whiteley). Tes also has a chapter in the forthcoming book Women and Music in Ireland (eds. Beausang, O’Connor, and Watson). Along with Kimberly Francis (University of Guelph), Tes is co-editor of the gender/sexuality revision of Oxford University Press’s Grove Music Online. She served as Secretary of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s board from 2019-2021. A Teaching Fellow and then Assistant Professor of music at Beloit College in Wisconsin from 2012-2019, Tes founded and directed the North Atlantic Music Ensemble, which introduced over a hundred undergraduate students to Irish traditional music (and occasionally brought them to concerts sponsored by WIMA and CelticMKE!). Tes holds a Ph.D. in music from New York University and an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick.
As a fiddle player and teacher, Tes specializes in the repertoire and style of Sliabh Luachra, and has been on staff as a fiddle teacher at Sean Nós Northwest, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, and the Maoin Cheoíl an Chlár in Ennis, Co. Clare. She is a founding member of the Isteach is Amach queer collective, a group dedicated to building community among LGBTQ+ Irish traditional musicians. She founded the still-thriving Blue Ridge Irish Music School in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1999, and remains engaged in the nonprofit world as the Administrative Director for the Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Dr. Scott B. Spencer
I serve as an Assistant Professor of Musicology (World Music) at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. Much of my research involves the intersections of oral traditions and new technologies - usually through the lens of Irish traditional music. I have published in a variety of journals and academic presses, and have helped to run a number of oral history initiatives in academic settings. I am currently working on a digital humanities project that gathers dedication pages signed by Capt. Francis O’Neill, details the lives of the recipients of his books, and contextualizes the social and political moment in which he lived. I am hoping to work with the Ward Irish Music Archives as it navigates the rapidly-changing realm of the public-facing aspects of a living archive – whether that is active community engagement, online access, or forward-thinking digital initiatives. I am especially excited by the Archive’s wide-ranging interpretation of what constitutes Irish music in America, and its dedication to gathering materials in areas otherwise overlooked by most institutions.
William Fliss is manuscripts archivist in Raynor Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In addition to curating high-profile collections such as the J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts, Fliss has been deeply involved in digital collection building and the reformatting and preservation of audio-visual materials. Fliss holds graduate degrees in history and library and information science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and he is a member of the Society of American Archivists and the Midwest Archives Conference.
From 2013-2020, Fliss served on WIMA’s archives advisory committee where he developed a deep respect and admiration for the work being accomplished at WIMA. He is honored to have the opportunity to serve on its Board of Directors. Fliss offers the perspective of a professional archivist, and he looks forward to helping WIMA achieve its full potential as the leading archives of Irish and Irish American music in the United States.
Daniel Neely is an ethnomusicologist (PhD, New York University 2008) and a musician. He writes the weekly column about traditional music for the Irish Echo newspaper, is the Public Relations Officer of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann’s Mid-Atlantic Region, and was the artistic director of the Augusta Irish Week in Elkins, West Virginia, 2012-2016. His Irish music research focuses on its history in Boston 1890-1930, and he has lectured on this work at Boston College, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, the Ward Irish Music Archives, and elsewhere. Daniel’s doctoral work focused on Jamaican mento music and he has published and presented extensively on the subject. He also has written extensively about the history of ice cream truck music.
I have been involved in booking entertainment for Milwaukee Irish Fest for 30 years. Milwaukee Irish Fest hires 100 artists who perform over a 4 day weekend in August. Along with an entertainment committee, I oversee all the legal aspects, production, scheduling and logistics at the festival.
I am also the director of the Ward Irish Music Archives, (WIMA) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Through the archives I've published three CDs, including “Francis O’Neill Cylinders: 32 recordings of Irish Traditional Music in America circa 1904.” I've given lectures and programs at many conferences in the U.S, Canada and in Ireland. I've organized conferences on Bing Crosby, Irish Music and Celtic Festivals and Irish music in America. I have presented at the Library of Congress, Folk Alliance, Hofstra University and the Na Piobairi Uilleann, Pipers Club, Dublin, Ireland, and at the American Conference for Irish Studies, ACIS national and regional conferences.
The Ward Irish Music Archives is a vital resource. I have been involved since its inception and I look forward to working with our board in expanding our audiences so that everyone can explore the wonderful songs, tunes & stories told within WIMA.
After 28 years of volunteering for the Milwaukee Irish Fest, Mike Mitchell was selected to take on the leadership role as Executive Director for CelticMKE, the parent company of Milwaukee Irish Fest. Prior to accepting this role Mike was the Executive Director for the American Red Cross in West Michigan for 9 years and prior to that he created and grew a software development company specializing in telemarketing, ultimately selling it to his largest competitor. Mike has the distinct honor of overseeing the 150 year-round volunteers and nearly 4,500 seasonal volunteers during Milwaukee Irish Fest, now entering its 42nd year. He provides organizational leadership and passion by engaging, inspiring and motivating paid and volunteer staff to achieve organizational goals; creating a culture that is creative, engaging, exciting and fun.
Jeff Ksiazek (staff)
Jeff Ksiazek is the senior archivist of the Ward Irish Music Archives (WIMA). He received his MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies in 2008, concentrating in archives. At WIMA, he has worked on a number of projects including the Dunn Family Collection and Francis O'Neill Cylinders, the Irish Sheet Music Archives website, and the Irish Fest Scrapbook digital collection. Jeff's own research focuses on documenting the lives and careers of ensemble members of Irish dance bands in New York in the 1920s through the 1940s, as well as the history of Irish music in Milwaukee. He has presented at the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Conference, the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS), Catskills Irish Arts Week, Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School, and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Jeff is looking forward to working with the WIMA board to broaden access to WIMA collections, as well as to create new digital media resources to document Irish music in America.