What is the North American Provincial Convention? convention home page
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For many years now the branches of the North American Province have been organizing a yearly gathering know as the "Convention". It is a fun long-weekend of non-stop dancing, music making, singing and partying. The day starts early and ends late with activities going on well into the early hours of the morning. Sessions start in the morning, go on all day, and into the night. There is a major ceili every day and a special feature of the Chicago convention is the late night set dancing. If the regular ceili is not enough dancing for you the late night set dance ceili starts at midnight and ends at 3am! Each ceili features a different ceili band from around the country and oversees. The convention is one of the most intense dance weekends held in the continent. If dancing is not your thing there are virtually non-stop impromptu sessions throughout the convention hotel. Some start in the morning and many go on into the early hours of the next day. Some are small while others are large. We provide the space and you provide the music. All musicians and listeners are welcome.
For many years the Convention has followed a predictable pattern which long time attendees have become familiar with and accustomed to. The Province has tried different formats to see if they offered a better experience to attendees or enhanced revenues and we think we have come up with the best format that pleases most people and maximizes revenue. It is important to note that the annual Convention is the Province's main source of funding and helps defray the modest costs of running the organization. In addition to a fun action-packed weekend you can be assured that you are helping support the organization that ensures the survival of the Irish traditional arts. With this in mind, we can't overstate the importance of you staying at the Convention hotel. Besides being so incredibly convenient - especially after a few (or a lot) of drinks in the early hours of the morning, the hotel occupancy helps pay for the cost of the hotel facilities. If we don't have enough people staying at the hotel the Convention has to pay additional charges for the use of the hotel's facilities.
The North American Province
Organizationally, Comhaltas in Ireland is arranged according to the four Provinces of Ulster, Munster, Connacht and Leinster. Extending this paradigm to the rest of the world, for organizational purposes, Comhaltas recognizes the continent of North America as an honoree Province of Ireland! Hence the term North American Province of Comhaltas. There is also a Province of Great Britain which include England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. In Ireland, the Province structure is further divided into counties and in North America and Great Britain the Provinces are divided into Regions.
There are no organized or scheduled sessions but we are certain that you will find many session throughout the hotel. Since we have the entire hotel reserved for the convention we don't have to worry about upsetting the neighbors. And we have made arrangements to keep the bars open late. There are several package options available which can be purchased on-line or by mail.
There are several different registration packages you can choose from which helps maximize your dollars depending on your interests and needs. You can register online using PayPal or by mail by printing our registration form and enclosing a check (US$ please!). We do not store any of your personal information on our web site. You can pick up your registration packet from the Convention registration desk which will be sign posted from the hotel lobby. The registration desk will be open at the following times:
Friday - 9am - 7pm
Saturday 9am - 4pm
If you can't collect your packet during these times please email email@example.com to make alternate arrangements.
Thursday, April 20
There is no better way to start the convention than with a Ceili. This will be held in the hotel's ballroom from 8pm-Midnight. The band for this ceili is still to be determined but dancers will appreciate the Bob Bair live dance floor we are installing specially for all the Ceilithe.
Friday, April 21
Friday is the day where the branch officers and delegates conduct some business for the smooth running of the organization. Regional Meetings are held in the morning and the Provincial Meeting is held in the afternoon. All current CCE members are welcome and encouraged to attend these meetings. The location of each meeting will be posted on the hotel's bulletin board. If meetings are not your thing, there will be a set dance workshop where this year's featured teachers are Pádraig and Roisin McEneany. Then its time for serious dancing. The main ceili starts at 8:30 until midnight with the Pearl River Ceili Band and if you want some more dancing join the Late Night Set dancing which is from 1 am until 3:30 am with music by George and Claire McAdam.
Saturday, April 22
Saturday begins with the Package Breakfast. This is a great chance to meet and chat with old friends and make some new ones. Actually the entire week-end is one big excuse to meet old and make new friends. The day begins in earnest with the workshops, some of which are still being finalized. We have some new and different workshops this year which we hope you will enjoy. Of special interest to fiddle players will be the master Class with Liz Carroll but please note that this special workshop will be held on Sunday. There may be some additional follow up meetings on Saturday, scheduled by the Provincial Council as needed, and are usually for specific sub groups by invitation only. Between the morning and afternoon workshops is the package Lunch. In the evening, there is a special pizza party and ceili for the younger members. The highlight of the Convention is the Banquet. Following the Banquet is a ceili and we will make every effort to ensure that it starts at the scheduled time of 9:30 - 00:30 with Chicago Reel (Pauline Conneely). And if you want more dancing join the Late Night Set Dancing again from 1am until 3:30am. Music: TBA.
Sunday, April 23
If you have survived the weekend so far join us for a Mass in Irish. If you have purchased a meals package you can then attend the Package Brunch. If you don't have to fly home, stay for the Set Dance Workshop and Farewell Ceili with Murphy Roche Ceili Band. If you are a fiddler, musician, or just want to attend a fascinating workshop with one of the giants of Irish music, then the Master Fiddle workshop with Liz Carroll is on Sunday. The convention officially wraps up at 4pm on Sunday but one of the best sessions all weekend is the Sunday evening session with the musicians more than happy to play for some sets. So plan your travels accordingly. Maybe even stay an extra night at the hotel.