Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame Names 2024 Members

The Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame has announced its 2024 class of inductees. The Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame recognizes Irish Americans with significant ties to Michigan who have made important contributions in various fields in Michigan life.

Category of Public/Community Service:

Margaret Cudihy Strzelecki
A native of Grand Rapids and a longtime resident of Kalamazoo, Margaret Cudihy Strzelecki has been a major leader in promoting the Irish spirit and culture in Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan for more than 25 years. She is the President of the Kalamazoo Irish American Club, which supports several charitable causes, is a founder of the Kalamazoo Irish Festival and St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and a planner of the Hooley for Healing fundraiser for cancer patients and their families. Margaret is also active in many other community service organizations. She traces her Irish lineage to Tipperary and Roscommon Counties in Ireland.

Maureen T. Root
For more than 30 years Maureen Root has devoted herself to serve the Irish community in the Detroit metropolitan area. She is President of the McCauley Division of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, was the 2023 Pallotine Fathers Woman of the Year, the 2023 Ancient Order of Hibernians Woman of the Year, and with her husband Norm, was 2024 Co-Grand Marshal of the Detroit St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Maureen is a leading coordinator of the annual Irish heritage events of the Detroit Tigers, Lions, and Pistons, which have raised more than $75,000 to help fund the Detroit St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Maureen’s father, John Moriarity, was from Dingle, and she is the eldest of eight children in her family.

Mary Alice Williams
Three of Mary Alice William’s grandparents were from Ireland, and after growing up in Rhode Island and attending college and living in Milwaukee, she moved with her husband Michael and their children to the Eastown neighborhood of Grand Rapids in 1974. Since then, in that community and beyond, she devoted herself to organizing public efforts to address issues such as racism, social justice, public safety, healthcare, and economic opportunities. She was a founder of the Eastown Neighborhood Association, and served for four years on the Grand Rapids City Commission. She and her husband, Professor Michael Williams, were active in the Ireland Study Abroad Program at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.

Category of Business & Industry:

Mark Fazakerley
A native of Muskegon, Mark Fazakerley traces his Irish heritage to his great-great grandparents in Ireland during the famine times of the mid-1800’s. After serving in the U.S. Navy, in 1979 Mark co-founded in Muskegon a small foundry called Eagle Alloy. With Mark serving as a Co-President, Eagle Alloy soon earned a wide reputation for exceptional excellence in quality and service. Over the next 45 years Eagle Alloy has grown into three sister companies employing 330 persons, with customers such as Caterpillar, John Deere, Harley Davidson, and many others. Among numerous awards received, in 2015 Eagle Alloy was named North America Metalcaster of the Year, and in 2018, honored as the Michigan Manufacturer of the Year. In addition to his business career, Mark and his wife Christine have been most generous benefactors of charitable causes in the Muskegon community, especially in healthcare and for the USS Silversides Submarine Museum. Eagle Alloy is an annual Music Festival Sponsor.

Category of Sports:

John Treanor
John Treanor was born 100 years ago in County Monaghan in Ireland. At age 20 he was attracted to immigrate to Detroit to play Gaelic Football for the Detroit Padraig Pearse team, where he was the star fullback for the next 20 years. He was known by his opponents for his “sharp elbows.” After his playing career, for 40 years John was a team manager, coach, and mentor for generations of youth. In 1992 he was honored by the North American GAA for his support of Gaelic Football in Michigan, and in 2006 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for promoting youth sports. Beyond Gaelic football, John and his wife Kathleen were always generous in supporting charities, especially to help the poor. In 2003 John was honored as Pallotine Man of the Year, and in 2010 he and his wife Kathleen were the first couple to become Grand Marshals of the Detroit St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In his employment career, John worked for 40 years for the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company.

Category of Arts and Entertainment:

Chris Lea McCarthy-Zahrt
A Muskegon resident whose great grandfather hailed from County Cork, Chris Zahrt is well-known throughout the Muskegon community as an active supporter of many organizations and events benefitting the Muskegon area. But she is best known near and far as a founder and the President of the Michigan Irish Music Festival for more than 15 years. It was her passion as the driving force behind the Music Festival that kept the festival alive, and it was her inspiring leadership that grew the Michigan Irish Music Festival from its humble beginnings into one of the most successful annual celebrations of Irish music and culture in the United States. Starting 25 years ago with 1 stage and 5 performers, the Music Festival now has 4 major stages and over 30 artists, many of whom are from Ireland, Scotland, and Canada. Annually, more than 30,000 people attend the festival. Among the numerous awards Chris has been honored with are Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellowship and the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award.

The new members for 2024 of the Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame will be inducted at a public ceremony at 11:30 AM on the Grafton Stage of the Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon, Michigan, on Saturday, September 14, 2024.

The Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame was founded in 2012 by the Muskegon Irish American Society. The Hall of Fame currently has 69 members, and is permanently displayed on the Hall of Fame website. A digital exhibit of the Hall of Fame is being planned to be available in locations across Michigan. To see the members of the Hall of Fame, please visit the Hall of Fame website at http://www.michiganirishamericanhalloffame.org/. Nomination forms for membership in the Hall of Fame are available at the website.

Michigan Irish Music Festival Announces 2024 Artist Line-Up

The Michigan Irish Music Festival, presented by Family Financial Credit Union, is excited to announce the lineup for their 25th Anniversary. Join the celebration September 12-15th at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon, Michigan!

This year’s incredible list of artists features the return of crowd favorite Gaelic Storm. Other headliners include Kíla, Talisk, Aoife Scott, & Seamus Kennedy.

Gaelic Storm, a band with over 20 years of success, defies expectations with their latest album, Go Climb a Tree. Their diverse fan base, ranging from country to rock enthusiasts, fuels their continued growth. The album showcases their versatility with party anthems, folk tunes, and spirited instrumentals. Despite the world’s turmoil, the band aims for “contemplative escapism,” offering listeners a break from chaos. Known for their tireless touring and blue-collar ethos, Gaelic Storm remains dedicated to live performances. From their humble beginnings as a pub band to appearing in Titanic and topping charts, they’ve carved a unique path in Celtic music.

Kíla, an octet from Dublin, has been pioneering trad-fusion since 1987. They’ve performed worldwide, releasing 20 albums and composing for Oscar-nominated films. Rooted in Irish tradition, their music incorporates Latin, Reggae, Rock, and more. Diverse in musicality, Kíla blends traditional and original compositions. Collaborating with artists like U2 and Sinéad O’Connor, they’ve explored various genres and styles. Their work on films like The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea earned acclaim and awards.

Talisk has over 15 million streams and has sold out shows across 5 continents, amassing a global following while redefining the folk genre. Mohsen Amini (concertina), Benedict Morris (violin), and Charlie Galloway (guitar) captivate crowds by pushing musical boundaries and testing a trio’s live production capabilities.

Aoife Scott, a folk singer from Dublin, comes from the famed Black family and is gaining prominence in traditional music. Her dynamic voice and emotive lyrics have earned her accolades including Best Folk Act at the Irish Post Music Awards. With appearances on BBC2 and TG4, she’s gaining international attention. Aoife has headlined festivals worldwide and achieved chart success in Ireland. Her second album, Homebird continues to showcase her talent and solidify her position in folk music.

A seasoned performer for 30 years, Seamus Kennedy has toured extensively across the US, showcasing his musical talents from Alaska to Florida. Awarded “Best Irish/Celtic Male Vocalist” annually since 1993, he’s a sought-after headliner at Celtic festivals nationwide. With 11 albums spanning contemporary and traditional genres, Seamus engages his audience with interactive performances and witty banter, seamlessly transitioning between Irish ballads, lively reels, and American music styles.

Artists rounding out the line-up include: JigJam, Dave Curley & Colin Farrell, Síomha, The Friel Sisters, The Irish Music All Stars, Shane Hennessy, Cathal Ó Curráin & Marty Barry, Blackthorn, The Wee Heavies, Ally The Piper, On the Lash, Kennedy’s Kitchen, Conklin Céilí Band, Enda Reilly, Ian Gould, Ironwood, Ardan Academy of Irish Dance, and The Mona Shores Fiddlers.

Along with presenting sponsor Family Financial Credit Union, other major sponsors of the festival include G&L Chili Dogs, Langlois Home Furnishings, The Mart Dock, and Budweiser.

Tickets will go on sale May 2, 2024 at www.michiganirish.org. Children 12 & under are free but need a ticket, which can be ordered at the time of purchase.The 2024 ticket sponsor is Barry’s Greenhouse & Landscaping.

For those needing overnight accommodations, reserving early is encouraged! Delta Hotels by Marriott and Shoreline Inn are host hotels for the festival, and they are ready to take your reservation.

To book Shoreline Inn: 231-727-8483 or to book Delta Hotels by Marriott: 231-722-0100

Complete festival information can be found at www.michiganirish.org.
Stay tuned to the website and Michigan Irish Music Festival social media pages for additional updates.

Lineup for 2024 Michigan Irish Music Festival Revealed

Posted: Updated: 

 

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — September marks the 25th anniversary of the Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon and the participating bands and musicians have finally been announced.

The event will take place Sept. 12 to Sept. 15 at Heritage Landing and will feature five acts as headliners to keep the fun going throughout the festival’s duration.

The headliners include Gaelic Storm, Kila, Talisk, Aofie Scott and Seamus Kennedy. These five artists have decades of performance experience and hope to bring that excitement to Muskegon this fall. Dates for each performance will be announced later.

Tickets go on sale on May 2, but you can preorder a full festival pass for just $45 if you buy them on St. Patrick’s Day. You can do so by clicking here.

Watch the live announcement: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=606368601695093

Michigan Irish Music Festival Celebrates 25 Years!

MICHIGAN IRISH MUSIC FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 25 YEARS!

SPECIAL TICKET SALE: ST. PATRICK’S DAY, SUNDAY MARCH 17 Muskegon

The Michigan Irish Music Festival, presented by Family Financial Credit Union, is excited to announce its St. Patrick’s Day festival pass sale. Secure the best value available to celebrate the festival’s 25th Anniversary at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon, September 12-15th! Available only online at michiganirish.org for 24 hours on Sunday, March 17th, the Festival Pass is $45. ( As a reminder, children 12 & under are free, but will still need a ticket code. These may be ordered at the same time.)

This pass includes Friday, Saturday, Sunday, AND Thursday’s Pub Preview Party, which features one stage of entertainment, multiple food vendors, and a sampling of festival merchandise. The full festival opens Friday at 5pm and will include all stages, the full shopping experience, Celtic Kitchen and Food Court Vendors, cultural programs, Wee Ones activities, and more.

Along with presenting sponsor Family Financial Credit Union, other major sponsors of the festival include G&L Chili Dogs, Langlois Home Furnishings, The Mart Dock, and Budweiser.

Tickets are sponsored by Barry’s Greenhouse & Landscaping. Single-day tickets will go on sale May 2, 2024. Band and entertainment announcements will also be made at this time.

For those needing overnight accommodations, reserving early is encouraged! Delta Hotels by Marriott and Shoreline Inn are host hotels for the festival, and they are ready to take your reservation. To book Shoreline Inn : 231-727-8483 or to book Delta Hotels by Marriott: 231-722-0100

Complete festival information can be found at www.michiganirish.org. Stay tuned to the website and Michigan Irish Music Festival social media pages for additional updates.

For media information, call 231-683-2065.

Read the WZZM13 Story – Michigan Irish Music Festival Gives Back

Muskegon Irish Festival took $50k generated and donated it to Muskegon Co. organizations in 2023

 6:08 PM EST December 27, 2023

Watch the Video Here!

The Michigan Irish Music Festival generated $50,000 to donate to area organizations after the festival this year in September.

The festival, which presents music and culture of Irish music, also has a strong emphasis on philanthropy.

“We feel so strongly about making certain that we can make an impact on other nonprofit organizations in our community,” said Chris Zahrt, sponsorship director of Michigan Irish Music Festival and past president.

This year, the festival held a nonperishable food drive and donated all the items collected, plus cash donations, to Mission for Area People.

Since tracking began in 2008, the Michigan Irish Music Festival has donated nearly $400,000 to Muskegon County non profits. The main focus is helping with food insecurity issues.

“Just last week, we were able to give a check to Meals on Wheels, which is a program of AGEWELL services here in Muskegon County,” said Zahrt.

Another area of donation is to the Muskegon Luge and Adventure Park. Money from past events helped build their new climbing wall.

“Part of our many Reasons for All Seasons plan that was introduced in 2017 brought year round recreation to the park here rather than just winter, which was our focus for the first 35 years,” said Jim Rudicil, executive director of Muskegon Luge Adventure Park. “So now, we’re expanding into those summer months. And this is a four sided climbing wall that can allow families to climb together and interact.

Also, the park has been renting a Action Trackschair from the DNR. It is a motorized wheelchair that lets trails be accessible to more people. The park would like to purchase its own. The price is about $17,000, and donations from the Irish Music Festival have raised about half of that so far.

“Having a equipment like this allows a person with a disability to recreate with their family and not having to go to the site or wait for them to get back from their adventure,” said Rudicil. “They can adventure with them.”

Other organizations the festival donates to include Kids Food Basket,  Lakeshore Museum Center, West Michigan Speedskaters, Pioneer Resources, Family Promise of the Lakeshore, USS LST 393, Muskegon Rotary Club Interact Program, Knights of Columbus, Hope Project and Run Muskegon.

The festival returns in 2024 on September 12 through 15.

2023 Festival Entertainment Announcement

Michigan Irish Music Festival Returns September 14-17, 2023

The Michigan Irish Music Festival, presented by Family Financial Credit Union, is excited to announce the Entertainment Lineup* for September 14-17th 2023, at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon. Over 25 bands will perform on multiple covered stages.

Tickets are available for sale starting Thursday, May 4, 2023 at www.michiganirish.org. Save $5 or more on single-day tickets or 4-day passes when you buy tickets online.

MIMF is thrilled for the return of Seamus Kennedy

Trademarked by his ongoing interaction with his audiences, fast-paced humor is very much a part of what Seamus does. In fact, Seamus seems to be having such a grand time and he makes it all look so effortless that it is easy not to notice what a superb musician he truly is. He will segue seamlessly from an Irish ballad about a dying town to a rollicking reel and then move into American music, equally at home with folk, pop, country or traditional.

Also welcoming celebrated artists:

Slide, with its diverse songs, which range from soulful and sorrowful to contagiously energetic, The Irish Times calls Slide “traditional musicians with attitude”. With songs showcasing a variety of clever arrangements – from sensitive whistle harmonies to driving, high-powered strings and captivating lyrics, Irish Music Magazine says “[Slide] can sing, they can write, they can dance across fingerboards and piano keys, buttons, and bows, and by crikey they can play.”

Socks in the Frying Pan
are a multi-award winning trio hailing from County Clare on the West coast of Ireland. Their dynamic vocal harmonies, virtuosic musical ability and their onstage wit has captured and captivated audiences the world around.

Doolin’
is French in origin – though easily mistaken for Irish musicians! This sextet (guitar, bodhrán, violin, tin whistle, accordion/vocals, bass) brings a fresh approach to Irish music. Inspired by the purest tradition, Doolin’ combines instrumentals, vocals and original compositions in a resolutely modern style. The arrangements, at times taking their inspiration from pop-rock, folk, jazz, funk or even rap (and always in the best taste), emit great energy.

Eileen Ivers, a founding member of Cherish the Ladies, has established herself as the pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle in the world today. Touting an impressive list of accomplishments, including a Grammy award and an Emmy nomination, Ivers’ recording credits include over 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores, including “Gangs of New York”.

Sharon Shannon is a prolific composer crossing over into many genres of music. Her style is uniquely traditional Irish and she has been hugely influential in promoting Irish music not only in Ireland, but in the USA where she has collaborated with John Prine and Steve Earle, in Canada with Natalie McMaster, in Japan with the Kodo Drummers, in Malawi with Umoza Children of Mzuzu and recording and touring with Seckou Keita, Kora and percussion master
from Senegal.

One for the Foxes is an exciting and dynamic transatlantic trio that features a mix of Irish and American folk music and song, both traditional and newly composed, presented in an energetic and engaging manner. Through a shared deep-rooted passion for Irish traditional music, this trio highlights the vital role of Irish traditional music as an origin of many American folk musics, and explores how those styles can interact with one another in a manner both eclectic and grounded.

New to the festival:

Paddy Keenan, a founding member of the legendary Bothy Band, is widely considered one of the greatest living exponents of uilleann piping. Paddy’s contributions to traditional Irish music were honored with the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year award (2002), which is presented to musical heroes of the modern age, and in 2011 by the Irish Music Association, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Malinda is a NY/DC-based singer, songwriter, and actor. With a mission to make community through her art, Malinda hails a very impressive social media presence, with 1.4 million YouTube subscribers and 2.6 million TikTok followers!

Tossers
are a folk-punk band from the south side of Chicago, known for one of the largest populations of Irish people this side of the Emerald Isle. Anthony (T.) Duggins got his start playing traditional Irish folk music in pubs around the neighborhood. He was joined by his brother and his best friends, playing the original songs he had written as well. Named for an old slang term used for worthless British coins in Sean O’Casey’s play The Plough and the Stars, so became The Tossers.

Additional entertainers include artists direct from Ireland and from throughout the US:

The Moxie Strings, Tallymoore, Colm & Laura Keegan, Blackthorn, Ian Gould, Kennedy’s Kitchen, Brother Crowe, Conklin Ceili Band, Black Murray, Enda Reilly, Crossbow, Ruth & Max Bloomquist, Barley Saints, Uneven Ground, Chelsea House Orchestra, Toby Bresnahan, Ardan Academy of Dance, and The Mona Shores Fiddlers
*Live music lineup is subject to change

Stay tuned to the MIMF social media pages and website – www.michiganirish.org. – for the full artist line-up, activities, cultural presentations, and other updates. Along with presenting sponsor Family Financial Credit Union, other major sponsors of the festival include G&L, Langlois Home Furnishings, The Mart Dock, and Budweiser. The Delta Hotels by Marriott and Shoreline Inn are the host hotels for the festival.

For media information, call 231-683-2065.