‘The Pub Players’: Traditional Irish music band takes root at brewery

December 2019 Posted in Other

By Brenna Wiegand

Violinist Eadie Anelli moved to Silverton 17 years ago, grateful to land in an “ideal situation” teaching music and beginning orchestra in the Salem-Keizer School District. As she acquainted herself with Silverton’s music community Anelli  pitched in when she could, including hiring musical entertainment for Silverton’s Fine Arts and Wine & Jazz festivals.

Along the way she met Brad Johnson, a self-taught, multi-instrumental artist who has performed widely at festivals and ceilis (pronounced kay-lee; Irish for gathering or dance).

“Brad introduced me to these fabulous ceilis that happen once a month at the VFW Hall in Salem,” Anelli said. “They teach you how to dance, and even if you’re falling all over yourself everybody’s still having a grand time. It’s good people; the energy is fabulous. There’s no drinking; it’s just family fun with people from 5 to 80 years old.

“Music moves people more than anything else and everybody knows dancing is good for you,” she said. She became part of a local group that plays Irish music, since named the Pub Players.

“A couple years ago we decided it was kind of boring just playing for ourselves,” Anelli said. “My son has worked at Silver Falls Brewing since it opened, and at the time the owners were looking to do something special for St. Patrick’s Day.”

The monthly gig is growing in popularity and is accomplishing what the musicians hoped it would.

“We want to have a place where people, young or old, can come down and enjoy some music, dance if they feel like it or sit in and play with us,” Anelli said.

They congregate at Silver Falls Brewing the second Thursday of the month. They are taking December off, so their next performance is Jan. 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“I think it’s great for the community,” said Eric Druliner who, with Andrew Fox, opened Silver Falls Brewery Co. in May 2017. “They’re really open to other musicians coming in and joining them and I think that once-a-month practice session is a good resource for the community.”

“I’ve always wanted to get something going with the young people in town,” Anelli said. “Teaching young people to play and having something to do in their spare time is an awful lot of fun.

“If you do your research you realize that music does something for the brain nothing else can, particularly if you play an instrument as a youngster,” Anelli said. “Even if it’s only for a year or two early on, the synapses it develops in the brain are always there – but there’s only a small window of opportunity to do it.

“I worked until I was 66 and would still be teaching music in the schools if I had the energy to do what it takes,” Anelli said. “Unless you’ve done it, you don’t know what it’s like having 30 kids of differing grade levels coming into your room every 30 minutes.

“I like playing at the pub in Silverton because it’s a nice environment,” Anelli said. “The owners have been good to us and the beer’s great. I don’t even like beer and I drink their beer.”

Charlene Whiting plays the concertina, a common Irish instrument. She’d always wanted to play Irish-Scottish music and upon coming to Silverton 7-8 years ago, she discovered that Brad Johnson lived just around the corner.

“Brad sent out feelers and we got together a group of about four people who consistently played, mostly at people’s houses, with floaters going in and out,” Whiting said.

Patience Reilly plays a French violin brought through Ellis Island in the early 1900s.

“It was very expensive for me at that time; if there’s a fire in my house this is what I’d take,” Reilly said. “I am so thankful for this group. When you’re younger, things tend to happen and you’ve got to give it up, for me anyway. We’re at a time now where we’re not having babies, getting divorced or losing jobs.”

Recently, Anelli found Celtic harpist Tyger Bailey playing at Silverton Farmers Market and promptly snatched her up. An East Coast attorney whose compositions are all over the Internet, Bailey has played at numerous venues including the Grotto’s Festival of Lights.

She calls her Spanish cross-strung Celtic folk harp her “jamming harp.” It’s got crossed strings instead of levers and is chromatic like a piano.

“They’re angled and played differently so a harpist who is used to playing up and down one set of strings will want to throw it out the window after a couple tries,” Bailey said.

In the past few weeks the group has added local fiddler Erin Carey, who also teaches privately.

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