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Spirit of ’76: Patriotic Songs of America

Date: Sunday, July 2, 2023

Location: William Paca House & Garden, 186 Prince George Street

Time: 5:00 pm (EDT) - 6:00 pm (EDT)

To commemorate Independence Day, Peter Brice and Meghan Mette present American songs from the Age of Revolution, drawn from oral traditions and 18th and 19th-century broadsides. This performance will also feature Irish and American traditional music on the button accordion and fiddle. 

For Peter, a 12th-generation Annapolitan, this offering is part of an initiative to reinvest the Spirit of ‘76 into our celebration of the 4th of July. Join us for this special concert of patriotic songs.

Advance registration recommended; space is limited.

Cost: $25 General Admission; $20 for Students, HA Members & Military

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About Our Performers:

Peter Brice sings old songs in a traditional style and plays Irish traditional music on the button accordion. A native Annapolitan and an exponent of Baltimore, Maryland’s Irish traditional music community, Peter’s work blends singing and musicianship with musicology and history, humor, colorful design, and a vision for traditional culture as a foundation for an intellectual life.

A lifelong singer, Peter has married a repertoire of American historical songs with a wide-ranging English-language style that he gleaned from his mentors Dónal Maguire, Louisa Jo Killen, and Lisa Null, as well as from members of his family. His playing reflects his admiration for Galway accordionists such as Joe Cooley, Kevin Keegan, and Raymond Roland—a style into which he was initiated by Brooklyn-born accordionist and National Heritage Fellow Billy McComiskey. He advanced his playing under the tutelage of Adare-born accordionist Derek Hickey.

The core of Peter’s public work is the collection and revival of traditional music from Maryland to which end, even as a teenager, he was rescuing orally transmitted songs from local people who were born in the early 20th century. He has collected and collated the compositions of Billy McComiskey, and is continuously collecting Irish and American traditional music in Baltimore and Anne Arundel County. Peter is a steadfast teacher of traditional singing, and trains children and adults in vocal technique, traditional style, and declamation. He also teaches the button accordion, music theory, and, as an affiliate to Irish dancing schools, supplements dance instruction with an architecture for interpreting Irish traditional music.

In 2014, he and his mentor Billy McComiskey were recognized by the Maryland State Arts Council as a traditional arts master-apprentice pair. He received the Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award again in 2019 with singer Lisa Null. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory Preparatory program, Peter also holds a BA in Irish Traditional Music and Dance from the University of Limerick. He has served as the director of the New Century American Irish-Arts Company since 2011.


Originally from Portland, Maine, Meghan Mette was raised in the rich confluence of New England’s fiddle and dance traditionsAt a young age, she began her journey in Irish music with her teacher, Seamus Connolly, learning techniques influenced by Connolly’s Clare style, as well as stylistic inputs from many of Seamus’s world-renowned friends and musical colleagues. Meghan had the opportunity to join Seamus on tours in New England and in Ireland, participating in high profile festivals such as the Gaelic Roots Series and the Hughie Gillespie Festival. She collaborated on Connolly’s book and music collection, recording some of Seamus’s original works and contributing her own compositions. 
Meghan attended University College Cork in Ireland, where she studied Irish traditional music with Matt Cranitch, Connie O’Connell, and Geraldine O’Callaghan. She became immersed in the Cork and Kerry styles and had the opportunity to perform at the Cork Opera House alongside Tara Breen and Caitlín Nic Gabhann. She finished her degree by organizing a recital of all of her own compositions, which she performed with the help of many fabulous musicians in the Cork area. 
Meghan also has a rich teaching background. She began teaching private and group fiddle lessons in her youth and has since taught at fiddle camps and festivals. She has also had the honor of giving workshops in idiomatic styles of Irish fiddling through venues such as the School of Musical Traditions in Maryland. Meghan finds true joy in teaching and performing, and most importantly, participating in Maryland’s vibrant Irish traditional music community



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