History of the KC Irish Music School

Turlach Boylan

In the Fall of 2006 All-Ireland Champion flute and whistle player Turlach Boylan established The Kansas City School of Irish Music (KCSIM) at what was then called The Kansas City Irish Museum and Cultural Center, and located in  Union Station (30 West Pershing Road, KCMO) — the KC Irish Center is now at Drexel Hall, 3301 Baltimore Ave, KCMO (corner of Baltimore and Linwood).  The first Irish music class was on tin-whistle.  Turlach Boylan grew up on a farm in County Derry, the oldest of seven children. He began playing Irish music in earnest on the flute at the age of 16 studying with County Antrim flute master John Kennedy. Turlach moved to Huston Texas in 1989, but took up residence in Kansas in at the turn of the century.  Since then he has toured extensively with the traditional band Glen Road, performing for audiences of all ages; and then, with the Kelly band, played shows across the Midwest. If you come to any Kansas City sessions you may see him playing Tin-whistle, flute, tenor banjo, or mandolin.

David Agee

At the start of 2007 Dave Agee began to teach fiddle at the school. Weekday evening group classes were held in Union Station.  David Agee grew up in Overland Park, Kansas and got his first guitar at the age of ten. He first started playing Irish music in 1980 with a local band named Talisman, and then went on to play and record with other Irish groups such as Scartaglen and Blackthorne. He has also been featured on Gerald Trimble’s, “First Flight”, and Tom Schroeder’s, “An Artistic Autoharp” and Jim Cosgrove’s series of children’s CDs. David is currently playing in The Shoe String Band, who just recently released their new CD called “A Box of Fiddle Tunes.”  At sessions Dave may be playing fiddle, mandolin, tenor banjo, guitar, bodhran, or bones.

By the end of 2007 individual lessons at KCSIM were on flute, tinwhistle, and banjo were also available.

In 2008 the KCSIM added two additional instructors, Douglas Goodhart (fiddle, tine whistle, and bodhran), and Emily McIntyre (harp, piano, and vocals).  While the school flourished for a short time, classes were no longer being held by mid-2009.

Music has been a constant companion.

In late 2012 Leslie Edward Jones — who is also better known in music circles as Eddie Edwards (thanks to his friend Eddie KC Delahunt) — began discussing teaching Irish music classes as the KC Irish Center (still then in Union Station).  Eddie E. began as Leslie Jones in East Virginia, and has lived up and down the east coast of the US.  He began playing guitar around twelve years old, and started writing songs soon after.  He used to play my songs (both covers and originals) for his family in Norfolk and Portsmouth VA, and always tried to get them to sing.  Always fascinated with making things, he has worked a pretty wide variety of jobs.  As well as working for companies doing motorboat and sailboat repairs, he has worked on a crews building homes and decks during the summers.  After High School he worked in a Steel Mill in Hartsville, South Carolina, and a Paper Mill in Tennessee while trying to decide what I wanted to do with his life.  He will often say “I guess in some ways I’m still trying to figure that one out!” During College he did what most kids did, working in restaurants and bars, traveling as much as possible.  For two months one summer after his sophomore year he stayed at a Cistercian Monastery on the coast of South Carolina, and then wrote a paper about the experience for an anthropology class.  During my junior year he began tutoring in both logic and mathematics, and also started giving music lessons.  He reluctantly played guitar for an Irish music group in 1986 that subsequently moved to Australia.  Eddie moved to the Midwest in the early 1990s, and Kansas City, Missouri in 2000.  Clearly due to that early encounter with Irish music, he decided to really focus on playing Irish Traditional Music in 2006, first joining the sessions at the Gaf (on Wornall).  After six years of an unquestionable obsession, he began to work on forming bands with other like-minded musicians, forming Roscommon (with Stevie Wilson Davis and Gordon Bearss), and later the Scarlet Town Band — which at one time or another included Becky Pringle, Bill Banks, Joe Conklin, Molly McLaughlin, David Agee, Gordon Bearss, and Kelly Dougherty.

In late January 2013 Eddie E. started teaching group classes with his friend David Agee.  By the second group class in late March, KC new-comer Molly McLaughlin (whistle, flute, and bodhran) agreed to join us as an instructor, contributing her substantial musical ability and knowledge.  We held our 6-week classes — also called learning sessions or slow sessions — on Tuesday evenings, and ran six of them in 2013 and 2014.  At this time Eddie was developing a website, which he inherited from Michael Duffy, entitled Slowplayers.org as an Irish music teaching website.  Though the teaching session was initially not associated with the Kansas City School of Irish Music, in November 2014 we announced that beginning in January 2015, we would be holding our learning sessions under the aegis of the Kansas City School of Irish Music.  Unfortunately, only two learning sessions were held in 2015, and since then there have been no consistent learning sessions.

Thus, after a three year hiatus, we are once again re-launching the Kansas City School of Irish Music at the Kansas City Irish Center in late January of 2019. Classes will begin on Monday, 21 January 2019 at 6:30pm.