Four Peaks Irish Arts

A letter to members

Dear Members:

As I was reading through some of the earlier issues of The Pipers Review (a publication which began circulation in 1974 by the then newly-formed Irish Pipers Club) I was suddenly hit by a note from the editor and immediately found his remarks applicable to Four Peaks Irish Arts almost 40 years later. Since our membership year is upon us, I thought I’d take a minute to reflect on our organization and share some of the inspiring words from the Irish Pipers Club. The remarks to which I refer were a plea for continued membership and for members to remember to “market” the organization. What I mean is this: while FPIA is here to help and support YOU, it is up to YOU to make sure that the organization can continue. This happens by way of three specific things I’d like to point out: 1) Paying your dues to keep your membership current and our treasury healthy, 2) Showing up to participate in events and volunteering to share in the workload to keep the organization thriving and effective in its mission, and 3) TELLING OTHERS! Bring fresh blood into the organization.

Many of our current members have been involved since the inception of the Arizona Comhaltas branch in early 2008. Those who were there for the initial investigatory meetings will recall that they were birthed out of an expressed need to have an organization that would serve the dedicated musicians/dancers/Irish tradition enthusiasts in the Phoenix Metro area in a way that other local organizations weren’t. We were already dedicated to the culture and didn’t need another social club or tourist shop to gather around—we wanted the existing community to be enriched by bringing real Irish culture here. After almost a dozen concerts and workshops, and more sessions and kitchen parties than you can shake a shillelagh at, I believe we have and do continue to accomplish this goal.

By becoming a part of Comhaltas we also take on their mission to present the culture to younger generations to ensure its preservation. In this duty we are serving both ourselves and our community. I truly do believe that everyone has great potential to benefit from and contribute to Four Peaks Irish Arts. We need your membership and we need your time, talents and enthusiasm.

For those of you who see your renewal notice and think, “What has this organization done for me?” and wonder if it’s worth renewing, I would encourage you to ask yourself, “What have I done to support the organization.” If you joined us because you believed in what we were doing and just wanted to contribute financially to ensure we can continue our programs, we absolutely welcome and appreciate that and do hope you will continue to do so. However, there are many of us out there who are playing the music, dancing, speaking the language and singing the songs. It is to this demographic that I say “Paying your dues is only scratching the surface.” Our board of officers is made up of a handful of local volunteers. Those of you who know us know that we are normal people just like you. We have jobs, families and other responsibilities to balance. This is not our full-time job--we are not supermen and cannot run the organization by ourselves. We need YOU to step up and contribute.

So, my plea to you is this: if you’ve ever come to a concert, a session, a meeting, a workshop, etc. that Four Peaks Irish Arts had a hand in, and received any kind of enjoyment or personal benefit from it, please help us to keep it alive and continue to provide the same experience to others in our community. Pay your dues, roll up your sleeves and get involved. We won’t ask more of you than you are able to give and the more folks who get involved, the lighter the burden will be on everyone. Tell us what you like to do and we’ll find a role for you that is so enjoyable you won’t even know you’re working! Most of all spread the word to others in your circles of influence. Whether you think FPIA is a great benefit to you or not, tell others about us who might benefit from our programs. You never know if the John Doe in the cubicle next to you is a closet Bothy Band fan just waiting to have someone open up a whole new world of Irish culture to him!

Sláinte chugat,

Johnny Kerr
Vice Chairperson

Copyright 2008 Four Peaks Irish Arts