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Irish Arts Minnesota Honors Tom Klein

November 11, 2022 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Tom Klein with Opal the busking companion

“IAM Honors” is the Irish Arts Minnesota’s program for recognizing a lifetime of excellence in, and service to, the Twin Cities Irish community. The 2022 IMDA Honors recipient, uilleann piper, community organizer, and teacher Tom Klein, is recognized for
his contributions to Irish traditional music in the Twin Cities and across the United States.

The evening will be a celebration of Tom and his devotion to uilleann pipes – this very Irish of instruments. Enjoy an evening of music and friendship, with time for socializing and a chance for friends to share the stage with Tom. The evening will also feature performances by some of IAM’s Educational Grant recipients and special guests.

Doors open at 7 pm and the program begins at 7:30 pm.  Guests are encouraged to bring a dessert to share. A cash bar will be available. Ticket proceeds will benefit Irish Arts Minnesota’s Educational Grant Fund.

Tom has been working at the Irish pipes for much of his adult life, having acquired a practice set at age 18. The early years were truly rough: the struggle of learning -even acquiring- the instrument was harrowing…especially in Minnesota in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Those difficult, early years spurred him on to forge lasting relationships with musicians, instrument makers and event organizers both at home and abroad, so that starting the uilleann piping journey would not be so daunting for newcomers. To that end, Tom joined the nascent Great Northern Irish Pipers’ Club in the early aughts, taking a leadership role in promoting the club, acquiring 501c3 status for the organization, leading meetings and helping run the club’s annual Tionóil (pipers’ gatherings) and public engagement activities (e.g., The Celtic Open Mic evenings). For ten years (2007- 2017) Tom served on the board of the Northeast Tionól, which hosts an annual Irish traditional music weekend in the Catskills, NY each October. One of Tom’s duties within that organization was to facilitate the acquisition of P3 visas, allowing dozens of musicians from Ireland and Europe to enter the US and perform at events and festivals. Tom has also applied these visa skills to our Minnesota Irish Music Weekend festival, even going so far as to escort an artist to the US embassy in Dublin for their required interview!

Tom and Opal busking at the St. Paul Farmers Market

In the early ‘90s, Tom was a member of the local trad-ish group The Clumsy Lovers (Minnesota Music Award’s Best Traditional & Modern Folk Artist recipient in 1995). He provided guitar, whistle and didgeridoo for this ensemble, and -notably- unleashed a Tuvan throat-sung version of Oh, Danny Boy upon a startled and bemused world (via a live performance on MPR’s The Morning Show).

A firm believer in retail-piping, Tom has performed as a busker outside the St. Paul Farmers Market for over a decade (8 with his patient dog, Opal).


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November 11, 2022
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
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CJAC’s Performance Hall
836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104 United States
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Irish Arts Minnesota
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