About Us

History

Since 1997, the Institute of Traditional Irish Music (formerly Murphy Roche Irish Music Club) has welcomed musicians of all ages and skill levels who perform, want to learn, or just enjoy Irish traditional music.

Located in Burr Ridge, Illinois USA, ITIM is a non-profit organization affiliated with the international organization of Irish Musicians, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
Murphy Roche School of Irish Music is the educational branch of the Institute.

This Irish television program tells about our members and history:

Leadership


Kell Chole, Founder and Executive Director
We began this journey with the idea of having a club, a social organization for musicians to gather, play and share traditional Irish music. From there, we also developed a music school. We hoped to share our love of the music well beyond the diaspora, with doors open to anyone who enjoyed the drive, the rhythm and the camaraderie that characterizes Irish traditional music. It evolved into a world renown organization that has generated 37 world title medalist musicians and singers and created The Airs Project, a ground-breaking project to provide an historical archives of some of the greatest airs in the history of Irish music, performed by the world’s leading trad artists.
Over the years, hundreds of students and over a thousand members have found delight in the jigs and reels and extended their hands in friendship across the session circle to welcome new musicians who seamlessly entered the circle. Our greatest joy comes when a former student enrolls their children in the music school and another generation becomes part of that circle. If you love Irish music, come and join us. Play with us. Put your chair in the session circle as a valued member of the group.



Mike Chole, Founder and Secretary
Since the founding of the organization, I have had the great privilege of playing weekly with many great musicians and friends. The community has always supported us as well as the members that would show up every week for sessions. We started at the Kerry Piper in Willowbrook more than 25 years ago, with just a guitar and banjo and in a few months we would have over 20 musicians to pack the bar every Wednesday night for over 8 years. We then moved to the Auld Dubliner in Bollingbrook and the same thing happened, a big turnout every session night for years. When they closed, we then had the biggest session yet at the Irish Legend in Willow Springs. Over the years there, so many great friends and visiting musicians would again come every week.
The single best thing to happen to me was to watch the little kids grow up, and then bring their own little kids for lessons. What a great experience this has been.



Katie
It is an honor to serve on the board of directors of the Institute of Traditional Irish Music, formerly Murphy Roche. Since I was first introduced to the organization about a decade ago, I've witnessed firsthand how the club's teaching methods and ethos makes a lasting impression on both the musicians who pass through their doors as well as the community. Indeed, the organization is recognized as a center for Irish traditional music excellence in the Chicago area as well as on the international stage, and continues to build upon the legacy by their founders, Kell and Mike Chole.
The next generation of traditional Irish musicians are already budding and being fostered at Murphy Roche School of Irish Music, and will be stalwarts for the music of Ireland for years to come!



Terry Healy, Founding Member
I joined the Board of Directors in 1997 and in that time, I’ve seen the organization grow from a weekend school to an international presence in the instruction and preservation of Irish music. This is due to the hard work and dedication of the Choles. Their accomplishments are too numerous to name in developing serious musicians who compete on the world stage, while giving equal attention to those playing at all levels of skill.
I am proud to have been a witness to this and I am sure that the esteem which the organization has earned will continue to grow.



Sam Kennedy
I have been a board member since 2018. Our daughter Lexia began attending the music school at the age of 4. By the time she was 8 she was competing for the world title. At the ages of 11 and then again at 14 she won world titles. Her talent, dedication, determination and the wonderful Murphy Roche Irish Music teachers (The Chole family) helped her attain those accomplishments. From the age of 4 she spent every Saturday 9-4 at music lessons then every Sunday at traditional Irish music sessions. The Choles allowed the students to get involved in drilling and teaching at young ages. The Saturday school students and The Choles became like a second family for our daughter.
Our daughter has graduated and now is in a band, playing gigs with other bands, leading sessions and giving music lessons herself. I recommend starting your children in music at a young age and trying out The Murphy Roche Irish Music School. Because of my experience as a parent in the music school, I am proud to play an active role now in driving forward the organization to foster the next generation of musicians.



Ciara Haran, Youth Liaison Officer
I am the Youth Liaison Officer for the Institute of Traditional Irish Music. I have been a part of the club for six years now, and this is my first year in this role. As Youth Liaison Officer, I will be helping to plan and organize events, speak during club meetings, and communicate with the other members of the Board of Directors and engage in policy-making for the organization. I will coordinate with others to make sure that our performances and gigs are a success.
I am excited for this upcoming year and the events that we will have!



Joe Collins
I am Joe Collins, and as a member of the board of directors, I am committed to the future of this organization and the music school. Our biggest challenge in recent years was the pandemic. However, with our perseverance, the school pushed past the zoom lessons and dwindling membership, and we’re now witnessing a resurgence of students.
We, as members of the Institute of Traditional Irish Music and the Murphy Roche School of Irish Music, are dedicated to fostering Irish culture in the next generation and beyond.



Kara Scheer
Kara is a former student who represented the United States on the world stage as an Irish language traditional singer. She recently completed her MBA at University of Chicago. This is her first year on the Board of Directors.
She brings an expertise in artistic design and an expertise in fundraising to the organization. She has already immersed in the launch of our rebirth of the organization as the Institute of Traditional Irish Music as well as the major international music competition we will host in April
Institute of Traditional Irish Music
11309 72nd St
Burr Ridge, IL 60527 USA

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