LHS English Instructor Terry Keefe’s Musical Travels: Ireland and Beyond

By Nic Brown Lincoln High English instructor Terrence F. Keefe is quite cultured. Like many, Keefe is passionate about music and his heritage. He, however, may very well be more active than most in his participation in both. Keefe plays in several musical collectives, and toured several European countries (Ireland included) last summer. “I play

By Nic Brown

Lincoln High English instructor Terrence F. Keefe is quite cultured. Like many, Keefe is passionate about music and his heritage. He, however, may very well be more active than most in his participation in both. Keefe plays in several musical collectives, and toured several European countries (Ireland included) last summer. “I play in a band called Donnybrook out of Omaha that is an Irish folk group,” Keefe explains. I also have played for more than thirty years in an Irish group out of Lincoln called Paddywhack.” When asked about his instruments of choice, Keefe rattles off the fiddle and mandolin, casually including guitar.

English Teacher Terry Keefe performs with his band in Ireland.

English Teacher Terry Keefe performs with his band in Ireland.

Keefe’s summer travels included England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands, but revolved mainly around–of course–Ireland. Keefe recalls indulging in the local mix. “I listened to many Irish sessions, and was fortunate to play in one session while visiting on the Western Coast of Ireland.” Keefe spoke somewhat grimly about Ireland’s future upkeep of tradition. “I’m afraid that Irish culture is slowly being absorbed by the global economy, though there is still plenty of it to be found. The people are incredibly friendly and I learned a great deal about hurling, a national sport as the championship was in full swing while I was there.”

Although the travels were thoroughly enjoyed, the instructor’s talents are more than present at home. Along with the aforementioned Paddywhack, Keefe’s talents are also utilized in Toasted Ponies, a bluegrass group. Both acts have material in physical format. “In addition to the recordings of others, Paddywhack and the Toasted Ponies each have 2 CD’s out. And a year or two ago I put out a solo CD. The classroom sometimes also reveals itself as a venue for his pride and knowledge. “I have done a unit where I talk about my Irish heritage and share my music,” he says. “I then ask students to research and share something about their heritage with the class.”

The roots of his musical condition are fairly varied, rattling off The Rolling Stones just as fast as a Hank Williams or Dolly Parton. “I enjoy many kinds of folk music and jazz artists such as Stephane Grappeli and Django Rheinhart. In 1978 I even saw Bob Marley live in concert. That was a great show.” It would seem the culture runs deep.

Terrence Keefe can be found at Lincoln High teaching 9th Grade English, American Literature, and Study Skills.

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