For Children - Sligo Creek Hedge School

An Irish Music & Culture summer day camp
for youth ages 6-22


Deborah Brower teaching accordion

Hedge Schools came into existence during the Penal Law years in Ireland when Catholics were not allowed to be educated or to speak the Irish language. They were schools held in secret any and everywhere that kept the Irish language, culture and history alive.

playing the bodhran The Sligo Creek Hedge School, founded in 1998, is an Irish music and culture day camp for children. It is taught out of my home in Silver Spring, MD, just a few blocks from Sligo Creek. The camp day includes learning Irish tunes and songs, pennywhistle & bodhran (the Irish drum) instruction (Intro and Musicians' Weeks), Celtic art projects, playing at the creek, eating potatoes and most important of all a daily Tea & Poetry Break where over tea and sweets we first read, then write on various topics. There will be a performance for the families on the last day of camp.


Summer Camps

two happy kids

karen teaching whistle
    © 2006 Timothy Raab / Northern Photo

Sprouting Celts - (Ages 6-8)
(must be age 6 by January 1)
NOTE:If you have 4 or more children who would like a 2 1/2 hour 5-day camp, contact me and we can arrange a custom date!
This program is tailored to younger budding (and want to be) musicians. Activities include singing, learning a bit of Irish, games, pennywhistle, basic bodhran (the Irish drum) and Celtic harp, Celtic crafts, poetry and more!
Cost: $175 if registered before April 15 ($200 after April 15)

Irish Music & Arts for All - (Ages 9 and up)
9:30 am - 3:30 pm (weekday drop-off time 9-9:30)
The children will sing, learn bodhran (the Irish drum), basic Celtic harp and pennywhistle in addition to learning about Irish culture, crafts and poetry. No music experience necessary! Inquire about after-care options.
Cost: $375 if registered before April 15 ($425 after April 15)

Musicians’ Week - (Ages 9 and up)
9:30 am - 4:00 pm (weekday drop-off time 9-9:30)
For children ages 9 and up who already play some of the tunes in the Sligo Creek Hedge School's session book, or are ready to start learning. We will learn new repertoire and spend time jamming in addition to the above activities listed in the Irish Music and Arts For All Week. Audition required.
Cost: $400 if registered before April 15 ($450 after April 15)

Celtic Band Week
(6 days) - (Ages 13 and up)
Sunday session meets 1-6 pm, Mon and Thurs meets 10:00 am - 4:30 pm, Tues, Wed and Fri, 10:00 am - evening (Tues/Wed/Fri camp extends into the evening for performances.) (Mon-Fri drop-off time 9:00-10:00 am)

Co-taught by Paul Oorts, for teens already seriously involved in music. This 6-day camp works on developing ensemble skills, presenting traditional and contemporary Celtic music for concert audiences. Layering, dynamics, creating intros, bridges, endings, and crafting performance arrangements will be the focus of the camp. The group will record a CD of their newly created arrangements. There will be several evening activities during the week, including running children's Irish music sessions, performing at a retirement home and giving a public concert. During the year there will also be a few public performances at festivals and at Brookside Garden's Festival of Lights. Audition required.
Cost: $475 if registered before April 15 ($550 after April 15)

Some previous recordings by the Hedge School's Teen Celtic Band:

Cost: Half of fee per camp is due with registration. Balance is due June 1st.

Ask about family discounts and after care!

For more information contact Karen Ashbrook,, 301/592-0101.


PROVERB: "Laughter improves the company" - M.L. age 12