Ann Marie Acosta, MA, ADCRG
Ann Marie was blessed to learn traditional Irish music in NY. She won multiple regional titles, all-Ireland medals, and the senior accompaniment championship at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in 1998. That same year, Ann Marie opened the Acosta School of Irish Music & Dance. Her students have achieved great success, many becoming all-Ireland champions and professional musicians. Ann Marie has taught at numerous traditional Irish music schools, and was an adjunct professor at Fordham University. She adjudicates both Irish music and dance and acts as an SCT examiner. She earned her MA from the University of Limerick in 2007, and was inducted into the Mid-Atlantic Region Hall of Fame in 2018. Ann Marie is passionate about Irish arts and an advocate for passing on the tradition in the US.
Mike started Irish dancing in 1993. He became president of Bucks County Irish Center, founding member of CCE-NA Delaware Valley Branch with Gerry Buckley. Mike took bodhran lessons and still plays. He became treasurer of Mid-Atlantic Region, moving up to regional chair and currently vice-chair. Mike earned an associate degree in business from Wharton. He retired from U.S. Navy Reserves after 34 years of service in 1995 and in 2003 retired from Bell Telephone System after 33 years.
Lexie Boatright is a multiple All-Ireland award-winning harpist and concertina player. She is the executive director of the Baltimore-Washington Academy of Irish Culture where she mentors the award-winning BWAIC student Ceili Band and Grúpa Cheoil. She regularly teaches across the Irish music summer school and festival circuit.
Maureen Fallon is a member of the Tir na mBláth Comhaltas branch in South Florida, and currently holds the role of chairperson. Maureen grew up in Co. Sligo and was a member of the Fred Finn Comhaltas branch in her youth and played the tin whistle. Maureen is an associate member of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and has worked in many organizations across the globe. Since having her children Maureen uses her skills volunteering and helping many sporting and cultural organizations in her local community.
Irish Language Officer
Ailísh Conneely is New York-born, Kilkenny-raised. Her main instruments are piano accordion, flute and whistle. She is a fluent Irish speaker, thanks to her family on the Aran Islands. She is a qualified post-primary Irish and music teacher, currently working as the Cultural Officer at the Aisling Irish Center in New York. She was a player, teacher and Youth Officer in multiple Irish CCÉ branches (Mullinavat, Waterford and Tramore) and is now a member of the Coleman O'Grady branch.
Known for his driving yet sensitive and dynamic accompaniment style, Ryan is an award-winning pianist and accordion player hailing from NYC. He is a Senior All-Ireland Accompaniment Champion and has performed extensively across the Feis circuit and is a highly sought after accompanist in the NY area.
Public Relations Officer
Jeff Meade is former public relations officer and now chair of the Philadelphia-Delaware Valley branch. Jeff was a longtime snare drummer in the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band, which competed in Ireland three times and accompanied The Chieftains at the Kimmel Center in 2012. He is a semi-retired journalist, with decades of experience as reporter, senior editor and managing editor in newspapers and magazines, and on the web. Together with fellow journalist Denise Foley, he is a founding editor of irishphiladelphia.com and irishinphilly.com. He has contributed to Treoir.
Marie Reilly was born in Whitestone, N.Y. Her mother Nora is from Ballyduff, County Waterford, and her father Martin is from County Longford. Marie began playing fiddle under the supervision of her father and was taught by the late Maureen Glynn Connolly. Marie has performed throughout the USA and Europe as a member of Riverdance, Cherish the Ladies and Green Fields of America led by the late Mick Moloney. Marie is married to a native Irish speaker and flute player from Galway, Seamus MacConaonaigh. They travel to Ireland regularly with their 2 children, Nora and Seamus. Seamus, their son, has been learning the Irish language. Nora is an Irish step dancer and has competed at the World Championships.
Mike is the membership chair for the Philadelphia-Delaware Valley branch. Originally from Rockland County, N.Y., Mike and his wife Kathy relocated to the Philadelphia area in 2009. Mike’s father is from Belmullet, County Mayo, and his mother, Lilly, is from Ahascragh, County Galway. Mike learned to play the button accordion under the tutelage of John Whelan and renewed his interest in recent years as his three children began their participation with traditional music and dance. Mike currently works in sales management within the medical device industry. In addition to their support of CCÉ, Mike and Kathy actively participate in the Philadelphia GAA with the Delaware County Gaels.