Irish Blessing, the acclaimed York, Pa based family band, intensely & unapologetically carries on the purest forms of traditional Irish music & dance.
Jonathon is a four-time tour member of Michael Flatley’s LORD OF THE DANCE, traveling and performing from Galway to Jerusalem. Ranked #5 in the world in 2005 for Irish dance, Jonathon is also a current performer in the mixed-genre group HAMMERSTEP out of New York City who were recently favorites on America’s Got Talent. He has also graced the stage in other touring dance shows such as MAGIC OF THE DANCE, FEET OF FLAMES, and as a cast member in RIVERDANCE. Jonathon has also qualified two times to compete in the All-Ireland Championships of Irish music, having won the Fleadh Ceol in New Jersey and is a three-time Senior Belt holder of North America, making him America’s premier competitive Irish dancer. He brings power and electricity to the stage with his dance, and adds soaring melodies to the show with his flute.
Josh has the rare and dual distinction of having competed in the world championships for both music and dance. Having qualified at the New Jersey Fleadh Ceol twice, Josh has established himself as one of America’s most promising young fiddle players. He has been known to share the stage with greats such as Brian Conway, Billy McComiskey, Brendan Dolan, Isaac Alderson, and Sean Earnest. Josh has competed at the regional, national, and world championship level in Irish dance and has twice been on the faculty of the Westchester Irish Arts Weekend, teaching dance classes. He’s known for his “flying feet” on the dance floor and his exhilarating fiddle that gets toes a-tapping for spirited jigs and reels.
Hailing from New Zealand with Irish roots, Cushla provides strong rhythmic accompaniment on the piano and lilting phrases on the whistle and flute. Having recently been selected as a Deputy Marshal in the Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day parade for Irish Charities of Maryland, Cushla is well-known for her involvement in promoting Irish music and culture throughout the Pennsylvania and greater Maryland areas. She has emceed for many events and shows, including a Celtic Christmas concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in December, 2013. She is most recognized as the emcee for the Penmar Irish Festival and the annual Maryland Irish Festival and also heads its renowned music competition. Cushla is instrumental in booking, hosting, and promoting some of the most influential and prolific artists to have arisen from this tradition. Having also qualified for world championships at the Fleadh Ceol, Cushla finds equal enjoyment in playing and promoting traditional Irish music and dance.
Jim began his traditional Irish drumming career at the Catskills Irish Arts Week with instruction from bodhran player and music historian, Myron Bretoltz. Finding interest in his wife Cushla’s passion for Irish culture, Jim picked up the traditional style of percussion quickly and has been playing with Irish Blessing ever since. A doctor by day, Jim expresses his artistic side on stage with his driving rhythms and bittersweet low whistle harmonies. Jim is also an avid skier and farm boy.
The History of Irish Blessing
The Irish are known for offering toasts and blessings to those with whom they share a meal or a roof for a night. Their words are inspiring and poetic and often bring a smile from those listening—though, if you know anything of the history of Ireland, the lot of the Irish has never been an easy one. Yet their words continue to bless, their pipes continue to play, and their feet continue to dance.
It is in this spirit of unconquerable hope that the group Irish Blessing was created. The birth of Irish Blessing began humbly—in the renovated Srour family basement studio in York, PA—yet with a clear vision of presenting the purest form of inspirational traditional Irish dance to the world. These humble beginnings have bloomed into a highly-acclaimed dance and music troupe that travels around the world, blessing audiences from New York to New Zealand with toe-tapping melodies, powerful dance, and infectious enthusiasm. In ten years of success, Irish Blessing has shared stages with Irish 'super groups' including The Teetotalers, Beoga, Trian, Pride of New York, Goitse, Teada, Girsa, and Rattle the Boards. They are veterans and continued guests at The Pennsylvania Celtic Fling, The Pittsburg Irish Festival, Maryland Irish Festival, Penn-Mar Irish Festival, and Whare Flat Folk Fest in Otago, New Zealand.
Their commitment to the Irish tradition, their drive for excellence, their focus on bringing hope and inspiration to the world is unchanging.