HESPERIA — The Emerald Isle may be far across the ocean, but its enchanting music is accessible right here in our own back yards through groups such as Celtic Women, the Chieftains and the Dubliners.
And now, High Desert musicians and singers who seek to learn how to perform Celtic songs have a golden opportunity to do so through the High Desert-based Pint of Irish nonprofit organization.
According to its founder, Diane Grotjohn, it formed in 2011 in an effort to provide music lessons to instrumentalists seeking to learn how to play Irish tunes.
“I am a musician and had been playing a lot of music in Los Angeles and other places with some bluegrass musicians,” said Grotjohn, who will perform with several other area musicians from her organization at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hi Desert Book Oasis, 12046 Jacaranda Ave., Suite A in Hesperia.
“One day, they asked me if I could teach them some Irish music so I put together a one-day workshop here in the High Desert and brought in professional players from all over Southern California. I never expected to do it more than once.”
Grotjohn says her event was so well received that she decided to continue holding workshops periodically. Those classes brought about other projects, including the formation of an Irish band (also under the name Pint of Irish) that performs locally on occasion. Along with jigs and reels, the group plays classics such as “Danny Boy,” “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” “Whiskey in the Jar” and many others.
“The concert at the Book Oasis will feature a guitar player, a fiddle player and myself on penny whistle, flute and mandolin,” said Grotjohn. “We’re also hoping to have a bodhran player, which is an Irish flat drum.  
“Our repertoire is quite large and we do a lot of Irish pub-style songs that people can join in on. It’s a lot of fun.”
According to Grotjohn, her Pint of Irish organization also sponsors small house concerts in the area that feature Irish bands from all over the United States. Musicians and singers who participate in the group also perform at jam sessions at Starbucks on Bear Valley Road in Victorville, as well as Butler’s Coffee in Palmdale.
Beyond providing quality entertainment and music education, Grotjohn says Pint of Irish’s mission is to promote interest and participation in the Celtic arts culture and also to support other groups and individuals with the same mission.
All activities are free of charge and donations collected at the house concerts are given to the musicians, Grotjohn said. Workshops are open to students from beginning to advanced and include instruction for bagpipes, guitar, fiddle and other folk instruments. In addition, the classes offer lessons in singing, poetry writing and Irish dancing.
Visit www.pintofirish.org for more information.