Dugan's Hooligans Celtic Eclectic Ensemble is a showcase for two talented youngsters; Fiddler Connor Dugan, and Harpist/Tin Whistle/Dancer/Vocalist Sharlys Dugan.
Connor, the groups fiddler, drives most of the music with his precise and energetic fiddling. The New York Times has described Connor as a “virtuosic fiddler”. He may start off with a traditional Irish tune, then veer off to some funky bluegrass, a rag, Cajun riff, or an oldtime shuffle. You never know though, as he may segue from a Nova Scotia reel into a wild Klezmer dance. Educated in classical, as well as Celtic and American folk music since the age of 6, Connor can pull a concerto out of his back pocket as fast as a jig. He is a violinist in the Baroque Orchestra of North Jersey, the NJ Concert Opera, and frequently accompanies the Harmonium Choral Society in their critically acclaimed concerts. A former member of the NJ Youth Symphony family of ensembles, he’s been a guest artist of the New Philharmonic of NJ, and has played on occasion with the Livingston Symphony and the Stirling String Ensemble. Connor earned the first place championship in the Mid Atlantic Irish Fiddle competitions twice in a row, and has numerous first place championships under his belt, among them Celtic, Oldtime, and Bluegrass championships from the Fireback Fiddle Contest, and the Sussex Fair Fiddle Contest. He is the current Grand Champion of the Lyons Fiddle Contest,. In October of 2009 he was cast as a character (and fiddler!) in the critically acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's production of "The Grapes of Wrath". He is presently a freshman majoring in Violin Performance at the John J Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.
Sharlys started playing the harp at age 4, and at 6 won her first North Atlantic Irish Harp championship, which she held for 3 consecutive years. In addition to studying classical and Celtic harp, she is a champion tin whistle player, a fine vocalist, flautist, and an engaging Irish dancer. Presently a junior in High School, Sharlys is involved with musical theater, and is a member of the Madison HS Jazz Choir. She's a member of the Harmonium Choral Society, as well as Harmonium Chamber Singers. She frequently accompanies Harmonium with her whistle or harp, and occasionally joins the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey as a guest harpist or soloist.
Mom/Nancy plays the harp and keyboards, and Dad/George plays bodhran. They call it "parenting with a backbeat. Their role, aside from musical guidance and being roadies, involves arranging music, percussive enhancements and accompaniments.
Leap-frogging musical genres, eras, countries, and traditions comes naturally to these young musicians. Amidst the fun, you come to realize that though they make it look easy, the kids are hard workers, highly trained, and musically disciplined. A musical experience with the Hooligans promises to be fun, eclectic, and pretty amazing.