A song in her heart

Viola player to compete in Ireland

August 9, 2019 Cranberry Local News


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Elizabeth Nist will be going to Ireland next week for a music competition and series of workshops.

Elizabeth Nist says she carries about 50 tunes that she can play on her fiddle around in her head. The home-schooled student found her path to learning through the strains of Irish folk music.

“There's another 50 I can play if I could hear some of it first,” said Elizabeth, 13, who's about to expand on her repertoire of Irish folk songs when she travels to Drogheda, Ireland, for the Fleadh Cheoil Na hEireann, billed as the world's largest celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance. It runs Sunday to Aug. 18.

At Drogheda, about 30 minutes from Dublin, Elizabeth will be tutored by the top traditional Irish music teachers before she takes the stage for her final exam, a competition against other viola players.

She lives with her parents, Janine and Erin Nist, and two brothers, Gavin, 15, and Ethan, 16, in New Sewickley Township, Beaver County, near Zelienople.

But her music has taken her far afield.

While in Ireland, Elizabeth and her viola will be competing against fellow musicians in the under 15 miscellaneous instruments category, but she also will be attending a week's worth of workshops before the competition, learning new songs and getting instruction from Irish master musicians.

Read the full story in The Cranberry Eagle.

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Eric Freehling

Eric Freehling

Eric was born in Butler and grew up in Winfield Township. He graduated from Knoch High School and later Indiana University of Pa. with a degree in Journalism. After working as a reporter and editor with the Kittanning Leader-Times, he moved to Bloomington, Illinois, where he worked at The Pantagraph newspaper as a copy editor, page designer, reporter and business editor. Freehling later worked at the Houston Chronicle as senior copy editor and the Chicago Tribune as a copy editor on the business desk. He moved back to Pennsylvania in 2010 and joined the Butler Eagle as Community Editor in January 2011.