So, to the uninitiated, what does that mean?
This requires some explanation.
March 25, 2009.
It was 10:45 pm.
Late into the day.
But worth it at Aurora Women’s Pavilion in West Allis.
My darling wife, Jennifer, at first objected to me posting these pictures until I explained that no one gives birth looking like Melania Trump or Marilyn Monroe.
I went home that night (actually early morning the next day) and immediately announced the good news.
I was working for state Senator Mary Lazich (New Berlin) at the time. She gave explicit instructions the next day to clear her calendar so she could meet her newest constituent.
The early morning of March 26, 2009…
Lazich and Kyla
Soon after, Kyla Audrey Fischer had another visitor. Her extremely Irish grandmother, Audrey Fischer. Please note the sweater imported from Ireland.
Mom, who was extremely Irish, died the following January. But her Irish influence remained alive, right up through today.
We’d take baby Kyla to Milwaukee’s Irish Fest where I’ve been a volunteer now for more than 25 years.
Kyla would see the Irish dancers in their finery on the grounds and openly wished she could be one someday.
We never pushed her but she told us she wanted to try dancing solely because of what she saw at Irish Fest.
So we enrolled her at Cashel Dennehy School of Irish Dance. Kyla’s baptism by fire came in a Summer Sampler course that would train her just enough to be on the stage in front of thousands at Irish Fest.
It’s August of 2013.
Kyla is led onstage by one of those older Irish girls she dreamed of being someday, wearing an Irish Connemara marble angel pendant around her neck.
Kyla continued her Summer Samplers for another three seasons and then started full time classes in September 2016. Lesson after lesson after lesson (about six month’s worth) led to the school’s traditional welcoming event for all the new dancers, the Beginner Debut.
In February 2017, Kyla found herself dancing proudly onstage with a teacher because all the other dancers had already performed with a partner. So Kyla, with no partner of her own, was joined by one of her instructors Alyssa Harling who, because of her skills and love of high heels, danced with Kyla in monster stilettos.
Now Kyla’s school (Cashel Dennehy) and others get to compete all over the Midwest in what’s called a feis, an Irish dance competition.
In various dance style compositions the dancers move from “beginner” (Kyla, for example after Summer Sampler) to “novice” status. Once in novice status the dancers must achieve 1st place in a competition in order to go from the school dance costume to the opportunity to purchase their very own solo dress with all the bling, color, etc.
It’s quite an incentive. Victory doesn’t happen overnight.
The Badger State Feis took place Saturday, July 20, 2019.
Kyla and her dance friends from Cashel Dennehy did OK, but no solo dresses.
The next day, Sunday, July 21, 2019. The Cashel gods were smiling down, big time.
First, Kyla’s partner in last November’s Mid-America Oireachtas ceili competition in Louisville, Mallory Thomae, broke through the ice with a 1st. Mallory captured six awards on the day.
Not long after Mallory won her 1st place Kyla performed in the treble jig.
The picture on the scoreboard every dancer wants to see.
Another Cashel 1st place.
Another OK to go get that glittery solo dress!
Kyla won a 1st, two 2nd places, and one 3rd place finish. She was amazing! And on her Irish grandmother’s birthday weekend!
Kyla and Mallory after their 1st place finishes.
Are you keeping score?
Mallory nabs a 1st.
So does Kyla.
And then came a long 50-minute lunch break.
More dances were still scheduled. More dancers had to worry through stomach butterflies.
What about Kyla’s dear friend, Erinn O’Neill?
Erinn had another dance after lunch.
To the scoreboard we go.
You wait and you wait in anticipation. When will they post the results? Please post them, please.
Erinn’s the girl in front, next to Kyla.
Yes, it is a magical moment, a dream come true.
In steamroller fashion, four Cashel girls in a sports momentum-like rally finished first. One, then another, and then another. Four 1st places in a short period of time from dancers who train in a small studio in Wauwatosa.
They practiced so hard, and then they won, alongside each other, hugging and smiling.
A wonderful story, and a terrific example that the future of America looks truly great.