Irish Jam Session

Historical photo of the American Hotel in Lima.

One thing that my mother loves to do whenever the weather gets cold, is attend an Irish jam session at the American Hotel in Lima. Happening the first Sunday of every month, the jam session is open to everyone – enthusiastic listeners and musicians alike.

We were first introduced to the Irish jam session through my aunt, who used to play violin in the Rochester Philharmonic. However, she found herself being more and more drawn to the lilt and joy of Celtic music. Her violin became a rustic fiddle, and we were lucky enough to be brought along one of those Sundays.

Dozens of fiddles, bodhrans, mandolins and various strings made their way to the American Hotel that evening. Someone even showed up with a wooden flute. Everyone was tuning up and jumping in at different points throughout the night and everyone was welcomed with great enthusiasm.

Music was flying and the energy was high. Laughter constantly mixed in with the notes.

Even my younger sister was taught how to hold a bow by one of my aunt’s friends. I admittedly was too bashful to try and join in, despite numerous invitations. Even for those who’d never taken a lesson or didn’t happen to know the particular song, it was very quickly apparent that there was always a role to be played. Beginners would pluck along to the melody while the more advanced, feisty players would sound out harmonies and trills. Those without instruments would tap their toes or slap out a beat on the tables.

The only real rule is that everyone has a good time – and grabs a bowl of warm soup and a beer from the perfectly warm and cozy hotel menu. Historic yet comfortable, the American Hotel makes for the perfect musical meeting spot. It’s exactly the kind of place that makes you feel like you want to become a regular, especially when you can count on some great music, good spirits, and a hopping good time every month.


Halie Solea 2013By Halie Solea