Larry Mallette – Managing Director, flute, whistle

Larry is a fourth-generation Irish-American, great-great grandson of Thomas Farrell and Katherine McKenna Farrell, who left Ireland in 1849. Larry holds both an M.D. degree and a Ph.D. in Physiology from Vanderbilt University. He taught medical school and did medical research for twenty-four years at Baylor College of Medicine. He also served on several medical advisory boards and later practiced Endocrinology privately for twelve years.

Larry has been playing Irish whistles and flutes since 1991. He has performed at the Carolan Harp Festival in Keadue, Co. Roscommon, the Milwaukee Irish Festival, the Mississippi Celtic Festival, the Chicago Celtic Festival, the Houston International Festival, and with The Chieftains at the Winspear Opera House, Dallas. He is a founding member of The Jig Is Up!, Houston’s traditional Irish band. He has released two recording: A Stroll In The Park, a solo flute album of original and traditional tunes and‘Til Time Is No More, an album of traditional Irish and original tunes and Irish songs, on which several top Houston area musicians collaborated, including four other Houston School of Irish Music instructors. He has taught whistle and flute workshops at the North Texas Irish Festival, the Mississippi Celtic Festival and the Summer Acoustic Music Festival in Houston.

You can reach Larry at

Diehl Moran – Co-Managing Director and Music Director, fiddle,  tenor banjo

Diehl has a degree in Political Science but performs and teaches music full time. His playing of Irish music is “old enough to vote.” He began playing fiddle around age five and started learning Irish music soon after. Among other teachers, he has studied with Liz Carroll. Diehl was the featured fiddle player on ‘Til Time Is No More, Larry’s 1998 CD of traditional and original Irish music. He has played in a number of Houston’s traditional bands and is a founding member of Houston’s traditional Irish band, The Jig Is Up!.

You can reach Diehl at

Al Cofrin – cittern, guitar, mandolin

Al served for many years a NASA flight controller for the Shuttle Program, working as a Flight Activities Officer (FAO) in the front room of Mission Control during Shuttle flights. He continues to work on projects involving the International Space Station as a Payloads Integration Engineer.

In addition to his Aerospace engineering degree background, Al holds a BA in Jazz Theory and Composition from the University of Texas, where he also pursued graduate studies at Rice University resulting in the publication of a collection of pre-15th century transcriptions of monophonic songs and dances and a collection of Renaissance dance music. He leads the Houston based medieval ensemble, Istanpitta, which concertizes nationwide.

In addition to his jazz and medieval music pursuits, Al has been involved in Irish and Celtic music in the Houston area for over 15 years. His cittern playing accompanied several solo flute and whistle tracks on Larry Mallette’s 1998 CD ‘Til Time Is No More.Since 2006 he has been a full time member of the popular Houston Celtic band, Clandestine, which has toured nationwide and in Europe. Al teaches Celtic Mandolin, and Irish Bouzuki/Octave Mandolin to students in the Houston Metro area.

Al can be reached at

Mark Johnson – guitar, bodhran

Mark is a Technical Advisor for the Houston office of a major international oil company and has a B.S in Civil Technology from the University of Houston.

He has played Irish music on guitar, bodhran, flute and whistle for over 25 years as member of Houston’s eclectic Wyndnwyre (“wind and wire”). He has played at the North Texas Irish Festival, Houston Highland Games, Mississippi Celtic Festival, the Houston International Festival and with the local medieval ensemble, Istanpitta. He has been a backing guitarist for Skip Healy, Tim Britton and Turlach Boylan. To improve his melody instrument skills, Mark studied with Irish flute players Chris Norman and Frankie Kennedy. He was the featured guitarist on Larry Mallette’s 1998 album, ‘Til Time Is No More and Corrin Evans’ fiddle album The Leakey Otter. Mark has played multiple instruments on five albums with Wyndnwyre and on Christmas Presence, an album of Irish and Celtic Christmas music with harpist Therese Honey.

Mark can be reached at

Judson Heartsill – button accordion

Judd has B.S. degrees in both Geography and Marine Transportation, and works professionally as a manager of shipping activities.

He studied piano as a child and was an accomplished bassoon player in high school. He began on the traditional Irish button accordion in 1997 and has studied with accordion masters Jackie Daly, James Keane, Paddy O’Brien, and Patty Furlong. Along the way he has been exposed to many teaching and playing styles. Judd also plays the Irish tin whistle and the Irish flute.

In 2011 Judd became a founding member of Houston’s only traditional Irish band, The Jig is Up!. The band has performed at major festivals throughout Texas. While not eschewing sheet music, Judd, like the other instructors, will focus on teaching by ear, as this method greatly increases the ability of the student to enjoy playing with others in a social setting.

Judd can be reached at

Therese Honey – Irish harp

Therese is a full time professional harpist and harp teacher ( She began her harp studies at age seven with Houston Symphony harpist Beatrice Rose, with whom she studied for thirteen years. Therese has studied with several noted harpists at the Amherst Early Music Workshop and the Historical Harp Conference and with noted Irish harpists Michael Rooney, Grainne Hambly and Michelle Mulcahy at workshops in Ireland and at the O’Flaherty’s Irish Music Retreat.

Therese is a nationally recognized clinician and adjudicator. In 2008 she became a registered Suzuki Harp Teacher. She runs the highly successful Houston Harp Studio, which enrolls pupils of all ages for instruction on pedal harp and lever harp. She has been on the faculty of the Houston Baptist University Summer Harp Festival for over 10 years.

Therese has performed at the O’Carolan Harp Festival in Keadue, Co. Roscommon, and with the well known Irish group, The Chieftains. Her recorded output includes two solo CDs of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English music on the Waterbug Records label, Mosaic (1997) and Summer’s End (2012), plus two albums of classical and early music and two albums with Houston-based Wyndnwyre (“wind and wire”). She has also published four books of Celtic music arranged for harp.

Therese can be reached at

John Liestman – mandolin, tenor banjo, uilleann pipes

John has a Masters Degree in Geological Sciences and worked for several years as an exploration micropaleontologist for an international oil company. He then moved into IT and later into IT auditing. Currently he is Vice President and IT Audit Manager for a national bank headquartered in The Woodlands. Auditing and Irish music are important, but John’s primary joy is his twins, born in 2004.
John has been playing traditional Irish music on tenor banjo and mandolin for over 30 years and has been infected with uilleann piping for several years now. He has been in several bands, including Terry and the Pirates, Claddagh (featuring Irish flutist Olcan Masterson), Fish and Chips, and the Texas Chainsaw Ceili Band. He studied mandolin and banjo with Dr. Mick Moloney and Seamus Egan and taught mandolin in 2011 and 2012 at the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat. He has studied uilleann piping with Mickey Dunne, Brian MacNamara, Benedict Koehler, Paddy Keenan, and David Quinn.

John incorporates his piping experience into his mandolin and tenor banjo playing at every opportunity. In teaching on any instrument, he focuses, not just on the tune, but on the details of good tone production, relaxed positions and the musical styling that give Irish traditional music its soul and spark.

John may be reached at

Robert Shaddox – bodhran, voice

Robert is an Occupational Therapist who has worked in the rehabilitation of physical disability, psychiatric illness and industrial injury. As a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist he has given multiple presentations to industry about the prevention of repetitive stress and ergonomic injuries. Robert was an Adjunct Professor in the School Occupational Therapy at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston for four years, lecturing to the Schools of Nursing, Orthopedics, and Physical Therapy. More recently he has been an instructor at The O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat teaching how to prevent musician’s repetitive injuries.

Robert traveled to Cork as a young man and fell in love with the traditional music that was played by his host family. He has been playing Bodhran (the traditional Irish Frame Drum) and singing Irish songs for 17 years. He has studied with such nationally known bodhran stalwarts such as Anna Colliton, Mark Stone and Albert Alfonso. While at the University of Houston, Robert participated in multiple vocal programs and later studied voice privately with Dr. Housman of the University of Houston and with Dr. Talleyschmit of Houston Baptist University.

He is a founding member of The Jig Is Up!, Houston’s traditional Irish band. Review of the band’s first album in The Ceili, the newsletter of the Southwest Celtic Music Association, reported that “Robert’s voice is pure and controlled and dead on pitch but as natural as a friendly chat on the corner.”

Robert can be reached at