The Irish Musicians Association of America was founded on Sunday, August 19, 1956. The inaugural convention, organized by Frank Thornton, was held in the Walnut Room of the Midland Hotel – 172 W. Adams Street, Chicago. In attendance were musicians from Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Houston and Kansas City.

The state of Illinois bestowed a charter on the Association as a “not for profit” organization on January 13, 1958. The five signatories of the IMA Charter were: Frank Thornton, Kevin Henry, Johnny McGreevy, Jimmy Neary and Jimmy Donnelly.

Aims of the Association: “To promote, teach and keep alive the traditional music of Ireland.

The Founding Members:

Tommy Caulfield
James Donnelly
John Doyle
Bob Flatley
Patrick Garvey
Martin J. Hardiman

Kevin Henry
Dan Lynch
John McGreevy
Eleanor Kane Neary
James Neary

James Neary, Jr.
Louis E. Quinn
Edward Reavy
Pat Roche
Frank J. Thornton






Executive Officers:

Martin J. Hardiman – Hon. Chairman
Frank J. Thornton – Chairman
John McGreevy – Secretary
James Neary – Treasurer


State Representatives:

James Donnelly – Illinois
Louis E. Quinn – New York
Edward Reavy & Tommy Caulfield – Pennsylvania
Tom Senier – Massachusetts
James Giblin – Cleveland
Rev. Fr. William J Kennelly – Texas
Thomas F. Shine – Missouri
Maurice O’Halloran – Michigan