If you lived in Dhahran in the early 2000s, you may have encountered the musical group Get Reel performing a blend of Irish, country and bluegrass songs at various venues around Dhahran and Bahrain. Annette Collins, one of the group's founding members and a native of Ireland now returned to the Emerald Isle, has continued to pursue her love of music and Irish dance. She is currently offering a unique opportunity to learn Irish dance online. If you have an interest in Irish dance and culture, Annette invites you to join her next class beginning February 8th. We asked Annette to share more about her time in Saudi Arabia and with Get Reel...
Annette Collins and Pat Caulfield
I was in Dahran from 1998 to 2005 and worked as a secretary in the pool for a long time. I worked for perhaps a year as the assistant to the CEO and was promoted into a position in succession planning for the last year. I have a degree in music and went on to do a post-graduate diploma in Secretarial Studies and Administration.
While in Dhahran, I played folk music with a mixed bag of musicians and was one of the founding members of a group called "Get Reel." We performed regularly on camp, and in a few other places around Dhahran, and also in Bahrain from time to time. We even self-produced 2 CDs during that time. I am still in contact with many of the members of the band, and also the people I worked with. A lot of them are retiring back to Ireland at the moment, and we had a little reunion about a month ago, and that got me thinking about the Aramco Expat community. The photos are from our recent reunion in Co Clare, Ireland. Two of the group had played with Get Reel, and a few of them danced with Pat Caulfield's Irish Dance troupe, Desert Dance, who used to perform in KSA and Bahrain. The picture at the door would be Pat and me, who both played with Get Reel.
I returned to Ireland and started dancing, and then teaching in the evenings, and eventually gave up my day job. I am now a self-employed teacher of music and dance. Obviously I was teaching in person pre-covid, and most of my classes are still online, they have attracted a lot of people either Irish living abroad or people with an interest in Irish dance/culture and have no access to classes.