Celtic music brings her back to her Irish roots

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By Elaine Sorrentino

Once my friend Sharon heard the singers croon, “Oh the summertime is coming and the trees are sweetly blooming…” at A Celtic Sojourn in the Jane Carr Amphitheater last summer, she was immediately transported back to the Dublin elementary school where she learned the traditional Irish tune. She smiled as she told me “it brought back such great memories for me.”

So, it’s no surprise that Sharon is looking forward to WGBH host Brian O’Donovan and A Celtic Sojourn returning to the Evenings Under the Stars concert series on Saturday, July 15. Because Saturdays are busy for her, Sharon doesn’t often find time to listen to O’Donovan’s show, although she thoroughly enjoys Celtic music. Coming to last year’s concert, with its eclectic mix of instrumental and vocal music and dance, brought back fond memories of home for her.

Growing up in Ireland, Sharon remembers music playing all the time in her family home. She was brought up in a time when Ireland was becoming more contemporary, the radio was always on, and there was a real mix of music to enjoy. Her mother and father loved listening to opera and musicals, she and her siblings loved more modern music such as Abba and U2 (this is still her favorite band), and together they all enjoyed a smattering of traditional Irish music. Sharon has fond memories of her family watching Derry-born musician/songwriter Phil Coulter on television, as he performed traditional and original Irish music. Although it wasn’t Abba or U2, she said she loved listening to him play these much-loved tunes. This is some of the same music she heard last summer.

But A Celtic Sojourn: Roots and Branches show is not only about music. It’s also about dance – the kind that is so energetic that makes you tired just watching! Last year’s award-winning Miller Family dancers are returning, and Sharon shares that she thinks they are sensational. She should know. She took a full two months or so of Irish step dancing when she was a kid, but it just didn’t click! She does admit that during those months she learned the basic one-two-three necessary for dances such as the Irish jig, or reel, or The Walls of Limerick or the Siege of Ennis. While she was a school girl she went to a few “ceoils” which were evenings to dance to traditional Irish music. I was surprised to learn that, until Riverdance, Sharon never heard of Irish step dancing being presented as a show of its own, but as a part of other shows, much like the dance portion of A Celtic Sojourn.

Join us on Saturday, July 15, 7 pm at the Jane Carr Amphitheater, One Conservatory Drive in Hingham, for a fun variety of Celtic yarns as told by O’Donovan, acts and music in the open air. If you see a pretty red-haired girl named Sharon, you can be sure that her feet will be tapping, and her body swaying to the lively music. For more information about Evenings Under the Stars performances or for tickets, visit http://sscmusic.org/evenings_under_the_stars.html, call 781-749-7565, ext. 22, or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.

Elaine Sorrentino is South Shore Conservatory’s Communications Director.


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