Rappahannock Arts On Stage series brings St. Patrick’s Day early
by Taylor O’Bier
The sound of a fiddle and Irish pipes filled the streets of Kilmarnock on Wednesday, March 15, as guests enjoyed the latest Rappahannock Foundation of the Arts On Stage concert in the Lancaster Middle School Theater. Danu, an award-winning Celtic group from Ireland, made a stop in the Scottish-decent town of Kilmarnock to bring St. Patrick’s Day a little early. Rappahannock Foundation of the Arts President Peggy Stalnaker opened the performance, stating they hadn’t planned on it feeling like they were in Ireland that night with the chilly weather.
The seven-member group arrived from their home of Ireland a few weeks ago, making Kilmarnock the second stop of their USA St. Patrick’s Day Tour. Stalnaker joked they were also lucky that their first stop was in South Carolina and not the northeast, given the inclement weather. Danu has traveled all over the globe, including India and the Middle East.
The group featured a range of musical instruments such as the flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, bouzouki, the Irish drum called “Bodhran” and the Irish pipes called “Uilleann.” They played a balanced selection of songs and instrumentals, some livelier and some more demure. Lead singer of the group, Nell Chroinin, graced the crowd with her unique voice, offering songs in both English and Gaelic which she stated was the main language in her home of County Kerry.
Entertainment was the group’s specialty as they taught the crowd the distinctive Irish chants and yells from each region to participate in during the songs. Bouzouki Player Eamon Doorley stated he was born in Ireland, but has lived in Scotland for 11 years so. He joked, “I love to drink, but I hate to pay for it.” The crowd supplied a standing ovation when the show ended.
The Rappahannock Foundation for the Arts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promote and support performing and visual arts in the lower Northern Neck through their On Stage concert series, Arts for Youth education programs and by funding art endeavors in the community. This was their fourth concert of the season, sponsored by Rappahannock Westminister-Canterbury. Their next and final concert of the season will be Shadows of the 60’s on Saturday, April 15.
The most notable sounds came from Fiddle player, Oisin McAuley.
Danu member Aimee Farrell Courney played the “Bodhran,” the Irish drum.
Nell Chroinin played the flute and whistles in between singing traditional Irish songs, in both English and Gaelic.
Danu member Benny McCarthy played the button accordion.