Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Irish Christmas UP NORTH
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Irish Christmas UP NORTH

Kristi Kates - December 12th, 2011  

Pauline Scanlon and Eilis Kennedy of Lumiere.

You can celebrate Christmas Celtic style this year by traveling across the water to the Emerald Isle – without going near the Atlantic Ocean.

“An Irish Christmas in America” celebrates the heritage of Ireland on Beaver Island Dec. 18. A 15-minute plane ride or two-hour boat trip from Charlevoix, Beaver Island is called “America’s Emerald Isle” in reference to its Irish roots.

And for those who can’t make that trek, the show is also being performed Dec. 17 at St. Francis High School’s Kohler Auditorium in Traverse City.

TRADITIONS OLD AND NEW

According to Oisin Mac Diarmada, who first put together the holiday show in 2005, this year’s version will emphasize Ireland’s vocal tradition.

“The main concept behind the show is to engage the audience in an Irish cultural celebration of the holiday season,” Diarmada continues. “With the consumerist emphasis on a modern Christmas experience, people really seem to enjoy taking some time off during this hectic season to take an entertaining look at some of the customs and celebrations inherent in an Irish Christmas celebration.”

Diarmada, perhaps best known for his work with the traditional Irish music group Téada, was initially inspired by a Christmas show he’d been in that toured Germany and Holland. He wanted to bring a similar experience to American audiences.

“An Irish Christmas shares many similarities and themes with other worldwide celebrations of Christmas,” Diarmada says. “There are also some pretty unique customs such as the Wren Boys tradition, which takes place on December 26th each year, which are interesting and historic.”

The Wren Boys involved the sacrifice of a wren, which supposedly betrayed the Irish against the invading Norse over a millennium ago by pecking on a drum, giving away the Irish hiding place.

“It’s always fascinating to hear about the customs which we share with other cultures and of course the distinctive practices which make our celebration unique,” he says.

This family-friendly performance features Irish ballads and holiday carols, lively fiddle tunes and Irish dancing. Narration brings to life ancient customs and stories, while evocative photographic images provide a unique backdrop.

SPECIAL GUESTS

The show this year will feature Lumiere, lauded as one of Ireland’s leading vocal acts.

“I am really excited about bringing Lumiere to the U.S. This will be a first U.S. tour for this group which features singers Pauline Scanlon and Eilis Kennedy along with guitarist Donogh Hennessy,” Diarmada says.

“Seamus Begley, legendary West Kerry accordionist and singer, will once again join the tour this year, as well. Seamus and myself have just finished recording a new duet album which will be released just in time for the Christmas tour.”

One of Diarmada’s favorite things about bringing “An Irish Christmas in America” to America is the fact that he gets to experience the holidays stateside.

“The atmosphere throughout the U.S. during the Christmas season is absolutely wonderful,” he enthuses. “I really enjoy the warmth of the people and the beautiful decorations in towns and cities all over the country.”

BEAVER ISLAND’S IRISH SOUL

Michigan’s Emerald Isle revels in its Irish roots.

“To say that the island has a very strong Irish heritage would be, perhaps, an understatement,” say Ann Partridge, the effusive and friendly Events Director for the Beaver Island Community Center.

“Many Islanders can easily trace their family directly to the eviction and subsequent emigration of Arranmore Island, off the coast of Donegal, in 1851. In fact, Beaver Island became “twinned” with Arranmore in a ceremony on their soil in March of 2003 – an event that was actually attended by 48 of these Beaver Island descendants.”

Irish music, Partridge says, is part of the Island’s “soul” - part of the residents’ and descendants’ identity, and a unique part of visiting the island itself.

“The Community Center is committed to preserving this unique heritage and culture. Since opening, the Celtic sounds of Switchback, Shae Laurel, Teada, The Screaming Orphans, and many more have filled our hall,” she says.

“For Beaver Island, a Christmas celebration featuring Irish music, song, dance, and tales couldn’t be more fitting.”

Diarmada feels the same way.

“It will be so exciting to finish our long tour on Beaver Island, where I’m sure the weather will be more Christmassy than that which we will encounter in California at the beginning of the tour,” he said.

Tickets for An Irish Christmas in America at Kohler Auditorium Dec. 17 are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For tickets or more information call 941-8667. Tickets for the Dec. 18 6 p.m. show at the Beaver Island Community Center are $30. For more info, email bicommunitycenter@tds.net, or telephone 231-448-2022.

 
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