Road to the Isles, a six-member ensemble, will bring the music and dance of the Celtic lands of old to the Randolph County Community Arts Center March 16 for two special performances. A special family concert designed for young audience members will begin at 4 p.m. The evening concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Drawing from a wealth of experience, Road to the Isles combines virtuoso piping, fiddling and Irish flute playing, with championship quality Irish Step and Scottish Highland dancing to bring the traditions of Ireland and Scotland to life. Dance performances include the sword dance, highland fling, sean triubhas, Irish reel and jig, slip jig, and hornpipe, all complemented by songs, stories, and instrumental solos and duets.
The RCCAC performance will celebrate the cultural relationship shared by the Irish and Scottish people, who share many ties as well as contrasts in their music and dance. Road to the Isles concerts usually consist of two sets with costume changes, solos, duets, trios and ensemble performances, with raconteur and master musician Richard Hughes serving as guide through this beautiful territory. Hughes first started playing traditional Irish music almost 50 years ago on the flute and tin whistle for dances in Pittsburgh, and he has been playing music ever since.
Road to the Isles will perform two St. Patrick’s Eve concerts March 16: a special family concert designed for young audiences at 4 p.m. and an evening concert at 7:30 p.m. The group features George Balderose on the Great Highland Bagpipes and several varieties of Celtic smallpipes; Oliver Browne and Melinda Crawford on fiddle; the inspirational voice, guitar and flute of Richard Hughes; and traditional Irish and Scottish dance performed by Cliodhna Graven and Rebecca Craig.
Hughes is joined by piper George Balderose, who the New York Times described as having a "virtuoso's gift." He has studied for more than 30 years with many of the world's great piping masters. He is an instructor, a founder and the executive director of the Balmoral School of Piping, the foremost summer school in the United States for the learning of the bagpipes. Two exceptional fiddle players, Melinda Crawford, the 2003 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, and Oliver Browne, outstanding Irish-born fiddler, also are part of the group.
Dancers Becky Craig and Cliodhna Graven represent two different traditions of dancing, and each has successfully competed at Irish Feis and Highland Games throughout the Northeast United States. Their performances will highlight and contrast the dance styles of their respective traditions.
The Road to the Isles brings together the fiddle, bagpipe, flute music, dance, and folk songs of Ireland and Scotland for a performance that breathes vibrant life into the ancient traditions of Celtic cultures. It will be the perfect way to celebrate St. Paddy's Day.
Advance ticket prices for the evening concert are: $14 for adults; $12 for seniors; and $5 for students. Tickets purchased the day of the show, or at the door, are: $16 for adults; $14 for seniors; and $7 for students. All tickets for the 4 p.m. family concert are $5. Tickets can be purchased at the RCCAC office by phone at 304-637-2355, with credit or debit card, or at the door while they last. Doors will open 30 minutes before showtime.
Sponsors for the Family Concert Series and the Evening Concert Series, as well as the RCCAC Outreach Program, include Allegheny Insurance, Davis Health Systems, Family Dental Practice, FirstEnergy Foundation, Graceland Inn and Conference Center, The Inter-Mountain, WDNE Radio/WV Radio Corp., Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour/PennPAT, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, West Virginia Culture and History/West Virginia Commission on the Arts and several anonymous donors.
Individuals or businesses may sponsor the concert series, which provides year-round exposure throughout the community via posters, press releases and advertisements.
Any businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring any events should call the RCCAC office at 304-637-2355 or log on to www.randolpharts.org for more information.
The Randolph County Community Arts Center, a nonprofit organization promoting and supporting the arts in Randolph County and the surrounding areas, is located at the corner of Randolph Avenue and Park Street in Elkins.