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An Irish Christmas
The North Pole meets the Emerald Isle in Thursday concert at Historic Yuma Theatre
“An overwhelming success. With glorious music, dance, and plenty of Irish soul....first rate”
“Spectacular Irish dance that leaves everyone with the urge to grab their loved ones and dance down the aisles, drawing cheers and chants from the crowd as they effortlessly perform complicated dance that appears as simple as breathing”
–The Village News
“The capacity crowd on hand in the huge barn that is the Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks last weekend, broke out in spontaneous applause throughout the performance and nearly brought the house down at the end of the evening.”
–The Irish Herald
The magic of the North Pole will mix with music of the Emerald Isle this Thursday when the concert “Irish Christmas” comes to the Historic Yuma Theatre.
The touring show brings to town some of Ireland's best singers and dancers, along with folks skilled at playing everything from the uilleann pipes to the button accordion.
“Irish Christmas” hits the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday and concert organizers are predicting a sell-out crowd.
“We've had Christmas shows before and we've featured Irish entertainers before, but never these performers in this format,” said Charlie Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing Heritage Area. “It should be a great, family-friendly show to put everyone into a holiday mood.”
The Heritage Concert Series kicked off earlier this month with a performance by the Four Preps. Concerts run through late March, with the following shows: New Shanghai Circus on Jan. 24, Atlantic Steps on Jan. 31, Hunts Family Show on March 2 and American Juke Box on March 20.
Tickets are $131 for the series and $25 for single tickets. Tickets are available at the Yuma Art Center, 254 S. Main St. (373-5202); Parks and Recreation, One Civic Plaza (373-5243); the Yuma Civic Center, 1440 Desert Hills Drive (373-5040); and online at www.YumaShowTickets.com.
Flynn noted that American audiences love all things Irish, making this Christmas show a sure hit with Yumans.
“People love Irish entertainers because the music is lively and there's great humor that Americans and Canadians understand and appreciate – plus, this is a big company of singers, dancers and musicians, not just three or four people on a bare stage,” he said. “You are getting a lot of show for your money with this troupe – a whole Christmas stocking stuffed to the brim.”
The concert will offer up American holiday classics, along with traditional Irish tunes, such as “Ambran na Cuiginne,” a work song from County Cork that is traditionally sung while churning butter.
“Christmas is a heartfelt, sentimental time of year, and who does heart and sentiment better than the Irish?” Flynn said. “I'm betting that this evening will offer heaping helpings of both laughter and tears, along with a mixture of both haunting melodies and foot-stomping dance.”
Meet the Performers:
Ciaran Maguire (Irish Dance) – Ciaran comes from a large family of Irish dancers; his parents Michael and Kathleen Maguire run a successful Irish Dance school in the London area. He started dancing at the age of three. Ciaran joined the cast of Riverdance at the age of 16. He then went on to work with former Riverdance stars Colin Dunne and Jean Butler in their co-production Dancing on Dangerous Ground, which saw him perform in prestigious theatres around the world. He joined Magic of the Dance in 2001 and has performed as a principle lead. Over the last 10 years Ciaran has collaborated and trained with some of the biggest names in Irish Dance. He is the principal dancer in Magic of the Dance.
Collette Dunne (Irish Dance) – Collette started dancing at the age of three at the McCormack School of Dance in Dublin. She has won numerous awards including the Dublin Championships, the Leinster Championships (twice) and in 1999 the All Ireland Championships. In her early career, Collette toured throughout Europe with various dance shows. She is the principal dancer in Magic of the Dance.
Sheelagh Cullen (Actor) –Sheelagh came to Los Angeles from Hong Kong where she ran a theater company for 10 years. Previously she had worked in both England and her native Ireland in theater and TV. In Los Angeles she has worked with Shakespeare Festival/LA and LA Theatre Works.
Bella Issakova (Celtic fiddle) – Bella began playing the violin at the age of 5 at the National Music school of Sofia, Bulgaria. Growing up in the rich Bulgarian musical culture, Ms. Issakova had the privilege of working and touring throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. with various orchestras and chamber orchestras. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia where in addition to teaching and performing, she has become a member of the critically acclaimed Irish Traditional group The Red Wellies.
Zac Leger (Guitar) – Zac was a member of the critically acclaimed Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul as well as the Irish-based show “Celtic Crossroads.” He has toured throughout the U.S., Canada and Ireland and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Laura Solter (Singer) – Laura Solter was born and raised in Ballymun, Dublin. She started singing at the age of four. Laura was awarded a scholarship to study voice at the prestigious College of Music, Chatham Row, Dublin; she was a participant and medal winner in the Feis Ahta Cliath and was the youngest member ever to be invited to join the famous Glasnevin Musical Society.
Katherine Trimble (Singer) – Katherine is a Mezzo-Soprano graduate of Chapman University with a Bachelor in Music. She was active in Opera Chapman programs. She is an active soloist/section leader substitute at the Burbank First United Methodist Church.