Christmas with the Celts coming to Albemarle for SCCA holiday performance

Published 10:06 am Monday, December 5, 2022

People yearning for an early dose of the holiday spirit will be in for a treat this weekend as Christmas with the Celts, making its debut in Stanly County, will perform at 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Agri-Civic Center as part of The Stanly County Concert Association’s 74th season.

Celebrating 13 years of successful national touring, the group has performed at concert halls around the country including The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and Lincoln Center in New York City. It has made multiple appearances on NPR, WSM Radio and PBS shows like “Music City Roots” and “The Bluegrass Underground,” according to its website.

“It’s a combination of ancient Irish and Scottish Christmas carols and Christmas carols that everyone knows, but performed with Irish instrumentation,” said group founder Ric Blair. “They’re going to hear everything from Christmas carols from the 1300s all the way to Mariah Carey.”

There will also be a good deal of Irish dancing, Blair said, involving “some of the best dancers in the world.”

For the concert, Christmas with the Celts will have Patrick D’Arcy from Dublin, who plays the uilleann pipes and has performed with the likes of U2’s Bono, Sting and Quincy Jones; Luisa Marion, who sings and plays the fiddle; Blair, who plays guitar and piano; Kayleigh Moyer, who plays drums; and Mario Sangermano, who plays the stand-up bass.

Some of the songs that will be performed include Irish versions of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” “White Christmas” and John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas.”

“It’s a very, very extravagant show and we’re excited abut doing it,” said SCCA President Charlotte Maness, noting her group has already sold a lot of tickets, as word about the group coming to Albemarle has spread.

Blair hopes the concert can bring people together and unite them around good music, especially after a prolonged period of isolation due to the pandemic.

“I think the essential message is not only to be entertained and to have a bit of a reprise from the harshness of everyday life, but to come back with hope with the meaning of Christmas,” he said.

“Irish music has a way of reaching people of all ages and bringing them all together,” he added.

The concert will last about 90 minutes, including a 10-minute intermission.

Advance tickets are available at Starnes Bramlett Jewelers and the Agri-Civic Center. Visit stanlyconcert.com for ticket information.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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