Celtibillies Bring Music Traditions to Ferrum College for Valentine's

Celtibillies to Bring Appalachian and Celtic Music Traditions to Ferrum College for Valentine’s Day Performance

The Green Grass Cloggers and Rince na h’Eireann will also perform Appalachian clogging and Irish step dance.

Celtibillies & Rince na h’Eireann at Prizery 2009

Ferrum, Va. (Feb. 3, 2014) – The Celtibillies, a Virginia based acoustic group whose music explores the connections between Celtic and Appalachian traditions, will present a special Valentine’s Day performance in Ferrum College’s Sale Theatre on Fri., Feb. 14, 2014. Joining the Celtibillies on stage will be two dance troupes, the Green Grass Cloggers and Rince na h’Eireann, who will further illustrate the connections between Appalachian and Celtic cultures. Patrons may enjoy dinner at 5:30 p.m. followed by the show for $45 or just the show at 7 p.m. for $20.  Tickets may be ordered online at www.blueridgeperformingarts.com or by calling (540) 230-6600.

As the Washington Post noted, the Celtibillies “interweave Bluegrass and Irish music on a mind-reeling collection of instruments.” In addition to Jack Hinshelwood’s fiddle, guitar and harmonica, Becky Barlow plays hammer dulcimer, keyboards, and the bodhran, a hand held Irish drum. Jeff Hofmann plays upright bass and Tim Sauls performs on guitar, banjo, fiddle and bouzouki, an instrument like a mandolin only having a lower range due to its long neck and strings. The Celtibillies are celebrating their 20th year in 2014.

Appalachian clogging and Irish step dance represent the more formal dance styles from each tradition where the dance is choreographed for multiple dancers and the steps can involve the feet often being raised high off the floor. The Green Grass Cloggers have been performing since 1971 and have inspired the creation of many other clogging groups over the past 42 years. Rince na h’Eireann (Gaelic for Dance of Ireland and pronounced rinka-na-herron) is an Irish dance school formed in 1994 by County Cork Ireland native Sandra Connick who grew up immersed in Ireland’s music and dance culture. Several of the dancers will be competing in the World Irish Dance Championships in London, England in April.

“We love to include the dance element in our performances,” says Hinshelwood.  “It sends the energy level of a show through the roof. And it helps us illustrate the connections between these two traditions, which really are remarkable.”

The Celtibillies are part of the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) Tour Directory and their appearance at Ferrum College is funded in part by the VCA. Their performance is part of the College’s new Blue Ridge Performing Arts Series that began last summer after the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre, which made its home at the College for more than 30 years, closed its doors at the end of the 2012 season when its founders Rex Stephenson and Jody Brown retired.

The Series, which is also partially supported by the VCA as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, features a variety of professional performances. Events planned in 2014 include Barter Theatre’s production of “Don’t Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell” on May 3; and a to-be-scheduled Roanoke Symphony Orchestra fundraiser featuring Bob Ravenscroft and David Wiley in spring 2014. Additional events will soon be added to the schedule for the 2014 – 2015 season.

Blue Ridge Performing Arts Series patrons have the option of enjoying a meal prior to each performance for an additional charge. Show-only tickets are also available. For a detailed performance schedule, reservations and additional information visit www.blueridgeperformingarts.com or call (540) 230-6600.

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About Ferrum College: Ferrum College is a four-year, private, co-educational, liberal arts college related to the United Methodist Church. Ferrum offers a choice of nationally recognized bachelor's degree programs, at a cost well below the national average for private colleges. The College celebrates its centennial during 2013-2014.