Tuesday, November 15, 2016

October 15, 2016
Dr. Nancy Chase on Bagpipes
     IRELAND TRULY DID COME TO TOWN and we who attended DR. NANCY CHASE's house concert in October just had no idea what was in store for us! It has taken this writer a month to even recover and figure out where to start with my blog about the experience!
       We could start with Dr. Chase's generous welcome, the light supper, and the mingling of band members and guests. Nancy has had practice at hosting house concerts, and she was ready for the BROCK MCGUIRE BAND. We found comfortable seating, ate our snacks, and we chatted with those around us as we waited  for the band to get into place.
       Dr. Chase brought the band out by playing her bagpipes, for which she has become well-known in our region. The pipes will make a crowd settle down and pay attention! Getting into place were PAUL BROCK (accordion and 10-key melodion), MANUS McGUIRE (fiddle), DENIS CAREY (piano), and DAVE CURLEY (percussion and Irish dancing on a large wooden board). Dave Curley suffered a previous injury to his arm, or we would have heard him on guitar, mandolin, and banjo.
L to R: Paul Brock, Denis Carey, Manus McGuire
       The program began with Paddy in London and The Old Blackthorn Stick. The tunes came from James Morrison of County Sligo, Ireland, and from Jimmy Shand of Scotland. Then came Blue Bell Polka (which we in America know as Flop-Eared Mule), The Frost Is All Over, Tom Moore's Downfall, Lucy Campbell, and the Genevieve Waltz, named for Manus McGuire's wife.
       The next treat was Dave Curley's dancing on the wooden board to The Blackbird (from County Kerry). Next, Denis Carey held us spellbound with his beautiful Emigration Suite, Goodbye to the Loneliness. Dave Curley arose again to dance to some reels out of Quebec, Canada. Dave sang Paddy's Lamentations, which told of a warning to countrymen about what he found in America--fighting for Lincoln. He went on to mention that Choctaws here in America in the 1840's sent money and buckwheat to Ireland during the terrible famine.
       The last songs in the first set were Because It's There and The Coalminer's Reel from The Flanagan Brothers.
      Set two began with Dave Curley dancing to three reels from Sligo: Miss Langford, Humours of Westport, and Come West Along the Road. The reels were followed by The Flowing Bowl, McGoldrick, Carey Fergus (Dave singing), Cooley's Galway Rambler, and Skylark (Dave dancing).
L to R: Manus McGuire and Dave Curley
Dave Curley Irish Dance
      Next up was the moving Isle of Hope, the story of the first person to be processed on Ellis Island in New York. The person was Danny Moore, age 15. Ellis Island closed to emigration in 1943.
       The next tune was Connaught Man's Ramble (The Rambler), and it was followed by an air by Paul Brock. The song was Love (or Darling) of My Heart, about longing for one's homeland.
       Paul Brock entertained us on melodion with Chase Me Charlie, Dance Boatman Dance, and Poor Old Liza Jane.
       As the concert began to wind down, we heard The Rose and the Heather, Boys of the Town, Drowsy Maggie, and The Red-Haired Lass. The Brock McGuire Band's encore was the familiar tune called The Irish Washerwoman.
       The people who attended the concert were completely mesmerized during the entire performance. The Brock McGuire Band is such a fine group of amazing entertainers. "Miss them at your peril," as my friend from County Clare, Maura O'Connell would say.
       We can now add the Brock McGuire Band to our growing list of incredible Irish musicians: Maura O'Connell, Karan Casey, John Mock, Sean Og Graham, Gerry O'Beirne, Frankie Gavin, Tommy McCarthy, Louise Costello, and more whose names escape me at this moment.
       Here are two amazing albums which have not been out of the CD player for the last month!
"Green Grass--Blue Grass" - a collaboration with Ricky Skaggs and other American bluegrass artists.
"Hands Across the Water" - a collaboration between American and Irish musicians to benefit the children of Southeast Asia who were affected by the tsunami. Both of these albums are stunningly beautiful. We suggest that you add them to your collection.
     More Information: www.brockmcguireband.com


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