Musical Performers for 2018
From dancers to pipers, from accordions to fiddles we have a mixture of the finest performers and most amazing vocalists anywhere! The following artists are reoccurring artists from the last decade of Celtic Christmas.
Inishfree Austin Irish Dancers
The Inishfree School of Irish Dancing has been one of the most prominent Irish Dance classes in the state of Texas for over 15 years. In this time children and adults have gained more than just the ability to dance. Classes focus on developing a strong work ethic, focus, achievement, good sportsmanship, and making lifelong friends. We pride ourselves on giving Texan children a place to flourish within the competitive world of Irish Dance where we regularly represent Texas and the USA at major competitions worldwide. As well as this, we perform throughout the state giving even our youngest children the chance to show off their skills.Inishfree was proud to open our first Austin, Kyle and Round Rock classes in the last two years. In this short period of time, we have flourished and continue to grow in numbers as well as achievement.If Irish Dance has been something you have been interested in trying, please come along to any of our locations for a free class.
Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums
Close your eyes and soak in the stirring sound of a fast-paced jig or a haunting slow air. When you hear the majestic sound of the Great Highland Bagpipes, you will be transported to the mist-covered mountains of Scotland, surrounded by soft purple heather, rowan trees and kilted musicians.
All this atmosphere is courtesy of Austin’s own iconic pipe band, Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums. Made up of home-grown musicians standing shoulder to shoulder with pipers and drummers from around the globe, Silver Thistle has been entertaining audiences with traditional and cutting-edge alternative Scottish music for over thirty years. In addition to local gigs, the band travels farther afield to perform and compete both in the US and internationally.
And when the music stops, come visit us at www.silverthistle.org.
grew up between Cavan, Ireland and Chicago, and is the leader of THE PRODIGALS, one of the foremost Celtic rock bands in the United States. He studied accordion with Sean Donaghue in Ireland and Liz Carroll in Chicago, under whose tutelage he won the Midwest Fleadh Ceoil in the Junior and Senior Divisions. As a student at Trinity College in Dublin he founded their Traditional Music Society and continues to pull from his traditional roots in producing critically acclaimed music like his recent solo CD, Flipsides. A songwriter and composer of exceptional merit, his music can be found anywhere from local Irish music sessions to major motion pictures.
Alex Grene was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has grown up between New York, Chicago, and various parts of Ireland. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 2012 with a degree in Music Composition.In October 2013, Alex's first feature-length film, "Directors: A Comedy," won the prize for Best Comedy at its world premiere at the 2013 Indie Fest USA. Since then, he has worked on several music videos and numerous shorter works. Current projects include a documentary about a Palo Mayombe priest and a fully animated music video.Alex composed the full-orchestral score to his feature film, and has created soundtracks for the promotional video of the Haiti-based nonprofit AGF. He composes primarily classical, Irish traditional, and electronic music, but has written in styles ranging from hard rock to jazz to (on one occasion) a score for thermometer and tuning fork. Alex is also an expert Irish fiddler; he plays frequently with Irish rock band The Prodigals.
Chris Buckley grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s been a student of the violin since the age of 3 and began studying Irish fiddle at the age of 14. His classical training culminated with a degree in viola performance at the University of Minnesota and graduate work at UT Austin. His Irish music roots came under the tutelage of Martin Dowling, Liz Carroll, Brendan Mulvhill and James Kelly. Christopher has received numerous awards and recognitions for his outstanding achievements in Irish music. He competed in three All-Ireland world competitions. Shortly after arriving in Austin in 2001, Chris combined forces with other traditional Irish musicians as founding members of the highly energetic Texas Irish band Cluan. Since then, he has been a member of and recorded with several other Texas based ensembles including Blaggards, Aidan and Tea Merchants, who won the 2007 Austin Music Award for Best World Music. Christopher has not only performed throughout the United States and Ireland, but at home in Austin is a widely respected fiddle teacher with an extensive roster of students.
The Schola Cantorum of St. Mary's
The Schola Cantorum was founded in 1993 by Cathedral Director of Music, John Balka. Suzanne Ramo became the Director of Music upon Maestro Balka's departure in 1997, and appointed Jeffrey Jones-Ragona as Choir Master and Philip Baker as organist. In 2001, Dr. Jones-Ragona became the Director of Music and continues to serve in that capacity. The Schola Cantorum is the principal choir for services at the Cathedral, and performs a repertoire that focuses mainly on Gregorian Chant and Renaissance and Baroque music. The Schola has been the featured vocal ensemble on the Celtic Christmas Concerts since the first concert in 2002. In 2005, the Schola joined forces with the Texas Early Music Project to perform the first-ever Austin performance of Monteverdi's "1610 Vespers," a concert which was awarded the Austin Critic's Table Award for Outstanding Classical Concert of 2005."
The Selkie Girls
The Selkie Girls have quickly and firmly established themselves as one of the premier folk music acts in the North Texas region. The band (Alli Johnson: guitar, vocals, Jaycie Skidmore: penny whistles/flutes/vocals, Dave Ervin: guitar/mandolin/vocals) have performed at the most sought-after - events throughout the state, with featured performances at the North Texas Irish Festival, Austin Celtic Festival, Texas Scottish Festival, the Kimbell Art Museum, and some of the premier local pubs as well. With so much great music in the DFW area, it's worth noting that the Selkie Girls offer a unique perspective on Celtic and folk music. Their take on the Celtic music tradition, built upon lush vocal harmonies and dynamic instrumental arrangements, always captivates their audiences. The band's repertoire includes ancient laments, contemporary ballads, traditional Irish tunes, Scottish Gaelic folk sung in the native tongue, and foot-stomping jigs and reels.
Though still a young man, guitar-player Joseph Carmichael has already collected an impressive resume. His primary project Flashpoint -- a contemporary Irish trio -- has recorded two albums, and performed at concerts and festivals throughout the southern US and has shared the stage with top-flight Irish music groups FullSet and the legendary Solas. He is a regular member with Ashley Davis, a singer/songwriter from Lawrence, KS. 2013 saw Joseph in his first overseas performance, playing with Gregory and Alex Grene of the Prodigals, as part of the Ag Seinm Traditional Arts camp in Cavan. Joseph has also performed with nationally touring Celtic-Rock band Needfire, traveling as far as Virginia and California, as a continuing duo with fiddler Hailey Sandoz (now under the name Óga), as well as a host of Irish music luminaries including James Conway, Brendan Power, Cormac De Barra, Buddy Connolly, Oisín MacDiarmada, and Liz Carroll.
Kieron was born and raised in Airdrie, Scotland. Halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Actor, Singer, MC and more, Austin audiences have come to love him in his role of hosting the Austin Celtic Festival music stages and at other local events like St. Patrick's Day. We are excited to have him hosting the Celtic Christmas show and also to get the chance to hear him sing and perform with our group of traditional artists.