It must be something in my voice or on my face. People frequently ask me if I am Irish. I always say that I wish I were.
I am enamored with things Irish, which might explain some of my delight in a group of women Irish singers, Celtic Woman.
Celtic Woman was formed 10 years ago as a “one time” event. This year they celebrate their 10th anniversary.
The group has evolved over the years. My favorite combination is Alex Sharpe, Chloe Agnew, Lisa Kelly and Lynn Hilary, with fiddler Mairead Nesbitt, as pictured below.
My favorite album is “Songs of the Heart,” as pictured above.
This has more than a little to do with the fact that …
(1) I was in Dublin at Powerscourt House and Gardens in 2009 on purpose: to attend the filming of this album, with the pastor of one of the girls,
(2) when this combination was on stage,
(3) when red, white and blue fireworks went off during the singing of “O, America,”
(4) when I was sitting in the front row,
and (5) consequently, appear on the video four times.
One of our parish staff asked me, “What would you like for your retirement?”
I answered, “I’d like to have Lisa Kelly come to sing at my final Mass at St. Andrew.”
He immediately laughed and responded, “Is there ‘anything else’ that you would like?’
My kitchen is in a pre-Christmas mess, of course, having had a breakfast of fried goetta and eggs, but the most important preparations for Christmas are in their finishing moments. The homilies for the 3:30 p.m. and for Midnight Mass have pretty well come together – and I have rehearsed the new chants of the Masses of Christmas. The homily has a better chance of coming off well than the chanting does, but whatever.
So, in an inbetween moment, I tweeted Lisa Kelly, my favorite singer in Celtic Woman: How about a Christmas Eve RT for the “only priest you know who is on Twitter?” (When I saw Lisa in Atlanta after the concert-taping of their new “Believe” show – I have a photo on my phone to prove it – she met me with, “Father Rob, the only priest I know who is on Twitter.”) Don’t you know, minutes later Lisa re-tweeted to her 5, 678 followers a “Merry Christmas” to me. The tweet was a treat!
On March 24, Celtic Woman will be in Cincinnati. Tickets are available now only by way of a donation to our WCET-PBS station. I did some serious Christmas shopping through CET. My friends Sue and Paul, my friend Aimee, and my two sisters and their husbands will be enjoying the show with me.
Unfortunately, but happily, Lisa Kelly will not be with Celtic Woman at the March show. She will be staying home in Ireland to have her fourth child. Good for her and her husband, Scott. At Midnight Mass tonight I will remember the “six” of them. Perhaps remembering them at “the children’s Mass” would be more appropriate.
On my way back from a trip to the Holy Land in June with a group of teachers from the schools of our Archdiocese, I might be making a side trip to Dublin for the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress, in order to concelebrate with the Latin Patriarch and a few of his priests from the Holy Land – and maybe my priest friend from Booterstown parish. Hmmm … I wonder when Lisa’s baby will be born and baptized.
You can find some lovely “Celtic Woman” Christmas music on iTunes. Their new “Believe” CD and DVD is available now from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, for release at the end of January. And don’t forget, Dan Virzi and WCET has tickets available for the concert. You won’t be disappointed.
While in Atlanta, I visited Ebenezer Baptist Church, and sat near the pulpit from which Dr. Martin Luther King first preached. Being the only person in the church, I tried to hear the cadence of his words.
I had been in Ireland for the taping of their previous “Songs from the Heart” – and Atlanta is a lot closer than Dublin.
My seat at the Dublin show won me a place, actually four places, on the “Songs of the Heart” DVD: at the end of The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress, Goodnight My Angel, My Lagan Love – and my best performance, in the middle of Slumber My Darling / The Mason’s Apron.
My chances of being on this next “Believe” DVD are not so likely. But I will be watching our local WCET at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 4. My friend at WCET, Dan Virzi, is hoping for a lot of pledges to the station during the show. I am hoping, hoping against hope, for only one appearance.
My question to Scott Porter, CEO of Celtic Woman, on Twitter was, “Did I wind up on the cutting room floor?” His reply tweet was evasive and teasing, “@AndrewAbuna You’ll have to tune in to find out.”
Even if I am not seen on the show or on the new DVD, the trip was worth every minute in the car. The music of Celtic Woman is lovely and pure. Besides, I came home with a photo of me and Lisa Kelly, my favorite Celtic Woman, taken after a “Hi, Father Rob, the only priest I know who is on Twitter.” I was going to post the photo here …
… but I can be teasing and evasive, too. I guess you’ll have to sneak a peek at the “wallpaper” on my laptop or my cell phone.
Support WCET/PBS on December 4 – and look for me!