Lots of people that I know have visited Ireland, and not one of them found the Emerald Isle less than wonderful! A good part of the charm and appeal is generated by the rich Irish culture that has produced literary giants and popular music icons, as recently demonstrated locally by Irish quartet “We Banjo 3.”
The music and the musicians were warmly embraced by high school students throughout the week, as well as by a sold-out crowd attending their Saturday night concert in Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall. The group’s love of their native land and its ancient culture was integral to their energetic performance, and inspired nostalgic affection for Ireland among all who had experienced its wonders, as well as those who have never been there.
In countries around the world, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 pays tribute to Irish culture. The religious feast day honoring the man who is credited with bringing Christianity to the island, metaphorically described as driving the snakes out of Ireland, has only recently been celebrated with festive parades and partying in the land of its origin. The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States in 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. As Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, St. Patrick’s Day parades continued to gain in popularity, in part as a show of solidarity against harsh discrimination. Eventually embraced by mainstream society in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have become ubiquitous across the country, including the city of Chicago traditionally dying its river green for the event.
This St. Patrick’s Day, Darke County Center for the Arts is celebrating with its annual Irish-themed fund-raiser, “Irish Wave,” featuring Irish music, Irish food, and an assortment of fine beers. And at this all-American Irish celebration, someone will be given the opportunity to experience in person the magic of Ireland. An extremely limited number of raffle tickets are now available at $100 each providing a chance to win a $5,000 voucher from Brendan Vacations for a customized holiday for two in Ireland. How exciting is that!
Irish music will be provided by celebrated Ohio-based band, Lone Raven. Consisting of Craig Markley on piano, accordions, whistles, guitar, percussion and vocals, Kara Markley on lead vocals, fiddle and keyboards, Neil Jacobs on 12-string guitar, and Elizabeth Blickenstaff on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, the group plays lively reels and haunting airs that will enliven the proceedings and invigorate the crowd. Irish food will be prepared by Montage proprietors Aaron and Michele Cox and their staff, with their usual attention to savory flavors and striking presentation. The beer will be chosen by a hard-working committee who will soon be meeting to sample a variety of brews; (this is one committee that has no difficulty gaining members.) And the traditional commemorative beer glass for attendees to keep as a souvenir of a memorable evening is also included for the price of admission.
Proceeds from “Irish Wave” and the “Off to the Isle” raffle benefit DCCA’s programming, including Arts In Education which presents high-quality performing artists to students in all grades of each local public school and the Family Theatre Series, providing professional theatre productions at a highly affordable ticket price. Whether you win the raffle or not, the luck of the Irish will be with you at this fun-filled event celebrating an invitingly friendly land and its culture. To make your reservation, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or dcca@centerforarts. Tickets for “Irish Wave” may be purchased at DCCA’s office on the third floor of Greenville Public Library and on-line at www.centerforarts.net as well as at Montage Cafe.