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Sligo fiddler highlights Celtic Joy at Georgia Military College

To celebrate the holiday season, the Center for Irish Studies at Georgia Southern University and the Southern Georgia Symphony will present Celtic Joy, an Irish-themed concert. The concert will be held Thursday, Nov. 29, in the Jacob L. and Maxine S. Goldstein Center for the Performing Arts on the Georgia Military College campus at 7 p.m.

‘The show is bringing to south Georgia a man many see as the finest living exponent of fiddling in the intricate Sligo style, Oisn Mac Diarmada,” said Howard Keeley, director of the Center for Irish Studies and assistant professor in the Department of Literature and Philosophy at Georgia Southern University.

A graduate in music from the University of Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Mac Diarmada began playing the fiddle at a young age in County Clare. As a child he moved north along Ireland’s Atlantic coast to County Sligo, where he developed an interest in that county’s famed playing style. In addition to performing at venues worldwide with his band Tada, Mac Diarmada is actively involved in music teaching, lecturing and production. He was recently awarded a research fellowship by Ireland’s Dundalk Institute of Technology to study intersections between music and politics.

The first half of Celtic Joy will consist of more traditional holiday music including Leroy Anderson’s ‘A Christmas Festival” and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker Suite.” The second half will focus on Ireland with Mac Diarmada playing solos to include the native Irish Christmas song ‘The Wexford Carol.” Mac Diarmada and the Southern Georgia Symphony will join in performing ‘Island Wedding,” a piece written for an orchestra and solo fiddle by Irish composer Charles Lennon. The symphony will also present the purely orchestral piece ‘Irish Rhapsody Number One,” written by Charles Villiers Stanford.

Throughout the second half, Keeley and members of the student drama troupe Second Avenue will offer three short spoken word pieces. ‘Those in attendance will get a real flavor of holiday pieces, both orchestral and musical pieces on the one hand and spoken word pieces on the other,” Keeley said. ‘Everyone will get a real taste of the Irish Christmas.”

Celtic Joy is sponsored by the Center for Irish Studies at Georgia Southern University and by Culture Ireland. Culture Ireland is an Irish government agency for promoting Irish arts and culture internationally.

Ticket prices are $5 for general admission and free to Georgia Military College students with ID and children under 12. To purchase tickets, contact the Georgia Military College Office of Advancement at 478-445-2692.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers more than 120 degree programs serving nearly 17,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu .

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