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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:00 pm    Post subject: From Ireland, and From the Heart Reply with quote

Celtic Women will bring the sounds of the Emerald Isle to Trenton

HER spirit is palpable across phone lines and area codes on an early Sunday morning. Chloë Agnew is loaded with it.

And in a brief break from a sound check for a performance of Celtic Woman in Florida, Ms. Agnew is exulting about yet another year as one of the enchanting songstresses of this fabled group that will be performing at Trenton’s Sun National Bank Center March 19 for one night only.

What makes Ms. Agnew’s story remarkable is her age — at 21, she is already a veteran of seven years as one of the women in this critically acclaimed all-female group. “I grew up in the show — the women have been my big sisters, and sometimes my mothers!”

A child star who hails from the Emerald Isle, Chloë Agnew was singing by 3, performing before crowds by 7, and recording her first album at the tender age of 12. The daughter of show business parents — her mother, Adele “Twink” King, is a household name throughout Ireland, and her dad, David Agnew, is a celebrated oboist — Ms. Agnew seemed destined for the stage.

”My parents absolutely never held me back, and have been my biggest support. I’ve been so very lucky.”
So have her audiences.

Like her Celtic Woman “sisters,” Ms. Agnew has thrilled crowds with her angelic presence and nightingale-sweet voice. And it all began, she was reminiscing, with a simple invitation to do a one-night show in her native Ireland. It was a taping for a public television special in the U.S. at the invitation of Celtic Woman’s musical director, David Downes. If his name is familiar, it’s because Downes also was musical director for the mega-hit Riverdance.

”I’d worked with David before, so when he invited me to be part of that taping back in 2004, I was so happy to do it. What was one night, after all?”

The taping, however, exploded on the American landscape through the public television special. Suddenly, Mr. Agnew was being invited to the United States to do TV interviews, and it was clear that one night was no longer applicable. Several months after her appearance, Mr. Downes invited Chloë to join Celtic Woman as its youngest member.

”And how do you say no to that?” she asks rhetorically as the group continues to make musical history with its signature style of Irish standards, classical favorites and even contemporary hits, all staged with lavish special effects and lush costumes.

The current U.S. touring group is composed of newcomer singer/actor Lisa Lambe from Dublin, singer Lisa Kelly, onstage pixie-fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt, and Ms. Agnew.

On tour for four months in the United States, the apt umbrella title for the tour is Songs from the Heart, and includes an original composition by the same name as part of the performance.

The music that ranges from “Amazing Grace” and “Galway Bay,” to Billy Joel’s “Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)” is designed to entertain multi-generational audiences. “We’ve got grandmas, mothers and grandkids cheering us on,” Ms. Agnew says. “and that’s one of the best things. It just touches your heart to see them all together.”

Those moms and grandmothers would often tell the performers after shows that their music was not just wonderful for kids — it also was soothing. “‘It helps the little ones to go off to sleep,’ they kept saying — and we listened,” Ms. Agnew says.

So on Feb. 15, Celtic Woman introduced its latest album, following its hit Songs From the Heart. This one, simply called Lullaby (EMI/Manhattan) lives up to its name, offering gentle songs for those “little ones.”

Actually, Ms. Agnew herself, exhausted after a rigorous schedule during a recent flight, listened to the album... but briefly. “I was asleep in no time — it works!”

Asking Ms. Agnew to select her own favorite solo from the show is like asking a mother to name her favorite child. But the 21-year-old does have one, it turns out. It’s “When You Believe,” from the Disney show and soundtrack The Prince of Egypt.

”I first recorded that song when I was 12 — I wish I’d written it!” she says. “It’s just so powerful and inspirational.”

Her own inspiration, says Ms. Agnew, comes from the women with whom she performs, and her own performer-mother.

”This is not an easy life, but it’s a wonderful one. I know most people can’t imagine leaving home at 14 and traveling the world, but I can’t imagine anything else!”
And for this singer who has come of age, literally, before the eyes of millions of fans around the world, life is never dull. And for now, she’s thrilled to be singing the songs of her country, and celebrating its musical heritage.

Speaking, for herself, and for her Celtic Woman sisters, Chloe Agnew sums it all up in three words:

”Life is good!”

By Sally Friedman
Monday, March 14, 2011 4:05 PM EDT
Princeton, New Jersey 08542
Always Remember All Things Are Possible With God !!
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