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Celtic Woman At SPAC Was 'Ethereal and Majestic'

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Celtic Woman At SPAC Was 'Ethereal and Majestic' Reply with quote

Máiréad of Celtic Woman dazzled the audience Monday night at SPAC.
(Photo by ERICA MILLER/The Saratogian)

The weather and the venue couldn’t have been more perfect Monday as a mostly older crowd clapped, cheered and wiped away tears during the “Songs of the Heart” concert by Celtic Woman at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

The four-member female ensemble, including fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt and singers Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly and Chloë Agnew, backed by a chorus of six and a band that featured two percussionists, were, in turn, ethereal and majestic.

What is particularly unique about this ensemble is how they bring a distinctive Celtic flavor to songs that are definitely not Celtic, including a haunting “Good Night My Angel,” written by Billy Joel, and an otherworldly “Fields of Gold” by Sting.

Mixing beautiful ballads with the rousing power and throb of songs such as “Come Sail Away” and “Mo Ghile Mear,” the show never faltered, but flowed seamlessly from one element to the next. It was evident that the group enjoys a special following as the few references the singers made to Ireland brought applause and calls. When the first strains of “Oh, Danny Boy” played, a murmur ran through the audience.

Fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt ensured that the mood didn’t stay solemn for long as she enlivened the atmosphere with a energetic performance complete with high-kicking leaps and theatrical fiddle bowing. You couldn’t help but smile and sit up when she danced and darted across the stage, reminiscent of an Irish pixie, her beautiful long blonde hair whipping about her face.

As the three vocalists took turns performing solos, duos and trios, they were most powerful when their clear, soaring voices blended in intricate harmonies. When the trio was joined by the small chorus, the nine voices were so powerful and finely-tuned they brought forth the sound of an immense choir and, while some pieces occasionally resonated through the intimate venue, the music was never too loud to be uncomfortable.

A poignant “Amazing Grace,” featuring world champion bagpiper Anthony Byrne, kicked-off the second-half of the show that defiantly had a much more old-world feel, bringing humor with a fair share of folkloric Irish drinking and love songs. And while the show lasted more than two hours, it was too short for the crowd who began a standing ovation before the last line of the final song, the moving anthem “You Lift Me Up,” had even begun.

Stomping, cheering and clapping for more, they encouraged the entire ensemble to come onstage one last time for a rousing encore that had Nesbitt flying across the set and left the audience laughing and smiling as they left the venue. As referenced by the singers, is has been four years since Celtic Woman was last at SPAC, hopefully it won’t be four more years before they return.

The Saratogian
Saratoga Springs, NY
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Always Remember All Things Are Possible With God !!
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