Irish Music Circle brings folk tunes to park

Samantha Middendorf, Entertainment Editor

A Scottish bagpipe solo provided the soundtrack to the beginning of the end of the Concerts in the Park series at Kiwanis Park Tuesday.

Irish Music Circle was the entertainment of the night, as they provided both traditional and non-traditional Irish folk music to the community in a semi-circle despite what their name might suggest.

Members of the band included community members from Charleston, Mattoon and the surrounding areas.

The performers gave guests lyric sheets so they could sing along to a handful of traditional Irish songs, which included “Galway Girl,” “I’ll Tell Me Ma,” “Molly Malone” and “Wild Rover.”

Following the bagpipe feature, the band played “The Banshee,” which appeared to be a crowd favorite.

“Rare Old Mountain Dew,” “St. Anne’s Reel,” Blackberry Blossom” and “Wild Rover,” were also played throughout the show.

Although the audience was not as large as the previous crowd at the Motherlode concert, the small crowd of 12 people did not lack enthusiasm.

“Galaway Girl” was the first of many tunes the audience sang along to.

The chill autumn winds also did not seem to keep away the audience members, as many brought their own chairs and blankets to relax as they watched the show.

The band played various string instruments, including fiddles, guitars, mandolins, and the Scottish bagpipes.

“Sometimes we have so many instruments that we don’t know who plays what,” a band member said.

Another song included high levels of crowd participation when the band performed “I’ll Tell Me Ma,” followed by “John Ryan’s Polka.”

A band member told the crowd, “there seems to be a connection between Irish music and whiskey,” prior to playing a handful of songs involving the popular liquor.

“Whiskey for Breakfast,” “Old Kentucky Whiskey” and “Whiskey in the Jar” were then performed.

Despite the constant interruptions of loud cars and motorcycles driving by, the band seemed to perform seamlessly.

A rendition of  “Amazing Grace” pleased the crowd with a special bagpipe feature.

“Molly Malone” and “Wild Rover” we’re played with an enthusiastic sing-a-long and clapping from the audience.

Other songs the band performed included “Cold Frosty Morning,” “Lament of the First Generation,” “Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine,” “Devil Haystack,” “Redhaired Boy,” “Loch Lavan Castle,” “Sheebeg and Sheemore,” “Senecca Squaredance,” “Tripping and Sqallowtail,” “Off to California” and “Old Rosin the Bow.”

The band ended the show with an Irish tune titled “Parting Glass.”

Irish Music Circle also performs on the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of each month at Jackson Avenue Coffee coffeehouse.

The Irish Music Circle was the last performance of this year’s Concert in the Park series.  Next year’s series will begin in the late summer and last until the early fall.

Samantha Middendorf can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected] .