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1

  This weekend brings us the fabulous news from Mairead C that she has accepted the marriage proposal from Ronan Scollard!   https://instagram.com/p/BESQpaiMl2n/

  Ronan is currently touring with Mairead and Celtic Woman in Destiny as a choir member.  You may recall his solo work in the Adele medley  with fellow choir-member Glenn Murphy which has been incorporated in the show now! They performed the medley before a nation-wide audience on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in March!

   Let's post our congratulations to Mairead and Ronan here!

   Congratulations Mairead and Ronan on the fabulous occasion of your marriage engagement announcement!  Your fans wish you both nothing but the very best and your every happiness! 

   Know that we, your fans,  are behind you all the way!  :) :) :)

2
Show Reviews! / Destiny: A Show Destined for Success!
« on: March 14, 2016, 06:55:59 PM »

    The 2016 U.S. Spring tour of Celtic Woman got underway with the opening performances of the new Destiny tour in the Andrew Jackson theatre at Nashville

3
  The new policy of allowing non-flash photography this year has enabled me to get some tremendous shots of Mairead at the Destiny shows I have thus far attended this tour.  I've included some below which I believe you'll enjoy:






























4
  Here are some photos I got of fab Mairead C from the Destiny show at the Louisville Palace last night:














5
Show Reviews! / Destiny USA Opening Night in Nashville Tn 3-4-16!
« on: March 05, 2016, 11:50:22 PM »
       
   Celtic Woman's Destiny premiered last night in Nashville in the first of a two-night stand constituting the show opener in the US. The show opened to a large and what later evolved into an appreciative audience.  Most had probably seen broadcasts of the show on PBS stations, including the local Nashville station.  But it was by no means exclusively attended by the locals, with forum members  from NY City, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky and no doubt many other states represented.

    An abbreviated review is offered tonight, hampered by the  fact that I left my computer at home, operating here on a foreign computer,  but the main hindrance is that the Destiny program at this point does not contain an individual listing of songs, much less in order. It may be said though that the program is mostly songs contained on the Destiny DVD/CD. Visual background is displayed on screens, as on the DVD.  These backgrounds were very well-done, the action of the cast in the foreground integrated well, indicating a very good transition to a touring show, provided the same quality can be maintained at venues throughout the tour.

    Gone are female choir-members Sarah Gannon and Edel Murphy, replaced by four male choir members: Joshua Hurley, Ronan Scolard, Glenn Murphy and Carl McGuire.  The dancing as done by former choir-members Chris and Nicholas are gone--it's mainly singing from this choir, but good singing it is.  I must say the one song in which the male choir voices did not in my opinion do full justice was in Orinoco Flow--though I don't know how male voices could have done any better job than these guys did with what were essentially female harmonies.

   On guitar now is Tommy Buckley--I couldn't tell much about his playing until he let loose with a solo during the show's encore when all the musicians played solos.  Then he showed his stuff and is obviously quite good!  On Pipes was Darragh Murphy, who sounded good but whose appearance to  the audience was largely obscured by a large opaque music stand. Darragh did not stand with bagpiper Anthony Byrne in Amazing Grace a la' Tommy Martin. Anthony sported a new drum which he played very proficiently, producing great sound.

  Fran Green replaces Andy Reilly on the drum kit opposite Ray Fean, who with music director Eoghan O'Neill on bass, constitute the only remaining original instrumentalists. Ray has a solo number on the bodhran.  Ray got a laugh from the crowd when at the first break in the number drew a "woo" from Linda Sterling on the front row. Ray turned teao the others "I told you so!"

   Many probably wondered whether Meav  Ni' Mhaolchatha, who besides singing, served as vocal director on Destiny, was there.  Sadly, she was not. She is prominently displayed in a two-page spread in the program, rightfully recognizing her role in the creation and production of Destiny.  The arrangements must have been adapted to be sung by the other vocalists, Mairead Carlin,Susan McFadden and Eabha McMahon. All were very comfortable in their singing, dancing and individual song introductions throughout. 

   Mairead Nesbitt performed fabulously in all her numbers, visibly igniting the crowd at various points.  The show follows the convention of an ethereal lone opening appearance by our fiddler, as moving a scene as ever.  Her numbers are interspersed with playful interactions with Eabha and Ray, much to the entertainment of the audience.

  There is a new arrangement of Danny Boy with more movement and vocal variation.  New arrangement for Nil Sen La' which has been added in a reprise as an encore number.

  Each of the vocalists have moving numbers constituting show highlights. Notably, Susan's Sometimes A Prayer Will Do; Eabha's How Can I keep From Singing--a hymn which was surprisingly immediately followed by another hymn: Amazing Grace. Mairead Carlin's I See Fire and Like An Angel Passing Through My Room were remarkable numbers highlighting her versatility in singing and expression.  The gowns were exquisite as Synan O'Mahony's dresses always are.

  As stated initially, I'm hampered in not having a listing of all the songs and their order in the show.  What I can say is, the initial nerves, mistakes in lighting, sound or choreography which one might expect with the first show were all absent.  The excellence in all these phases of  production and performance came through again in this first US performance of Destiny.

  Pre-show Meet & Greets were re-instituted with this tour.  It didn't get started until 6:45 for a show set to start at 7:30.  Nevertheless, it went smoothly.  Nobody appeared to be rushed. Photos were taken by PBS rep and the individual's camera.  In the show itself, non-flash photography was permitted without incident.  I will add photos I have taken, but not this night!

  All-in-all, things could not have gone more smoothly for this US premiere of Destiny.  With some changes to the Program, it will be a top-notch production worthy to carry the name Celtic Woman.
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  Mairead  catches me photographing from my front row seat:















  Meet & Greet after the show!







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6
   With the US tour of the new show Destiny set to kickoff tomorrow in Nashville, TN, let's welcome fabulous Mairead C back!  As they've posted, the group is in Nashville now awaiting the start of the tour!

  Welcome back Mairead!  We've seen Destiny on TV and our European fans have posted about it. Now it's our turn!

   See you in Nashville for these two opening shows!  We'll be there to support you!  ;D ;D ;D

7
Letters to and from Mairead C / Happy New Year 2016 to Mairead!
« on: December 31, 2015, 09:33:33 AM »
  Let's all post our New Year wishes to Mairead C here!

   Happy New Year Mairead!  May this be the most fabulous New Year ever!  We, your fans, will be with you all the way!  :) :) :)

8
   The Christmas U. S. Symphony tour is mid-way this year.  Mairead C and Celtic Woman delighted a packed house  with their stop in Springfield OH last night!  They were accompanied by the Springfield Philharmonic in a delightful show.  Dan Cobble had checked to confirm that the show was sold out.

   While musically, the show was much the same as last year, the change in personnel was most evident.  Gone was David Downes, who had opened the symphony tour shows with a greeting and reminiscence about the eternal music of Christmas.  He is replaced by Gavin Murphy as Musical Director.  There was no introduction so to speak. The conductor this year is Lloyd Butler.  And of course Lisa Lambe has been replaced by newest member Eabha McMahon, who essentially sang the parts sung previously by Lisa.

  For those wondering whether any music from the new CD/DVD Destiny is in the program, the answer is no.  We'll have to await the Spring for that.  Instrumentalists on the tour are again pipers Tommy Martin and Anthony Byrne and percussionist Andy Reilly.

  There is a stunning new wardrobe this year.  I was particularly stricken by the Santa-suit-like robes the girls donned in the first act, pictured below through the less-than-stellar photography of your Starman:  Mairead N playfully snapped hers like a towel at  Dan C and myself as she exited stage left.  :D



  The show opens with Carol of the Bells--the arrangement featuring the vocal harmonies and wild fiddle solo by Mairead Nesbitt which has been featured since A Celtic Christmas in 2007.



  Following are I'll Be Home for Christmas sung by Eabha:

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  Silent Night, White Christmas, Ding Dong Merrily on High by the group followed:


   
 Susan sang I'll be Home for Christmas.

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   What Celtic Woman show would be complete with at Mairead Nesbitt's Butterfly?



   The Little Drummer Boy featured Andy Reilly front-and-center on a drum.Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Danny Boy followed.  The climax of the first half was O Tannenbaum, featuring lyrics sung in German, Italian and English by Eabha, Mairead and Susan respectively.

  The orchestra opened up after intermission with an energetic rendition of Sleigh Ride, which percussionists no doubt look forward to playing all year.  Mairead N's In the Bleak Mid-Winter  followed with it's haunting melancholy.



  It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas followed with some  delightful harmonies from the soloists.  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and then a amazingly amazing rendition of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear from Susan.

   Granuaile's  Dance from Mairead drew widespread ovation and applause, as it usually does.  Eabha followed with the introspective Auld Lang Syne--sung standing rather than seated as Lisa Lambe had done.

  We Three Kings followed, featuring Anthony Byrne who emerged from the rear of the auditorium playing, to the delight of many:



  You Raise Me Up was introduced by Eabha rather than by Mairead N this year.  The audience was led in  O Come All Ye Faithful by the soloists.  Audience participation predictably diminished with less-familiarity with the lyrics of successive verses.  :P

   The encore of encores came with Let It Snow, of course!



Mairead C charmed the crowd in Springfield:










9
  I'm viewing the first PBS broadcast of Destiny right now!  There are not enough superlatives to describe Mairead's performance in this show!  Buy it and go to one or more of the shows when it tours next year! 

  It's our Mairead as we have never seen her!   :o 8) 8)

10


       Mairead C certainly put on a fabulous show for all present with the October 7 show in Lexington's Rupp Arena!   And it was made all the more special during TAR when I was selected by her and for perhaps the first time, another selection: Dan Cobble--she brought up the two of us, one on either side!  :o 8)

       It was the first show for Celtic Woman back at Rupp Arena since October 9, 2010.  At that time, Alex Sharpe and Lynn Hillary were in the cast.  We knew that a tour of Australia was to soon follow, but I did not dream that upon the conclusion of that tour, first Alex and then Lynn would announce their departure from the group.  :'(

       In a year which brought to us temporary returns of Lynn, Meav and Alex upon the departure of beloved Lisa Lambe, little did I suspect that among the year's surprises would be a return to Rupp Arena, a bare 6 miles from my  home!

       Celtic Woman has always been a hit at every venue in Kentucky and the crowd for this show was not noticeably diminished from the show in 2010.  And among my home-folk, it was a distinct and much-appreciated honor for her having chosen me  to have been her partner during TAR!  And I know Dan Cobble felt the same.

       Mairead shown in her performances in New Grange, Si do Mhaimeio i and especially, Nella Fantasia, which she has made her own in her perfection of it both musically and dramatically!

       She delighted the crowd with her remarks to the audience, having assumed the role customarily given Chloe Agnew in saying good night to an adoring crowd.

      Later I thanked her at the M&G for making it such a marvelous show in my hometown.



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                 Evansville Indiana has on prior occasions been the first US city to display something new from Celtic Woman: It saw the first US rehearsals and performance of Isle of Hope in February 2009. In addition to the fabulous new music, it featured the return of Celtic Woman favorite Lisa Kelly  from maternity leave after she missed the US tours of 2008.

      Tonight, this October 1, 2015, at the first stop of the  US fall tour of Celtic Woman X,  we were introduced to newcomer Eabha McMahon, who replaced Lisa Lambe, who left the group in January to pursue a solo career of music and acting.  In her US debut, which followed her tour with the group on the Australian tour in September,   US fans got their first look at a promising new (to us) talent which I predict they will find to be a lovely and talented addition to the group, worthy in every way.

      Slightly taller than the others, Eabha (pronounced ?Ava?) is a lovely brunette with a distinctive voice?differing in quality, yet blending in well with the other vocalists, Susan McFadden  and Mairead Carlin.   It was clear that Eabha had mastered the vocal and acting challenges of the show after her performances in Australia.

      Basically assuming the roles of Lisa Lambe-Lynn Hillary-Meav  in most numbers, those familiar with the show would know where she fits in within these songs.  Beginning with The Sky, the Dawn and the Sun, New Grange, Si do Mhaimeo, Danny Boy, Nil s?e?n la? we get a glimpse of her style and wide-ranging talent. She pointedly does not copy the style of any of her predecessors in these numbers, but lends her own style to them.

      Eabha plays the ?mediator? in teir abhaile riu (TAR).  It is Susan in the role of the wandering sister seeking to go to Galway, with lovely Mairead Carlin  in opposition, having thoroughly mastered the venerable art of ?nose-thumbing? not only to Susan, but to some poor soul in the audience?I couldn?t  quite see what brought that on. LOL.

      Dulaman interestingly was not in the show this night, though it is in the program. Orinoco Flow now features Sarah Gannon and Edel Murphy from the choir taking their places alongside the soloists.  Guitarist Ewan Cowley and pianist Brian McGrane have been given mics and add to the vocal harmony of the group on several songs, including Amazing Grace.

      Over the Rainbow is back in the show, beautifully performed with the arrangement given it by Musical Director David Downes.  Likewise, Danny Boy, always a crowd favorite.

      The Celtic Tenors are listed as special guests in the show, but they made no appearance tonight.  Our forum member Hollie has provided the forums with reviews of the Australian shows, advising that they performed several songs at the start of the Australian shows. I must say that I did not miss them.  Given the opportunity to revel in the appearances and performances of these first-class beauties in Celtic Woman, I would not lament the absence of any male performers in their stead. Consulting the Celtic Tenors Webpage, apparently they will not be appearing at every Celtic Woman show this tour.

      Thanks to the ticket-procurement talents of Daniel Cobble, I was able to join he and Becky Wilson front-row-center this night in Evansville. I have nothing but fond memories from Evansville since that Isle of Hope Dress Rehearsal in February 2009 in which the Mairead Nesbitt fan forum occupied the front row middle section.  Such has been my fortunes at Evansville.  At the M&G following the show, I learned that Dan has become the legendary ?Standing O? man to cast and crew.  I think he would stand for that reputation!

      I?m hoping to add pictures to this review, in which the beauty of the soloists can be shown, words not really being adequate.  Mairead Carlin has let her hair grow out, looking gorgeous!  Susan and Mairead Nesbitt are the two blond bombshells.  I am gratified every show that some Hollywood producer doesn?t take to the stage and snatch them from us forever.

      ?After Hours?, featuring the talents of the Celtic Woman?s percussionists (including bagpiper Anthony Byrne), dancing male choir members Chris Naish and Nicholas Yenson was a hit here as it is everywhere. I will reiterate that having seen it numerous times, it is choreographed and not ever ad-libbed. Ray Fean?s routine was a hit, as usual.

      Nella Fantasia keeps improving with Mairead Carlin?s strong vocals. Ewan has jazzed up the guitar solo.  Using a capo across the third fret will normally do that for you?.LOL.  I?ve never heard the song performed better.

      Caledonia has some new additions. Harmony from our now-microphoned instrumentalists Brian and Ewan has been added. Choreography much more athletic comes from Susan McFadden in her dance moves in The Voice.  Piper Tommy Martin was sporting eyeglasses this night for the first time I have seen. 

      The entire cast seemed particularly tanned, trim and much at ease.  I don?t know whether the Australian tour did that for them, but I them perhaps it did.

      Eabha creditably did the closing address bidding good night to the audience in ?You Raise Me Up?. The crowd put them to the task of an encore before we would let them leave. 

      At the M&G which followed, I had the pleasure of introducing myself to Eabha, reminding her that my family surname Mann is the English version of McMahon. I told her I think she is a fine addition to the group.  As always, I got to say but a fraction of the things I had intended to say to each of them.

      And so Dan, Becky and I left the building, getting a glimpse of some of the cast at the buses.  A fine debut for Ms. McMahon in our estimation, and a wonderful first-show of this US fall tour of Celtic Woman X. 

The delightful Ms. Carlin and Ewan Cowley with Nella Fantasia.




      Photo courtesy of Eric Padgett





  Fiddler Crossing jackets on  display by Becky and myself!



Daniel Cobble  at the M&G!




12
News and Updates / Mairead Unveils Her New Official Webpage!
« on: August 14, 2015, 05:41:23 PM »

  Today Mairead has unveiled a new official webpage:   http://www.maireadcarlinofficial.com/#!about/cxas

    Her new webpage contains a fabulous array of photos and bio information summarizing her amazing career thus far! 

    Everyone visit it and favorite it to ensure you'll have the latest and most authoritative information on our fabulous Ms. Carlin!  8) 8) 8)

13
   Mairead has completed recording of her new songs at Abbey Road Studios in London and has posted photos on Face Book:

 https://www.facebook.com/maireadcarlinofficial

  Hopefully, we'll get details later on where they can be listened to and purchased!  8) 8) 8)

14
Tour Info and tickets / Fall US Tour Dates ANNOUNCED: OCTOBER 2015!
« on: May 30, 2015, 12:22:48 PM »
    Celtic Woman has announced tour dates for the US Fall tour.  Tour dates begin Oct. 1 in Evansville, IN and continue through the month of October!  November brings the European tour.

   Here's the link: http://celticwoman.com/tour-dates/

   Hope to see many of you at some shows!  8) 8) 8)

15
     Mairead will be rejoining Celtic Woman this week, appearing at the May 27 show!  She will take Lynn Hilary's place. Alex Sharpe remains with the group marking their first performances together with Celtic Woman!

     Let's post our  "welcome-backs" to Mairead here!

      Welcome back Mairead!  We hope you're well-rested, refreshed and ready to rejoin the tour, as your many fans await! I look forward to seeing the changes in the show with Alex and yourself both with us!  8)

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