We sank our sorrows and raised our joys. '96 was a good year in most respects. The Chieftains came to Louisville for the first time (Rock hopes not the last!) and River City learned that Celts can really rock thanks to Ashley MacIssac (just in case Black 47 didn't inform us). The Irish Family Fest had an excellent weekend despite Saturday's rain. The Highland Games were successful despite their own rain problems. The Louisville Pipe Band continues grow in size and ability. Galloglas sells out the Rudyard Kipling earlier with each succeeding gig and rumor has that a CD is in store.
Drowsy Maggie is very nigh to resurrection. Ten Penny Bit had an interesting tour of Denmark. Colin Grant-Adams continues to share his gifts with Kentucky and has a new CD on its way. The Irish Rover has expanded with private party rooms upstairs. A new band has emerged: Out Of The Woodwork. The Bluegrass Irish Dancers continue to bloom and grow and have BIG plans for '97. Blessings counted.
That was wax, this is wane: Tight Squeeze has folded up its wonderful musical tent with no new forms emerging as yet. The cracks perhaps had formed at the loss of flautist extraordinaire, Nancy Harris. The Rashers have lost the services of Inisheer button accordion player Ronan O'Culain (although they plan to continue with revised arrangements and possibly additional personnel in the future). In balance, '96 was not a bad year. '97 will be GOOD.
The Scottish Society of Louisville will host its 5th annual Burns Night Celebration on January 25 at Masterson's Restaurant.
This year's festivities will include a special performance by The Louisville Pipe Band. Following dinner and the traditional toasts, dancing will be motivated by The Elderly Brothers playing favorites from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Traditional Scottish fare will be prepared by the Masterson's chef and "wee drams" of single malt scotch for the toasts are included. Evening wear or Scottish attire is encouraged. Tickets are $30.00 per person and may be obtained by sending a check to: Burns Night Tickets, P.O. Box 625, Prospect, KY 40059. For more information call: (502)228-3878.
The feminine counterpart to St. Patrick is St. Brigid. Her feast day will be commemorated by the Our Lady of Limerick Division of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians on Saturday, January 25 at the elegant Spalding University mansion, 851 S. 4th Avenue.
The festivities will begin with Mass at 5 p.m. followed by a pot luck supper with live Irish music. For more information call Susan McCullough at (502)896-2462.
Our hearts were heavy in 1996 with the loss of two men whose talents blessed us all. William H. Wallace was something of a "grandfather of bag piping" in Louisville and was founder and pipe major of the Kosair Pipes and Drums for many years. Alexander Stuart Gray joined the Louisville Pipe Band from his post at Fort Knox. He co-founded Galloglas and thrilled many an ear at the Rudyard sessions. Alex died tragically in Florida in October.
They are sorely missed.
1847 was the blackest year of the potato blight that struck Ireland resulting in the starvation of over a million people and the elimination of half of her population from death or immigration. A debate is currently raging as to whether this was a natural or man-made disaster. Look for commemorations in 1997.
Nineteen-ninety-seven will bring many nice surprises but we can anticipate being thrilled by the first ever in Louisville, Feis (pronounced "fesh") or Irish stepdancing competition in mid-June. Also write it down now: Clanna Gael (Celtic rock) will be at the Glasgow Highland Games, May 30-June 1. See ya near the stage!
[A last minute call to LMN informed Rock that Ten Penny Bit will be playing at the Twice Told Coffeehouse on January 16. The plan at this time is to establish a Bardstown Road Celtic night at TTC if there is interest.]