Reminder Assistant Editor
AGAWAM Every year Meg and Dan Sullivan work diligently to put together a concert series that will promote Celtic heritage and put its culture into the forefront of local minds.
As caretakers of the Captain Charles Leonard House formally an inn built in 1805 the Sullivans received permission from the Board of Trustees to allow this beautifully restored historical setting to serve as the venue for this year's concert series.
"We feel very strongly that this type of traditional music needs to be saved and perpetuated through the years," Meg Sullivan said. "And if young people catch the bug it continues the tradition of the Celtic people."
Sullivan added that she and her husband look for a variety of bands throughout the Northeast and the Canadian Maritimes that play traditional Celtic or Folk tunes. As musicians themselves they have a vast knowledge of Celtic music, history and culture.
The 10-night performance series will kick off with the Boston Kiltics on Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
According to Cliff McGann, a guitarist and singer in the Boston Kiltics, the band provides audiences with exposure to traditional music from Cape Breton, an island in Nova Scotia settled by Scottish immigrants in the 1700s.
"It's always fun to play in front of people and to educate them about Cape Breton music," McGann said. "We try to entertain, educate and plant a seed for people to look into their own cultures, that they're not disappearing put evolving."
The band members, McGann added, play the bagpipes, guitar and pin whistle while singing in Gaelic. They will periodically stop to teach the audience members some Gaelic. This way they may sing along and understand the meanings behind the songs, which are stories about life.
"We're psyched to kick it off and set the bar high for other people," McGann said.
The second night of the concert series on Oct. 20, will feature the band Full Gael, which will present "A Celtic Halloween."
According to Will O'Hare, a Full Gael band member, the three-member band will play music from the Canadian Maritimes and traditional Irish music. He added that they will also play reflective music of the Celtic Halloween traditions.
O'Hare said the band will mix slow airs with traditional dance music using only acoustic instruments. He will tell stories about the banshee, jack-o-lanterns, and other Irish and Scottish folklore.
Following Full Gael will be local musician Jeff Snow on Nov. 10.
Snow stated that he is eager to play this concert as there is not enough exposure to Celtic music in Western Massachusetts.
Snow said that he will be playing traditional and acoustic instruments, such as the autoharp and the bodhran, a Celtic drum. He added that he likes to play music that is not part of mainstream Celtic melodies. Snow said he likes to throw in a surprise or two, as well as telling the history behind each tune he plays.
The intimate venue, seating about 75 people, he added will surely add to the education and reflection of Celtic culture within the audience.
On Dec. 8, Matt and Shannon Heaton will close out the year with a performance of original Irish tunes.
The concert series will continue with six more performances starting in January 2008.
Tickets for each show are $14 per person in advance and $18 at the door. For more information about other performances or for ticket reservations call 789-9267.