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‘A Virtually Celtic Christmas’ benefits Stephens Auditorium

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune

A holiday concert direct from Ireland will be available to Stephens Auditorium’s patrons at 7 p.m. Dec. 20.

Purchasing a ticket, which start at $25, will do more than give viewers access to a holiday show performed by “some of Ireland’s most talented artists.” According to a news release, it will also lend support to Stephens Auditorium during difficult times.

“This pandemic has been devastating to the performing arts and live entertainment venues," Tammy Koolbeck, Stephens Auditorium’s executive director, said in the release. "By ‘attending’ this concert in the comfort of your home, you are supporting Stephens Auditorium and the artists performing.”

“A Virtually Celtic Christmas” will be filmed at the National Opera House of Ireland and feature Michael Londra, a top Irish tenor whose home is in Ames, according to the release.

The concert will also feature the Irish Concert Orchestra, guest singers and musicians from Ireland and two nationally acclaimed choirs, the Valda Choir and the Presentation Children’s Choir.

Michael Londra

Music will be a mix of “heartwarming traditional carols." The performance will feature the Wexford Carol — performed where it was composed in County Wexford — as well as Gaelic hymns, holiday standards and Londra’s original music.

"In short, a wonderful array of songs to warm the listener on a winter’s evening," according to the release.

Irish composer Liam Bates is the musical director and conductor for the show. Bates’ childhood friend Eoin Colfer, bestselling author of “Artemis Fowl,” will be one of the special guests at the concert.

It’s not the first time Bates and Colfer have worked together. They also partnered in 2017 to compose the holiday musical “Noel,” and some songs from that production are featured in “A Virtually Celtic Christmas,” according to the news release. The songs will be performed by Zoe Rainey, a Northern Ireland native known for her roles in “Hairspray” and “Wicked.”

Londra is perhaps best known as the lead voice of “Riverdance” on Broadway and for his Emmy nominated show “Beyond Celtic” on PBS. He is originally from County Wexford in Ireland, and in the past year has been filming the PBS series, “Ireland,” in his homeland.

“The travel and music show featuring some of Ireland’s biggest stars will debut on PBS in the spring of 2021,” the news release stated. “Audiences of ‘A Virtually Celtic Christmas’ will get a sneak preview of the show during the concert.”

According to Stephens Auditorium, the following tickets and packages are available at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/42708:

  • $25 – Unique streaming link to “A Virtually Celtic Christmas” (valid for up to 48 hours after the concert).
  • $35 – Unique streaming link to “A Virtually Celtic Christmas” (valid for up to 48 hours after the concert date) and signed DVD of the show delivered to your home.
  • $50 – Unique streaming link to “A Virtually Celtic Christmas” (valid for up to 48 hours after the concert date), a signed DVD of the show delivered to your home and a personal meet-and-greet via Zoom with Michael Londra.