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Alabama Celtic Association

Volume 2 Issue 12
 "Whoever you are, whatever you sing,
And whatever the thing you're known for.
Come whenever you wish, take what you see,
And once come, stay as long as you like.
--Dafydd Bach Ap Madawg Wladaidd: A Christmas Revel

A Celtic Evening: Music and Dance from Scotland and Ireland - January 25, 2003 at WorkPlay

The Alabama Celtic Association's annual benefit, A Celtic Evening, will include the best of Alabama's Celtic talent onstage at Birmingham's coolest, cutting-edge venue, WorkPlay.  The 2003 show is being produced by Randy Palmer and Don Neil. Last year's show sold-out in ten days with standing-room only crowds on the night of the event (to check out last year's show, visit Celtic Evening 2002).  The line-up for the 2003 show will be announced in the January issue of Celtic Alabama News. Don't delay getting your tickets for A Celtic Evening 2003 (Patrons may receive preferred seating ).  Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling 205-979-9653.  (Seating is not reserved until payment is received - reserved tickets will be at the "will call" window at WorkPlay)

Alabama Celtic Association Elects New Board for 2003

At the ACA General Meeting on November 17, 2002, Patrons and Board Members elected the following to serve on the Board in staggered one to three-year term limits.  In future elections, new board members will be elected to serve three-year terms.  Officers will be elected from the board each year.  Returning to the ACA Board for the noted terms are: Mary Dougherty (3), Cathy Pharr (3), Don Neil (2), Paige Smith (1), Jim MacRae (1) and Joy Cagle (3).  New Members to the ACA Board include:  Randy Palmer (CPA, musician with 2 decades experience in Celtic music, service on the Board of City Stages, Kentuck Arts Fest and other regional Music events - two-year term), Ryan Morrison (Pipe-major for Heritage Pipes and Drums, member of Caledonian Society of Alabama - one-year term)  and Dr. Renny McCloud ( Noted author and teacher of Celtic-European history for 30 years, president of Unicorn Limited and ScotPress - two-year term).  The following were elected as officers for 2003:  Mary Dougherty - president, Cathy Pharr (vice-president), Don Neil (treasurer), Paige Smith (secretary).  Named as non-voting Regional Directors are:  Serena Blount of Tuscaloosa and Lori Fly of Montgomery. 

Huntsville's Good Fortune and Nashville's Isla Bring Best of Celtic Music to Huntsville

The Good Fortune Ceilidh Band had the pipes (and more) humming on November 9, 2002 when they performed with Isla at Chan Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Pipes, whistles, fiddles, flutes, mandolins, guitars, and bodhran provided plenty of excitement. After an opening polka set followed by a jig set, the pipers were featured on "Southwind", "Maggie in the Woods", "King of Laois" and more.The audience was super. They responded from the first to the last with great applause. Isla filled the balance of the evening with magical tunes of the Gaels. Their moving renditions of “Blackwaterside” , “Midnite on the Water” and “Parting Friends” (a brilliant vocal arrangement from the Sacred Harp Tradition) wooed the crowd. Along with many more airs and tunes, Isla also shared some wonderful jigs and reels. Good Fortune would like to thank the Huntsville Traditional Music Association (HTMA) for sponsoring this event. Let them know if you want “more like this” in the Huntsville area. Thanks to Isla for coming down south from Nashville to share their wonderful gifts with North Alabama. Hear this group if you get a chance! We would also like to thank Paige Smith and the Celtic Alabama News for their support. The music is alive and well thanks to you. Check out the Isla/Good Fortune Photos Here (submitted by Larry Hogan of Good Fortune)

Celtic Pub Night at Killarney's - Wednesday, December 11

Killarney's Irish Pub and Restaurant hosts the last  "Celtic Pub Night"of 2002.  It's a great time to gather with others in the Scottish and Irish community to share news, swap stories and have a pint.  Musicians are special guests, kilts are part of the acceptable dress code and everyone is welcome.  Join us this Wednesday, December 11 at Killarney's from 7 P.M. until whenever...more details at 205-595-4088.

The Full Moon Ensemble - Fond Memories and Farewells - by Robert "Scooter" Muse

As we wind down this year we have one show left. Our annual FME Holiday Concert on Saturday, December 14th, 7:30 P.M., at Bradshaw High School in Florence, Alabama. Usually its an all Christmas show but this year it will be a little different and also very special because of a couple of things.  First, let me say that 2002 has been another wonderful year for the FME! Over the last 7 years we have had the great fortune to play the most special music in the world in some great venues from Philadelphia to Seattle, Canada to Miami, as well as Scotland, and also record 4 CDs - gained international airplay, and made hundreds of lifelong friends!  Now, it is sad to say that with increasingly difficult individual schedules as well as a couple of relocations for the upcoming year, when 2002 comes to close, so will the FME  as you know it. The Holiday Concert on December 14 will be our last show with the present FME lineup and we intend to go out with a bang! The Full Moon Ensemble Farewell Concert on December 14th will be a treat for all of us because we will be joined by former FME members Annette Harman-Lee on the Pedal Harp and Annette Labrecque on Keyboards and Accordion. In addition, drummer/percussionist extraordinaire Doug Stokes who was in Scotland with us will also lend his wonderful talents to the show! Please come out and be with us for this last hurrah. Tickets are on sale at Ryan Piano Company in downtown Florence. Will we get back together? You would not believe how many folks are asking that question and we sincerely thank them for their interest in us. Who knows? Never say never - maybe occasionally, under some special circumstances – but for now the change seems to be inevitable.  But moving on -- as those of us here in Alabama already know, we have great Celtic band called Henri’s Notions – So, for 2003, FME vocalist and keyboard player Allison King and guitarist Scooter Muse will be playing a limited number of dates to fulfill some obligations as The Full Moon Ensemble with three of the Notions; Jil Chambless, Michael Bowman and Randy Palmer. We will also be joined by Doug Stokes on percussion for a huge 6 piece sound! Once again, from The Full Moon Ensemble, thanks to you all for 7 great years!  More on FME at . (submitted by Robert Muse)

The Celtic Alabama Christmas List - Shop Celtic Alabama First

The Alabama Celtic Association sends a single additional mailing during the holiday season each year - The Celtic Alabama Christmas List.  The holiday season is a great time to support Celtic Alabama vendors, craftsmen and artists when shopping for gift items.  If you did not receive the Celtic Alabama Christmas List via e-mail, please let us know and we will send you the outstanding list of gift ideas for everyone on your list! 

BOOK SALE! - ACA Fundraiser with Unicorn Limited/Scotpress - Unicorn Limited is moving its retail book business to Alabama in March of 2003.  As part of the effort to reduce inventory before the move - Unicorn Limited is offering a HUGE list of Scottish/Viking/Irish/Celtic titles (books and newsprint booklets) for only $2 each.  Furthermore, they will donate $1 from every book to ACA - if you mention you found this Book Sale through the Celtic Alabama News.  Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to add to your Celtic Library AND support your local Celtic non-profit!  Click HERE to review the Books on Sale.  Be sure to mention ACA when placing your order. For a complete Book Sale list via-e-mail - send request to: . To order:  304-379-8803 or e-mail . Visit them at .

Gerry O'Beirne Enchants Fans in Montgomery - review by Gwen Orel

It's hard to imagine an inaugural concert for the Celtic Music Society of Montgomery  going any better than the Gerry O'Beirne house concert went on October 25th.  Held at the lovely home of Jay Taffet, the house was full but in the end everybody was able to sit.  Gerry charmed the crowd with his good-natured humor and wealth of stories, and completely bowled us over with his music. Gerry opened with a song entitled "Music for Jen Hamel." Jen is with the recently disbanded group Clandestine (Gerry produced a few albums for both Clandestine and Jen Hamel. EJ Jones, also a member of Clandestine, has put out a solo album, produced by Gerry and we hope to have EJ in Montgomery in late spring or early summer of 2003). Gerry played many songs from his album, "Half Moon Bay," including "Holy Ground"-- a song that has also been recorded by Cathie Ryan and Mary Black-- which he says he discovered was about the Mexican revolution, sometime after he wrote it.  He sang "Western Highway" (also recorded by Maura O'Connell with Nanci Griffith), a song he performed last year on The Prairie Home Companion which was subsequently chosen as a highlight of that show.  I've loved "Shades of Gloria" for a long time, but had forgotten until his introduction that it was inspired by another Irish musician, Micho Russell.  Gerry's words are so evocative without being literal that it's possible to become completely caught up in the music without intellectually understanding the context. Gerry also played a new tune for us—a haunting song about the Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly, and another about Australian immigrants.  Another song about Australia, an old Patrick Street song, was "In the Land of the Patagerang," with a very catchy and fun chorus.  Among the high points was Gerry's version of "Sloop John B" on the ukulele, with the house concert audience singing the chorus. Gerry sang "Danny Boy," after telling us of Ireland's occasional search for a new "national tantrum," and had us join in when the first verse comes round again.  There were many wonderful culinary treats prepared by Lori, our membership chair and publications manager-- and veteran of cooking school (and a few cookies by me)-- and people were having such a good time buying CDs, eating, drinking, and chatting, that the break between sets was a long one.  "You're all madly social," Gerry said when he began again.  Eleanor Lucas' teenage son Luke was so impressed with Gerry and his playing and personality-- Luke is an aspiring guitarist-- that he published a brief review on his personal web site.  Read it at . The love in the room was palpable.  Those of you who were there-- thanks for your terrific energy and your responsiveness.  It was a memorable musical evening. (submitted by Gwen Orel)

Castlebay Cafe and Birmingham Society of Piping - Kick off Fundraising event for Breast Cancer

On December 14th between 3 P.M & 5 P.M. the Birmingham Society of Piping will be performing at Castlebay Cafe on Hwy 280 at Hugh Daniels Drive in Greystone. Castlebay Cafe is kicking off a 30-day fund raising event for the " Breast Cancer Survivor's Mt. Kileminjaro Climb". Brenda LaDunn and Channel 33/40 will be on hand to report the event. The piping performance is also part of Castlebay's introduction of imported Scottish foods and gifts centered around coffee & tea including:  Bangers, meat pies, hobnobs, Scottish jams and marmalades, chutney and fruit cakes. (submitted by Don Neil)

Auburn University - Seeking Support for a Celtic Studies Program

Auburn University has begun a committed effort to establish a Scottish, Irish and Celtic Interdisciplinary Program.  The vision for this program is the development of a comprehensive course of study that will begin with the establishment of an undergraduate minor, covering Celtic history, culture, literature, music and the arts.  The larger goal is to continue expanding the Celtic area of study into an academic major. Developing a Celtic Studies Major at Auburn University would make it one of the very few in the entire country. The success of this venture depends on external funding from private sources, alumni and Celts who would like to see Celtic Education in the United States take a huge leap forward. The College of Liberal Arts is working to spread the word and invite anyone with an interest in Irish, Scottish or Celtic Culture to become part of this endeavor. Full-color brochures are available on the program.  Please contact Jonathan Ahern at 334-844-1432 - or Mary Baird at 334-844-1141 - .

Set-Dancing Workshop coming to Birmingham
Birmingham's chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann (CCE) is sponsoring a Set-Dancing Workshop in January or early February. Yutaka Usui & Doriane Rencker, Int'l Irish Set Dancers with Irish Music and Dance Festivals on Tour, are touring the South offering set-dancing workshops. They are known for their teaching of the traditional West Clare style battering steps for the reels sets which they have been teaching in the Baltimore-Washington area for a number of years, as well as at workshops in the Midwest, Canada and Europe. They are able to break down the unusual footwork into simple parts to enable dancers of any level to learn it quickly. They can also teach numerous more advanced variations of the step to dancers who have already mastered the basic Clare battering step. The date, time and place are still being negotiated. If you are interested in participating and would like more information, please contact Kate Weatherly at Also watch your ACA newsletter for more details as they become available. (Submitted by CCE and Roberta Stamp)

Scottish Soccer Supporters Club Invites Fans to Join In! 

The Birmingham Celtic Supporters Club meets at Bennett's Sports Bar on Cahaba Road in Birmingham every week to view live Glasgow Celtics soccer games from Scotland.  The Club would like to invite any others in "Celtic Alabama" who are interested in Scottish Soccer to join the Club.  The costs are $5 for students and $10 for others to help cover the transmission costs.  The upcoming matches are as follows: Thursday Dec. 12 kick-off 2 P.M. (GC vs.Spain against Celta Vigo of the Spanish Premier league team. This is the UEFA Cup which pits top teams from all over Europe against each other), Sunday Dec. 15, 9 A.M. kickoff (GC vs. Kilmarnock), Saturday Dec. 21, 9 A.M. kickoff (GC vs.Dundee), Thursday Dec. 26, 9 A.M. kickoff GC vs.Hearts), Sunday Dec. 29, 9 A.M. kickoff (GC vs. Dunfermline), Thursday Jan. 2, 9 A.M. kickoff (GC vs. Aberdeen), Wednesday, Jan 25 (Scottish Cup competition.) The schedules change, depending upon Glasgow Celtic's success or lack thereof in the special competitions, like the UEFA Cup, the Scottish Cup, the Insurance Cup etc. The season goes until the middle of May and after 6 weeks off and it starts again. This Club LOVES Scottish Soccer!  All Scottish Soccer Fans are invited - for more details and updated Games schedules, contact Dan Shields at and let him know your team preference! (submitted by Dan Shields)

We need your support!  Become an ACA Patron!

It's a great way to show your Celtic Pride and ensure our cultural legacy in Alabama! ACA Patrons receive the deluxe quarterly issues of Celtic Alabama News with book reviews, news and articles not found elsewhere. You can become a Patron of ACA today by sending a $25 check to:  Alabama Celtic Association, P.O. Box 724, Trussville AL 35173.  Please include your preferred mailing address.  (For more details: Click Here for ACA Patrons)

Don't Miss NEW Photos in the This Month's Photo Gallery!

Great Photos from:  Good Fortune and Isla, Southwind at Artburst, Killarney's, Stone Mountain Games, Alabama Highland Games, Gerry O'Beirne in Montgomery, and MORE !! Visit the PHOTO GALLERY HERE

Celtic Alabama Announcements

St. Andrew's Pipes and Drums on Montgomery - New Web Site!

The St. Andrews Pipes and Drums of Montgomery, AL has a new web site.  In addition to contact information, photos, and a calendar of events there is also a FAQ section entitled "Beginning the Great Highland Bagpipe: A Learner's Guide" for the benefit of prospective students. The St. Andrews Pipes and Drums Web page is located at (Submitted by David Rock, Pipe Major - St. Andrew's Pipes and Drums)

Holiday Open House at Lamplight Music in Homewood -  Dec 15

Larry Allen Brown will be performing along with some of his finest students at an open house/house warming/holiday event. Everyone from ACA is welcome. Bring instruments and help inaugurate a home for the Celtic Musical Arts. Sit by the fire, sip spiced cider, be with friends, and afterward, continue the party at Killarney's along with Shillelagh Law. Dress is very casual.  Open House is Sunday Dec. 15 at Lamplight Music 1809 Oxmoor Rd. Homewood from 2 -5 P.M..  Please come by and help us celebrate!  More info at 205-802-1560. (submitted by Larry Allen Brown)

Birmingham School of Celtic Arts - Open Sessions and a Brand New  BSCA Web Site

BSCA will be performing at Kirkwood by the River and St Martins in the Pines on December 14th.  The BSCA Christmas Party will be at High Fives at noon on the 14th. Open studio will be held Dec 8th from 2-4 P.M. and not again until January. BSCA Sweatshirts are available by contacting Kathy Blanchard at 256-378-5606 or  . (submitted by Mary Dougherty - BSCA)

Scottish Society of Mobile - Burns Night Dinner

The Scottish Society of Mobile is having their (Robert) Burns Night Supper on Feb. 1, 2003.You don't have to be Scottish to take pleasure in the fun and merriment!  On February 1, 2003 come spend an enjoyable evening with The Scottish Society of Mobile honoring Robert Burns, the Bard of Scotland, with good food, traditional music, Scottish Country dancing and good company!  This is by reservation only and reservations must be made by January 24, 2003.   For further information, please contact the Burns Night Chairperson at (submitted by Sally Roberts)

Celtic Music Society of Montgomery - Membership Drive!

The Celtic Music Society of Montgomery is offering a great membership package for Celtic music fans.  For a $25 individual membership ($40 Family), CMSM members will receive advance notice of upcoming CMSM events, invitation to members-only pre-concert receptions, notice of concerts and 'road-trip' to events around the Southeast, invitation to member's-only listening parties and more. The CMSM has hit the ground running with one sold-out concert under their belt and more great entertainment in the works.  It's a great time to join the effort to bring Celtic music to South Central Alabama.  For more information, visit Celtic Music Society of Montgomery or e-mail . (From CMSM)

Celtic Moon - Alabama's Own Celtic Internet Radio

On the “air” for a little over a year, Ken Browning of McCalla started the internet station, "Celtic Moon", simply to have good music available while at work.  It wasn't long before others around the world were tuning in and e-mails with requests and suggestions began to come. Currently streaming the feed from McCalla – Browning has a computer that is dedicated to the station, as well as a small studio for preparing the music and doing the voice-overs.  "I have always had an interest in commercial radio, but have never really pursued it, so running this little station has really fulfilled a lot of lifelong wishes. I try to play a good mix of fast and slow, soft and loud – predominantly traditional Irish but with a spot of new age, as well as Cape Breton, Scottish and Welsh thrown in along with a bit of modern Irish," says Browning of the Celtic Moon line-up. Celtic Moon has been in the top ten of Irish genre stations on Live365 for over six months now.  You can "tune in" to Alabama's Celtic Internet Radio station by visiting: . Check it out!

Celtic Music Session - Every Third Thursday in Madison and First Tuesday in Huntsville

The First Tuesday of the month is the time for Celtic musicians to gather for session at The Corner Pub  at 10300 Bailey Cove Road in Huntsville at 8 P.M..  New friends and Celtic music fans are welcome to come by.  The Madison Coffee Co. in Madison, AL will host regular Celtic Music sessions on the Third Thursday of each month, featuring members of Good Fortune.  Everyone is welcome to join in or just come enjoy some great tunes and good company.  This month, the session will be November 17, starting around 7 p.m. For more details, by Denny Cannon and Richard Bennett)

FREE Bagpipe Lessons being offered in Birmingham on Saturdays

Free bagpipe and drumming lessons are being offered by Heritage Pipes & Drums (HPD). Contact Ryan Morrison at home at (205) 836-2306 or work at (205) 823-1988 or e-mail at Also check out the new HPD web site at . Now's the time to take up the Pipes! (Submitted by Ryan Morrison)

Sharing your news with Celtic Alabama News 

The Celtic Alabama News is always looking for news of, announcements for and photos of various Celtic events around the state to share around through the CAN and the web site.  We depend on YOU to share photos and news with us.  IF YOU DON'T LET US KNOW  - WE CAN'T LET EVERYONE ELSE KNOW.  The Celtic Alabama News is usually produced between the 1st and 5th of each month.  If you have timely information, please keep this in mind. Send your news/photos to or call 205-655-7259.


Celtic Alabama News Calendar
December 11, 2002 - Celtic Pub Night at Killarney's 
Where:  Killarney's Irish Pub and Restaurant  Details:  Birmingham-area Celts gather. All welcome - 7 P.M on. 205-595-4088
December 12, 2002 - Henri's Notions - Live in Tennessee
Where:  Hiawassee College in Madisonville TN   Details:  Sponsored by the Monroe Area Council on the Arts 423-442-3210
December 12, 2002 - Celtic Music Open Session
Where:  Finnegan's in Huntsville (second Thursdays after Good Fortune practice) Details:
December 14, 2002 - Birmingham Society of Piping at Castlebay Cafe
Where:  Castlebay Cafe at Hugh Daniels Drive on 280 E at Greystone  Details:  Kick-off for "Breast Cancer Survivor's Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb" - 3 - 5 P.M.
December 14, 2002 - The Full Moon Ensemble - Annual Holiday Concert
Where:  7:30 P.M., Bradshaw High School, Florence  Details:
December 14, 2002  - Birmingham School of Celtic Arts - Performance and Party
Where:  Performing at Kirkwood by the River and St. Martin's in the Pines BSCA Party at High Fives in Birmingham at Noon Details:
December 15, 2002 - Shillelagh Law - Live at Killarney's
Where:  Killarney's  Irish Pub at Eastwood Mall  Details:  205-595-4088
December 15, 2002Lamplight Music Open House and Christmas Party
Where:  Lamplight Music - hosted by Larry Brown  Details:  205-802-1560
December 17, 2002 - Larry Allen Brown - Celtic Guitar
Where:  Highland Coffee Company from 6 - 8 P.M.
December 19, 2002 - Henri's Notions - Special Performance for Governor Don Siegleman
Where:  Old Supreme Court Chamber and Library , 12 P.M. till 1 P.M.  Details:  334-242-4076
December 19, 2002 - Third Thursday Session at Madison Coffee Company
Where:  Madison Alabama - 7 p.m.  Details:  Musicians, Friends and Celtic Music Fans welcome!
December 19, 2002 - Scottish Society of Mobile Meeting
Where:  Botanical Gardens in Municipal Park  Details:  251-342-4733
December 22, 2002 - Shillelagh Law - Live at Killarney's
Where:  Killarney's Irish Pub and Restaurant  Details:  205-595-4088
December 26, 2002 - Celtic Music Society of Montgomery - Holiday/Listening Party
Where:  TBA  Details:
December 29, Larry Allen Brown - Celtic Guitar
Where:  Highland Coffee Company from 11A.M. - 2 P.M.
December 29, 2002 - Shillelagh Law - Live at Killarney's
Where: Killarney's Irish Pub and Restaurant at Eastwood Mall  Details:  205-595-4088
January 7, 2003 - Celtic Session at the Corner Pub
Where:  The Corner Pub in Huntsville, 8 P.M.  Details: 
January 9, 2003 - Celtic Session at Finnegan's
Where:  Finnegan's in Huntsville (after the Good Fortune practice)  Details:
January 12, 2003 - Larry Brown - Celtic Guitar
Where:  Highland Coffee Company, Birmingham AL - Sunday Brunch Series   Details:  205-802-1560
January 16, 2003 - Celtic Session at Madison Coffee Company - Every Third Thursday
Where:  Madison Coffee Company in Madison AL  Details:
January 18, 2003 - Caledonian Society of Alabama - Burn's Night Dinner
Where:  Wald Park, Vestavia - Covered Dish - Featuring Heritage Pipes and Drums  Details:  Angus MacQueen or 205-988-0568
January 25, 2003 - A Celtic Evening: Music and Dance from Scotland and Ireland
Where:  WorkPlay, Birmingham AL    Details:   A fantastic benefit for the Alabama Celtic Association featuring the very best of Alabama's Celtic talent.  Celtic Bands, Irish and Scottish Dance, Bagpipe Bands - Everything in one fantastic evening.  More details coming soon!  Tickets are $15 and available by calling 205-979-9653.

February 1, 2003 - Scottish Society of Mobile - Burns Night Dinner

Where: TBA in Mobile  Details:  Reservations by January 24th by contacting
February 23, 2003 - Celtic Music Society of Montgomery presents - Karan Casey
Where:  Club 1048, Montgomery AL  Details:  Tickets $18 till Jan. 15 - then $22 till show.  More details at Celtic Music Society of Montgomery or e-mail or call 334-356-4593

Visit our ACA Calendar for more details and  EVERYTHING ELSE that you don't want to miss!

The on-line version of Celtic Alabama News is a free service of the Alabama Celtic Association. Help us grow the Celtic Community -  Share this with your friends!

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If you would like to reproduce any of this copy in another publication, please credit Celtic Alabama News and author, if noted.  DISCLAIMER:  We depend on members of our community to submit information and announcements for the Celtic Alabama News. We try to confirm the information we receive but are not responsible for incorrect details submitted for publication. 

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