Muskegon’s West Michigan Symphony takes a fresh look at holiday programming with their Dec. 15 Celtic Christmas concert featuring Irish vocalist Cathie Ryan and her band.
WMS music director Scott Speck and the orchestra will join Ryan for the world premiere of a brand-new seasonal program that reflects her Celtic roots in a wide array of holiday works. The concert will feature traditional holiday music such as “On Christmas Morn,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “Angels We Have Heard on High” blended with a selection of traditional Irish music, including a set that will be played on the Irish Uilleann Pipes.
Ryan came to fame in Irish music as the original lead singer of traditional Irish women’s ensemble Cherish the Ladies. She struck out on her own in 1995 and quickly built a reputation as one of Irish music’s foremost female singers. Ryan was inducted into the Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame in 2012, was named one of the “Top 100 Irish Americans” by Irish America Magazine and was twice honored by liveIreland.com as “Irish Female Vocalist of the Decade.”
In what has become a holiday tradition, the West Michigan Symphony Children’s Choir will also be featured in the holiday pops concert. Scott Speck particularly likes working with the Children’s Choir, which he calls “our greatest pride and joy — a top-notch, home-grown musical institution.” He looks forward to the unique Irish traditional programming of this holiday concert, saying “How wonderful that of all places or earth, Cathy Ryan has chosen to celebrate the holidays with us in Muskegon. Cathy is an intimate force of nature, and when she sings, you feel that she’s singing only to you. She can hold an audience in the palm of her hand.”
The following evening, Saturday Dec. 16, Cathie Ryan and her band will offer a concert of Irish folk music at The Block, at 360 W. Western Ave., in downtown Muskegon. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and the house opens at 7:00 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased by going to theblockwestmichigan.org or by calling 231-726-3231.
The Friday, Dec. 15 Celtic Christmas concert is at the Frauenthal theater and starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25-$57, student tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased by calling the WMS box office at 231.726.3231, in person at 360 W. Western Avenue, or online at westmichigansymphony.org.