Celebrating the Irish in all of us
Emerald Isle inspiration will include singing and storytelling, jokes and ham.
“I am best described as a big ham,” proudly states the event’s master of ceremony and organizer of a Celtic celebration, Tom Lahey, Saturday, March 12, at Incline Village’s Mark Twain Cultural Center.
Loving to work a crowd Lahey calls this event “LISA: Celebrating the Irish in All of Us.”
Who or what is Lisa? Was she a fair colleen from Lahey’s youth or an acronym of a secret Sons of Hibernia committee? Lahey assures all will be made clear to the audience and also promises a healthy dose of humor will be central to the proceedings.
This is evident from his calling the upcoming event the second annual when the first one occurred in 1994 at the Cal Neva Resort.
Seventeen years later, this grandson of immigrants from western province of Connacht has developed a full night of entertainment far beyond the Kelly green drunken bacchanalia that other St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have become.
Trecheng Breth Fene is the Gaelic name for the Triads of Ireland. Written by monks 214 aspects, each having three sections was to offer advice for leading a good life during the ninth century. For example, a youngster mocking an old man, a healthy person mocking a sick one and the wise mocking the fool are considered the three rudest people in the world.
Native to Chicago, where the city’s river is dyed green every March 17, Lahey enjoys showcasing the rich language and literary brilliance of Irish poets and writers.
Among them will be readings of Anthony Cronin’s “For a Father” and a few from one of Lahey’s favorite, “a person named Anonymous.”
Weaving the melodies of Ireland through the evening’s festivities will be Donna Axton.
“I have been singing these songs since I was a child,” she said.
Axton, a Tahoe favorite from her frequent piano accompaniment of musical groups such as Toccata, will have no difficulty in the playing the repertoire. She got her experience early by working with her singer father in upstate New York.
Lyrics for favorites such as “Danny Boy” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” will be projected on the wall as will those for less known songs like “Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?” Audience participation, in tune or not, is expected.
Axton, a faculty member at Sierra Nevada College who can be found conducting the school’s spring concert series March 24-26, also will lead a quartet of professional singers including an Irish tenor.
In keeping with the sense of community such as found at a friendly pub the evening will feature a potluck of corned beef and cabbage dinner. Audience members are asked to bring a side dish to share. Both Guinness and Irish coffee will be available for purchase.
The Irish potluck starts at 6 p.m. with the entertainment beginning an hour later.
The mileage between the shores of Lake Tahoe and the western coastline of Ireland is more than 5,000. Spending an evening at the LISA Irish event will shorten the distance and that is no blarney.
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