It was our first try at a Wednesday night concert, and despite a number of conflicts, it seemed to go well. Wednesday is traditionally church night, and a few of our regulars either attend a service, teach or host a service, or their kids attend. Add to that Sutherland School scheduling their high school parent-teacher conferences on the same night and needless to say, I was a little worried!
Ken O'Malley gave an absolutely outstanding performance, and our audience loved him. I was a little nervous at first as he started out talking about Irish history beginning with the Vikings. I was afraid he'd lose the crowd, but I needn't have worried. He made it all so interesting and personal, is such a great storyteller and absolutely fabulous musician and vocalist that I think people would have been comfortable if he'd played all night!
We even managed to convince him to close with an Irish drinking song - the very risque "Seven Drunken Nights", which garnered him a standing ovation - only the second one in our House Concert history.
Ken related his take on his experiences in Nebraska on his blog.
An added highlight to the night was the wonderful Irish step dancing by Susan Ritta of the Thunder on the Plains dance troupe. She did three dances for us, a hornpipe, and a soft shoe, then went into the brush or broom dance.
According to the information I found,
Brush/Broom dancing is another traditional Irish dance form. There are many tales on how this dance form originated. One version is that men outnumbered women so the gents polished up their skills at home with a broom as a partner. Once mastered, they'd go to their local dance gatherings to display their skills in hopes of garnering the ladies attention. Another version is that the Irish Tinkers/Pavees/Travelers would perform this "showy" dance to attract attention and make it easier to sale their wares, like brooms, tools and pots. This dance tradition has been handed down for more than a century & is very entertaining.
You can also hear Susan on the Radio as she hosts an Irish music radio show on Lincoln station KZUM, which is live streamed at http://www.kzum.org/ Tuesdays from 1-2 and Sundays from 6-7pm.
Thursday morning our guests didn't have to leave until about noon, so we headed north on a road trip up into the Sandhills. We went as far as one of my favorite places in the world - Tin Camp Ranch.
I know how deeply my love for the Sandhills flows in my blood, and my family has only called the area home for three generations. Through his music and stories, Ken did a fantastic job of relating the history of the Irish people and their love for the land and their heritage.
All in all, the first House Concert of our 2010 season was a resounding success, and we're already looking forward to the next one on November 19 with Midwest Dilemma. As always, it will come and go way too quickly!
Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.