The Celtic Tenors take on American folk songs

September 15, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

The Celtic Tenors will test their crossover status Wednesday night at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown.

The three-man Irish trio's performance opens the Hagerstown Community Concert Association's 2007-08 season, which will feature four acts through spring 2008.

Joann Fillingham, the association's publicity chairwoman, said this year's series would have an international theme.

The Celtic Tenors' recent album, "We Are Not Islands," (the album was released as "Remember Me" overseas) touts collaborations with Samantha Mumba and the '80s group Air Supply - a great contrast from their prior album aptly titled "The Irish Album."

At The Maryland Theatre, the Tenors will do their version of "Shenandoah" and other American folk tunes, with contemporary Celtic music and a smattering of classical Irish music, said James Nelson, one of the tenors.


"We felt we had done a lot of the Irish stuff," Nelson said. "In Ireland, they want a mix, and at this stage, they don't want to hear 'Danny Boy.'"

But in the states, they want to hear the "Irish stuff," he said. "Not that we're sick of it, but why don't we do an American folk song?"

Nelson said the transition from traditional to pop went over well in Ireland, though he said some critics accused the trio of "selling out" for a buck.

"That's absolutely not true," he said. "I always said the day I stop enjoying what I do, that's the day when it's time for me to start doing something else."

The album reached No. 11 on Billboard's Top Classical Crossover Albums chart, according to

The trio signed with its first major international label in 2000 and has released five albums since. The group, now made up of Nelson, Matthew Gilsenan and Daryl Simpson, is working on a studio album and plans to release a live CD of a performance with the West Virginia Orchestra, Nelson said.

If you go

What: The Celtic Tenors in concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19

Where: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

Cost: Tickets cost $20 at the door. Series subscriptions cost $40 for adults, $15 for students and $50 for a family, defined as one parent/gaurdian or grandparent and their children or grandchildren.

More: For information, contact Helen Hubbard at 301-582-2734.

Hear it for yourself

Hear The Celtic Tenors sing "The Fields of Atherny" at The trio is performing Wednesday at The Maryland Theatre. To learn more about the group, visit

Concert series schedule

Hagerstown Community Concert Association presents its 49th concert series:

· The Celtic Tenors, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19

· Karkowska Sisters Duo, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5

· The Black Mountain Chorus of Wales, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, 2008

· Quattrocelli, 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 7, 2008

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