25 Years on the Music Trail

This year Comhaltas, the Irish Cultural Movement, celebrate a quarter century of Concert Tours of North America. The 25th Annual Concert Tour of the United States and Canada will be from the 13th October to the 6th of November. It will be a nostalgic and proud occasion marking as it does a monumental achievement not only of sustaining the Tour over all these years but developing it into a major cultural event. The Tour is sponsored by Budweiser, Waterford Crystal and The Cultural Relations Committee.

From this Tour programme has grown a vibrant Comhaltas movement in North America with 40 branches promoting the native culture of Ireland and forging strong links between this vast continent and the homeland. Thousands of Irish-Americans (and non-Irish) play Irish traditional music and visit Ireland on a regular basis.

The 20-strong group selected for the 25th Anniversary Tour are veteran MC Paddy Fallon (Roscommon); Brendan McGlinchey, fiddle (Armagh); Theresa O’Grady, banjo (England); Gráinne Hambly, harp (Mayo); Paul Harrigan, uilleann pipes (Donegal); Martin Ryan, accordion (Tipperary); Justin Toner, fiddle (Down); Tony O’Connell, concertina (Limerick); Carmel Commins, accordion (England); June McCormack, flute (Sligo), Ronan Maloney, flute (Limerick); Alice Fitzgerald, singer (Waterford); Larry Mason, singer (Dublin); dancers Elizabeth Moore (Derry); Frank Roddy (Derry); Ivan Rice (Louth); Fiona McCafferty (Donegal); Anthony Sharkey (Clare); The Manager is Billy Boylan (Dublin) and sound technician is John McElligott (Kerry).

The venues for the 1996 Tour are as follows

Mineola, Washington DC, Chicago, Alburquerque, San Francisco, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Connecticut, Boston and New York. The group will give a farewell Concert in Culturlann na hEireann, Dublin, on Sunday, October 13. Comhaltas, founded in 1951, now has 400 branches worldwide. Over 1 milion people attend Comhaltas functions each year.