Fresno artists will again join together this March 17 for a unique St. Patrick’s Day celebration, the only of its kind in the nation—a variety show of Irish and Mexican dancers, singers and musicians—in honor of the St. Patrick’s Battalion, the heroes who forged a special bond between these two peoples.
Everyone is donating their talents to raise money for two worthy causes: immigrant rights and independent media. All proceeds from this year’s concert will go toward sending local student and community activists to Immigrant Day 2013 in Sacramento and to support the voice of the Fresno progressive movement, the Community Alliance newspaper.
Hosted by the Fresno City College club Students Without Borders, the concert will be held on campus in the beautifully restored Old Administration Building Auditorium. Sponsors are the Fresno Free College Foundation and the Communities for a New California Education Fund.
The concert starts at 3 p.m. on March 17. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $5 for students. Separate admission to the after-party is $5. Tickets are on sale at Patrick's Music, 769 E Barstow Café Corazón, 1306 N Wishon Ave (both in Fresno). For more information, call Pam Whalen at 559-994-9390.
Immediately following the concert will be the Baile Céilí (BUY-lay KAY-lee), a social reception that takes its name from the Spanish and Irish words for dance. It will feature more live Irish music, traditional Irish social dances for all called by Kevin Hall, and light refreshments. Admission is free for concertgoers. Céilí-only admission is available, too.
Los Danzantes de Aztlán
Highlighting the program will be Los Danzantes de Aztlán, Fresno State’s pioneering, award-winning Mexican folk dance troupe based in the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies under the direction of Dr. Victor Torres. Founded in 1970, the troupe utilizes beautiful, authentic costumes and precise dance execution and has been a success with audiences wherever it has performed. The dance company has consistently placed in the top three in international folkloric dance competitions. Los Danzantes de Aztlán was founded in 1970 at Fresno State by Ernesto Martinez, a faculty member of the La Raza Studies Department, and has built itself as one of the leading Mexican folkloric dance companies in the Southwest. It has toured Mexico and Spain, delivering a colorful expression of authentic Mexican folkloric dance.
The McTeggart Irish Dancers
The McTeggarts are an ever-changing group of dancers interested in traditional Irish step dancing. Their director, Fresno resident Maureen McTeggart Hall, is a master of the art who teaches classes in Fresno, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Lexington. As a young girl in Ireland, she and her siblings were taken throughout the newly independent country by her IRA-veteran father, Tom McTeggart, to be taught by the elderly dance masters. She is the longest active teacher in North America having taught continually here since 1959. The Fresno class meets every Thursday night, and beginners are always welcome.
Songstress and young diva Merlinda Espinosa has been singing and performing since she was a young child. Born and raised in Fresno, she performs with a soulful, “chill-inducing” voice. Her range of music includes Mexican traditional, rancheras, Nuevo Canto of Latin America, country, R&B, ballads and jazz, and she sings in a unique style in both English and Spanish.
Roscanna is a blend of family and friends who have been playing music together for more years than their youngest member has been alive. Larry Cusick plays fiddle, Irish flute and uilleann pipes. Susan Heidebrecht plays the bodhran, the Irish drum. Neil Cusick, son of Larry and Susan, plays Irish flute, low whistle, guitar and clarinet. Kathryn Johnsen plays harp and keyboards. Jim Michael, singer and guitarist, has been playing with various Irish and barn dance bands in Fresno, Visalia, Yosemite and Northern California since the 1980s. Amelia Ryan has been singing Irish songs from her mother’s record collection since she was a child.
Fresno Harp Circle
The Harp Circle is a place for adult enthusiasts to enjoy playing harp in a cooperative, relaxed and fun environment. A circle is a place to expand one’s knowledge of repertoire and styles, to challenge one’s technical level and musicianship while learning new sorts of skills and refining musicianship, and a place to enjoy friendship with others who share one’s love of an amazing instrument.
Added to the calendar on Saturday Feb 23rd, 2013 4:18 PM