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Music that takes St. Patrick back to his roots

Ireland is the theme of this year’s Registry Roots Weekend at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener. Lennie Gallant and Nonie Thompson and The Celts are taking the stage, while Tom Leighton and Anne Lederman are teaching workshops for choral music and fiddle. [Submitted]
Stepping away from the green beer and shamrocks, Nonie Thompson and The Celts are bringing St. Patrick’s Day back to its roots.

On Mar. 17, Thompson, with Eugene Rae on guitar and pennywhistle, Anne Lederman on the fiddle, Tom Leighton on the accordion and Paul Gribbon on the uillean pipe, will explore the traditional Celtic music of Ireland as The Celts. Part of the Registry Theatre’s 2017 Registry Roots Weekend, The Celts, along with Acadian folk musician Lennie Gallant, will be taking the audience back to the rolling green hills of the Emerald Isle.

“We would have gigs and people were drinking green beer and wearing shamrocks, but that isn’t the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day. With Rae being Irish, he said he was going to do some research and write the real St. Patrick’s Day story,” she said of the Mar. 17 show. “We got a good band together and we just want to show people that the Irish people aren’t about drinking green beer and leprechauns. It is a beautiful, beautiful story. He has handpicked pictures that go along with the story. We have some big screens at the back of the stage and you are listening to the story, you are hearing the music and you are seeing the pictures. It is just wonderful.”

World-class dancer Daniel Carr will join The Celts on stage, sharing some of the traditional dances Ireland is known for.

“Daniel Carr was number-one in the world for highland dancing in 2012, and he is just a fantastic Celtic dancer as well,” said Thompson. “He is actually going to be putting his tap shoes on for the show to do a little bit of river dancing for the audience. He is just amazing. He really dazzles our audiences.”

She can’t wait to see it all come together.

“We love to put on a production. There just isn’t enough really good shows that have all the elements, and this one does,” she said.

Lennie Gallant will also be taking the stage for the weekend festival, sharing his folk, Celtic and country music styles with his fans. He has earned himself awards and nominations at the JUNOs, the Canadian Folk Music Awards and the East Coast Music Awards. Hailing from North Rustico, Prince Edward Island, Gallant has released 11 albums, performed at the Winter Olympics and is a recipient of the Order of Canada.

The Registry Roots weekend isn’t just about sitting back and enjoying some music and dancing, however. Lederman and Leighton will be hosting workshops for music lovers to attend and learn a thing or two.

The first workshop will take the audience on a trip through the Canadian fiddling tradition with Lederman on Mar. 18. The fiddling workshop is designed for intermediate fiddle players, but everyone is welcome to join in and have a listen. Later that afternoon, Leighton will be hosting a choir workshop, bringing together singers of every age group and ability, leading them in choral arrangements of Canadian folk songs.

Thompson says having workshops at the Registry Roots Weekend just enriches the experience for music fans.

“They just bring the entertainer in with the audience. You couldn’t find two better entertainers to run workshops than Anne and Tom. They are just wonderful. It allows the audience to go away with a bit of knowledge as well,” she said. “They can get some tips on certain things, but even if they just go away saying, ‘boy, that was fun.’ That is what the organizers were thinking of. It is just to give that little bit of festival workshop idea with the audience. We want to get them involved in a little bit.”

The 2017 Registry Roots Weekend runs from Mar 17-18, and tickets are sold separately for each event. Thompson and The Celts will be at the Registry Theatre on Mar. 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Gallant’s performance is already sold out, and he will be performing on Mar. 18 at 8 p.m. at the Registry Theatre.

The fiddling workshop with Lederman starts at 10 a.m. on Mar. 18. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. There are only 30 spaces left.

The choir song workshop starts at 1 p.m. on Mar. 18.

To purchase tickets for the workshops and The Celts performance, call 519-578-6598 or visit www.registrytheatre.com.

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