If you think your holiday season is busy, try keeping up with Eileen Ivers during the month of December. The Grammy Award-winning Celtic fiddle virtuoso (she kept toes tapping during Riverdance and was a charter member of the group Cherish the Ladies) is on an East Coast tour. Final stop? The Smith Opera House on December 17. She will be joined by Geneva’s own Mount Calvary Choir.
This is the 12th year that Ivers, 52, has brought her Joyful Christmas show to fiddle fans. But if you have been it before, Ivers promises it’s not the same show.
“It is really important for the band and for me to keep it fresh. This is an extremely joyful show, and a lot of thought has gone into the set list,” says Ivers in a phone interview from her West Nyack, Rockland County home.
Joyful Christmas used to rely more heavily on Celtic tunes and Gaelic traditions, and there are certainly strong elements of that in this year’s show. For example, Ivers is really excited to introduce her audiences to some “beautiful Irish Christmas carols,” as well as a few tunes that celebrate Wren Day, also known as St. Stephen’s Day. The Dec. 26 holiday finds costumed men and boys singing and dancing their way through the streets in hopes that money will be thrown their way to “bury the wren.”
As you can imagine, there is some great Irish story-telling that goes along with these Wren Day tunes, Ivers says. Audience participation is encouraged.