Black Friday does not have to be black – It is the start of the holiday season and whether you revel in ringing it in amidst the throngs of shoppers or not, perhaps an early season concert might be in order. Here in our area, On November 29th we kick off with a Celtic Christmas Concert with Jennifer Licko. The concert is held at the historic Winona Masonic Theater, which features within its auditorium, a three-manual Weikhardt organ, purchased in 1910. Although the organ is currently not in use, its presence is still significant. Even more significant, is the fully functional stage with original stage scenery that still remains. Among the stage scenery are 98 hand painted scenic drops and several freestanding theatrical props. The drops were designed by Sosman and Landis of Chicago, procured by M.C. Lilley and Company of Columbus, Ohio, and installed under the direction of Lilley’s western representative, Bestor G. Brown of Wichita, Kansas. When grouped in various combinations, the individually numbered drops create 59 stage scenes. The drop collection is the larger of only two such collections remaining in the state.
The music of the holiday season has strong roots in Celtic traditions. Jennifer Licko will be singing familiar Christmas songs in English, Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic including her original Irish Christmas song ‘Nollaig na mBan’ (Women’s Christmas). Irish guitarist, Patsy O’Brien, will also share some of the Christmas songs and traditions he experienced growing up in county Cork, Ireland. To top it off, Zack Kline will be blazing jigs and reels on the fiddle in his virtuoso style. Featured on NPR as an international touring artist, Jennifer Licko has proven herself as a respected musician within the Celtic genre while acquiring fans outside of that niche. Jennifer masterfully combines Appalachian music of her North Carolina roots with the traditional Celtic music of her ancestors. Now residing in Minnesota, Jennifer was recently awarded a grant from the Minnesota state arts board in folk and traditional arts.