Celebrate Christmas Celtic-style with Na Fidleiri and the Taylor Festival Choir

  • Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Na Fidléirí, Charleston’s renowned Celtic fiddling ensemble, and the Taylor Festival Choir, one of the nation’s finest professional choirs, will join forces with the legendary Irish Guitarist and singer John Doyle to present “A Celtic Christmas” at Grace Episcopal Church at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9. Also featured will be baritone Brandon Hendrickson, soprano Kori Miller, fiddler/vocalist Karin McQuade and vocalist Kiri Taylor. The evening’s proceedings will led by co-directors Robert and Mary Taylor.

“A Celtic Christmas” has been a Charleston favorite for more than 10 years. It features a delightful mixture of traditional Holiday carols and airs, instrumental jigs and reels with a Celtic flavor, spiritual choral segments, operatic offerings and storytelling for the entire family. Many selections stem from the Taylor Festival Choir’s award-winning Holiday CD “Sing We Now of Christmas,” soon to be featured on Sirius XM Radio Holiday Pops for the fourth season in a row.

Tickets can be purchased at www.taylormusicgroup.net or at the door starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $18, Students $10.

Na Fidléirí, founded and directed by Mary Taylor, has been called the nation’s finest, most unique Celtic fiddling ensemble for young fiddlers. Comprising 25 fiddlers between the ages of 10 and 18, Na Fidléirí performs repertoire from the Celtic tradition, specially arranged for them. Its members are taught the technique and style of Celtic fiddling, while simultaneously being grounded upon a classical technical foundation emphasizing the close relationship between music of the classical and (in their particular case) Celtic/folk tradition. Na Fidléirí is an auditioned group with members ranging from 9-18 years old, including approximately 25 violinists, plus pennywhistle, bodhran and guitar. They annually provided a full schedule of performances in Charleston, as well as appearing in festivals throughout the southeast. This past June, Na Fidléirí embarked on a 10-day concert tour with its sister ensemble the Taylor Festival Choir.

The Taylor Festival Choir (TFC) is a semi-professional chamber choir founded and conducted by Robert Taylor. In residence at the College of Charleston, TFC is inspired by the life and career of Bob Taylor, who is the conductor’s late father and a noted choral musician and pedagogue. Since its inception in 2001, TFC has toured and been heard in prestigious venues and festivals throughout the U.S., and has garnered a reputation of excellence among critics and choral specialists alike. In 2009 the Taylor Festival Choir was one of only two American adult chamber choirs featured at the prestigious 2009 American Choral Directors Association National Convention and 50th anniversary celebration. Recently, they were featured in the National Collegiate Choral Organization 2013 National Convention. TFC currently records with MSR Classics. Their most recent release “Sing We Now of Christmas,” recorded with legendary guest artists including Liz Carroll, John Doyle and Kim Robertson, has been called “a choral feast that will linger long in your memory after you’ve heard it.” Their current recording project features BBC composer of the year James MacMillan’s “Mass,” as well as what will be the world premier recording of “Celtic Mass” by Michael McGlynn.

John Doyle is among the most talented and innovative musicians to come out of Ireland in recent years. An extraordinary acoustic guitarist as well as an accomplished singer and songwriter, Doyle can be heard accompanying many top Irish artists and has performed on such film and TV soundtracks as “The Brothers McMullen” and “Out of Ireland.” An original member of the acclaimed group Solas, Doyle’s turns as a record producer have created critically successful recordings by Heidi Talbot (Cherish the Ladies), Liz Carroll and his father, Sean Doyle. Learn more at www.johndoylemusic.com.

Mary Taylor, director of Na Fidleiri, is a member of the String Faculty at Ashley Hall School. Regarded as one of the premier violin and fiddle instructors in the U.S., Taylor has given workshops throughout the U.S. and in Ireland. An accomplished performer in the classical and Irish/folk idioms, she regularly performs with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Pro Musica, Ensemble St. Clare at Mepkin Abbey, as well with her own Na Fidléirí. Taylor holds a Master of Music in Violin Performance and Pedagogy from Sam Houston State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and education from Lamar University.

Dr. Robert Taylor is the director of Choral Activities at the College of Charleston, the founding artistic director and president of the Taylor Festival Choir and Taylor Music Group, the director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Singers, and Conductor/Chorus Master with Opera Charleston. Called a “rising star in the international choral scene” and a “true master of his craft,” Taylor’s choirs have been described as sounding “more musical than would seem possible,” and

have received numerous plaudits from critics and choral specialists for their technical proficiency, musicality and beautiful sound production. Taylor’s ensembles have performed throughout the United States and Europe. They have been featured in numerous festivals, conventions and special concerts, including the 2009 and 2005 American Choral Directors National Conventions, the 2011 and 2008 National Collegiate Choral Organization National Convention, and multiple appearances in regional and state ACDA and AGO conventions. Taylor’s groups also appear annually in the prestigious Spoleto Festival U.S.A. and Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

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