Maine Folque Co-op Musters Up Celtic Celebrations at LPL and Schooner Estates on St. Pat's Day
Area residents of all ages accepted our invitation to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by kicking up their heels at an Irish dance party scheduled from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.
The event, which was open to the public free of charge, featured a lively mix of Celtic jigs and reels performed by a multi-generational musical ensemble gathered especially for this occasion. Dubbed The Sizzling Shamrocques, the group featured fiddles, guitar, piano and bodhran, which is a traditional Irish hand drum.
Veteran Irish dance teacher Jeannette Gross offered instruction in some fun and easy Irish “ceili” dances (barn dances) which could be mastered by children as young as five years of age when partnered with a parent, grandparent or other adult.
No prior dance experience was needed to participate. “It's more about having fun than mastering a skill,” said Gross. Nor was Irish-ness a prerequisite, according to event organizer Cindy Larock (who changed her name to O'Rock for the day). “This type of dancing and the music that goes with it is very closely related to the old-time French Canadian jigs-and-reels tradition,” she explained in publicizing the event, “so members of our Franco-American community are sure to enjoy themselves, as is anyone else who appreciates lively fiddle music and a chance to celebrate with others, young and old. We encourage everyone to get in on the dancing, but those who would prefer to just sit out and listen to the music are welcome as well. They'll have fun either way!”
As a tribute to St. Patrick, all attendees of Irish heritage, as well as anyone wearing an item of green clothing in honor of the day, were invited to enter a prize drawing, with prizes ranging from Celtic-knot jewelry to restaurant gift certificates. according to Larock, who says that she'll be changing her name to O'Rock for the day.
After the dance, the musicians hustled across the bridge to Schooner Estates, a retirement community in Auburn, where they presented a concert of Celtic music, both as the full ensemble and as duos and trios.
For a glimpse of the event in action, see the video posted at: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/city/2012/03/18/photos-irish-dance-lewiston/1169884
Photo caption: Fiddler Maurice Pelletier, at age 88, was the senior member of The Sizzling Shamrocques, a multi-generational musical ensemble which performed for St. Patrick's Day programs on both sides of the river in Lewiston on March 17, 2012.