Pittsburgh Irish Festival instrumental in the virtual ‘An Irish Christmas Concert’

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Go green on Wednesday.

At 8 p.m. the Association of Irish and Celtic Festivals will host “An Irish Christmas Concert,” with support from the Embassy of Ireland, H.E. Daniel Mulhall, the ambassador of Ireland to the United States and Irish festivals in the U.S. including the Pittsburgh Irish Festival.

The virtual performance will be a livestream event of seven acts from Ireland.

It is free and can be viewed here.

The association comprises more than 170 Irish and Celtic festivals from across the U.S. and Canada which incorporate Irish culture, music, education, food and dance. There will be more than 25 festivals taking part.

“This will be a beautiful concert even if people have to celebrate the holidays in a different way this year,” said Squirrel Hill native Mairin Petrone, executive director of the Pittsburgh Irish Festival which her mother and aunt, Maura and Nan Krushinski, founded in 1991, who reached out to the association about collaborating on a virtual event. “The pandemic has been devastating, but this concert will allow us to reach beyond our wildest dreams and connect people from Ireland with other festivals around the world.”


Petrone knew bands from overseas would not be able to come to the U.S. because of the pandemic for this year’s festival, usually held in September. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Pittsburgh Irish Festival began a livestream Irish music series which had over 60 bands from across the world and more than 600,000 views.

“Nothing lifts your spirits quite like a classic Irish tune.,” said Petrone. “We’re excited to host this inaugural event as a way to bring our organizations and communities together virtually and celebrate Irish Christmas traditions.”

Performers include Aoife Scott, a traditional and folk music artist and Dervish, a group known for “technical brilliance.” The High Kings are one of the most well-known Irish ballad bands. Screaming Orphans, are a Pittsburgh Irish Festival favorite, Petrone said. The group of four sisters has been performing traditional Irish music since they were young. Shane Hennessy is an Irish virtuoso guitarist who is known for his fingerstyle, flatpicking, and percussive guitar-playing approaches.

”I am so thankful for their support now, at the most difficult time for musicians and artists in recent history,” Hennessey said. “This stream will bring a lot of joy to fans of Irish culture all over the world, in particular those of us who desperately miss the festival scene.”

Socks in the Frying Pan, a trio from County Clare on the West coast of Ireland, are known for its harmonies, virtuosic musical ability and onstage wit.

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We Banjo 3, is a Galway, Ireland, and Nashville-based quartet, comprised of two sets of brothers.

Gráinne Diver of the Screaming Orphans said via email they wanted to participate in this concert because it’s a great way to celebrate the holiday season. She said the hardest part about the pandemic is by far the absence of gigs which are an important part of their lives as touring musicians.

“This has been missing for us this year, that’s what makes this concert so important for us,” she said. “Music and the arts are incredibly necessary to lift spirits at the best of times. It is even more important to have music during these times of disruption in our everyday lives.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, jharrop@triblive.com or via Twitter .

AandE | Coronavirus | Local | Music | Pittsburgh



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