Living at Fort Bragg has its perks. We have great friends; we are two hours from the beach, two hours from the mountains. But having just finished performances in Tacoma Washington with the fabulous Tacoma Symphony, I definitely can say I would not be sad if the Army found a way to settle us at Fort Lewis for a couple years in Washington. I see why all our friends who get stationed here never want to leave! This part of the country has such grandiose landscapes, and with Mt. Ranier’s shadow looking down on you it’s hard to escape the majesty of this country.
I have been looking forward to singing in Tacoma for over a year now. My last time on the west coast was with the Lord of the Rings West Coast Tour, and sadly we just didn’t have enough time to see everything as we went from Arizona all the way to Seattle! But this time around joining me on stage once again, Maestro Sarah Ioannides, Trent Kowalik, and Andrew Lehman breathed life into the beautiful music of the Emerald Isle. There is something truly unique about this concert- it just has something for everyone!
The music of Ireland is so striking because of the cultural strings that draw many of us back to our ancestors. But it’s the eternal longing and resonance that the “Island” still holds in our hearts and thus in our forms of artistic expression that for me makes me love this music even more.
I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, I married into an Irish Catholic family, and I am pretty much raising an Irish Catholic family! Once I married into the Reddington clan I was thrown into a family that not only had their family crest, but could trace their heritage back to County Mayo. NO longer was it just, “yeah I am part Irish”…no..no…….no “We are ALL Irish!” I soon understood why the good Irish whiskey is on the top shelf and only taken out on special occasions. Or my mother-in-law telling me there is no better creamer than a little bit of Baileys in your coffee to start off the day! There’s always a lightheartedness, clever smile, and quirky optimism in every Irishman I’ve ever met.
I love being able to breathe life into the haunting melodies and songs that my husband and family grew up listening to. Danny Boy, Carrickfergus, O Waly Waly. Drinking songs like the Mountain Dew, or pitter patter story pieces like Phil the Flutter or Finnegan’s Wake where I have to sing more words in three versus than you would find in your daily newspaper! Whether it is happy, mournful, sad, or a hopeful text the Irish footprint is felt in how deeply each emotion resonates in the piece and musician telling the story.
This was our second time performing the show, and it was amazing how far each of us has come with the repertoire since our last performance in Connecticut. Living with the music, all of us found a new appreciation in our roles. Trent and his tapping in Scharnberg’s Tap Concerto- it is just so unique and alive. Sarah has such poise with the baton and I love sharing the stage with a fellow working mother and musician. I learn so much from her, and feel honored to work with such amazing people and musicians.
So whether or not the Army sends us out here for a few years, I pray that it is not my last time here in Tacoma with the entire Tacoma Symphony. The board members, audience, and musicians were so welcoming and there is no greater pleasure being apart of telling the stories of our Irish homeland and musical traditions.