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Celtic concert celebrates winter solstice


Music — Performance first on tour for group, together at Newberg Music Center

In Celtic tradition, the winter solstice is a celebrated holiday, and Colleen Raney said she likes to pay tribute to the beauty of the winter season.

Raney, along with band mates Hanz Araki, Johnny Connolly and Cary Novotny, will do just that during their Dec. 5 Winter Celebration at the Newberg Music Center.

G.D. Armstrong, music center owner, said each of the group’s members has performed in various combinations at the center.

“There’s sort of a pool of Irish musicians in Portland that gets stirred up in different combinations,” Armstrong said.

Raney said this is the first show on the tour for this particular mash-up.

“So it is technically our kick-off and it will be the first show that (Araki) has in the area after returning from his annual tour of Japan,” she said. Raney and Araki both recently finished a tour in Japan.

Individually, Armstrong said Araki is an incredible flute player with a great voice. Connolly won a national competition in Ireland as a teen for the box accordion and Armstrong said Raney just put out her fourth CD where “her voice gets better each time.”

“And (Novotny) is American but an incredible guitar player. He’s one of better accompanist in the area. He can vary what he does to fit the mood,” he said. “They’re some of my favorite musicians and I’m looking forward to this combination.”

“(The concert) will be a mix of expected Christmas songs as well as some winter songs,” Armstrong said. “Not just Irish songs but also Scottish, Breton, English and American, but put together in interesting ways.”

Raney said the concert really amounts to a celebration.

“We hope to create an experience of the warmth of gathering on a cold, winter night to sings songs and share stories as we pass through the longest nights in our calendar year,” she said.

Armstrong said there should be a mix of instrumental music and songs, adding “It will be entertaining and touching evening.”

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Newberg Music Center. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit www.newbergmusiccenter.com.