May 10, 2012

An all-star cast of Celtic artists will perform at Bucknell on May 18.

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By Andy Hirsch

LEWISBURG, Pa. — In what promises to be a one-of-a-kind music and dance extravaganza, some of the world's most renowned Irish performers will take the stage at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, May 18, for Bucknell University's first-ever Commencement Concert.

Headlining the performance is one of the most successful and sought-after Irish-American groups, Cherish the Ladies. The Ladies will be accompanied by Irish guest vocalist Maura O'Connell, a two-time Grammy nominee, and a rare gathering of Irish dance talent that includes three world champions and three national champions. They also will be joined by an 11-piece string ensemble led by Bucknell Associate Professor of Music Christopher Para.

Cherish the Ladies
Led by Grammy Award winner Joanie Madden, Cherish the Ladies has performed around the world since their founding more than 25 years ago. The group has shared the stage and studio with such legendary performers as James Taylor, Joan Baez, the Chieftains, Pete Seeger and dozens of distinguished orchestras, including the Boston Pops. The Ladies' 14 critically acclaimed albums have earned numerous accolades, including being named Best Musical Group of the Year by the BBC.

"It is simply impossible to imagine an audience that wouldn't enjoy what they do," wote one Boston Globe reporter. Another Globe reporter noted, "They are now among the busiest, best, and most popular Irish music groups in the world." The New York Times said, "The music is passionate, tender and rambunctious." In Ireland the group has received similar praise. "One of the best nights of music I've ever heard ... I can't rave enough about Cherish the Ladies!" remarked Hot Press magazine in Dublin.

Maura O'Connell
Irish singer Maura O'Connell's 2009 album Naked With Friends earned O'Connell her latest Grammy nomination. In addition to her highly successful solo career, O'Connell has collaborated with a variety of renowned artists, including Van Morrison, Bela Fleck and Dolly Parton.   

Performing alongside the musicians will be some of the most accomplished Irish dancers in the world, including World Champions Michael Holland, John Jennings and Noelle Curran, U.S. National Champions Joe Dwyer and Cara Butler, and Canadian National Champion John Pilatzke. Curran performed for five years with the Irish dance phenomenon "Riverdance." Colleen Farrell, a lead dancer for "Lord of the Dance," aso will be on hand.

Christopher Para
Bucknell Associate Professor of Music Christopher Para will conduct an 11-piece string ensemble, featuring artists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Para came to Bucknell in 1988 and conducts the Bucknell University Orchestra. He was named Orchestra Conductor of the Year by the Pennsylvania-Delaware String Teachers Association in 2001. His recent guest conducting appearances include the Corinthian Chamber Orchestra of London, the Hradec Králové Philharmonic and the Marienbad Symphony of the Czech Republic, and the Borgas Philharmonic of Bulgaria.

"Bucknell University presents: An Irish Evening with Cherish the Ladies featuring legendary singer Maura O'Connell," will take place on Friday, May 18, at 7 p.m. The performance will be filmed by WVIA Public Media Studios in high definition for later distribution to public television stations nationwide. 

Madden and Cherish the Ladies will join the Bucknell community after the concert to celebrate the Class of 2012 at a reception in Sojka Pavilion.

General admission tickets are $25 per person and $10 for college and K-12 students. Advance tickets can be charged through the Campus Box Office or by calling 570-577-1000. While Bucknell University Class of 2012 graduates may each receive one free ticket, those seats must be claimed online or at the box office in advance and will not be reserved but will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tickets are available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University bookstore in Lewisburg weekdays and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 12:30 to 4 p.m.; and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center, weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tickets also may be purchased one hour prior to the performance.

Contact: Division of Communications