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Winter Variety Show at Charlottetown's Irish Hall on Jan. 25

Taylor Johnston captivates audiences with his Sea Shanty songs. Submitted
Taylor Johnston captivates audiences with his Sea Shanty songs. Submitted - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The Benevolent Irish Society, reviving a long-standing tradition, is hosting a Winter Variety Show on Saturday, Jan. 25, in the Katherine Hughes Memorial Hall at the Irish Cultural Centre at 582 North River Rd. 

The show will feature an array of musicians, step dancers, set dancers and singers.  The event is hosted by Mary Ellen Callaghan, BIS president, and John Flood, chairman of the Culture and Heritage Committee. 

The BIS is again partnering with Holland College School of Performing Arts with two students from the college performing in the show – Tom Gammons (guitar) and Tre Sutherland (fiddle).

Students in the music performance program at Holland College’s School of Performing Arts study Celtic music as part of their curriculum. They learn about the history of the Celtic musical tradition in the classroom and they prepare and perform pieces in their Celtic ensembles. 

Step dancer Gerard Beaton, originally from Cape Breton, will delight the audience at the BIS Variety Show. Submitted
Step dancer Gerard Beaton, originally from Cape Breton, will delight the audience at the BIS Variety Show. Submitted

The step dancer for the evening is Gerard Beaton, now teaching on the Island but formerly from Cape Breton. Beaton is the step-dancing teacher at the society. Sutherland will be providing accompaniment on the fiddle.  

North Wilshire resident Glenda Ewing, formerly of Northern Ireland, will be performing for the third time at the Irish Hall, singing two of her favourite songs from Ireland, accompanied by Taylor Johnston on guitar. 

Johnston, a singer/songwriter from Vernon River, P.E.I., began playing music at an early age, and his influences in music have grown strongly since then. His day job is as a gym teacher, but in his spare time his latest passions have been learning traditional Maritime music and sailing around the Georgetown area in his sailboat. Never shy to sing a shanty, Johnston looks to continue his songwriting journey in the future. Currently, he plays guitar, bodhran and mandolin.  

Fiddler Jim Hornby, who was born in Charlottetown, is also a folklorist, historian, and lawyer and holds a master of arts degree in Canadian and modern literature as well as a master of arts in folklore from Concordia University in Montreal.  He is the author of several well-known books on Island history and Island law.  He is also well known to Islanders for his fiddle music.    

The Laban Rua Dancers will be giving the show attendees a rare treat performing several set dances. The troupe meets weekly at the society under the tutelage of Helen and Gary Gough-Conboy to learn and dance traditional Irish set dances (old and new) to keep this joyful tradition alive.

There will be a 50/50 draw during the evening, the bar will be open and a light lunch will be served during the intermission. The show is at the Irish Cultural Centre, 582 North River Rd., Charlottetown. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show runs 7:30-10 p.m. Admission is at the door. For more information, call 902-213-3924.

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