Award-winning violinist and storyteller Jamie Laval presents Celtic Christmas: Music and Stories for the Deep Midwinter on Friday, December 29, at the Asheville Community Theatre and on Saturday, December 30, at Tryon Fine Arts Center. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.
Laval will be joined by a cast of nationally acclaimed performers including an Irish step dancer, bagpiper, Celtic harpist and soprano, for a show capturing the beauty and atmosphere of Scotland, Ireland, Brittany and Iceland during the holidays. The family-friendly experience, now in its sixth year, includes music, dance, poetry and stories drawn from ancient Celtic celebrations associated with the Winter Solstice and Christmas.
“Much of our music is little-known due to its antiquity, yet it is fun and thought-provoking,” says Laval. “Many audience members of past shows have commented about how much they learned regarding Christmas holiday traditions and Celtic culture.”
This year’s concert will spotlight champion Irish step dancer Claire Shirey, as well as talented soprano Megan McConnell. McConnell is returning from last season to present several new songs including a poignant duet with instrumentalist Rosalind Buda.
“Rosalind has been with me since the beginning,” says Laval. “Each year she features yet another new instrument from her large collection and this year is no exception. I’ll leave the surprise to audiences, but it promises to be an absolute delight!”
Laval will incorporate more of his own fiddle playing this season, in a program that includes several virtuoso Celtic musical selections as well as familiar holiday carols rendered in a more rustic and authentic manner reminiscent of their ancient origins. “Modern, commercialistic Christmas songs are nowhere to be found in our show,” says Laval. “Instead, we focus on the introspective beauty of older, less frequently heard selections.”
Jamie Laval is an Asheville-based violinist and storyteller who won the 2002 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship. Laval has performed for Queen Elizabeth II, appeared on NBC’s Today show, and presented a TEDx Talk about the value of arts and music in our communities. His recent album Murmurs and Drones won the popular vote for Best World Traditional Album in the 2012 Independent Music Awards. Laval teaches classes and workshops for institutions including St. Andrews University in North Carolina, California State University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He sustains a schedule of more than 100 solo engagements per year on community concert series, large festival stages, as a soloist with symphonies and in chamber music performances with other top string players.
The Asheville Community Theatre is located at 35 East Walnut Street, in Asheville. Tryon Fine Arts Center is located at 34 Melrose Avenue, in Tryon. Tickets are $24–$30 for adults and $12 for students. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit jamielaval.com or call 206.226.5663.