The Oconee Performing Arts Society (OPAS) presented Emmy award nominated Michael Londra’s Celtic Yuletide last night to a sold out crowd of over 500 at Festival Hall. Michael Londra, best known as the voice of Riverdance on Broadway, brought the spirit of Ireland to Greensboro with a night of Irish music and dancing. The show opened dramatically when some of the best Irish step-dancers in the world took the stage. With credits such as Lord of the Dance and Celtic Women, the six dancers captivated the audience with intricate, synchronized footwork throughout the performance.
The dancers, along with musicians who played traditional Irish instruments such as the bondhran (the national drum of Ireland) and the uilleann (the national pipe of Ireland) brought to life frenetic Irish jigs and reels. A highlight of the night was a beautiful solo by Caitlin Warbelow on the fiddle. The great Irish tenor, Londra, played host for the evening performing beautiful, haunting Irish carols and Gaelic versions of favorite Christmas songs and thoroughly entertaining the audience with Irish humor. Michael narrated the songs with tales of the Christmas traditions of his home in rural Ireland and how customs of the day evolved. Some of the favorites were the famed “Wexford Carol” and “Oiche Ciuin” (Silent Night). The audience even enjoyed participating in the performance themselves; singing along to Irish love song, The Water is Wide. The night culminated with thunderous applause for Michael’s beloved rendition of Danny Boy.
Jeffrey Wells, Artistic Director of OPAS, was thrilled with the performance saying, “OPAS could not be more pleased to present Michael Londra, the Prince of Public Broadcasting Stations across America, coupled with one of the best Irish bands in the world and 6 world champion dancers here in Greensboro. In fact, Michael is not only the Prince of PBS, he is a true prince of a man. The show was awesome!”
OPAS would like to thank the generous sponsors of Celtic Yuletide which include; St. Marys Good Samaritan Hospital, Carolyn and Bo Fears, Jim and Anne Sorensen and the Miller Brown Family Companies. As a non-profit cultural arts organization, OPAS depends on the generous support of sponsors, members and ticket buyers to continue its mission to bring top quality performing arts to the Lake Oconee area. More information about OPAS and upcoming events can be found at www.opas.org.