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IRISH-AMERICAN FIDDLER EILEEN IVERS BRINGS "BEYOND THE BOG ROAD" TO GMU'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS
“BEYOND THE BOG ROAD”
Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 4 p.m.
FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 15, 2010 – “Ivers suggests the future of the Celtic fiddle.” (The Washington Post) Paying homage to the rich and tireless passage of the native Irish people from their homeland to the United States, nine-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion Eileen Ivers returns to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts with “Beyond the Bog Road,” a stellar collaboration of Irish and Old Time musicians, singers, step dancers and cloggers, told with Ivers’ signature passion and rootsy grace. Among the dancers who will appear onstage are members of Northern Virginia’s O’Neill-James School of Irish Dancing. The performance takes place in the Center’s Concert Hall on Sunday, March 14 at 4 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts. This performance is Family Friendly and tickets for youth through grade 12 are half price when accompanied by an adult.
The name “Beyond the Bog Road” refers to the paths into ancient peat fields where sods of turf were laboriously farmed and dried by Irish farmers to use as a source of fuel and warmth. When the Great Famine struck in the 1840s, some chose to stay in Ireland and try to survive, while many decided to go “beyond the bog road” and emigrate to find a better life. Those who left Ireland brought with them music, dance and storytelling traditions – a huge part of their identity. “Irish music integrated with other North American music to form the root of everything from bluegrass to country,” Ivers said. “This was one of the richest cross-fertilizations of folk music styles anywhere. And it’s still bearing fruit.”
In this performance, Ivers brings together a stunning array of artistic traditions from her family and heritage: cherished airs, jigs, reels and songs that have been passed down from generation to generation, as well as original Celtic compositions. The performance also features a multimedia component, which includes video footage of Irish immigrants from the Library of Congress, History Alive and Ivers’ family.
The daughter of Irish immigrants, Ivers grew up in the Bronx, N.Y. and was raised on the music of her parents’ homeland. At a young age, she discovered she had a unique talent for mathematics – a field in which she pursued post-graduate studies – that gave her the opportunity to combine her passion for fiddle with amazing technical precision. In addition to winning nine All-Ireland Fiddle Championships and more than 30 medals (making her one of the most awarded persons ever to compete in these prestigious competitions), Ivers has won the respect and admiration from musical collaborators as diverse as Sting, The Chieftains, Patti Smith, the Boston Pops and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. She is also a founding member of the all-female Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies and one of the original stars of “Riverdance.” Her band Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul has performed on countless stages, guest starred with major symphonies and has appeared on national and international television. “Ivers bridges the gap between her Celtic roots and styles ranging from jazz, salsa and flamenco to rock funk and even electronica … a sensation.” (Billboard)
Located in Arlington, the O’Neill-James School of Irish Dancing was founded in 1969, and has since earned a reputation for quality and excellence. As the largest Irish dancing school in the greater Washington, D.C. area, its dancers participate in the yearly St. Patrick’s Day parades of Alexandria and Washington, D.C. Laureen O’Neill-James, the school’s director, immigrated to the United States in 1964, and is an All-Ireland Medal winner. She and her parents, Frank and Peggy O’Neill, are members of the Irish Cultural Hall of Fame.
Tickets for EILEEN IVERS’ “BEYOND THE BOG ROAD” are $44, $36, $22. Family Friendly: Youth through grade 12 half price when accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit cfa.gmu.edu.
About Great Performances at Mason
Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.
About George Mason University
Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.