A local, traditional Celtic band Callanish is set to perform on Saint Patrick’s Day at the State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave.
Starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, the Annual Callanish Irish Music and Arts Celebration will feature time-honored songs, jewelry and artwork that reflect the Irish heritage.
After the success of The Callanish Irish Music and Arts Celebration last St. Patrick’s Day, State Theatre Executive Director Richard Biever was excited to welcome the band back this year.
“Last year was such a success, we said, ‘let’s make this an annual thing,’ ” Biever said. “Although the actual structure of the event will remain the same as last year, we do predict a bigger turnout.”
Biever said the combination of Callanish, the exhibits and venues and the fact that the celebration is taking place on St. Patrick’s Day is what made the event so special in 2012 and he anticipates the same outcome for this year.
Penn State’s Irish dance team, Rince na Leon, will also be performing at the event. The cost of tickets will be $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors and students.
Callanish, an all-female band, plays in the traditional Irish and Scottish style, including, “lively jigs and reels, haunting airs and rollicking songs from Ireland, Scotland and elsewhere in the British Isles,” according to the group’s website.
Holly Foy, guitar, bouzouki, and banjo member of Callanish, said that the band is the opposite of a cover band.
“Irish cover bands often take songs most people recognize and put an Irish twist on it,” Foy said. “Traditional Irish bands, like Callanish, play songs that are so old no one knows who wrote them.”
According to its website, Callanish, originally made up of four members under the title Ceol Binn, started as a Scottish band in Lemont, Pa. After losing two of the initial members, Ceol Binn was reconstructed and renamed Callanish, this time adding the Irish genre to its repertoire.
“I’ve only been with the band for about three years now,” Foy said. “But every time the band has had a personnel change, our sound evolves as well. It’s really great when members bring new insight.”
Foy said Irish music is so packed with emotion because of the tough history of Ireland over the past hundred years.
“Some of our songs reflect this loss and others are upbeat and make you want to dance and sing,” Foy said.
Louisa Smith, member of Callanish and classically trained vocalist, is a native to State College and a graduate of the Penn State School of Theatre in 2009, according to the website. Her father and Professor in the Penn State School of Music Steven Smith said he always enjoys the Callanish concerts, and not only because he is a proud father.
“[Louisa] has been an active singer for a long time and she enjoys the Gaelic language, some of which their band’s songs are in,” Smith said. “They are very excited about their new CD, ‘The Hare’s Paw,’ which they will have available for the first time at the concert on Sunday.”