Rayn McKassoncc playing the fiddle

By Jesse Bertel

Prepare to be transported back to the Emerald Isle for the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday with a truly Irish night of fiddles, bodhrán, pipes, song and dance. St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland carries on the Irish traditions of celebrating with music and family at 7 p.m. Friday, March 10, in the Elks Theatre, 117 E. Gurley St.

The program features multi-instrumentalists from the Kerry Traditional Band, including Ryan McKasson on fiddle, Colin Cotter on guitar, singer Christa Burch, Ann Colliton on bodhrán, Tim Hill on uilleann pipes, and principal dancer Connor Reider – all under the direction of producer, Margaret O’Carroll of Kerry Irish Productions.

McKasson spoke with Across the Street staff ahead of the upcoming performance. The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

How did you get involved with this show?

I have played Irish and Scottish music since I was a wee lad and I think that the production company had heard of me and called me up and hired me for this one. I also have done their Christmas program. I believe I did that first, actually. They have a Christmas program that runs from Nov. through Dec., but I don’t do that particular tour anymore. I just do the St. Patrick’s Day tour. This is quite a bit shorter and it’s a little bit less of a commitment for me. I’m also just a musician. I don’t just do the Kerry Irish productions. I’m also in a band called Kalos, which tours the country, and we play folk music, Irish music and Scottish music. We really play music kind of from everywhere. I also have played, you know, a lot of other permutations of groups and bands, and I do a fair amount of teaching and playing on my own.

What do audiences respond to the most from this show?

I have to say, I think the dance really gets people going. It’s really amazing to hear kind of all of it come together. So, I think the finale is a really wonderful moment. There’s also a pretty extensive fiddle solo that has been popular. It’s kind of a long winded solo, starts with a slow air. I play about seven tunes and it just gets faster and faster and faster until it finally kind of explodes. So it’s just a gradual, slow burn that people do tend to like. That’s kind of a fun part of the program that opens the second half. There’s also a beautiful pipe solo that opens the program and sets the mood for coming back to Ireland, and it’s beautiful.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit prescottelkstheatre.org or call 928-777-1370.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at jbertel@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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