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The Barra MacNeils are bringing plenty of seasonal cheer to Charlottetown with a concert set for Thursday, Dec 20, at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
“It goes from a kitchen party to midnight mass in the span of one show,” said MacNeil. “The variety is what keeps people interested and involved, and we love how involved the audience reacts while we’re on stage. People clapping along, stomping feet and singing, that is what it is truly all about and especially if folks are coming in out of the cold during the holidays.”
The Barra MacNeils have been known to ignite the Christmas spirit. At least that’s what they’ve been told, anyway.
Kyle MacNeil said he’s often told audience members say they weren’t in the holiday spirit until they saw An East Coast Christmas.
The Barra MacNeils will be in Peterborough Wednesday to help fans get into the holiday groove.
The Barra MacNeils, dubbed “Canada’s Celtic ambassadors,” for almost two decades have toured the country at this time of year, sharing an East Coast Christmas. The band is at Oshawa’s Regent Theatre on Dec. 15 and a second show has been added…
MacNeil says people have made going to the concert a Christmas tradition, noting where parents once brought their young children, the latter have grown up and are now treating their parents. It’s a tradition for the band as well.
“There is something special about travelling across Canada at this time of year and seeing faces old and new,” he says.
…“People, during the dark times of the year, do need celebration with light and we try to augment that with some music and stories to match the season,” MacNeil said.
The five-sibling outfit — Stewart (vocals, accordion, tin whistle, flute, bouzouki, guitar, stepdancing), Kyle (vocals, guitar, violin, mandolin), Lucy (vocals, bodhran, Celtic harp, fiddle, step-dancing), Sheumas (keyboards, piano, bodhran, fiddle, bouzouki, vocals) and Boyd (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo, percussion, step-dancing) are joined by Jamie Gatti (bass) — is essentially expected to tour annually at Christmas, and this year’s production features no shortage of favourites, such as a O Holy Night, Ave Maria, Christmas in Killarney and Auld Lang Syne, coupled with comedy, seasonal stories and dance…
Making quality music, MacNeil said, remains a principal quest.
“It’s something that’s taken us through good times and bad,” he added. “And, I think, for a lot of our fans, that music is that same thing. It’s not always music for the good times. It’s getting you through the tough times in life. Emotional support is something we all need from time to time.”
Cape Breton kitchen party meets midnight mass’ takes the stage December 6 at Sault Community Theatre Centre.
The Barra MacNeils – comprised of siblings Lucy, Boyd, Stewart, Kyle and Sheumas – are taking their east coast influenced renditions of holiday songs on the road across Canada.
Stewart MacNeil says the idea to record holiday music and go out on tour with it originated with an appearance on a televised Christmas special hosted by Rita MacNeil back in the mid-1990s.
“People enjoyed our arrangements on some of the traditional songs, and they were looking for recordings,” MacNeil told SooToday. “In 1999 we made our first Christmas album, and it got rave reviews and a lot of great attention.”
Fast forward to 2018, and the Barra MacNeils are now in their 19th year of bringing Christmas favourites to Canadians and have recorded three Christmas albums within that time.
Tickets for this Thursday’s An East Coast Christmas with the Barra MacNeils performance can be purchased at the Sault Community Theatre Centre box office in the Station Mall.
For the past 35 years, five members of the family have been touring the world as the Barra MacNeils, trying to capture that magic and share it with the world.
On Wednesday they’ll bring their East Coast Christmas tour to the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, helping the city find its Yuletide spirit as the holiday season kicks into full gear.
This year marks 31 years of touring and music-making for the famous Canadian band and Stewart MacNeil spoke to BarrieToday to say that the Dec. 11 show will be one performance not to miss.
“Nineteen years of a touring Christmas show and, honestly, this could be the best one yet coming up,” said MacNeil. “The stories we have and get into mixed with Lucy’s voice; her voice just gets more fantastic and could bring a tear to the most hardened person’s eye.”
Five-time winners at the East Coast Music Awards, the Barra MacNeils have long been regarded one the best live acts in the country as the show isn’t just about the music but incorporates their Gaelic heritage, storytelling, dancing and the fact that the siblings take turns acting as lead vocals.
Crowd-pleasers The Barra MacNeils are in the middle of their annual cross-Canada Christmas tour, which will wind up at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay on Dece. 23 with two shows.
Tickets are still available for the 2 p.m. and the 7 p.m. shows but fans of the family band may want to get their tickets soon since concerts are selling out across the country.