Live Music Breathes the Beat into Oral Storytelling
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March 14, 2023
We were proud to present two outstanding musicians that joined us on March 14 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish stories and music at the Tim Bruce Performance Center in LaConner. To accompany our storyteller, Will Hornyak, we welcomed Jan Peters, a vocalist and harmonica player with a great devotion to Irish and fine acoustic music. Also, Dale Russ, who has been playing Irish fiddle for 45 years who came together for an evening that the audience can’t seem to forget.
Live music doesn’t just speak to the soul but sings your soul awake – a universal language, bringing people together from all walks of life to enjoy the experience. When paired with oral storytelling audiences experience a true journey into new and exciting worlds. With each lull of the music the story slows and each crescendo moves the story forward – breathing life into each sentence, each plot twist that the storyteller presents. The audience can feel the energy between the song and the story, the poem and the performance. This equals an experience that touches the heart, the senses, and will swiftly bring you to that moment in time. Perfect time to the music (and story), you might say. A truly special moment that makes you smile and laugh, maybe even moved to tears. And not just as an individual, but an audience that is transformed into a unique community. Music breathes rhythm into the soul when musicians gather and create the beat of our story.
Jan Peters is a distinctive vocalist and harmonica player out of Bellingham, Peters devotion to Irish and fine acoustic and traditional music is a constant in his life. There is a strong traditional folk music influence in the music he writes and performs. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest he played and toured with various bands out of the Davis, California area for 17 years. Peters has had several bands in the Bellingham area including his own, Gallowglass, a contemporary Celtic folk band. The group has found inspiration in the reinterpretation of traditional folk music with a focus on vocal harmonies, unique instrumentation, and compelling arrangements. Jan Peters also is a music and show producer and enjoys collaborating with an array of musicians that he’s passionate about. He enjoys exposing audiences to “truly great music.” Peters says, “I sing, play harmonicas, Irish bouzouki, and still get on the piano at times. I enjoy arranging, composing, and recording as well. I am a co-founder of Gallowglass Irish Band, Rosin & Reed, created Irish and Folk Mondays, book superb folk, blues, and jazz shows in town, and love being a side man with great artists every chance I get.”
Dale Russ has been playing Irish fiddle since he moved in 1973 from his native Connecticut to Washington State. He is regarded as “the shining jewel of Northwest fiddle players.” Martin Hayes’ assessment of Dale Russ is shared by all who hear him, Hayes exclaims, “[Dale Russ is] one of the greatest fiddlers I know in Irish traditional music.” Dale is mainly self-taught and has a unique way of communicating the instrument and the Irish style in his teaching. Dale taught for 15 years at the Lark in the Morning Summer Camp in Mendocino, California. He also performed for 15 years with the traditional Irish band the Suffering Gaels. He currently plays with Mike Saunders and Tom Creegan in the trio, Crumac. Dale teaches traditional Irish fiddle with an emphasis on playing the dance music of Ireland.
Join these stellar musicians on a storytelling journey on March 14th at 7pm at the Tim Bruce Performing Arts Center in LaConner. Will Hornyak will be sharing the Celtic story of “Erin’s Daughters: Ireland’s Hag’s, Heroines, Warriors, Saints & Sorceresses.” With Jan Peters and Dale Russ at his side. Celebrate with us for a little St. Patrick’s Day fun. Presented by the Skagit River Poetry Foundation. Donations are appreciated at the door. The event is suggested for mature audiences age 14 and older. For more information contact Molly McNulty, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-840-1452. Location: Tim Bruce Performance Center, 305 N 6th Street, LaConner, WA, 98257.
Learn more about Jan Peters: https://jansongsproductions.com
Jan’s Band: https://www.gallow.glass/about
Learn More about Dale Russ: https://www.pegheadnation.com/string-school/instructors/dale-russ
Dale’s Band: https://crumac.rocks/
*Note: the musicians played lively Irish tunes before the storytelling sets to complement the grand Irish tales (and historical accounts) from our expert storyteller, Will Hornyak.
Article by Cora Thomas, Assistant to the Director, Skagit River Poetry Foundation