By Earle Hitchner
One of the most impressive albums of Irish traditional music made last year was "Farewell to Evening Dances" (Bogfire) by Colm O’Donnell, an Aclare, Co. Sligo, singer and flute and tin whistle player of uncommon skill and sensitivity. His recording finished just out of the Irish Echo’s top 10 trad albums for 1999, landing in the No. 11 spot.
The good news is that O’Donnell will be joining "Echoes of Erin," the Oct. 10-29 tour sponsored by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann that starts in Mineola, N.Y., and ends in Ann Arbor, Mich. With him will be 18 other performers of high caliber, including button accordionist Dónal Regan and fiddler Pádraig O’Neill, who have won All-Ireland championships separately and as a duo.
Many established stars of Irish traditional music today were groomed through the competitions of CCÉ, whose annual U.S. tours showcased their abilities away from the scrutiny of adjudicators. Singing, stepdancing, and storytelling mix easily with instrumentals to provide the kind of entertainment that both Congress and Hollywood would approve.
Here are some dates and venues to catch this talented troupe on tour: Oct. 10, 8 p.m., Irish American Center, 297 Willis Ave., Mineola, N.Y. ( 698-3305); Oct. 11, 7 p.m., Pearl River H.S., 275 E. Central Ave., Pearl River, N.Y. ( 722-0059); Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., Centennial Hall Amphitheater, Haverford School, 450 Lancaster Ave., Haverford, Pa. ( 429-0312); Oct. 13, 8 p.m., St. Christopher’s School Hall, 30 Benner Rd., Red Hook, N.Y. ( 758-3732); Oct. 14-15, 8 p.m., Cannon Chapel, Emory U., Atlanta ( 263-6466); Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m., Pavilion Theater, 1000 19th St., Virginia Beach, Va. ( 481-1563); Oct. 18, 7 p.m., Pascal Center for Performing Arts, Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pkwy., Arnold, Md. ( 541-2218), and Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., Waltham H.S. Auditorium, 655 Lexington St., Waltham, Mass. ( 899-0911).
Later tour stops include Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m., Canandaigua Academy Auditorium, 435 East St., Canandaigua, N.Y. ( 334-3345); Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m., Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, Chicago ( 282-7035); Oct. 27, 8 p.m., St. Thomas Parish Hall, 904 E. Lake Ave., Peoria Heights, Ill. ( 692-8937); Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., Sheldon Concert Hall, 3651 Washington Ave., St. Louis ( 849-1662), and Oct. 29, 8 p.m., the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, Mich. ( 420-0962).
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