Four years ago, Celtic Woman traveled from Ireland to America and captivated millions with their songs of hope and love.
The journey continues.
The world-renowned Irish music phenomenon will perform at 7:30 p.m. June 23 at the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park as part of its 2009 "Isle of Hope" Tour. The group features a fiddle player and four female vocalists, all from Ireland, and a 19-member ensemble under the guidance of New Zealand composer and musical director David Downes.
Fiddler Mairead Nesbitt leads the musical contingent of the Irish all-female group Celtic Woman.
"We're going to have this in our intimate theater setup, which is probably the best compliment we could give them," Bernie Punt, director of sales and marketing for the BJC, said of the forthcoming show. "We're hoping to draw up to 3,000 people ... in our theater, that's a great number. We're selling more tickets everyday."
The show will mark the group's second performance at the BJC, the first being in October 2007.
"They did a great job the first time ... we're very lucky to have them come back just two years later," Punt said. "They're very hard to get. This is an event that doesn't come to our area every year."
If you go
What: Celtic Woman 2009 "Isle of Hope" Tour
Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park
When: 7:30 p.m. June 23
Admission: Tickets are $35, $45 and $67, and are available at the Bryce Jordan Center Box Office, Eisenhower Auditorium, Penn State Tickets Downtown, Penn State Altoona campus ticket outlet and all Ticketmaster locations. Charge by phone at 865-5555 or online at www.bjc.psu.edu. A special discount on all price levels will be made available to groups of 20 or more. For more information on group tickets, call 863-1812.
Created by Downes and executive producer Dave Kavanagh in 2004, Celtic Woman has sold more than 4 million CDs and DVDs worldwide; completed seven U.S. tours, selling out venues such as New York City's Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall, Boston's Opera House and L.A.'s Greek Theatre; and has performed for more than 800,000 people, according to the group's official Web site (www.celticwoman. com).
Meanwhile, three Celtic Woman PBS specials have aired more than 13,658 times on 342 PBS stations across the country, covering 97 percent of U.S. TV households. The group also has appeared on "Live with Regis and Kelly," "The Martha Stewart Show" and "CBS Early Show."
The quintet consists of vocalists Chloe Agnew, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly, Alex Sharpe and fiddler Mairead Nesbitt. It's repertoire ranges from renditions of Irish standards and classical favorites to contemporary hits.
"There's something for everyone," Nesbitt, whose stage nickname is "Tinkerbell," said in a recent mid-tour phone interview from Vienna, Va. "All five girls have their own style and do their own solos ... before we come together and blend for an ensemble.
"Musically and visually, it's very, very strong," she added. "The lighting, the costumes and the movements on stage - it's all-sensory experience, really. ... I think it takes people away from their problems - they can just lose themselves for two hours in the night."
Named the No. 1 Top World Music Artist by Billboard magazine, Celtic Woman albums ("Celtic Woman," "A Christmas Celebration" and "A New Journey") have held the No. 1 position on the magazine's World Music chart for 90 consecutive weeks. The group's recent album, "The Greatest Journey: Essential Collection," debuted at No. 1.
Nesbitt attributes the group's mass appeal to musical diversity.
"It's about being versatile and communicating with as many people as you can," she said. "I think that's what being a musician is all about - touching people's hearts and getting them to enjoy something."
From what Punt has experienced, she's right on the money.
"I was mesmerized and hypnotized with their voices," he said. "They're perfect, just angelic. It's world music - that's the best way to describe it. It's just absolutely gorgeous."
Mirror Staff Writer Jimmy Mincin is at 946-7460.