Irish Music Festival

In old Ireland, dancing and singing were the principal activities of life outside of school, work and church, Kennedy said. Families, neighbors and friends still gather for singing sessions in Irish homes and pubs today, and that experience is what his band hopes to re-create.

Irish music helped me know who I am, Kennedy said. Its the music that brought me home. For me, this music is about my family and my community.

Part of the goal of the Irish Music Festival is to help others know who they are.

Shirley Lynch, cultural village chair said the festival has expanded its cultural village beyond funny white-and-green yard signs to include a dance stage and tent with information on Irish history and folklore.

This years tent features displays on loan from the Kansas City Irish festival and a traveling exhibit from Ireland. There also will be presentations by festival performers and local cultural groups such as the Muskegon Irish American Society and Muskegon Genealogy Society, Lynch said.

Organizers ask performers if they would give a presentation in the Cultural Tent when they are booked, she said. The offerings range from How to Play a Bodhran to the Far Amerikay program by Switchback members Marty McCormack and Brian FitzGerald, which provides an overview of how the Celtic (and specifically the Irish) immigrant came to America. Samples of bluegrass and country western music are played to show the Celtic influence.

Its a combination of music and talking to the audience, Lynch said about cultural village presentations. Were just trying to add a little bit to it each year to make it bigger and better. Its little piece of Ireland.

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