The high-spirited and internationally acclaimed Brock McGuire Band of Ireland will perform two free concerts at Eoff Hall on the Motlow College Moore County campus on Thursday, Sept. 26.
The concerts, sponsored by the International Education Committee, will be at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity for this area, according to Jeannie Brown, coordinator for international education at Motlow College.
“Everybody cannot get on an airplane and go to Ireland or Scotland, but they can go to our auditorium and hear this Irish music,” she said. “Everybody can’t travel, so we are bringing a piece of Ireland to Lynchburg.”
The four-member band of master musicians and experience educators boats several awards, including the “Traditional Irish Band of the Decade Award” by The Irish American News, “Top of the World Award” by Songlines Magazine and the “Virtuosity in Full Flight Award” from The Irish Times.
Led by two of Ireland’s most celebrated traditional musicians, button accordionist and melodeonist Paul Brock, of Ennis, County Clare, and fiddler Manus McGuire, of Scariff; the band’s style incorporates traditional Irish music with elements from bluegrass, American old timey, French Canadian and Celtic traditions. Other band members are Garry O’Meara on banjo, mandolin and vocals, and Denis Carey, a pianist, composer and arranger.
The Brock McGuire Band has delighted audiences worldwide with its blend of typically unrelated types of music with traditional historic Celtic style. Its unique style of fusing Celtic music with forms of American bluegrass-country is demonstrated in its latest album, Green Grass Blue Grass (Compass Records, 2011), a collaboration with Grammy Award winning bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs. American music critic Bill Margeson has hailed the album “a masterpiece”.
But, it’s each member of the band’s genuine warmth and personality, both on and off the stage that makes their concert a one-of-a-kind experience, according to reviews.
“The joy that radiates from the band during every piece makes one’s spirit soar,” Lori Meghan Gallagher, director of the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas, said.
Brock’s 2006 solo album, Humdinger, (Compass Records) was voted “Irish Music Album of the Year” by The Irish Times and “Instrumental Album of the Year” by The Irish American News.
McGuire has recorded ten albums, including two solo albums, and was voted 2006 “Male Musician of the Year” by the Irish American News. McGuire not only travels the world a s a performer, he has also been an instructor; teaching fiddle at Gaelic Roots at Boston College, the Swanannoa Gathering in Asheville, N.C., and O’Flaherty Retreat in Mithlothian, Texas.
O’Meara’s style on the banjo crosses a wide range of genres that includes Irish traditional, American old time and bluegrass. He started playing at the age of nine, and won the Irish Young Musician of the Year award when he was 15. He has also performed in several successful dance shows, including Ragus, Celtic Legends and Irish Legends.
Denis is a musician, composer and arranger with a diverse background that ranges from Irish traditional to classical, jazz and pop. He also owns and operates the Academy of Music based in Limerick.
Throughout the year, the individual band members also teach workshops and classes highlighting the unique instrumental, vocal and cultural techniques of Irish music. Their worldwide performances have included concerts from as far away as the Camden Town Festival in London, to the Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio, to The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.