No need to wait for Celtic Festival for some Celtic music and dance

Singer Colleen Raney joins special guests Dulahan and the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance for An Evening of Celtic Music and Dance in Centennial Hall at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton on Sunday, Dec. 10. CONTRIBUTED

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Singer Colleen Raney joins special guests Dulahan and the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance for An Evening of Celtic Music and Dance in Centennial Hall at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton on Sunday, Dec. 10. CONTRIBUTED

You can see Irish music in some area pub pretty much every week, but Dayton doesn’t get many big Celtic music concerts since Cityfolk shut down in late 2013. However, according to show promoter Sunni Skies, there is still an audience for them.

An Evening of Celtic Music and Dance is happening in Centennial Hall at Dayton’s Stivers School for the Arts on Sunday, Dec. 10. The concert, a benefit for We Care Arts, features headliner Colleen Raney with special guests Dulahan and the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance.

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Skies recently discussed the event.

Booking shows is not an easy task. What keeps you working as a concert promoter?

“I just like it. It’s fun for me except when it gets close to the date and I’m worried about breaking even. The last event I did everybody kept saying, ‘Dayton is a last-minute town, Sunni, don’t worry. It will be fine.’ I had a lot of tickets left with two weeks to go and then as it got closer, I sold 70 tickets over two days and it ended up selling out. That shocked me. I don’t expect to sell out this time because it’s a much larger venue.”

Speaking of the venue, what made you choose Stivers’ Centennial Hall?

“I was looking for a venue that held 300 people because I thought that was manageable for me. There were some other ones that size but they were really expensive. Stivers has two huge theaters and this is like twice the capacity but it is set up for live concerts. They have sound, lights, a backstage and other things I didn’t have at my disposal last year. I had to pay for all the equipment to come in. The theater is beautiful and it’s set up perfectly. It’s centrally located. They have a dressing room and a loading dock, so it’s nice not to have to worry about figuring that out.”

How did you end up getting Colleen Raney for this show?

“I was originally looking to book Cathy Ryan again, but it didn’t work out on her end. I started looking around on the web to see what other Celtic acts might be doing a Christmas tour. I wanted somebody with a really pretty singing voice like Cathy but all of them were way out of my price range. I happened upon Colleen Raney on YouTube and she has a really pretty voice. I did a little investigating and contacted her. She lives in Portland, Maine, and has never been to Dayton so we were able to work out a deal.”

What do you know about Colleen?

“She grew up in Portland, Ore., with Irish music and dance so it has been instilled in her. I’m really excited about the show. Tickets are available in advance but we’ll also have them at the door, too.”

Is this a Christmas show?

“No, but there will probably be some holiday songs that night. That’s why I decided to put it together as a Celtic program. Since she hasn’t been to town before I thought I’d make it a variety of Celtic performances. I’ve got the local band Dulahan, who has a real strong following here. I’ve worked with them before and they’re a great band. Then, I also have the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance, who I’ve also worked with before. It’s going to be a great show and I scheduled for a Sunday so I can start it earlier without making it hard for people to get there because of work and other things. There are three performers so if we start it at 7 o’clock it will have a family atmosphere and it won’t be a late night.”

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Why Celtic music?

“At some point I’ll branch out to other styles of music but because I’m new at this it seems like more of a sure bet than other ones that doesn’t have as much interest. Celtic music is so big here, and I love it, of course.”

What appeals to you about We Care Arts, the beneficiary of this concert?

“I just love the whole concept of what they do. It’s a very good fit. We worked with them last year and I was able to give them quite a chunk of cash, which I was very happy about. I’m excited to partner with them again this year.”


WANT TO GO?

What: An Evening of Celtic Music and Dance featuring Colleen Raney with special guests Dulahan and the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance

Where: Stivers School for the Arts, Centennial Hall, 1313 E. Fifth St., Dayton

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10

Cost: $25. Proceeds benefit We Care Arts

More info: 937-829-4620

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