A Joyous Festival of Music and dance
For 40 years the Boulding family has been bringing generations together for a joyful celebration of Celtic Yuletide, weaving magic with their lively and soulful music, storytelling and champion Irish step-dancing. Philip and Pam’s Celtic harps and hammered dulcimers are gloriously accompanied by their daughter and four sons on violin, cello, whistles, harmonium and harp. Youngest grandson Haydn brings down the house with his dancing, percussion and sidekick to his father Brenin on juggling. Canadian fiddler Jocelyn Pettit, Dublin guitarist Colm McCarthaigh, dynamic percussionist Matt Jerrell and the Tara Academy of Irish Dance return again this year adding their brilliance in song, rhythm and dance. Join our whole family for this 40th annual gala as we bring joy and warmth into the heart of winter. Feel the magic, join the procession and kindle the light of Yuletide!
About MAGICAL STRINGS
Philip and Pam Boulding founded Magical Strings in 1978 and soon afterwards began the tradition of their family’s Celtic Yuletide Concerts. They have performed throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland and Japan, toured and recorded 21 celebrated albums on five labels and have had their music described as “warm, graceful and sonically gorgeous” by the Washington Post. They return to Ireland often where they receive inspiration from their explorations of ancient sites, distant islands and lively music sessions.
The Bouldings’ love of music is embraced by all five of their grown children. Philip and Pam also design and build Celtic harps and hammered dulcimers for an international clientele, run their School of Magical Strings, offering classes in Olalla and Seattle, and host the Magic Hill Summer Harp and Dulcimer Camp on their beautiful five-acre home overlooking the Puget Sound. They also love to share their music with children through teaching privately, in Waldorf Schools, and by giving school programs locally and throughout the country.
Son Brenin, Magical Strings’ cellist and juggler, is married to Sara, director of the Tara Academy of Irish Dance. Their 18-year-old daughter Rowan has a passion for dancing both as an award winning Irish step dancer and a ballerina and is currently a first year student of the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University. Haydn, who is the Western Regional Irish Dance Champion for boys 10 & under, adds dynamic percussion to the set as well as his spectacular dancing. Geoffrey on violin and Marshall on harp live in Rhode Island and each have two lovely daughters who will be traveling here to the NW for this 40th annual celebration. Morgan, who lives in Kingston, WA with his wife Sylvia performs on whistles and on a turn of the century field organ.
Brittany, youngest member of the Boulding family and a virtuoso violinist, is a member of the Seattle Symphony, Concertmaster of the Northwest Sinfonietta and the Auburn Symphony. She keeps a busy schedule as a soloist and chamber musician and will be joined by her husband baritone Prescott Breeden who will add his amazing voice at all of the Yuletide concerts.
Tara Academy of Irish Dance, established and run by the Raney family, has a 24-year tradition of excellence in instruction and performance. The Tara dancers are proud to share in the heritage of Irish dance in the Pacific Northwest. Sisters Sara, Julie (co-director of the Tara Academy of Irish Dance), Erin, Mary, Colleen and Brigid began their family tradition with Magical Strings in 1992, as the Raney Irish Dancers. Their parents Pat and Barb Raney, who create and embroider the beautiful traditional dance costumes, help during the intermission for audience members to choose and don a costume for the processional. Everyone is welcome to join us as we process through the hall at the beginning of the second set.
An important member of the Yuletide family is brilliant percussionist Matt Jerrell, who is married to Brigid Raney. Their 8-year-old daughter Cadence will delight you with her dancing.
Dublin-born multi-instrumentalist Colm MacCarthaigh writes tunes and songs, sings in English and Irish and is an in-demand session guitarist and bouzouki player who has played and toured with musicians worldwide. This will be Colm’s eighth season performing with Magical Strings.
Jocelyn Pettit, a West Coast Canadian award-nominated touring musician, is a vibrant fiddler, stepdancer, and singer. With grace and passion, Jocelyn delivers an engaging and uplifting performance of original and traditional music from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Galicia. With her band, Jocelyn has ignited stages across Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Europe. Her latest album, Caravan, was nominated for “World Artist of the Year” at the 2017 Western Canadian Music Awards and 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Jocelyn joins us this year from Glasgow, Scotland where she is pursuing a master’s degree in music at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. www.jocelynpettit.com
Be sure to pick up a copy of Magical Strings most recent recording at the concert: Fairy Wind ~ Si Gaoithe
“Full of zest, mystery, musing and playfulness, Fairy Wind is a musical celebration of family and friends, spaces and places, reflecting and expressing the depth, diversity, and richness that abounds in life.... The title track is mysterious and expansive bordering on epic.” M.G.- Folk Harp Journal
Comments from Yuletide attendees:
It’s such a beautiful experience watching your amazing and talented family perform year after year. Each one of you is so very special!Look forward to it every year! It’s our family tradition. Absolutely love the music and great dancers!
Always a great inspirational concert!
Beautiful music to bring us together in the spirit of the season!
Ever since my first year it has gotten better and better. Such a wonderful concert to spend with family.
I feel like Christmas season celebration begins with our singing “All Through the Night”.
Your Yuletide Concert is how we always start our holiday season! We love the variety and joy – thank you!
Love coming to your concerts – it’s part of our Christmas traditions!
We come every year and bring a new friend each time.
Excellent – love age range!
Love, love, Love! . . . transporting – enchanting.
Love the energy and magical holiday atmosphere – definitely our Christmas tradition!
Thank you for being you and sharing with us!!!
We look forward to your concert every year – makes our holiday season!
Thank you for many wonderful memories. Thank you for all you do to touch and transform lives with your music, friendship and thoughtfulness.
Thanks for the magic! Thanks for the strings!
This concert sets the tone for our holidays.
I wait for it every year.
I love this concert always. My heart sings! I love the Bouldings and family.
Love you all! Thank you for the gift of music!
Wonderful – it gets me excited for Christmas!
Family tradition. Love to see your family grow up.
Our family tradition every December. So happy to be here once again!
One of the highlights of the season for us.