Up until a few weeks ago, I had not heard of the Celtic band Cherish the Ladies. On December 1, 2017 at the Garde Arts Center they managed to put on a performance that made it hard to forget their name. Lead by the talented Joanie Madden these women put on a fantastic show complete with Irish step dancing.
At the Garde there were many people who were anxiously waiting to get inside the theater. By the time the doors opened the box office lobby was packed with people. As many made their way into the theater they talked about the upcoming shows at the Garde, specifically Melissa Etheridge on December 15th, and The Nutcracker on December 9th and 10th. Others admired posters for future shows like The Wizard of Oz and An Evening with Andrew Bird.
Once inside the theater many were entranced by the stage as it was set with many instruments. In the background there was a red screen adorned with Celtic symbols. When the show started Steve Sigel gave a word of welcome, even wishing a young girl in the audience a “Happy Birthday”. When he left the stage Joanie Madden came on stage along with the rest of her crew. All of the performers have musical families with many of them winning awards from around the world.
With a combination of a sense of humor, Irish step dancing, and singing there was nothing short of stopping this show. Alongside Joanie Madden, there was Don Stiffe a classic Irish folk singer and Julie Fitzgerald a renowned fiddle player from Canada who Irish step danced as well. Mary Coogan who has gained popularity as being a Celtic guitar playing. Nollaig Casey brought a bit of Ireland to New London by singing a classic Irish song in Gaelic. The accordion player Mirella Murray has managed to bring the instrument to the next generation by teaching a number of award winning players. Kathleen Boyle, who played the piano, sang and shared some of her family history with the crowd. Finally, the two Irish step dancers Jason Oremus and Garrett Coleman have won several championships with their talent.
During intermission several guests bougth CD’s and DVD’s that were on display. Many people were encouraged to like their page on Facebook. Those that commented were entered into a drawing to win a free CD. When intermission ended the fun began again. Yet, sadly the show ended too quickly.
After encouraging the audience to participate in singing songs like “O Come Ole Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night” the winners of the free CD’s were announced. Alongside that Joannie Madden announced she was going to be hosting two cruises in the coming year. After a couple more songs with dancing the group received a standing ovation.
When the show had ended the crowd was flocked around the merchandise table purchasing CD’s and DVD’s while anxiously awaiting the band. When the group came out there were lines for autographs and photos. Cherish the Ladies generously signed autographs, took photos, and partook in small talk with their fans. As many left the Garde Arts Center with smiles on their faces as they remarked on the memorable night they just had.