Irish music and dancing concert planned for Milford

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by Terry Rogers

Seven Rings will be featured at the upcoming Irish Music and Dance Concert with the McAleer School of Irish Dance (Photo courtesy of Seven Rings)

Eugenia Sparks enjoys bringing her heritage to Milford and opened Delaware’s only Irish boutique, Irish Rose, in 2013. She and her late husband, Tom, have been at Irish festivals as vendors along the East Coast. After his death she moved to Milford and opened the shop. In 2020, Sparks suggested that DMI partner with her to organize a concert of Irish music and dancing which was extremely successful. This has led Sparks and DMI to hold the 2022 Irish Music and Dance Concert on Sunday March 20, starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Milford Senior Center.

“My husband and I have enjoyed Irish festivals and especially the joy of Irish people celebrating their heritage,” Sparks said. “Two pipers are booked for the concert along with a real leprechaun. We have tickets limited to 200 and snacks will be available including scones, Irish potatoes, cheese and crackers. A cash bar is also available.

Featuring Joel Watson, the Leprechaun and pipers, Kevin O’Brien from Maryland and George Smith from Delaware, both contestants in bagpipe competitions, the concert will include the band Seven Rings. Although many may think the name of the group comes from JRR Tolkien the Lord of the Ringswhich includes a poem where seven rings are for “dwarf lords in their halls of stone”, the name actually has a more interesting meaning.

“In fact, it comes from a relatively unknown method of identifying the ethnicity of someone who drinks a pint of Guinness at a bar,” Sparks said. “Every time you sip a Guinness it leaves a ring of foam around the glass. By counting the number of rings around the glass when someone has finished their pint, you can tell what nationality they are. Five to seven rings means the person is Irish, eight to 10 rings means the person is English, and 15 to 20 rings means the person is American.

Sparks explained that Seven Rings hails from Wilmington and plays at various venues across the state. Pete Casey, a personal friend, was thrilled when she asked the group to participate in the event. She said the group brings exuberance to every event. Irish dancers will also be part of the show along with students from the McAleer School of Irish Dance.

“The school served the Tri-State area, providing an Irish education to people of all ages and levels of advancement,” said Veronica McAleer McCrea. “The McAleer tradition of Irish dancing began 50 years ago when my aunt, Alice McAleer, opened the first school in Ireland. When I emigrated from Belfast in 1967, I opened my own school in Delaware I have coached generations of children and adults, passing on my knowledge of Irish dance and culture.

In addition to operating the dance school, McCrea has taken dancers to World Championships in Ireland, North American Championships, and Oireachtas Regional Championships. McCrea said the school’s red, white and black colors are recognized around the world. Additionally, his sister, aunts and cousins ​​have dance schools in Armagh and London.

Sparks is also a Delaware Irish Community Honoree, receiving the 2019 NCCIS Erin Award from the New Castle County Irish Society in recognition of her hard work and dedication to Irish culture in downtown Milford and throughout the country. State of Delaware. In recognition, two people will receive a $250 gift certificate that can be used at Irish Rose. Winners will be selected at the Irish Music and Dance Concert.

Tickets are $25 each and children under 12 are admitted free. They can be purchased from Irish Rose or online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/irish-music-and-dance-concert-tickets-253377708547?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.

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