The Taylor Music Group (TMG), a leading Charleston arts organization focused on the blending of classical and folk music, announces its annual popular Holiday concert “A Charleston Christmas: Celtic and Classical.” The concert will be performed on Saturday, December 7 at 7:30 pm at Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting Street.
Na Fidléirí and the Taylor Festival Choir (TFC) will perform a mixture of traditional holiday carols, instrumental jigs with a Celtic flavor and spiritual choral segments. Led by Mary and Robert Taylor, Na Fidleiri and the TFC will be joined by Joey Abarta on the Uilleann pipes.
“We are excited to continue to combine traditional classical Christmas music with Celtic folk music to celebrate the Holiday Season,” says Robert Taylor, Founding Director and Conductor of the Taylor Festival Choir. “The Holidays are about family, and the group of people we annually perform with have truly become like family. The Na Fidleiri kids and their parents, the singers in the Taylor Festival Choir—many of whom have sung together for 15 years now--all really care for each other. We are especially excited to welcome our guest artist, Joey Abarta, into this musical family.”
Tickets for the Charleston concert are $25 general seating and $35 preferred seating and $10 students. Tickets can be purchased at www.tmgcharleston.com.
The Taylor Festival Choir is a professional chamber choir based in Charleston, SC. Founded and conducted by Robert Taylor, the choir is inspired by the life and career of Bob Taylor, the conductor’s late father and a noted choral musician and pedagogue. Since its inception in 2001, the Taylor Festival Choir has toured and been heard in prestigious venues and festivals throughout the U.S., and has garnered a reputation of excellence among critics and choral specialists alike. TFC was one of only two American adult chamber choirs featured at the prestigious 2009 American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Convention and 50th anniversary celebration, and they were again featured in the ACDA Southern Division Conference in February 2017, where they were selected to perform the prestigious Raymond W. Brock commissioned composition.
The Taylor Festival Choir has recorded on the Delos, Centaur, and MSR Classics labels. Their recent recording of BBC composer of the year James MacMillan’s Mass and Celtic Mass by Michael McGlynn received rave reviews throughout Europe. Their recording Sing We Now of Christmas, recorded with legendary guest artists including Liz Carroll, John Doyle and Kim Robertson, has been called “a choral feast that will linger long in your memory after you’ve heard it” (Audio Society of Atlanta). TFC serves as the professional choir-in-residence at the College of Charleston. It presents a full concert season in the Charleston area, and serves as the flagship ensemble for the Piccolo Spoleto Celtic Arts Series.
Personnel in the ensemble include conductors, educators, performers and professionals from throughout the United States. The Taylor Festival Choir performs the finest choral literature from all eras, with particular emphasis on new music and folk music from the Celtic nations. Dedicated to bringing the beauty and spiritual enrichment of choral music to as wide an audience as possible, the Taylor Festival Choir tours frequently, and performs outreach concerts in schools and churches throughout South Carolina and surrounding states. TFC toured Ireland with sister ensemble Na Fidleiri in 2013. A double DVD documentary chronicling that tour was recently released.
Na Fidléirí (“the fiddlers”) was founded and is directed by Mary Taylor. It has been frequently called the nation’s finest, most unique Celtic fiddling ensemble for young fiddlers. Na Fidléirí is made up of 20 to 25 auditioned fiddlers between the ages of 10 and 18, plus pennywhistle, bodhran and guitar. Na Fidléirí performs repertoire from the Celtic tradition, specially arranged for them by Mary Taylor. Members are taught the technique and style of Celtic fiddling, while simultaneously being grounded in a classical technical foundation.
Joey Abarta has spent the last sixteen years touring North America, Europe, and Asia, teaching and performing music on the uilleann pipes, the Irish bagpipe. A Los Angeles native, he first received instruction on the pipes from Dubliner Pat D’Arcy, a founding member of the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club. His musical skills have been further honed by several visits to Ireland, a year-long stint working in Japan, and continuing relationships with master pipers. In August of 2009, Joey’s accomplished playing won him an All-Ireland championship, placing second worldwide at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. In the fall of 2014 Joey won first prize at the An tOireachtas, becoming the the first American uilleann piper to do so since 1969. In 2015, Joey was honored to be a recipient of a traditional arts apprenticeship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council meaning he was awarded a grant to teach his art to the next generation. Currently based in Boston, Joey divides his attention between performance, teaching, and recording. In addition to performing solo, he performs with Nathan Gourley of “Life is all Checkered” fame and had toured with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America; while at home, he organizes the meetings of the Boston Pipers Club, teaches for Comhaltas’ Boston Music School, and organizes various traditional music concerts and events.