Irish Christmas concert at Bonifas offers array of story and song

December 12, 2015  |  by Bonifas Arts Center


Those seeking more this Christmas season can celebrate by attending Siusan O’Rourke and Zig Zeitler’s “An Irish Night Before Christmas” concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Bonifas Theater.

The music inevitably renews and re-centers, since people often come in “feeling worried about bills, kids,” everyday busyness, but as they listen, at least during the concert, they transcend these, sometimes as they remember loved ones, said O’Rourke.

Suddenly “you’re thinking of something wonderful,” she said, because live music “moves you, rebalances,” as it helps “us remember parts of our lives that are important to us, to reconnect to ourselves and who we are.”

The show will offer a mix of Christmas songs—Irish and American—from ballads to more uplifting tunes. In addition to her original songwriting, O’Rourke re-creates traditional Irish songs, working to most powerfully connect past and present, whether singing in English or Gaelic. A self-described storyteller with dark alto voice, O’Rourke and her husband, Zeitler, who plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica, and Irish bouzouki, have been performing in the U.P. for more than ten years.

As she grew up, O’Rourke, a Brooklyn native, soaked in a vast variety of music due to her mother’s passion for music and as family members taught her to love and appreciate the music ofher culture and others, and she and Zeitler, residents of Saginaw, have worked to do the same for their children and those they meet while performing and teaching.

During the holidays, live music brings communities and families together, said O’Rourke, and though some kids may roll their eyes if required to attend such events, years later, “in hindsight, it takes on a different meaning” and may be one of “the fondest memories they have of spending time with you.”

Tickets are $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers.

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