With my last name, plus the fact that my mother’s maiden name is Odell (no apostrophe) and my grandmother was a Malone before she became a McQuerrey, chances are I can find some roots deep in the Irish sod. So, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is something I do with delight every year (at least in my heart).
Whether you can claim real Irish roots or not, you are invited to a big blowout for St. Patrick at the Payson Elks Lodge with a dinner and show Saturday, March 17. This is a benefit and is open to Elks members and their guests. The meal, a seated affair being planned for about 200, will feature corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots, plus sweet scones. Cocktails will be served at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. and the show at 6:30 p.m.
There will be a program on Saint Patrick by Father William “Bill” Gyure, Catholic priest. Entertainment will be Celtic music by the group Cinnamon Twist, featuring Anne James, Jennifer Baltz and Larry Brasen. They will have their first album, Sobhlasta, for sale at the event. It is a collection of Gaelic songs, Anne said.
Cinnamon Twist was organized in November 2011 when Larry joined the group then known as Anne and Jen.
Anne has been playing around the Rim Country for a while now, and with her husband, Jim Eichberger, has owned and operated three music stores. They currently have Main Street Guitars and Gifts at 616 N. Beeline Hwy., Payson, next to Wolf Den Espresso and Deli in the Swiss Village shops.
She began her journey in music while in high school. Anne first learned to play fundamentals in 1968. It was not until a decade later she began a serious study of the instrument. She learned from other musicians, listening to records, attending concerts and buying sheet music.
Anne said the major influences in her music have been Elizabeth Cotton, a finger picker; Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, Mississippi John Hart, Doc Watson and Dougie McLaine.
In addition to being part of Cinnamon Twist, Anne is a member of the three-part harmony group, The Artichoke Sisters, which started in 1998. They sing and play in Phoenix or wherever people are interested in hearing them.
Anne has recorded seven albums and credits Billy Ichida of Junction 87 and John Carpino with producing some of her albums with such great sound and production values.
The tickets to the St. Patrick’s event are $15 in advance and may be purchased at the bar or contact Lloyd Gibson at (575) 649-5015. At the door, admission for the dinner and entertainment is $20 per person and $5 for entertainment only.
The Rim Country Celts will present the event for the Elks Lodge. The group organized in July 2011 following the Tartan Day event in April at East West Exchange.
“We started with Anne and Jim and Paty Henderson,” said Lloyd Gibson, president of the group.
There are now about 45 members and the group has become affiliated with the Irish Culture and Learning Center of Phoenix and is a 501 c3.
“From the turnout at Tartan Day (about 900 over the course of the day) there seemed to be a great interest in Celtic culture around the Rim, but there was no organization to latch on to,” Lloyd said.
“All that have come to it have been looking for something to hold onto,” he said.
Education is the main focus of the group — helping members find out about Celtic culture and traditions.
Since organizing last July, the Rim Country Celts have had a Ceilidh Oct. 1, with about 300 people attending over the course of the day; and a Burns Night in January, at which 200 were in attendance.
While seating at the Elks’ March 17 event is limited, everyone attending is encouraged to make the most of the celebration with the “wearin’ of the green.”
Seniors’ St. Patrick’s Day celebration
It’s time again for the Payson Senior Center annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.
All lasses and lads are welcomed at 10:30 a.m., Friday March 16. The celebration features traditional Irish folk music with Cinnamon Twist, featuring Anne James, Jennifer Baltz and Larry Brasen. Entertainment is free and open to all area seniors.
Following the entertainment, stay for another St. Patty’s day tradition, a corned beef and cabbage dinner with all the trimmings. The cost is $4 per person and requires reservations at least 24 hours in advance please call (928) 474-4676 for lunch reservations.
More Celtic fun
The 2nd Annual Rim Country Celtic Festival will be April 14 and April 15 at the Payson Elks Lodge dirt parking lot, 1206 N. Beeline Highway.
This is an outdoor festival and is open to the public.
Admission is $10 per day or $15 for two days for adults; $5 per day or $8 for two days for children ages 6 to 16; those under 6 will be admitted free.
Saturday activities will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a formal opening ceremony will be at noon.
Sunday activities will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Kirking of the Tartan around 11 a.m.
Many Celtic Clans will be represented and there will be vendors of Celtic wares.
Anne James of Cinnamon Twist will be in charge of the Celtic music groups and the Celtic dancers program. There will continuous Celtic music each day and Alice Natale, teller of Celtic tales will also be participating.
American and Celtic Foods will be available. The Northern Gila County Genealogical Society will have a tent to provide help in tracing your heritage. The Daughters of Scotia will have Tea Garden Tent.
For information, contact president Lloyd Gibson at (575) 649-5015 or via the Web at http://rim countrycelts.webs.com or www.rimcountrycelts.org.