Celtic Music and Culture in the Magic Skagit - Anacortes Magazine - Art, Music, and Community

Celtic Music and Culture in the Magic Skagit

Skagit County non-profit gains international recognition for presenting Celtic music and cultural events.

(March 16, 2017 – Mount Vernon, WA) In early April, Celtic Arts Foundation founder and Executive Director Skye Richendrfer heads to Scotland to participate in the Showcase Scotland Expo. Known as “The Visit,” the event includes 50 selected delegates from North America and Europe who regularly produce musical performances at concerts and festivals. Over the course of several days, 24 traditional Scottish music groups will perform for the delegates in hopes of securing gigs worldwide. The Scottish government partially underwrites the costs for the event, contributing to air transportation in addition to accommodation and surface transport costs for delegates to attend the event.

Having played bagpipes for most of his life, Richendrfer is no stranger to Scotland and Scottish music. He is eager to secure new performers to participate in events produced by the Celtic Arts Foundation in Mount Vernon. “It’s complicated and expensive to bring performers from the United Kingdom to the US,” he said. “Having the opportunity to see and hear potential performers in person makes a tremendous difference in understanding how well a show we produce in Mount Vernon will go over with our audience.”

During the visit, Richendrfer is scheduled to meet with Pipe Major Roddy MacLeod, MBE, who serves as the Director of the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, to discuss collaborative efforts such as presenting interactive lectures and workshops with participation from both organizations. The National Piping Centre is recognized as the leading world authority on Scottish bagpipes and bagpipe music. “We have a great relationship with the Piping Centre” said Richendrfer. “We’re really excited about being able to incorporate interactive media and related technology to do even more authentic cultural activities and programming—we have related intentions and interests with several Irish organizations.” Similar discussions with Dr. Gary West, Director of the European Ethnological Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, are scheduled.

The Celtic Arts Foundation is also looking to collaborate with other producers of Celtic music in the Pacific Northwest, hoping to share significant costs for required US work visas, transportation and accommodation tasks that quickly become prohibitive. “Long gone are the days when musicians hop on a jet at the drop of a hat to come perform at a concert or festival,” says Richendrfer. “It takes many months to complete the work visa application process, and the time and effort is increasingly something artists are unable or unwilling to do.”

The Celtic Arts Foundation has enjoyed increased recognition and participation in its programming, with about 2,500 people attending events at the Littlefield Celtic Center in Mount Vernon in 2016. Exclusively presenting Celtic-themed events (primarily Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton performers), most concerts and activities are open to the public. It is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit and membership-based organization. See Celticarts.org for more information.

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