Paddy Homan celebrates Irish music
Paddy Homan’s St. Patrick’s Eve Concert
Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette
8 p.m. Saturday, March 16
$22 in advance, $25 at the door
(847) 251-7424; www.wilmettetheatre.com
Updated: March 7, 2013 11:40AM
Irish eyes will be smiling from the Wilmette Theatre stage when Paddy Homan presents a St. Patrick’s Eve Concert, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16.
The Cork City native plans to share his love of his native land and its music with the audience.
Homan declared that the concert will be “pure fun — the feast of St. Patrick celebrated in lively song and dance.” He promised to sing, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling,” as well as several numbers on which the audience can sing along.
Homan will also perform a few selections from his latest album, “The Hard Way Home,” which will be released in April. The title song was written by Jimmy Moore, a native of Ireland who lives in the United States. “The basic premise is, if you don’t have a guiding light to guide you, you will take the hard way home,” Homan related. He added that it’s about the importance of being part of a community.
“It’s fabulous to find such a rich nugget of information in a song,” Homan said. Then he tossed in a bit of Irish wisdom. “A burden shared is a burden halved,” he said.
Naturally, the music will be interwoven with such bits of wisdom and tales from the old country. “I’ve never been wanting for stories,” Homan joked.
A fiddler, guitarist and accordionist will back the singer.
The busy performer has made his mark both in the United States and his native country. He was chosen Best Newcomer of the Decade, 2000-2010 by Live Ireland, Dublin-based internet radio and TV. But singing isn’t Homan’s only love. He has a real desire to help people and is working hard on that aspect of his life, too.
In June, he will earn a master’s degree from DePaul University, where he is studying ways to integrate music and social work into philanthropy. Homan already uses his fundraising skills as a foundation regional director for Lutheran Life Communities.
Champion Irish dancer Katie Grennan will perform with Homan. They met at the Galway Arms, an Irish pub in Chicago where Homan leads the festivities every Sunday night. Grennan would drop in frequently to play her fiddle — another talent.
But Grennan’s main artistic expression is Irish dancing, which she began studying at the age of 8 in her hometown of Pittsburgh. She continued studying dance throughout high school, and her college years at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, where she majored in accounting and psychology. (Grennan currently works as a financial consultant for health insurance companies.) “Since I was so close to Chicago, I would come in for training throughout the course of my college career to be able to keep dancing at a high level,” she said, reporting that she danced at the Trinity Academy.
Grennan, who reached the championship level in Irish dancing by the time she was 12, has qualified for the World Championship of Irish Dance nearly every year since. In January, she returned from a five-week tour of Germany with “Magic of the Dance,” composed primarily of world champion Irish dancers and tap dancers.
The Irish American Heritage Center selected Grennan as their queen for this year. “I attend a lot of events and represent the center,” she said. She will also be the center’s candidate in the Chicago Rose of Tralee competition in April. The winner will go to Ireland for an international competition.
For the St. Patrick’s Eve Concert, Grennan said that she will perform, “a series of reels and jigs, mostly hard shoe, which is my favorite. I love the different rhythms that the hard shoe allows me to beat out with my feet.”
Homan concluded, “We want people to enjoy the rich heritage of Ireland.”