The making of The Christmas Celtic Sojourn Virtual Concert

By Karen Herlitz

For so many New Englanders, the holidays would not be the same without Brian O’Donovan’s Christmas Celtic Sojourn —a holiday tradition that brings so much joy and yuletide spirit to so many. It’s for this reason, that when Brian O’Donovan spoke with Rockport Music’s President and CEO Tony Beadle about possibly being the host venue for a virtual Christmas Celtic Sojourn, an enthusiastic and hopeful, conversation was sparked amongst all involved.  The opportunity to bring this holiday treasure to the world during this time of not just isolation, but limited access to music, was a shared motivation. Part of what makes Brian’s Christmas Celtic Sojourn such a tradition is it connects people with songs and stories as if you’re in a home with family and friends coming together to celebrate the holidays. This holiday, we probably feel that more than any other season, and Brian’s concerts bring us together to celebrate the music and cheer of the holiday season.

As much as all involved were excited about the potential for this project, the one item that was integral to its success was housing. In an attempt to create a safe environment to work and create music together, the artists and technical team would need to quarantine during the 2-week rehearsal and recording period. The cost of hotels or inns for this period would be cost prohibitive and they hoped to quarantine in 1-2 homes to maintain safety protocols.  It was a day to celebrate when we received the news that this was a possibility.  And, we all wish to express our tremendous gratitude to Bernie and Lorraine Horn and their family, who enthusiastically offered the use of their two homes to make this project possible.  Brian indicates, “that the generosity of spirit from Bernie and Lorraine Horn for this project has moved him beyond words. He will be eternally grateful.”

Brian O’Donovan, credit Tim Rice

The Christmas Celtic Sojourn musicians will rehearse and record in the Shalin Liu Performance Center for nearly two weeks in November, which is provided gratis by Rockport Music.  When asked about why this project was so important, President and CEO Tony Beadle responded, “We couldn’t let this year’s holidays go without sharing one of our favorite seasonal traditions! The partnership we have shared with Brian over the years with the CCS, which has grown over the past couple of years into presenting the Rockport Celtic Festival and other sojourns, has been a true partnership. We feel Brian’s program brings some much-needed holiday cheer during these difficult times and is the type of artistic organization that we want to ensure is here to work with us, and for you, when we can gather again to enjoy concerts together.”

The online concert presentations will be available for patrons to purchase not just concert tickets, but other small event activities during the season. All of the CCS’s past host venues will host their own broadcast night. There is a ticket fee for viewing the online concert, and Rockport Music’s featured presentation will take place on Friday, December 18 at 7:30 pm. Know that the majority of the ticket proceeds go to the CCS organization and its artists who bring you the heartfelt seasonal favorite Christmas Celtic Sojourn. Make sure you mark your calendars for the holiday season event of the year!

The virtual Christmas Celtic Sojourn for Rockport Music patrons will be held on Friday, December 18, at 7:30 PM. Tickets and artist details available within the next week!

Top Photo: Christmas Celtic Sojourn, Photo Credit: Tim Rice