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Celtic music and dance to ring in holiday season

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HESSTON, KAN. – Tradition-rich Celtic song and dance will help usher in the holiday season when Cherish the Ladies presents their “Celtic Christmas” program for the Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts (HBPA) series.

Cherish the Ladies appears Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church on the Hesston College campus.

Formed in 1985 in New York City, Cherish the Ladies is a Grammy®-nominated, Irish-American group featuring extraordinary women in what is traditionally a male-dominated Irish music scene.

In their 30 years of existence, the ensemble has toured the world, played the White House and the Olympics, recorded 16 albums and presented an Emmy® Award-winning Public Television special of their “Irish Homecoming” program, which aired across the United States and Ireland.

The Ladies’ “Celtic Christmas” program will feature six musicians and four dancers to create an evening that includes a spectacular blend of virtuoso instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and stunning step dancing.

The ethereal Celtic vocal harmonies will be accompanied by flute, whistles, guitar, accordion, piano and fiddle as well as accomplished step dancers, including the former principal lead dancer for Riverdance, two world champion step dancers and a Canadian step-dance champion.

The New York Times calls Cherish the Ladies’ music “passionate, tender, and rambunctious,” and the Washington Post praises their “astonishing array of virtuosity.”

The group has won recognition in the BBC’s Best Musical Group of the Year and won the Top North American Celtic Group by both the Irish Music Awards and NPR’s Thistle & Shamrock.

They have also collaborated with musicians including the Boston Pops, the Clancy Brothers, the Chieftains, Vince Gill, Nanci Griffith, Pete Seeger, Don Henley, Arlo Guthrie and Maura O’Connell as well as being featured in more than 300 performances with symphony orchestras.

Reserved seating and general admission tickets for Cherish the Ladies are available through the HBPA website or by calling 620-327-8158. Ticket prices range from $23 to $27 with discounts available for students and senior citizens.

Remaining concerts in the 2015–16 HBPA lineup include the German instrumental ensemble Minguet Quartet with guest pianist Andreas Klein on Feb. 1, 2016; Grammy Award-winning men’s a cappella ensemble Chanticleer on Feb. 23; and London-based vocal ensemble The Swingles on April 3.

The HBPA Cherish the Ladies concert is funded in part by the cities of Hesston and North Newton, Excel Industries and Hustler Turf Equipment (Hesston), the Hesston Community Foundation, the North Newton Community Foundation, Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and KMUW Wichita Public Radio.

The Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts series, now in its 34th year, is a collaborative effort of Hesston College and Bethel College (North Newton), presenting five performances by world-renowned or regionally acclaimed artists each year.

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