Celtic Woman violinist Tara McNeil views the Christmas Symphony Tour as special.
“It’s a very different show than our spring tour,” McNeil said. “We get to perform with these incredible orchestras around the states. Every city has incredible musicians we get to share the stage with. It’s such an honor, especially for me because I’m from a classical background. As a violinist, I performed with orchestras at the start of my professional career. It’s special to make music with these people who have given their lives to it from a very young age.”
The “Celtic Woman: A Christmas Symphony Tour” concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.
The 16-show tour, which began Dec. 2, ends Dec. 22 in Waterloo, N.Y.
“It’s been three years since we were last out on our Christmas tour (because of the COVID-19 pandemic),” McNeil said. “We missed it because I had got used to it being part of my Christmas routine. We are very grateful to be back. The Christmas music is always so much fun and everyone is in great spirits, especially the audiences.”
McNeil said the show begins with “Ding Dong Merrily On High,” a very energetic number.
The group will perform songs from their new EP, “Christmas cards from Ireland.”
“We have songs that have never been performed that we are doing on this Christmas tour,” she said.
The songs include “The Toys’ Waltz” and “I Saw Three Ships.”
The concert includes new arrangements of “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night.”
“It’s going to be great to perform them,” she said.
There are traditional Celtic Woman songs such as “Danny Boy” and “Amazing Grace.”
“Even though it’s not Christmas music, I don’t think it would be a Celtic Woman show without those two,” McNeil said. “We wanted to include them, otherwise people might be kicking up a fuss.”
Celtic Woman formed in 2004. McNeil joined the group in 2016 and is now the longest-running member.
Hannah Traynor is making her first tour with Celtic Woman. Murgen O’ Mahony is making her first Symphony Tour.
McNeil replaced Mairead Nesbitt, the only other violinist for Celtic Woman. Nesbitt left to pursue solo projects.
“Celtic Woman is a combination of Irish traditional music,” McNeil said. “It brings in classical musical elements and brings in musical theater. It’s always been the platform for Irish women to perform and showcase their talents across the world. It’s always been made to be this platform for us. It’s always been about the music, and the music is the priority. We’re trying to give a little piece of Ireland and our history. I think it will continue, and I hope it does for a long time.”
The group performs nearly 90 shows in the spring in North America. Typically, it tours Europe and China in the fall, but the pandemic has curtailed that the last three years.
“With our big 20th anniversary coming up (in 2024), I’m hoping we can do a worldwide tour,” McNeil said. “I feel very lucky to be part of Celtic Woman. I admired the women who were in the group before me. I wanted to find a way to showcase my talents. I feel lucky with these talented singers. They are some of the closest friends in my life.”