PITSBURG – “You could fit our country inside your state,” said one of the members of We Banjo 3 during their visit to Franklin Monroe High School on Tuesday. The Irish group gave junior high and high school students a taste of what happens when you combine traditional Irish music (Celtic) with traditional American/Appalachian music. The show was part of the Darke County Center for the Arts’ (DCCA) Arts in Education program.
The band pulled out their fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and, of course, banjos to entertain and educate students at all Darke County Schools prior to their performance at Memorial Hall on Saturday night. The band tried their best to explain their name and why there were four members and only two banjos. “It makes sense where we come from,” they said.
Students were encouraged to ask the group anything they wanted. Some asked about Ireland, others asked what it was like to travel or what they like about America. The biggest difference, they explained, is it only takes three hours to drive from their home in Galway, Ireland on the west coast to the east coast.
“This group of amazing musicians has won numerous All-Ireland Championships, and is now winning devoted fans across the United States,” said DCCA Artistic Director Keith Rawlins. “We Banjo 3 plays music that is new, fresh, and daring, while remaining true to the deep heritage from which that music sprung.”
According to DCCA Executive Director Andrea Jordan, these performances are made possible by a grant from the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, which engages people in meaningful experiences with the fine arts in the belief that the sharing of creative experiences builds powerful connections with our community and the world around us. “Without the assistance of Arts Midwest, DCCA could not bring internationally-acclaimed artists like We Banjo 3 to our underserved rural community,” Ms. Jordan explained. “DCCA greatly appreciates their commitment to enabling presentations that inspire creativity and joy, and help shape our nation’s culture in positive and affirming ways,” she concluded.
Local sponsors for this event included Gordon Orthodontics, DP&L Company Foundation, Greenville Federal, The Maid Rite Sandwich Shoppe, Edison State Community College, Richard Baker, BASF, and Littman-Thomas Agency, The Mandy Green Fund of The Darke County Foundation, The Helen Hawkey Music Project, DCCA memberships and all Darke County and Greenville City schools. DCCA also receives funding from the Harry D. and Esther Stephens Memorial, Ketrow Foundation, and Lydia E. Schaurer Memorial Trust Fund.
PHOTO CAPTION: Members of We Banjo 3 entertained at local schools throughout the week; sharing a little of their Irish heritage with students.