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Celtic Woman spreading Christmas spirit with Naperville concert

Celtic Woman will perform North Central College.

Celtic Woman will perform at North Central College.

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Celtic Woman

◆ 8 p.m. Dec. 8; 6 p.m. Dec. 9

◆ Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville

◆ Tickets, $80-$95

◆ (630) 637-7469;

If you missed Celtic Woman last year, North Central College is doubling your chances to see them.

The critically-acclaimed Irish vocal quartet returns to Naperville for two performances of its holiday program, “A Christmas Celebration — The Symphony Tour.”

Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Dec. 8 and at 6 p.m. Dec. 9. The show features the quartet of Chloe Agnew, Lisa Kelly, Susan McFadden and Mairead Nesbitt, backed by the Frank Caruso Orchestra, led by pianist and NCC jazz faculty member Frank Caruso.

“We’re very excited,” said Kelly. “We’re always so delighted to get to that part of America. I remember last year in Naperville we had some extra time to do some shopping for Christmas. I’m planning on doing something similar this year.”

The performance will feature Christmas classics from the group’s 2006 release “A Christmas Celebration.” The platinum-selling album includes holiday favorites such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “O Holy Night” and “White Christmas.”

Celtic Woman recently released a new holiday album, “Home for Christmas,” which includes songs such as “Winter Wonderland,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “Silent Night.” The new album will be available for purchase at the concerts. “What we’re hoping is people purchase the CD and have us in their living rooms all through Christmas,” Kelly said, adding that

the evening will be filled with a beautiful array of Christmas music.

“Chloe is going to do her beautiful ‘Ava Maria,” Mairead is going to do her ‘In the Big Mid-Winter,’ and I’m singing ‘Away in a Manger’ and another beautiful piece called ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ whichtranslates from Celtic as ‘Old Long Ago.’ It has beautiful words and I’m really looking forward to that.”

Rather than take a large ensemble or symphony on the road in America, the group is hiring local musicians at each stop.

“This symphony tour is really very special and I feel very proud to be a part of what we’re doing, because we get to perform with different symphonies everywhere we go,” Kelly said, about the 20 or so dates in this U.S. mini-tour. “I come from a theater background, and it’s so lovely for me to perform just as myself and not as a character. To look into peoples’ eyes and sing to them, it’s been one of the best experiences for me. With this particular tour we’re doing with the symphony orchestras, every night is going to be different. Singing with a live orchestra is incredible. That is going to keep it very fresh every single night.”

Annie Alleman is a local free-lance writer.

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