PLYMOUTH, Wis. (WFRV) – Hobbies…. Some people work really hard for enjoyment.
Woodworkers build handsome tables, etc. Car whizzes restore marvels on wheels. Bakers bake tantalizing treats.
For a music show, a group called Celtic Folk has put together a tantalizing, handsome marvel that would be hard to find anywhere else – especially in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sentimental Journey in Song… Music Through the Decades” premiered Tuesday night at Plymouth Arts Center. It’s a sweet concert.
Five people sing, backed by piano and guitar and sometimes flute.
Mostly famous titles are on the program.
The unspoken – nostalgia – is everywhere, with most songs rippling with memories for the individual listener.
Celtic Folk keeps one thing simple. There’s no talk – no introductions, no between-song banter, no chat of any kind.
Everything else seems simple but is complex in the doing – multiple-part songs, the set, the sound and a whole lot more.
The folks of Celtic Folk have to love what they are doing to fashion this original and elaborate concert. Rehearsing is not even the half of it.
The song list is charming. It is filled – 26 numbers! – with proven sounds. Some songs the group learned just for this production.
Styles go all over the place – Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” Sting’s “Every Breath You Take,” Toto’s “Africa,” The Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman.”
There’s even a bit of Irish sass – “Seven Drunken Nights.” Celtic Folk sings five of the verses. The last two are ribald.
The singers sing as a group, in solo, in duets, in harmonic support – especially working the fingers off their pianist and guitarist, who lay the foundation for almost all the songs.
In the opening “Sentimental Journey,” the singers take turns singing solo and serving notice their individual voices carry a tune. The five are wired for sound.
The “stage” is an expansive carpeted area. The singers are socially distanced. Each stands on square box a foot or so above the flat floor – the better to be seen above the audience, which is also socially distanced.
The area is decorated with an outdoorsy feel – three lighted artificial pines, two faux stone walls on both ends surrounded by large plants and, along the whole front edge of the performance area, a kind of pine bough “necklace” strung with lights. The back wall centerpiece features a Celtic cross – a tie-in to the group name.
At present, live and in-person performances are not common. It takes a certain space to pull them off – with spacing for the performers and audience. At present, the performers tend to be local – and economical for the house. To put on a performance takes dedication.
A bonus at Plymouth Arts Center is visual art is on display in an adjacent gallery. The current display to April 30 is “Water’s Edge Artists Tribute to Kitty Lynne Klich,” with artwork by regional plein air artists.
The place, the art and the performance add up to be an appealing experience, with Celtic Folk in a niche of its own.
“Fields of Gold”
“Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears”
“Come by the Hills”
“Over the Rainbow” (instrumental)
“Flowers on the Wall”
“Big Bad John”
“Sound of Music” medley
“Make You Mine”
“What Kind of Fool”
“Every Breath You Take”
“(Rock Me Mama Like a) Wagon Wheel”
“Ghost Riders in the Sky”
“Rainy Days and Mondays”
“Danny Boy” (instrumental)
“Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go”
“Whiskey in the Jar”
“Seven Drunken Nights”
Creative: Directors – Tom Clegg, Kerrylynn Kraemer; lights and sound – Bonnie Jaeger, Bill Johnson; set design – Michellelena Kraemer, Kerrylynn Kraemer; stage Michellelena Kraemer, Toddianna Kraemer, Kerrylynn Kraemer; master painter – Michellelena Kraemer
Musicians: Thomas Armstrong, piano and keyboard; Laura Henze, flute; Mike Slupski, guitars
Running time: Two hours
Remaining performances: 7:30 p.m. April 20 and May 1 and 2:30 p.m. May 2
VENUE: Plymouth Arts Center is located at 520 E. Mill St. in downtown Plymouth. The building began life as H&W Motor Sales, probably in the 1920s, then became the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce and then became the multi-use arts center. The theater space is approximately 70 by 50 feet, with the floor flat and carpeted. Lighting and sound elements are hung on sturdy structures in an open ceiling above the first level, through which can be seen a wood ceiling of a second level. Walls are painted cream. Remnants of the auto dealership include ornate arches for an apparent showroom and what appears to be a small balcony. Entering the building, patrons see a beverage area to the right, a gift store to the left with an art gallery in a large space adjacent. Concerts, plays and special events are presented in the theater space. In all, it’s a clever conversion of a building.