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Irish festival celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

Amanda Nieto
Associate News Editor

Davenport Dining Hall temporarily left the University of La Verne grounds and was carried away to a pub off the coast of the Emerald Isle.

The Campus Activities Board put together this foot-stomping good time from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday in honor of next week’s St. Patrick’s Day.

The event featured free T-shirts for the first 100 students, Irish-inspired food and the musical talent of Sligo Rags.

“With spring break being next week, the holiday had to be hosted a week sooner,” Mike Lindsey, senior business major and in charge of the event, said.

Davenport was especially decorated for the event with green balloons tied to chairs and holiday-themed table decorations.

The chefs served up the pub-style meals were even wearing the iconic leprechaun hats.

Sligo Rags consists of three band members; David Burns on guitar and vocals, Gordon Rustvold on bass guitar and Michael Kelly on fiddle and vocals.

The band describes themselves as Irish Bluegrass Fusion, and play not only traditional folk songs but some of their own creations as well.

The show began with the song, “I’ll Tell Me Ma,” which can be heard in any traditional Irish pub.

“The music is very lively,” Christian Pickett, freshman biology major, said. “I was actually getting food to go, but when I heard the music I decided to sit down.”

“Sligo Rags was a part of last year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration and with enough requests, we decided to invite them back a second time,” Lindsey said.

Right off to the side of the stage was a table where the faculty could be found, tapping their feet and swaying with the rhythm of the music.

Throughout the performance, Kelly and his fiddle wandered through the audience; at one point he even serenaded a student with a few notes.

Their song, “The Blarney Pilgrim/ Some Say the Devil is Dead” engaged the crowd with its witty lyrics and led many to clap along with the rapid beat.

The bass guitar created a deep and steady background for the competitive harmonies of the guitar and fiddle, while the voices brought the entire performance together.

Sligo Rags later lapsed into a part of fusion with a stronger bluegrass sound, yet still keeping the traditional Irish feel.

“We are selling CDs for $15,” Kelly said. “But if you show your student identification card and have nice legs, we’ll sell it to you for $10, no matter your gender.”

Jokes were not the only things getting laughs, but also the lyrics and commentary from the band members.

Cathy Henley-Erickson, professor of English emerita, said that this was her third time seeing Sligo Rags perform.

“They bring a sense of excitement to the University and a look at a culture we don’t normally recognize,” Henley-Erickson said.

The event proved a successful prelude to St. Patrick’s Day where students found the perfect combination of friends, food and Irish fusion.

Amanda Nieto can be reached at amanda.nieto@laverne.edu.

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