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Gaelic Storm to kick off Arts on the Allegheny

Gaelic Storm will return to Arts on the Allegheny this summer.

By Tim Karan
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

There's at least one type of storm Kittanning residents won't mind rolling back into town.

World-renowned Celtic rock band Gaelic Storm will once again kick off the Arts on the Allegheny free summer concert series when they take the stage at the John P. Murtha Amphitheater in Kittanning Riverfront Park on June 22.

Mary Ann Valasek, co-chair of the nonprofit Arts on the Allegheny, said this will be the third time in six years the committee has brought Gaelic Storm to Kittanning — and for good reason.

“I always get asked to bring them back,” she said. “When Gaelic Storm first came in 2008, people didn't really know who they were. But they created so many fans here from that one concert and the next one (in 2011) that people request them all the time.”

Known just as much for their rousing live performances as their contemporary take on traditional Irish and Scottish music, Gaelic Storm are riding the success of their ninth album, Chicken Boxer, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard World Albums Chart last summer.

“They're really in demand all over the world,” said Valasek. “They're so engaging and appeal to people of all ages. But they were more than happy to come back to Kittanning, which was a real compliment to the concert series.”

Since 2008, Arts on the Allegheny has hosted a wealth of national and local talent each summer at no cost to concertgoers thanks entirely to donations from individuals and businesses in the Kittanning area. Last year, the series brought accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco, former Ronettes frontwoman Ronnie Spector and soul singer Mitch Ryder.

“It's because of the generosity of people here that any of this is possible,” said Valasek. “Arts on the Allegheny doesn't have an office or any overhead costs, so all the money goes right back into the concerts.”

Although Valasek said she's tentatively lined up another local favorite band that she can't yet reveal for a show later in the summer, she stressed that Arts on the Allegheny needs help from the public immediately to make it happen.

“The cost of putting on a performance keeps getting greater and greater and we're a little behind this year,” said Valasek. “We can't confirm the other concert -- which would be a really big deal -- unless people are generous with donations. No amount is too little and every bit helps bring these popular acts to town.”

To contribute, send donations to Arts on the Allegheny, P.O. Box 1015, Kittanning.

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