A Celtic Celebration in the Keystone State
By Master Sgt. Joe Haughton, The United States Air Force Band
/ Published October 10, 2018
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C. --
In addition to the six official ensembles of The United States Air Force Band, there are a number of small, musical groups within the Band that perform around Washington, D.C., and occasionally across the country. Last weekend, Celtic Aire, a subset of the Singing Sergeants, had the opportunity to share their music in the Keystone State.
The premier folk ensemble of the Air Force, Celtic Aire, gave three separate performances during the 31st Annual Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a free festival hosted by the Celtic Cultural Alliance. Celtic Aire kicked off the beginning of the festival with a rousing performance of the National Anthem, opening the event for a crowd of over 20,000.
“This is by far the best rendition of the national anthem I have ever heard at the Celtic Classics!” claimed Marcie Mulligan, the Cultural Outreach Coordinator for the Festival.
Later in the afternoon, the group performed for an enthusiastic crowd at the Festival’s cultural events stage, Heritage Hollow. This performance was a mix of songs from around the world and a question and answer session.
Celtic Aire invited three members of the Singing Sergeants to join them for the main stage show at Foy Concert Hall, on the Moravian College campus.
“Performing with Celtic Aire for the Celtic Classic was a fantastic experience,” said Technical Sgt. Jilian McGreen, a vocalist in the Singing Sergeants who joined Celtic Aire for this trip. “It was wonderful to play for an audience that was so responsive to both the music and veteran recognition.”
The audience response was overwhelming. The 400-seat concert hall was at capacity and the audience lined up over an hour before the performance. Many festival-goers went out of their way to thank the members of Celtic Aire for their service and music.
“This was the most anticipated event of the festival, and I really hope we can have you back in future seasons,” stated Mulligan.
This was Celtic Aire’s first time performing at the Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival, one of the largest Celtic festivals in the world that is still free and open to the public. Hopefully, it's the beginning of a long-lasting tradition.