Concert offers alternative celebration to St. Patrick’s Day indulgence

Courtesy / Evan Semeneck
Last years Olde World Music winter concert.

Courtesy / Evan Semeneck Last year’s Olde World Music winter concert.

Mary Mattingly

St. Patrick’s Day is typically a day that college students devote to guzzling green beer and proudly proclaiming any, if at all, Irish heritage. The Olde World Music Club of Grand Valley State University is offering an alternative for those who want to enjoy the day without taking part in traditional celebrations.

“We decided it’d be a good idea to stay on campus and offer a fun event for people to come and just enjoy and still feel like they’re celebrating the holiday while not (having) to go off campus and deal with drunk drivers or anything like that,” said Evan Semeneck, club president.

The second annual St. Patrick’s Day Concert will take place in the Kirkhof Center Lounge outside of the LGBT Resource Center on March 15 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The concert will feature traditional Celtic music and group performances, as well as several collaborations between members. The event will be an alcohol-free alternative for underclassmen who are underage and for those who choose not to indulge on St. Patrick’s Day.

“The plan is, it’s a PG-13 concert, with some bawdy music… a lot of times I have a whole list of jokes — we have a lot of people who play different instruments, so to fill time between set-up, we’ll do something like that,” Semeneck said. “There will be jokes and toasts; we’re trying to (give the concert) a pub feel without being in a pub. Audience participation is always recommended and encouraged.”

The Olde World Music Club, formerly the Celtic Music Club, plays medieval and Renaissance music in addition to Celtic music. The group has branched out in its focus this year, learning music from the HBO series, “Game of Thrones,” and other soundtracks.

“(Medieval and renaissance music are) the beginnings of what we listen to today. It’s more basic and simple — a different style than what we are used to hearing,” said Jessica Zavala, the club’s vice president. “(I was attracted to it because) it was different. I like that style, and it broadens my horizons. I am a music major and in the (performing arts center) I play classical music, violin concertos; playing this music is kind of branching out.”

The club, which averages between 20 and 25 members, has been seen this year performing at the annual Renaissance Festival, the Renaissance Club’s Duke Ball and the club’s Winter Concert. The St. Patrick’s Day Concert is traditionally performed as the last hurrah of the year.

“The music we play is a mixture: some vocal pieces, also some just instrumental and some where the instruments accompany the vocals,” Zavala said. “(We play) traditional pieces. Everything from the beginning (of the medieval period) up to the Civil War.”

In the past, members have performed original compositions at the St. Patrick’s Day Concert and have also teamed up to perform as smaller ensembles within the club.

“Different group members can shine, it’s something interesting,” said Zavala, a violinist. “I’m doing two duets and one trio called ‘I’s The B’y.’ It’s a Canadian folk piece that they played while fishing in the bay.”

The club is looking forward to playing to a sizable crowd and celebrating the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day with music.

“It’s great music and a lot of fun,” Zavala said. “It’s a good way to look at another culture everyone will be celebrating on St. Patrick’s Day.”