Well I am fresh off the opening two nights of the Celtic Woman tour which began in Lakeland and Orlando Florida. Lots of new faces and new policies to talk about there!
First, though, Allow me to introduce you to new new forums and new faces leading established ones. There is a new forum for Alex Sharpe that will focus on her current and future work. It will dovetail with the already existing Alex forum that was down for a couple weeks due to technical issues. Leaders of the new forum are Dave and Destiny who are also its creators. Dave and Destiny have also teamed up on a marvelous forum for new Celtic Woman Lisa Lambe, lovingly called the emerald meadow. So before LL even hit the touring trail she was already building a new core fan base to support her with Celtic Woman and beyond. Both sites are marvelous.
Existing forums are now under new leadership as I stepped aside to focus on other things. I have always been a firm believer in term limits whether it be politics, business, or forums. No one should be leader for life. We are seeing what happens throughout the world when some think they should be. it simply isn't healthy and that includes such less world shaking things as fan forums. Scott Taylor is now admin in the Chloe Agnew forum. That forum continues to grow and he is joined in Global moderator roles by Karen from Canada and Kelly from Massachusetts. Kelly is also GM in the LL forum. John Mann is now admin of the Lynn Hilary forum. There are few who compare to John in his enthusiasm for this willowy Irish songbird. He is joined by Amy and Emily as global moderators, both of whom are avid supporters. Jim Allens' Lisa Kelly forum is still run by Jim as that is his labor of love and I am there to support him in a lesser role. Mike Brown and Destiny Jacobson are now the admins in the Máiréad forum. My role there is still active but far more muted. So, regardless of the Celtic woman artist you have a home for your favorite.
Celtic Woman has some new faces on stage and off and they all seem to be winners from what I saw at the opening two shows. Off stage there are some new road crew personnel. Judging by what I saw there were little if any gaffs in the technical aspects of the show. Most enjoyable though are Bubba Dixon and a new lad named Dustin who appear to be the new folks who will conduct the meet & greets. Bubba did a superb and professional job in Australia and Dustin is a very likable gent. Mitch from Madstone was still around but stayed in the background. Rachel Davis was there as well but only observing and she was delightful in Orlando. There is also now a new policy allowing photos at the meet & greets with whichever two artists are present. These are not ones where you can pose with the artist but simply ones you take during the normal course of events. There was no item handed out for you to have signed any more so bring your own. You are allowed a total of three items for that as opposed to five from last year. No problem as the photo ops are well worth that trade. So, very smart moves by Celtic Woman and much appreciated.
On stage there are many new faces. Andy Reilly on drums now in for the very busy Nick Bailey who is off with his fine band Extreme Rhythm. Ewan Cowley now in for the retiring Des Moore who was a fixture from day one and a very gifted artist. Ewan is yet another fine musician. One new male choir member and three new choir girls to get used to and all did just fine. Most notable is new front line artist, Lisa Lambe, who is in for Lynn Hilary who left at the end of the Oz tour. No replacement for Alex Sharpe who left after the spring tour. That void is still felt. Likely a monetary consideration given the EMI bankruptcy. Lisa Lambe is a lively and lovely lass with a great vocal gift. While the song set remains the same as before she makes her own stamp on what Lynn had been doing. You really have to experience her rendition of Dulaman.
So, 2011 is indeed one of great and positive changes. Alex has a Twitter site, as does Lisa Lambe and Máiréad Nesbitt. Lisa Kelly and Chloe Agnew do as well plus fan pages for themselves on Facebook. So, there are lots of ways to support your favorite. Enjoy it and we'll see you again later in the spring.
Enjoy the show, Scott